The internet is a magical place that gives us the freedom to do anything! From starting businesses to working remotely, and even planning an entire holiday without leaving your room, some incredible benefits have come with the invention of the world wide web. For many, the internet means freedom – you watch any movie or TV show at the click of a button, get in touch with someone on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds, or even read your favorite book online.
You might think that the internet means complete freedom, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are some websites that you won’t be able to access on the internet depending on your geographical location. If you try to access a sports streaming site in another country, for example, you’ll just be met with an error message that says “this content is not available in your region”. This is known. As geo-blocking restrictions.
As frustrating as geo-blocking is, it exists for good reason, which we’ll get into shortly. The key to hopping over these digital fences? Make sure you’re using premium VPNs when trying to access the website you’re looking for. Keep reading to learn more about geo-blocking and how to use a VPN!
What is Geo-blocking?
You might be wondering why geo/blocking restrictions exist in the first place. If you’re a frequent internet user you would have noticed that geo-blocking is mainly related to entertainment content such as sports, Netflix, YouTube, and other entertainment platforms. In some cases, it can also be used on new websites though.
Geo-blocking exists mainly to restrict content to specific countries or regions around the world. The main reason for this is that the content has to be restricted due to licensing requirements.
For example, sports streaming platforms often use geo-blocking restrictions because they need to adhere to the rules and regulations set out by their broadcasting agreement with any given sporting federation (such as FIFA or the NBA for example).
These rules are important because they prevent the media companies from streaming the content in multiple regions, which allows the sporting federation to sell more broadcasting rights to different companies and make more money.
So, if you try to access a Sky Sports live stream from outside of the UK you’ll be blocked from tuning into the stream – even if you’re a paying subscriber. It’s frustrating for many people, but there is a way that you can get around these blocked websites and streams.
How to Use a VPN to Unblock Websites
All you need to have is a cybersecurity tool known as a virtual private network, or VPN for short. VPNs are designed to encrypt your internet connection which allows you to browse the internet anonymously. Using a VPN, no one can see what you’re doing on your device when you’re connected to the internet. This prevents cybercriminals, your ISP, and even the government from monitoring your internet traffic or keeping track of your browsing history.
But the feature that you need to bypass geo-blocking restrictions is the ability to access secure global servers located in other countries and cities around the world.
When you launch your VPN, you’ll be met with a list of different countries and cities. These are your global servers, and connecting to one of these servers will hide your real IP address and route your internet traffic through the server. By doing so, it will appear as if your device is connecting to the internet from the server’s location rather than your real location.
What you need to do is determine where your live stream is broadcasting from – or what the approved regions and countries are for the live stream. Then you can connect your VPN to the corresponding server and you will change your virtual location to the correct one (without even changing your physical location).
For instance, if you’re in France and you want to watch a Sky Sports live stream, you simply need to connect to a VPN server in the UK. Once your VPN is connected to the UK server, your device will have a UK IP address, which will trick the Sky Sports website into thinking that you’re accessing it from in the UK. The website will then grant you access to the live stream and have successfully bypassed geo-blocking!
VPNs are incredibly powerful cybersecurity tools that also enable you to bypass internet censorship in some countries around the world. You can use the same location-changing features to find cheaper flights and accommodation, and discounts on online subscriptions.
Making Sure You Choose the Right VPN
There are hundreds of VPNs to choose from, but they’re not all designed equally. It’s crucial that you choose the right VPN, otherwise you will have a terrible experience with the cybersecurity tool and you will be left disappointed – especially when it comes to unblocking geo-restrictions on websites.
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a VPN for your device is that you need to use a premium VPN as opposed to a free one. It’s tempting to use a free VPN to save some cash, but it’s not worth it in the long run. Free VPNs come with tons of drawbacks that will affect your browsing and streaming experience.
For example, you’ll experience slow loading times, buffering, and drops in image quality due to slower connection speeds when using a free VPN. You also might not even be able to unblock a website due to a limited selection of global servers – it’s often difficult to find the relevant server that you’re looking for on a free VPN.
On top of that, you’ll have to battle with daily bandwidth restrictions. Often these limits are set to around 500 MB per day, which is not even enough to stream a video for more than half an hour in most cases.
Finally, a free VPN will also leave you exposed to cybercrime due to its weaker encryption technology that provides poor privacy and security online. So, if you want to make the most out of this powerful cybersecurity tool always use a premium VPN!