How to Use Proxies to Avoid Geo-Blocking

One of the most common examples of geo-blocking in action occurs in the streamed video content industry. The notification on geo-blocked content will read something like, “this content is not available in your area”.

The practice can be very frustrating to users who require content but cannot access it because of their geographical location.

What is geo-blocking?

Also known as geo-restricting, geo-location is the process that limits access to some type of content online based on a user’s geographical location. Most websites will give you a notification of the forms of content that you cannot access unless you are a resident of a particular zone. These websites will then redirect you to your zone’s website, denying you access to viewership.

Why do businesses geo-restrict content access?

Most streamed video content providers have different content geo-restrictions. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and HBO have different but strict copyright regulations, which at times prohibit them from sharing content at, will.

  1. One of the most common reasons that these businesses place these restrictions is because they also do not own all streaming rights to different content on offer. They are therefore expected by the content provider to enact geo-restrictions as per the legal right of the holders.
  1. Additionally, geo-restrictions can be brought about by a country’s licensing regulations. A business such as Netflix has to pay for all licensing rights for each country that they operate in to provide all content equitably. This cost can be prohibitive when coupled with taxes.
    The content providers find it much easier to geo-block content to ensure that all parties’ regulations and expectations are preserved.
  2. There are special cases also where geo-restricted content is related to legal problems. BBC, for instance, may apply geo-restrictions on some of its content because, in the UK, taxpayer money is used in content production.
    By geo-blocking some programs, they ensure that it is only UK taxpayers that reap the benefits from the content produced.
  3. Online casinos may also geo-restrict access to their websites to ensure that they comply with the regulatory laws of different countries.
  1. One of the most frustrating forms of geo-restrictions happen with major sports events. In sports, they often have blackouts where a particular season of sporting action is made unavailable to a region due to various distribution rights. The blackouts are enacted to ensure also that all contractual agreements are observed and honored.
  2. A nefarious form of geo-restriction happens when retailers decide to enact price discrimination policies. They will display different product prices to consumers in different geo-locations. Price discrimination policies are very common with airline ticket purchases. The airline might perform price discrimination policies to reap more profits from some geographical zones or limit access to some offers.

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How geo-restrictions work

Geo-restrictions work by simply blocking internet protocol (IP) addresses from a particular geographic zone. Every internet-enabled device has an IP address. The IP address is a string of numbers separated by spaces assigned to a device by internet service providers under the authority of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

The IP address can provide personal information such as your geographic location and your internet service provider’s details. Consequently, when a device from a region whose access to content is geo-restricted tries to access restricted content, the website will redirect them to a different page.

How to bypass geo-restrictions with proxies

Proxy servers, also known as proxies can bypass these geo-blocks. Proxy servers act as intermediaries between your computer and the internet. They are commonly installed on your computer or as browser plugins.

Proxies channel all information to and from a browser through their servers. This means that any website analyzing web traffic sources will only access the proxy server’s IP address rather than your computer’s.

Since proxies can mask an IP address, you can use proxies with IP addresses from different parts of the world to access geo-restricted content. You can, for instance, use affordable Russian proxies for access to geo-restricted Russian content. These proxies can also be used to automate social media accounts.

Proxy servers additionally locally cache files to frequently used sites, speeding up the web surfing process. When looking for proxy servers to access geo-blocked content, you should first perform due diligence to ensure that you only use high-quality proxies.

Some proxy servers, especially the free datacenter proxies are often overcrowded so they are very slow and have a lot of downtimes. Such proxies cannot handle the streaming of content from platforms such as Hulu or Netflix.

Conclusion

You can also access geo-restricted content via VPNs, Smart DNS or via the Tor browser. High-quality data center proxy servers, however, remain one of the cheapest and most convenient geo-locked content access tools.