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The 2 Easiest Ways to Remove Geo-Blocking

Story Highlights

  • Why Does Geo-Blocking Exist?
  • The IP Address
  • What is VPN?
  • What is Smart DNS?
  • VPN vs Smart DNS

How depressing is the term “geo-blocking?” I’m guessing the answer is “very”. Content providers, service owners, website developers, and anyone who has anything online have adopted the “geo-blocking technique” to wall off unwanted access from those who are geographically mislocated. If you’re not in the US, you can’t access American Netflix. That’s geo-blocking for you.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Is traveling to other countries your only option at getting a hold of their content? The answer is a big fat No!

Removing geoblocks

The world is full of savvy online users who do not take no for an answer. So, this whole “geo-blocking” thing does not agree well with them, and they actually did something about it. Actually, they did two things, and both beat the hell out of geo-blocking.

Introducing the 2 easiest ways to remove geo-blocking, drum roll, please… VPN and Smart DNS, which you’ll learn all about in the article below.

Unblock Away

It’s not enough to figure out why geo-blocks exist, you must seek ways to overcome them. Luckily, there are two methods that can help you achieve that desired goal, and they’re not hard to attain at all. With all the benefits a VPN has to offer, one of them is bypassing geo-restrictions at the highest levels of security. With less security, a Smart DNS also servers as an unblocking tool. Both qualify as the easiest ways to remove geo-blocking, and this is the best place to learn all about them.

What’s with all the Blocking?

Oh, dream on! The online world will never be devoid of geo-blocking, if anything, these blocks are only increasing with time. Bear in mind, they were not designed in vain. The reasons behind their development come from the fear of copyright violations, to honor licensing agreements, and in some cases to provide online protection. Other uses for geo-blocking go as follows:

  • block harmful and malicious traffic 
  • impose price discrimination
  • prevention of fraud and online gambling 
Basically, geo-blocking technology doesn’t allow access to online content based on geo-location. If you are not located in the same place as the content you are trying to access, your attempt of access will be terminated by geo-blocks.

Where you are matters in the online world. Never assume that no one knows who you are or what you are doing online. The moment you connect to the internet, your cover is blown thanks to that IP address of yours. Oh, you don’t know what that is? Here read this.

The IP Address

Your Internet service provider assigns for you an Internet Protocol address in order to keep tabs on your online activities and know where to send you information. This technological product allows devices to communicate over the internet. Without one, you cannot connect to the internet.

As you can see, the term “IP address” has the word address in it. By definition, an address is a collection of information that gives a location. Similarly, the IP address reveals your physical location to the online world. Just like you have a residence address, your online presence has one too.

The IP address is your online ID that also publicizes your geo-location.

Let’s simplify things. You know how you can’t visit certain countries without a VISA? That’s pretty much how the concept of geo-blocking applies here. There are websites based in countries that you can’t access due to geo-blocks. You must obtain a Visa before you can access content in different countries. This Visa is the permission granted upon the change in IP address. The only way you’ll be eligible for a “Visa” is if you replace your IP address with one that matches that of the country you would like to virtually enter.

Once a change in the IP is made, you’ll be able to access whatever you want there. Your modified IP address helps you obtain a “Visa”; one that allows you to access the online world as you please.

You cannot take it anywhere you go, and you are not stuck with it forever. Luckily, you can ditch it anytime you want to with the help of this device right here, a VPN.

A VPN

The moment you exit the country you reside in, you lose your IP address. From the previous explanation, you should know by now that your geolocation is linked to your IP address. It doesn’t go wherever you go, but it does change to match the location you land in.

Besides traveling, you can get a new IP address without physical movements by using a VPN device.

This life-savior of a device makes your online experience worth the surf. Before diving into all of its benefits, let’s discuss its IP changing process. This will provide you with a better picture.

  1. You connect to a VPN (a VPN owns a network of servers located in key locations).
  2. The VPN connects the device you are using to the server you choose.
  3. Your traffic passes through a digital private tunnel created by the VPN.
  4. Then, the VPN reroutes your traffic through that server you selected.
  5. Your IP address will end up changing to match the location of the server you picked out.
  6. You will appear to be located in the country where the server you connected to is located.

Number 3 hinted at a private digital tunnel. What’s that about? Well, there’s a reason why a VPN is called a cybersecurity tool. It’s not only used for unblocking content from other countries. In fact, a VPN protects your online traffic with end-to-end encryptions which are implemented in that tunnel when the data travels through it. These tough encryptions keep ISP, hackers, cybercriminals, and advertisers from accessing your data. Moreover, a VPN protects and hides your identity while you perform your online activities whether it’s torrenting, downloading, unblocking, streaming, etc.

A virtual private network answers the purposes of security, anonymity, privacy, and online freedom.

The Steps

Cut to the chase – how do we sign up for a VPN? Just follow the steps laid out below and you’ll get hooked up.

Step One

Look for a decent VPN service provider. Or, take it from the experts, and sign up with ExpressVPN. This full-featured VPN will make your online experience worthwhile.

Get ExpressVPN

Step Two

Create an account using your email credentials. Then, download and install the app that is required of you on the device you want to protect and unblock content on.

 Step Three 

Now that the app is yours, you can scan through the list of thousand servers, looking for the one you want to connect to.

VPN location

Step Four 

After securing a VPN connection to a server in a different country, this is what you’ll see.

Connected

Step five 

Green like go, that’s all you’ll know. That connected button means you are ready to take on the online world free of restrictions while mainlining all the privacy and security standards you seek.

VPNs’ Offerings

I have always been curious as to why I can’t listen to the music attached to an Instagram post. After some, research, I realized that I’m not in an eligible location where I can make use of that feature. Geo-location apparently affects Instagram’s feature offerings because all I was getting was the following:

Instagram Music Isn’t Available in Your Region.”

Once I discovered VPNs, I’ve learned that the above sentence is something I don’t need in my life and can easily avoid. I want to hear posts’ music, and I want to be able to post ones myself. So instead of seeing the above error, when I employed a VPN, I got to see this. Geoblocking meant nothing to me.

Instagram Music

Thanks to a VPN connection, I was able to beat the blocks imposed on Instagram music. Then, it dawned on me, what if there’s more that a VPN can do? And by golly, yes there was. Check them out:

  • remote access and control over the content
  • avoid price discrimination 
  • online anonymity
  • hides your IP address
  • protects your data
  • anonymous torrenting 
  • access restricted content
  • beats geoblocking
  • extra security online
  • security when using public Wifi
  • prevents bandwidth throttling
  • improve online gaming 

How about a Smart DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name Server. It functions as a dictionary for the internet. Just like every word has its definition, every domain name has an IP address. Users access content online through domain names like netflix.com Web browsers, however, communicate through IP addresses.

Your internet connected device asks the DNS to resolve the domain name into an IP address, which it can interact with. The  DNS translates the domain name to an IP address, which the browsers can identify to load the website’s content. Too technical? Maybe so. The good thing is you’re here to learn about how the Smart DNS can remove geo-blocks for you, not the process in which it operates.

The creators of a Smart DNS have made use of the DNS system to resolve IP addresses in a way users can access geo-blocked websites.

A Smart DNS is an advanced technology that allows users from across the globe to unblock and access geo-blocked content. 

Technically, the Smart DNS tricks the websites you visit into thinking that you are in an eligible geo-location. When connected to a Smart DNS, your DNS data won’t reveal your actual location. Instead, it would make you appear as if you are connecting to the internet from an approved location, which is exactly what you need to access geo-blocked content.

How to Use a Smart DNS?

Don’t let the technicality get to your head. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be just fine.

  1. Step One

    Search the market for a reliable Smart DNS. But, I would like to point out that there is nothing more reliable than Denmark’s Unlocator.
    Sign up with Unlocator

  2. Step Two

    Go ahead and verify your email so that you can log into your Unlocator account.
    Unlocator success

  3. Step Three

    Learn how to configure Unlocator on your device. The device you are using needs to be configured so that you can use the service. You’ll find a guide attached to any operating system or device you are using.
    Setup Unlocator

  4. Step Four

    After the configuration has been made, you jump back to the main page to check if you get green checks. These checks refer to the “set up” process of the device you’re using to access the Unlocator website. If all are green, then you are good to go.Unlocator Verification

  5. Step Five

    With the help of this connection, you will be able to get around geo-blocks no matter where you are in the world.

VPN vs Smart DNS

Which device is best for removing geo-blocks? This comparison will settle the confusion once and for all. 

VPN

  • encrypts and secures your online traffic
  • changes your IP address
  • you just install the software and use it to connect to the server of your choice
  • slower speeds due to encryptions
  • premium VPNs are a bit expensive
  • not all VPNs are compatible with devices like TVs and consoles
  • you can connect to whatever server you want

Smart DNS

  • doesn’t encrypt your traffic 
  • keeps your IP address intact
  • you need to make changes to the network connection settings of your device
  • fast speeds  
  • cheaper plans
  • you can use the Smart DNS on devices, like Smart TVs or gaming consoles
  • limitation when it comes to server selection

While a VPN offers you extra levels of security when accessing geo-blocked content, a Smart DNS grants you fast access on a wide range of devices. If you’re not a privacy-concious person, a Smart DNS would be a good choice for you. However, if security protection is your top priority, then you better use a VPN. What you decide to subscribe to depends on what you value most. Are you looking for speed and versatility? Or are you desperate for online privacy and heavy security when bypassing geo-restricted content?

Top Geoblocked Channels

I bet you would all love to know what a VPN and Smart DNS can unblock for you in terms of channels. You’re probably champing at the bit to know what superpowers these two devices have and what channels they can unblock. Here’s a list of some:

  • Food Network
  • NBC
  • ITV
  • ABC
  • ESPN
  • Pandora
  • USA Now
  • Hotstar
  • BBC Sports

Beat Geoblocking

The goal is one, the methods of approach differ. When you come across geo-blocked content, remember that you have two ways in which you can use to remove these blocks.

On one hand, you’ve got the secure VPN tool, and on the other, you have the fast Smart DNS. One method will encrypt all of your data through a private tunnel and protect your online presence by masking your IP as well as allowing access to your desired content. The other method, will not interfere with your internet traffic or IP address and only make you appear as if you are connecting to the internet from a different location at fast speeds.

Word to the wise, while a Smart DNS connection can be beneficial in terms of speed, given all that’s been a discussion about a VPN, a premium VPN subscription can bring you all the online benefits you could possibly ask for. So, what will it be? Just in case we can read minds, here’s where you can get an ExpressVPN subscription.

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Jonathan Beesly

Jonathan is the main author at Anonymania.com. He regularly publishes posts that aim to introduce better cyber-security practices to the masses.

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