Have you ever wondered why you encounter difficulties when you decide to watch your favorite TV show on YouTube?
Let me introduce Geoblocking.
Geoblocking is a system that limits your access to the internet and media based on your location. It can be used to prevent copyrighted material from being viewed from outside of a designated and preferred area.
What happens if you live in a country outside the designated zone?
Most of the time, you’ll see an error message stating that your TV show of choice can only be viewed in a certain country. An inevitable question I’ve always asked myself is why can I watch programs on Netflix, YouTube and Hulu without these blocks? Also, how do these websites even know that you’re not from a particular country in the first place?
Well, let’s find out!
How geoblocking works
Every computer comes with an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Every time your computer (or device) makes a request to access content on a server, your IP address is delivered to the server so it knows where to send the content. Your IP address doesn’t have any special significance, but it can be used to find out the geographical location of a computer accurately.
Companies or media sources can use dedicated databases to block-list different countries. This is where the term ‘geo block’ comes from.
How is geoblocking used?
Film producers use geoblocking consistently when producing and selling their films on DVD. Technological Protection Measures (TPM) in the form of region coding on each DVD prevents playback in certain localities. This form of geoblock allows Hollywood to have control over the global market. They can release one market at a time and maximize the effects of a promotional campaign worldwide.
Website administrators such as Netflix, BBC’s iplayer, Hulu, and YouTube also use geoblocks heavily. They use geoblocks to prevent audiences outside of the UK, USA, and Australia from viewing their media. These providers have certain rights. License limitation is the main reason why there are blocking your region or geographical area.
Outside of these major players, various online business such as gambling services also uses geoblocks to restrict their services to countries in which they cannot operate legally. One use of geoblocks, which has raised a lot of eyebrows, is the way in which online retailers use geoblocks to charge people in differently depending on their location. This enables a form of discrimination to occur.
How to get around geoblocking
Due to the fact that geoblocks rely solely on the IP address of your computer, the only way to bypass them is by using a method that hides your IP address and uses the stipulated country’s address.
For more details, see our in-depth article on how to bypass geoblocking.
The most common way to hide your IP address is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and a VPN service.
One of the best services is offered by www.shellfire.net. Their service is a reliable way to remain anonymous when viewing contents online on Youtube, Hulu, or Netflix. Whenever you use their VPN (Virtual Private Network,) it will route all of your internet traffic through a remote location.