Although the internet may appear to be a limitless world without restrictions, we sometimes run against virtual barriers that block us from accessing specific content. One such method of internet ring-fencing that makes use of your location to regulate access to online content is geo-blocking. Websites or governments utilize geo-blocking for a variety of purposes, such as censorship and licensing restrictions.
Read on to find out more about geo-restricted content and how to overcome these barriers.
If you use the internet on a daily basis, you probably visited a website before only to be greeted with a notification stating that “This content is not accessible in your country.” This is known as geo-blocking, sometimes known as geo-restriction, and it may be annoying.
Although the experience is familiar, you might not know the exact terms, as there are different terms in the online world. You might find yourself asking the question, “What is content filtering?” even though you might have experienced that term countless times before.
Using software or hardware to screen or limit access to specific users is a technique known as content filtering. Content-based filtering sometimes referred to as information filtering, is frequently used by businesses as a component of their firewalls. But why would content get filtered? Well, it’s no secret that the internet has a dark side. In truth, even the most innocent online searches can produce negative and harmful results. This is one of the main reasons why content filtering is used.
As already stated, geo-blocking technology restricts or prohibits visitors from viewing websites’ content entirely depending on their geographic location. When a request is originating from a questionable or specific location, target websites may purposefully deny access to the user. Geo-restrictions thus become problematic if you require access to such content for critical purposes.
Additionally, when a website offers different information depending on your location, geo-blocking also becomes problematic. You can miss out on vital information from other sources in this situation. You might also just want to access specific content that you enjoy and not be able to do that due to licensing issues.
You can access geographically restricted content by employing VPNs or proxy servers. VPNs are the most popular option for this but since they encrypt the data before tunneling it, they can be really slow. Proxies are favored in this sense, however, not all proxies are suitable for this job.
A proxy is primarily a machine that listens in on communications between web clients and web servers. Then, depending on the type of proxy, it anonymizes traffic coming from the first by allocating one or more new IP addresses. Different proxies assign various IP addresses.
Residential proxies, for instance, assign IP addresses that are linked to actual users and belong to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In this sense, web servers hardly ever block residential proxies. Although they are costly, they are also quick and incredibly dependable. Businesses employ residential proxies in applications where dependability, speed, and a lower chance of being banned are necessary. One such use case is evading geo-restriction.
VPNs and proxy servers both perform some related tasks. Both of these conceal the user’s IP address, preventing websites they visit from recognizing them. In order for the user to access geo-restricted material, the user’s location is also safeguarded in both services.
However, there are several significant distinctions between VPNs and proxy servers. The key ones are as follows:
- Using a VPN will encrypt your data: Your online activities and any data you send or receive will be encrypted when a VPN is active. It implies that no one else will be able to observe your internet activity. Although this is important for security, if your only aim is to be able to access a specific website, this feature might just make your connection slower.
- VPNs typically cost more: Using a free VPN service is not a great idea since they have fewer features and are more likely to mine your data. Users frequently choose premium VPNs because they offer more secure and robust data encryption. Contrarily, many proxy servers are cost-free. This indicates that VPNs are typically the more expensive choice.
- VPNs shield the whole network: Proxy servers work at the application level, redirecting traffic to only one particular application or program. Instead, VPNs secure the whole network, across all connected devices.
Although VPNs and proxies are not the only methods to get around geo-restrictions, they are definitely the most popular. Overall, proxies get our recommendation if your only aim is to bypass geo-blocking.
As previously noted, a proxy is a quicker and better choice for unblocking and accessing geographically restricted online content. You can utilize proxies to unblock and make use of the same content if you reside in an area where some of your favorite websites are blocked. Additionally, you can utilize them to access content on some of these websites that are featured in other countries.
Additionally, since proxies only work at the application level, you avoid performance difficulties that are common with some VPN services which impede downloading and streaming. Although the cybersecurity advantages that come with VPNs are important, proxies are more effective when it comes to accessing geo-restricted content.