ProPrivacy is reader supported and sometimes receives a commission when you make purchases using links on this site.

How to bypass geo-blocking with a VPN and access content around the world

Looking for ways to bypass geo-blocking and unblock censored content, or ways to conceal your real-world location? You came to the right place! This guide shows you how to circumvent online censorship and access on-demand streaming platforms (such as Netflix US and BBC iPlayer) from anywhere in the world by using a VPN.

 

These days, most popular online services, including streaming, gaming, and sports broadcasters, apply geo-restrictions. This means that their content won't be available in certain countries, will differ from region to region, or (as is often the case) both. On top of that, there are countries like China and Egypt that censor a wide range of content – invariably including some of the world's most popular sites.

Luckily, there's an easy way to get around these geo-restrictions and censorship measures. All you need is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and we've rounded up the best ones for the job.

Best VPN to bypass country restrictions, a quick rundown

Be sure to check out the table below if you're looking for the very best VPNs to beat geo-blocks and restrictions. For a more in-depth analysis of each of these VPNs, keep scrolling.

  1. ExpressVPN - The best VPN to bypass geo-blocking. It’s fast, packed with features, unblocks everything, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. NordVPN - The most popular VPN for streamers. Super-fast servers in over 60 countries, customizable features, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. Private Internet Access - A secure VPN for bypassing geo-blocks. A zero-logs policy, privacy features, cheap plans, and 30-day money-back guarantee.
  4. PrivateVPN - The cheapest VPN for accessing region-locked content. It offers smart-DNS functionality and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  5. Surfshark - The best VPN for bypassing geo-restrictions on multiple devices at once; cutting-edge privacy features and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best VPNs for geo-blocking – in-depth analysis

Here you'll find our hand-picked VPN recommendations. These providers can effortlessly unblock pretty much any online service, no matter where you are in the world, whilst also offering the highest levels of digital privacy and security:

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for unblocking content. It has servers in 94 countries, consistently quick, offers top security features, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      49% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Exceptional geo-spoofing capabilities
    • 160 locations in 94 countries, plenty of choice
    • Super-fast servers, ideal for streaming and gaming
    • Multiple encryption options for even better speed and security
    • Beginner-friendly, easy-to-use apps for all platforms
  • Cons

    • An expensive option, but you get the premium service you pay for
    • Only 5 simultaneous connections – less than its competitors
    • No port-forwarding, not ideal for torrenters
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is the best overall choice for bypassing geo-restrictions online. ExpressVPN is more expensive than other VPNs on this list, but it’s consistently among the fastest services according to our daily speed tests, so we think it’s worth the extra cost. It comes with thousands of servers in different parts of the world, so you’ll be able to access a huge variety of content. What's more, ExpressVPN is an easy-to-use service that’s suitable for beginners, so you won’t face any issues installing or using it – and round-the-clock customer support is on hand to field any questions.


Unblock everything in a blink of an eye


ExpressVPN unblocks all major online streaming platforms, every time. You’ll get access to 30+ exclusive Netflix catalogs from around the world, including the vast US and UK libraries. If Netflix isn’t your preferred streaming platform, don’t worry! Express also unblocks BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and more with ease.


If you’re more of a gamer, you’ll be happy to hear that Express enables you to play without bandwidth caps or data limits to interrupt you. Another great benefit for gamers is that Express grants access to game catalogs in other countries, so you can buy popular titles sooner, or for less money.


Not only does it unblock everything, but Express is also consistently among the fastest services on the market. We compare VPN speeds at least three times a day, using our unique server-based speed testing tool. ExpressVPN regularly tops all our charts no matter how challenging a task we place ahead of it, so it’s ideal for demanding online activities like gaming and streaming. I frequently use it to connect to US servers and unblock Netflix catalogs from outside my country, and I’m able to stream 4K content seamlessly every time – no delays or buffering.


Servers for all your online activities



ExpressVPN has thousands of lightning-fast servers in 94 countries worldwide, which gives you plenty of choice, no matter what content you’re trying to unblock. You can geo-hop from continent to continent manually, or you can use the advanced Smart Location feature that automatically picks the best VPN server for you by analyzing the download speed, latency, and distance.


Although Express is one of the fastest VPNs available, we recommend you try to choose a server location close to you, as this will improve the performance of your VPN. No matter how fast their servers are, a VPN still has to encrypt all your data, send it via an encrypted tunnel to its server, and then on to the destination website – so the closer the server, the faster the service! If you’re trying to unblock Netflix US, for example, choose a city on the East Coast if you’re connecting from Europe, and on the West coast if connecting from Asia.


Staying safe with premium features and cross-platform compatibility


While the speed, number of servers, and unblocking capacity of a VPN are important traits, staying protected online should be everyone's main concern, and ExpressVPN does a great job. ExpressVPN underwent a Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) audit and has proved that it keeps no logs, so you know you can trust it with your sensitive online data.


This VPN comes with robust encryption and multiple protocols to choose from, including the tried and tested OpenVPN, and Lightway – one of the latest and greatest VPN protocols (developed by ExpressVPN itself). ExpressVPN also offers robust obfuscated (stealth) servers, so you can use it to beat censorship in the places with strict government censorship, such as China, Belarus, or UAE. For added peace of mind, there's a kill-switch to protect you from data leaks in case your connection drops, and split-tunneling to separate your local traffic (online banking, work-related activities) from your geo-spoofed connection.


Finally, Express comes with elegant and easy-to-use apps that are compatible with all platforms (and as well as laptop and mobile devices, you can even use it on a PC console and VPN router), and a very convenient 30-day money-back guarantee that enables you to try all its geo-spoofing features risk-free for 30-days.

NordVPN is jam-packed with features at affordable prices. It has servers in over 60 countries, it’s consistently fast, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
    • Great value-for-money
    • Consistently fast, great for streaming and gaming
    • Advanced privacy features, including Tor over VPN servers
  • Cons

    • IKEv2 client for Mac has fewer features than Windows
    • Fewer server locations than Express
    • More expensive than some other VPNs
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Nord Demo

Nord Demo Nord Demo


NordVPN is a Panama-based, security-conscious, and affordable VPN option that has strategically placed VPN servers for maximum unblocking efficiency. This makes it a great all-around choice for streamers, gamers, and torrenters (P2P servers are available).


Speedy servers in key locations


NordVPN comes with strategically placed servers in over 60 countries across the globe. This is great news for avid streamers that like to explore new content by geo-hopping overseas. NordVPN is also adept at unblocking both regional TV and streaming platforms – and thanks to its Smart DNS functionality, you can watch Netflix US or iPlayer on your smart TV from the comfort of your couch.



This wide selection of servers is great for torrenters, too, especially when you consider that most of these servers come with specialized P2P customization. Enjoy unlimited, safe, and fast torrent downloads with NordVPN, but keep in mind that this service doesn’t offer port forwarding. If this is a deal-breaker for you, maybe consider Private Internet Access instead.


NordVPN is consistently fast in all our testing, so it can handle other data-intensive tasks, like gaming and voice calls, without buffering or interruptions. The Quick Connect button is also there to reduce delays, automatically matching you with an optimal server – this can be really handy for mobile gamers!


Privacy features to match


Speaking of features, NordVPN has them in abundance! NordVPN’s advanced customization options can really take you (geo-restricted) places – however, we’d like to highlight the following options:



But before you go into the individual privacy features settings, you'll want to pick an encryption protocol – we recommend the tested and trusted OpenVPN protocol or NordVPN's proprietary protocol, NordLynx. This protocol is based on WireGuard, so it combines speed and security. Add TOR over VPN to this setup, and you’ve got one of the safest VPNs on the market, and all at an affordable price.


VPN and more


NordVPN’s long list of benefits doesn’t end with privacy features. The provider also blocks annoying ads and malicious websites, so you can browse with confidence. NordVPN is available on all popular operating systems and devices, too, and is even compatible with VPN routers. Currently, users get six simultaneous connections to play with, which is a decent number, though some competitors offer way more.


Still, with the abundance of features, chart-topping speeds, affordable plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, NordVPN is definitely worth trying out – we think you’ll be impressed!

Private Internet Access is the second cheapest VPN on this list, with a zero-logs policy that's been proven in court, a massive network of servers, and 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.19/mth
      82% OFF
    • 6 months: $7.5/mth
      38% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Tens of thousands servers across the globe
    • Cheaper than most VPNs of the same value
    • A court-proven zero-logs policy
  • Cons

    • No obfuscation (stealth servers), not ideal for countries like China
    • US-based company
    • Apple users are not very impressed
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PIA Demo

PIA Demo PIA Demo


Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based provider that's known for its privacy-focused policies, features, and customization options. PIA is compatible with all platforms and offers thousands of servers spread over 84 countries for unblocking the most exclusive international content. It’s fast, inexpensive, and offers P2P servers and port-forwarding, making it a great option for torrenters who want a tailored service that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.


Total privacy, verified


All the VPNs on this list boast world-class encryption and privacy features, but not many can say they operate a no-logs policy that's been proven in court... twice! On two occasions, when pressured by US authorities, PIA had no logs to hand over, making it a reliable service that's not going to sell you (or what you get up to online) out.


PIA is also one of a handful of truly Open-source providers. PIA's source code is open for anyone to inspect and see how it works, making this VPN provider even more trustworthy. PIA comes with a great choice of VPN protocols, including WireGuard, ensuring a fast and secure user experience.


Perfect for torrenters


PIA uses first-rate AES 256-bit encryption that will prevent third parties, governments, and other snoopers from tracking your digital footprint. Users can enjoy up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is enough to support the needs of the whole household, even if you’re having friends over. PIA is suitable for all your data-intensive tasks, too, thanks to its consistent speeds and lack of bandwidth limitations.



Not only does PIA come with dedicated P2P servers, but it also supports port-forwarding, which makes torrenting much more convenient. I've never detected any IP leaks with PIA, which is great news for torrenters. Additionally, PIA will protect you from ads and malware, so that’s another layer of safety for all your online activities, including torrenting.


The biggest pool of servers at a minimum price


As we speak, PIA sports servers in over 84 countries . PIA openly states that it's an international but US-focused service, with the bulk of its servers spread across the United States. This is super handy for passionate streamers interested in unblocking Netflix US, HBO Max, and Hulu! Not only will you be able to unblock the Netflix US with ease, but thanks to PIA's admirable speeds (and complete lack of data limitations), you'll enjoy a seamless streaming experience.


PIA is also loved by League of Legends, Minecraft, and Overwatch players, who claim it reduces server ping. Reddit users also regularly vote it the number one service for the website – as it is both jam-packed with features and quick. Best of all, PIA is consistently one of the cheapest services on the market and has great apps for all your OS’es. All this, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, should convince you to try it the next time you’re unblocking restricted content outside your country.

PrivateVPN is the cheapest VPN on this list, but very feature-rich. It comes with smart-DNS functionality on all its servers (in over 200 locations) and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • Smart-DNS functionality on every server
    • Unblocks plenty, including major streaming platforms
    • Lots of customization and super cheap plans
  • Cons

    • Less servers than Express and PIA
    • Not as fast as some of its competitors
    • Not independently audited (yet)
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN is currently the best budget-friendly VPN for bypassing geo-restrictions. Nonetheless, this VPN is well-known for unblocking a myriad of websites and services – quickly, and without compromising your privacy in mind. PrivateVPN comes with an elegant and easy-to-use interface, and its apps and extensions are intuitive, too, so it’s perfect for beginners and experienced users alike.


No logs and no leaks


PrivateVPN implements superb OpenVPN encryption to keep your browsing sessions secure and snoop-free. The provider also offers other protocols for you to try out, although their implementation of WireGuard is still in beta-testing. However, IPv6 and DNS leak protection ensure that all your data stays out of reach of third parties – and I've never detected IP leaks when connected to PrivateVPN.


PrivateVPN, astonishingly, also offers SmartDNS technology across all of its servers! SmartDNS provides even greater content unblocking capacity and higher levels of security by redirecting your DNS queries through safe servers. On top of that, PrivateVPN comes with a zero-logs policy to ensure none of your data ends up in the hands of the authorities or copyright holders.


Unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and more



Private VPN has a comparatively small server pool, with locations in 63 countries worldwide, but it’s a young firm and still expanding – and its servers are strategically very well placed. So, don’t let these numbers fool you; you’ll still be able to unblock international content with ease! In fact, this VPN can unblock 19 regional Netflix libraries, including the US, UK, and Mexico libraries, which have the largest selection of content.


Besides streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, PrivateVPN is effective at unblocking social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. This is very handy when you wish to get around work, school, or even governmental restrictions. Torrenters will also appreciate that PrivateVPN has P2P servers and even supports port forwarding. Considering its cheap plans and relative newcomer status, PrivateVPN is remarkably fast, and I've never experienced buffering or any sort of interruptions while using it.


Beginner-friendly and cheap


PrivateVPN is available for all your devices, whether you’re using Mac, Windows, iOS, Android or Linux, and with Private’s generous 10 simultaneous connections allowance, you can use all of them at the same time. This is perfect for people with big families and those who frequently organize gatherings or team projects.


I always recommend PrivateVPN to all my non-tech-savvy friends because it's one of the easiest providers to install and use. Plus, its apps have a very smooth and intuitive interface, which is perfect for anybody trying a VPN for the first time. You can always use Private's 30-day money-back guarantee, too, and check all its features risk-free before committing.


 

Surfshark is a budget VPNs for unblocking geo-restricted content. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, high levels of privacy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.3/mth
      83% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Unblocks over 30 global Netflix libraries
    • A speedy service with plenty of features
  • Cons

    • One-month subscription is quite pricey
    • Mac client isn't as fully-featured
    • Fewer servers than PIA/Express
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo Surfshark Demo


Surfshark is the youngest of our best geo-spoofing VPNs, however, it offers the same top-quality service that you'd expect from one of the industry's top players. I love its highly-customizable privacy features, fast servers, and unlimited simultaneous connections that are all part of its great value-for-money offering.


Advanced security tools


Surfshark comes with a long list of advanced security features – including the following stand-outs:



Camouflage mode is ideal if you’re staying in China, Belarus, or Egypt; it'll help you pass undetected when unblocking restricted content in these countries with severe censorship. I like using Surfshark’s CleanWeb when traveling, too, and when connecting to public networks, as it gives me confidence that I won't fall prey to potential threat actors or spies.


Upgrade your privacy for less


Surfshark comes with secure AES 256-bit encryption that will safeguard all your online traffic from intruders. On top of that, Surfshark enables you to test multiple protocols, including the super-speedy and very secure WireGuard, which is one you’ll want to try out if you’re a gamer where connection speed and ping is everything.


Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, far from the invasive EU and US jurisdictions, which is great news for your privacy! Still, to keep you completely safe, this VPN applies a very strict no-logs policy; and has even encouraged a renowned auditing firm, Cure53, to examine its server infrastructure. I'm  pleased to say that the results were positive, and that this is exactly the proactive and security-conscious behavior I like to see in a VPN provider.


Surf the web without limits



Surfshark’s growing popularity is partially due to is its unlimited simultaneous connections. This means there are no limits to how many devices and gadgets you can connect to the service at any one time, and that you don’t have to worry about logging in and out each time you’re trying to unblock a service from a different piece of technology. So, if you're looking for real value for money, then Surfshark is a superb pick.


Its sleek apps are available for all the platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS; and the VPN is even compatible with routers and consoles. Finally, with its competitive prices, a growing network of servers, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, it's difficult to go wrong with Surfshark.

CyberGhost is an affordable VPN that unblocks content without fuss. It offers a wide network of servers (though it lacks obfuscation) and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 36 months + 3 months FREE: $2.29/mth
      83% OFF
    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.19/mth
      84% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.29/mth
      67% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Based in Romania, so no government surveillance
    • 45-day money-back guarantee
    • Unblocks in-demand streaming platforms reliably
  • Cons

    • Tests showed a WebRTC leak
    • No obfuscation measures
    • Not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

CyberGhost Demo

CyberGhost Demo CyberGhost Demo


CyberGhost VPN is an affordable VPN provider that’s feature-rich yet suitable for beginners. Its combo of a zero-logs policy and a headquarters in Romania (a privacy-conscious country without data retention directives) means that you can rest assured that your identifiable data won't be sold out from under you, too. CyberGhost also has an impressive network of servers across the globe, so it can unblock a wide range of international content.


Servers for every occasion


CyberGhost boasts servers that are optimized for streaming, providing access to Netflix US and other major streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and Hulu. If you consider that, with CyberGhost, you get up to seven simultaneous connections and access to a great variety of international shows at an affordable price, then the VPN is an excellent deal for the whole family!


However, CyberGhost doesn’t have obfuscated (stealth) servers, so if you live in a country with severe censorship like China, Egypt, or Belarus, you may want to consider other VPNs that do provide these measures – like Express or Nord. It does, however, have a good selection of other privacy features, and you can choose from multiple VPN protocols.


Good choice of protocols and features



CyberGhost offers an impressive array of protocols to choose from – OpenVPN, IKEv2, and (the latest and greatest) WireGuard included. Advanced privacy features like the kill-switch and DNS leak protection are also available to ensure you'll always be able to protect your traffic from intrusion by your local internet provider, government, or other third-party snoopers.


CyberGhost also has dedicated P2P servers, so you can enjoy safe and stable torrents. Speed-wise, CyberGhost is not quite as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but you can still count on it for speedy downloads and smooth streaming, without buffering and throttling. All things considered (especially its price), it's a pretty decent all-around VPN service that will let you torrent and stream securely from almost every country in the world.


Quick and easy set up


A good VPN service doesn’t need to be complicated to install and use – and CyberGhost proves it. So, if you’re looking for software that does a great job without having to spend hours figuring out all the settings, look no further than CyberGhost. It’s one of those services you can just download and start using straight away.


CyberGhost also has super helpful live chat support that will assist you with unblocking your favorite content 24/7. All-in-all it's an excellent all-rounder that offers cheap long-term subscriptions and a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can compare it head-to-head with other providers on this list and decide for yourself.

IPVanish is a beginner-friendly VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, 2,000+ servers worldwide, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 1 month: $10.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Obfuscated (hidden) servers and a kill-switch
    • Easy-to-use and budget-friendly service
  • Cons

    • Struggles to unblock BBC iPlayer
    • Based in the US
    • Fewer servers than VPNs above
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

IPVanish Demo

IPVanish Demo IPVanish Demo


IPVanish is an easy-to-use VPN provider with great apps compatible with all your devices and even routers. It is a US-based VPN, but it applies a very strict zero-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry that any records of your online activities will be exposed. Besides, it comes with some excellent privacy features, such as obfuscated (hidden) servers, which means no government or investigating agency can see what you get up to online.


Private and easy to use


IPVanish is based in the US, which admittedly is not perceived as an ideal place for the headquarters of a data privacy solution or service (thanks to a nosy government and invasive agencies like the NSA), however, its zero-logs policy makes up for it. Thanks to this policy, you can rest assured that once your online session ends, there'll be no records of anything you do whilst connected to an IPVanish server.



Besides, IPVanish comes with top-notch privacy features such as DNS leak protection and a kill-switch that can prevent data leaks (even if your VPN connection gets interrupted); and XOR obfuscated (stealth) servers to conceal your VPN use whenever you wish to avoid VPN bans implemented at your workplace or school. Even with all these advanced functions, IPVanish is incredibly easy to use and comes with sleek apps for all your platforms – so you shouldn’t face any difficulties using or setting it up.


Growing network of servers


And on the topic of convenience, IPVanish users can choose from servers spread across 75 locations, which makes geo-hopping a breeze. Not only will you be spoiled for choice with its ever-growing number of locations, but you'll be able to count on consistently impressive speeds. So, whether you want to use this VPN to stream, play games online, or download some data-heavy content, you'll be able to do so without delays or interruptions.


All this makes IPVanish a great pick for unblocking the most popular regional content that usually comes with annoying geo-restrictions. I never had any difficulties unblocking Netflix US with IPVanish, especially with its impressive number of locations in the US. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that much luck unblocking BBC iPlayer with this service, so if you're a big fan of British content, you may want to consider other options (like ExpressVPN).


Exceptional compatibility


IPVanish is compatible with all platforms, whether you’re a Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or even a Linux user. I am particularly impressed by how fully-featured its iPhone app is, as well as how easy it is to use – which isn't something many VPN providers can say for their iOS platforms. So, you can enjoy a silky-smooth iOS app interface and unblock your favorite services on the go.


I also found IPVanish to be easy to set up on routers, so you can geo-hop with its over 40,000 different IP addresses and stream your favorite content from the comfort of your couch. Finally, the unlimited simultaneous connections, affordable one-year subscription plans, and a 30-day money-back guarantee make this VPN one of our top recommended VPNs for unblocking geo-restricted content worldwide.

Each of these services must meet specific criteria before claiming a spot in our list, including:

How do I bypass geo-blocking with a VPN?

One of the best benefits of using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is that, by connecting to servers in different countries, you can unblock tons of content from around the world. This is because the sites you visit will believe that you're physically located in the same place as your chosen VPN server! This might sound complicated or overly technical – but don't worry; you can get your VPN set up and ready to use in just a few clicks.

Here's how you can unblock geo-restricted services around the world in five steps:

  1. Select a VPN service. We recommend ExpressVPN. It's lightning-fast and unblocks everything – however, there are plenty of other services on our list that might suit you better.
  2. Subscribe to your preferred VPN.
  3. Download and install the VPN software/app on your device (this should only take a minute).
  4. Connect to a VPN server in the country where the content you're trying to watch is available.
  5. Once your VPN connects to the server, it will conceal your actual IP address, and it will seem like you're in a different country, allowing you to access content you otherwise couldn't view.

What is geo-blocking?

Now that you know how to unblock any geo-restricted content with a VPN, you might be interested in learning what geo-blocking is, and why it happens.

We use the phrase "geo-blocking" to describe any situation where you're unable to access online content because of your current location. These restrictions usually apply to more than just one country and can make entire websites look completely different, depending on where you're accessing them from. International streaming services, including Netflix, iPlayer, and Amazon Prime, use geo-blocking to comply with contracts they have with movie and TV show license-holders, or to adhere to a countries' content restrictions.

Why do I encounter geo-blocking?

People encounter geo-blocks (preventing access to a website or service) and geo-restrictions (restricting access to certain content on websites or streaming platforms) all over the web for various reasons – here are just a few of the more common ones:

  • Legal agreements and contracts – as mentioned above, most online streaming services impose restrictions upon international viewers due to content licensing restrictions which vary from country to country.
  • Data protection law – just as data protection laws differ depending on where you are, information distribution and retention practices differ as well. For example, when the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, many organizations (mainly US-based ones) blocked people living in the EU from accessing their sites for fear of legal repercussions.
  • Government blocks and censorship – government geo-blocking can either be used to prevent illegal online activities (like gambling in UAE and Singapore) or restrict citizens from visiting websites they see as a bad influence (see China's Great Firewall).
  • ISP throttling – some internet service providers use geo-blocks to reduce customers' online bandwidth or limit the use of specific services, like video and music streaming, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion on their networks. This is known as ISP throttling.

How do websites know which country I'm in?

Your digital footprint follows you across the web. Among other markers, the first thing websites and services you visit will see is your IP address, which is assigned to you by your internet service provider. This IP address comprises a set of coded digits that will, quite accurately, reveal the details of your current location.

On top of that, some platforms include additional verification measures, such as cross-referencing your IP address with GPS location data when you're using a mobile device and using these findings to make more precise geo-blocks. Often, it's governments that invest in tracking and blocking content. For instance, the infamous Great Firewall of China serves as one huge monitoring device for domestic traffic, and can even detect VPN traffic patterns to see if you're using a VPN to access blocked websites.

Luckily, as tracking methods grow ever more sophisticated, so too do the unblocking and privacy tools of VPNs. This means it's more important than ever to pick a VPN provider that's constantly raising the bar for its users' privacy, giving you a much better chance at staying anonymous.

Can I beat geo-blocking with a free VPN?

At times, you might be able to unblock geo-restricted content with a free VPN or proxy, however, these services are rarely consistent, often unsafe, and come with many limitations, so we don't recommend that you rely on them!

Try to think of the last time you had a decent service that was truly free (online, or in "real life") – you're probably struggling to think of one. That's because the best products and services require an awful lot of time, effort, and resources to stay the best – and that costs money. For a business to remain sustainable it has to cover the expense of maintaining and improving its product. Unfortunately, free VPN providers often fund themselves by bombarding you with ads, or even worse, selling your personal data to third parties.

A budget-friendly alternative

Free VPNs will typically offer you a low-quality service riddled with data, bandwidth, and connection limitations. Ultimately, they're (usually) not worth your time.

For this reason, we always recommend that our readers check out some of the best cheap VPNs instead. These superior services rarely cost more than $2 a month – a small price to pay to ensure that you're getting a reliable product that won't sell your personal data to unscrupulous third parties.

 

What services can I access abroad with a VPN?

The services you can access will depend on the VPN you're using. The VPNs that we've listed above will allow you to:

FAQs

Written by: Danka Delić

With her BA in English Language and Literature, Private Pilot Licence, and passion for researching and writing, Danka brings further diversity to the team. As a former world traveler, she learned to appreciate cyber security and the necessity for digital privacy. Danka is a nature, animal, and written-word lover. She enjoys staying on the go, both mentally and physically, and spends most of her free time either reading or hiking with her dog.

0 Comments

There are no comments yet.

Got Something to Say?

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives:

The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round

A large brand offering great value at a cheap price

One of the largest VPNs, voted best VPN by Reddit

One of the cheapest VPNs out there, but an incredibly good service