Internet

Published on February 15th, 2017 | by Guest

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Geo-restricting Websites And Videos – A User’s Perspective

Whoever said the internet is “an endless universe of knowledge” probably never came across geo-restrictions. Geo-restrictions are the internet equivalent of a brick wall. And just like running into a brick wall leaves you scarred and emotionally disturbed, geo-restrictions too will leave you cursing and cussing.

If you are a principled, law-abiding internet user and like to play by the rules, there are absolutely ZERO ways around geo-restriction. So, unlike all the other content that is widely (and freely) available on the internet, geo-restricted content is like a roadblock – you will HAVE to take a detour.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse..

If you haven’t already lost all hope by now, perhaps the last straw is when you realize that some of the most popular online streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer are geo-restricted. So if you’re searching for a way to watch your favorite movies and TV shows online, you’ll soon realize that it’s a fool’s errand.

And, just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the recent crackdown on torrent websites only adds insult to your injury. Add to that stricter government censorship on sites and you end up feeling like the whole world is conspiring against you!

As an internet user who plays by the rules, you’re pretty much done when you’re on the horns of such a dilemma. But like they say, with desperate times comes desperate measures. And the dilemma is so maddening that you are bound to improvise and search for a way out.

Is there any way I can access geo-restricted content?

There are many ways to access geo-restricted content. Some of the most common ways are:

  1. VPN (Virtual Private Network) – One of the best tools to work your way around geo-restrictions is to use a VPN. In a world of region-locked content and services, a VPN is the Samaritan that will deliver you from your online woes. With a VPN, you can bypass restrictions and unblock region-locked content at the click of a button.
  2. DNS (Domain Name Server) – A DNS is like a phone directory but for domain names. Since many websites track your IP address before allowing you access to geo-restricted content, a DNS translates domain names into IP addresses, allowing you to unblock and watch geo-locked content anywhere in the world.
  3. Tor (Anonymity Network) – Tor conceals the identity of its users and hides their online activity from third-parties, traffic analysis and surveillance. It does this by separating routing and identification with the use of ‘onion routing’, encrypting and bouncing communications across a relay network.

An Ethical Dilemma?

Many movie lovers and TV show junkies subscribe to a VPN service or use DNS or Tor before going for a paid subscription to popular streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer. So, from an ethical standpoint, you aren’t really “going against the book” if you’re getting a paid subscription to a premium service.

Looking at the rising popularity of VPNs around the world, it would be interesting to learn what VPN providers have to say about this trend. So I had a little tête-à-tête with Eduard Yegor, Marketing Manager at Ivacy VPN and a renowned name in Data Security and Online Privacy. This is what he had to say:

Can users bypass geo-restrictions using a VPN?

A VPN is the ideal tool for bypassing geo-restrictions and unblocking region-locked content. It is also a safe tool to use since it masks your IP and anonymizes you from surveillance so that your identity and personal details are not compromised.

Why would a user prefer a VPN over a DNS or a proxy?

With rapid advancements in technology, a VPN is certainly the better choice. It is quick and convenient to use and connects you to any server in the world at the click of a button. Moreover, what makes VPNs so popular is that they boast a range of features that serve as value addition. This means that when you go for a VPN, you naturally get more value for money.

In a world where stringent copyright laws and rampant piracy are locked in a never-ending battle, internet users are caught in the crossfire. However, geo-restrictions only end up adding insult to injury. After all, why must a movie lover in one region be forced to kill his appetite for movies and TV shows when those in other countries enjoy this privilege? It doesn’t make sense.

The honest truth is that most entertainment junkies use a VPN because it is a convenience – a hack that levels the playing field and gives them equal privileges. And as long as there are limitations on what some people can watch and others cannot, internet users will continue to use VPNs and other similar hacks to access geo-restricted content.

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