“This content is not available in your country.”
If you are reading this article, it is probably because you have encountered a dreadful censorship message similar to the one above. The prospect of limited access to a website is generally enough to stir the indignation of most Internet users.
Geo-blocking is the act of restricting access to certain content on the Internet based on the location of the user. The technology uses your IP address to pinpoint the location of the request. It then blocks access to the content if the IP is outside the authorized area. Geo-blocking surfaces for many reasons and it is becoming progressively more common. Whether it is due to licensing matters, security measures, or the tyrannical power exercised by an authoritarian government; Internet censorship is real and here to stay.
Luckily for you, there are many ways you can fool these technologies and avoid encountering these restriction messages during your next travel. In the following article, we will go through 4 of the more straightforward methods and uncover some of their limitations.
Ways to Safely Access Geo-Blocked Content
- Use a specialized browser.
- Use proxy sites.
- Use alternative DNS servers.
- Use a virtual private network.
There are many specialized browsers available online that help users conceal their actual location. For example, Tor is an open-source browser that relays received traffic to volunteer servers all across the globe.
While this technology can be used to easily mask your location, the main purpose is to wipe digital footprints altogether. The promise of complete anonymity attracts many malicious players. Specialized browsers are often attributed to activities surrounding the dark web.
Even though they are extremely easy to set up and accomplish our quest to avoid censorship, we recognize that people will be wary and avoid this method. Also, it is important to note that the stories of these technologies are so dark that they are nowadays often scrutinized and blocked by many governments. Hence, we recommend to not have this as your primary and only mean.
Proxy websites are another clever way to by-pass geo-blocking. These websites are similar to search engines. They allow you to search for the website you are trying to access and act as a middleman. This middleman will redirect your connection through one of their servers and thus allow you to mask your IP’s location. Basically, the proxy will access the blocked content for you instead of you directly trying to access it.
The one limitation of this method is that your connection is not encrypted end-to-end. While the connection is secure on the receiving end, the sending end is still vulnerable to interception. Simply put, the website you are visiting won’t be able to access your information. This will in turn allow you to view blocked content. However, if someone is to monitor your activities, they can intercept the sending end.
Alternative DNS Servers
The third method requires a bit of tech-savvy expertise, and it involves changing your DNS server. When accessing an URL, the DNS server acts as a translator from domain to numeric IP addresses. In most cases, your Internet service will have a default server. Hence, many of us can go without ever needing to know what this acronym stands for.
Knowing how to modify it, however, comes in very handy. Particularly, in cases where your destination has government-controlled DNS servers, this method can be used to avoid geo-blocking. Many use publicly-available DNS servers to generate IP addresses that are outside of their locations. For example, Google Public DNS allows you to reconfigure your default server and manipulate it to avoid geo-blocking.
The process is a bit involved, but it is one of the best ways to still access your favorite websites and social media when traveling to strict censorship and heavily monitored countries.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Now you must think that we are bias, but setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is truly the easiest and most reliable remedy to geo-blocking. This multi-purpose technology is most often used for the purpose of securing and encrypting your internet traffic. However, what many don’t realize is that it can also direct your traffic through to specific locations.
When traveling, you can use PrivadoVPN to set up the VPN server in your home country (or any country where our servers are located). Doing so, every time you connect to PrivadoVPN, your internet activities trace back to your chosen VPN server location.
On top of masking your activities behind a different location, a VPN also allows masking of your activities behind a different machine. This means that this solution provides true end-to-end anonymity from the government, your streaming platform, and even your Internet Service Provider.
Traveling is already unpredictable enough as it is. As seen in this article, your online activities while traveling does not have to be. There are multiple methods available for you so that geo-blocking does participate in ruining your date.
Download our VPN or install a publicly available DNS server. Either way, during your next travels, prepare yourself with the right hack!