There are a number of reasons why content might be blocked based on the geographic location of the user trying to access it. Many countries across the Asian continent use a variety of methods to limit and censor their citizens’ access to the internet. The issue is growing at a concerning rate. As you might’ve heard, China maintains their great firewall, and countries within the continent seem to follow their lead.
Recently, GDPR has become a prominent issue because of GDPR-based geo-blocking. Websites who couldn’t make themselves GDPR compliant chose to limit access from the EUrather than face potential fines.
A virtual private network (VPN) can be used to obscure your geographic location, allowing you to choose the country you connect to the internet through. This is an extremely handy feature. Say you’re in need to access a website, which is hosted in India, but geo-restrictions in your country block access to it. Once you set your virtual location to India – you’re good to go. The feature can also be used to access any GDPR-restricted content.
While many streaming providers, notably Netflix, take measures to prevent this workaround, many of the best VPN providers are finding ways to continue to offer this feature.
A VPN will also enhance your privacy and security in general by encrypting your communications with the VPN server. This is a very useful feature if you regularly connect to the internet using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.
Change DNS Server
Many people don’t realize it, but when you connect to a network using your device’s default DNS settings, the network administrator, and any ISPs you connect to, will have a complete list of websites that you’ve visited. Using a VPN can help to mitigate this, as well as using a privacy-focused DNS server. The most popular choices here are Google’s DNS (184.108.40.206) or CloudFlare’s 220.127.116.11 DNS service, which they claim is the fastest of all the privacy-focused DNS servers currently available.
Use Browsing Proxies
A proxy is useful if you are looking for a short-term or one-off method of bypassing internet filters put in place by businesses and other organizations. A proxy works along the same principles as a VPN, but with a few significant differences. First and foremost, a proxy website is far less secure than using a VPN.
Many organizations will block access to proxy websites, but you can sometimes connect directly to proxy servers through your browser. Before you install any browser extensions, make sure to verify that they serve the function you want and that you are downloading the extension from a trusted source. Otherwise, you might end up with something malicious!
Use Google Translate
As with most Google services, many institutions don’t block Google Translate. This opens up a potential loophole that allows you to access websites that would otherwise be blocked. Of course, it helps that Google Translate’s primary function is as an educational tool, not a way of bypassing internet filtering.
To take advantage of this method, all you need to do is to enter the desired webpage into Google translate, translate it into a language you know, and then begin browsing within Google. You can also perform the same trick using Microsoft’s Bing Translate.
Use Browser Extension
When websites like YouTube and Facebook, which are dynamic in nature, are blocked, there are many browser extensions available that might be able to help. For example, Hola and ProxyMate are both popular and established options that have a good track record for working effectively. But be aware, Hola has been accused of selling users bandwidth to third parties so leave it as a last resort.
UltraSurf is a browser extension that goes a step further than other browser extensions. UltraSurf allows you to use an encrypted proxy network to avoid more firewalls and improve user privacy.
Use Internet Archive
The Wayback Machineis a fantastic tool for peeking back into the past of the internet. The Wayback Machine saves multiple versions of a website to collect snapshots of the internet. You can use the Wayback Machine to view how websites looked in the past. However, much like Google Translate, the Wayback Machine can also be used to bypass internet blocking.
Not only this, but the Wayback machine makes a whole bunch of videos (including moves and TV series), documentaries, browser games, e-books, and much more, available to those who would otherwise find their access to the relevant web pages blocked.
With the introduction of GDPR, there has been a rise in the amount of geo-blocking going on online. EU internet users have found themselves unable to access a range of online websites and services over the last few months, while US users have long been curious about what other versions of Netflix can offer. Being able to circumvent region-based geo-blocking is useful for many people.