How to bypass geo-blocking?

Geo-blocking is the blocking of multimedia content in certain countries due to licensing regulations. This may be music videos on YouTube or streaming services. Messages such as „This content is not available in your country“ are the frequent and annoying consequence.

Exception regulations since in April, 2018

The EU has reformed its legislation on geo-blocking. According to the EU cross-border portability regulation, providers must make content available to users everywhere in the EU when they have acquired that content in another EU country. Thus, you can stream your favorite series on holiday trips or during business travels.

However, this does not mean that geo-blocking has been abolished completely: the legislator has prescribed this regulation for paid programs only: subscriptions of paid service providers such as Netflix, Maxdome, Amazon Prime or Sky Go fall within this regulation whereas free media libraries of TV channels, for example, dot not. It depends on the provider whether he allows users to stream his content from abroad.

As with roaming charges within the EU, the regulation only applies to persons who stay abroad temporarily. Persons who move to another EU country permanently must still expect to be blocked after a certain period of use.

Ways to bypass geo-blocking

Streaming fans avoid this problem by using a proxy server. Such a program redirects their request. The streaming provider is then no longer able to identify their IP address, but only the address of the proxy server. If it is located in a country from which the provider allows users to view the desired contents, they can begin streaming – actually. However, this method no longer works unfailingly since the IP addresses of many such intermediaries are now known to providers who have begun to block them. Also, proxy servers may pass on the real IP.

VPN services for multiple applications

A VPN service (virtual private network) maintains a permanent connection to the provider’s server. This usually requires special software. With it, your actual IP address is visible neither to the internet provider nor to the website you view. Instead, only the IP address of the VPN provider is identifiable. In addition, the server’s location information is transferred, not your own. That way, users view free content from media libraries, sports broadcasts via Sky Go or paid content from video on demand services such as Netflix even if this is actually impossible at their location due to geo-blocking.

The use of a VPN tool to circumvent such a geo-block is not considered a legal circumvention of effective protective measures of the providers. That kind of streaming is therefore allowed. The providers may, naturally, have another point of view in that matter and forbid the use of a VPN in their general terms and conditions. Except for another geo-block, users have nothing to worry about when using it. The probability for providers such as Sky Go, Netflix or Amazon Prime to ban paying customers is rather low.

Usable on various devices

Most VPN tariffs offer customers the simultaneous use on several devices, usually up to five, such as PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet.

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