Get Past Geo-Restrictions When Traveling
How often when traveling or spending time abroad do you get the message that the website you are trying to access is blocked due to your location?
Maybe you are trying to access personal information back home while overseas or simply want to watch Netflix or a specific Youtube video before going to bed; your location dictates what you can and cannot access. It is a frustrating thing to deal with for travelers.
That restriction is called geo-blocking. Whether it be for copyright reasons, cost of operation, or another reason, when you can’t access a network or internet service because of your location, that is geo-blocking.
A network discovers your current location by the IP (Internet Protocol) address attached to your device. Your IP is your identity on a network that is assigned by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and changes depending on your location. Regions have IP address pools, which the IPS provides. Networks and services will have one pool of IP addresses that are exempt from restriction. Any IP address outside of this pool will be restricted.
This process can be quite frustrating for travellers. Thankfully,there are ways around geo-restrictions that make accessing certain blocked services a lot easier. So, while you plan your next trip abroad, make sure you know about these two options so that you can access everything you need at any given location.
2 Ways to access any website you want, anywhere in the world
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is likely the best and most reliable way to get past geo restrictions. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is like a tunnel for your data to go privately back and forth from the network and your device. It secures, encrypts, and protects the valuable information your data contains from outsiders.
Without a VPN, your information traveling to and from the network is vulnerable to prying eyes, hackers, and cyber thieves. If you tend to spend time on websites that require personal information (online banking and shopping, for example), you can utilize a VPN for the added protection needed.
When it comes to traveling and geo restrictions, a VPN will get you into the websites and services from which you were previously blocked. Your device is assigned a different VPN from another location. So, it looks like you are in one country, when in fact, you are somewhere else entirely, which enables you to access your favorite streaming websites.
2. Utilize Proxy Sites
A simple way to bypass geo restrictions on websites and small videos is by using a proxy website. Think of a proxy as a middleman – instead of you actually going to the website, you use a proxy to access the website for you. Then, you connect to the proxy site to gain access to the content you want.
A proxy site is another way to shield your information from the websites you use. It is like a shield that comes up once you activate it that protects your data and keeps you anonymous. This method allows you to access those YouTube videos that are blocked because of your location.
A simple, and popular web proxy I use often is Anonymouse.org
However, a proxy website is limited. If you are trying to access larger service providers a proxy won’t help you. They are also not the most reliable to use because you cannot guarantee they are trustworthy. Furthermore, the proxy sites tend to get shut down fairly quickly the more people use them.
While traveling or living abroad, your best bet is to download a VPN. Not only do you gain access to blocked services, but you are also protected during the entire process. When travelling, it is essential to keep your personal information protected as much as possible, especially while on the internet.
How to set up a VPN
Nowadays there is a large number of VPN services, and unfortunately not all VPN providers are created equal. The main thing I would recommend you to do is to check out reviews and recommendations to find a VPN that best meets your needs.
Decide what you mainly want a VPN for. Is it for privacy while surfing the internet? To download without looking over your shoulder? To evade the Great Firewall of China? Or just to access geo-blocked TV streaming services from abroad?
Almost every VPN provider fully supports Windows, Mac OSX, Android and iPhone platforms, and many also support Linux and Chrome OS (if only indirectly). Support for Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile devices, however, is more limited.
To sign up for a VPN service, simply visit the provider’s website and follow the instructions.
Note: using Netflix abroad with a VPN can be a struggle because Netflix gives an error when connected to most VPNs. Therefore, if Netflix is the main reason for you to get a VPN, definitely do some research first!
Also Read: How to Find The Cheapest Flights
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