What Is Geo-Blocking?
- Short Definition
Geo-blocking is a type of technology that prevents people from accessing certain online content based on their geographical location.
- Extended Definition
Geo-blocking is a system of blocking access to a network-based resource based on where the user making the request is located. It can be carried out in two ways: either blocking the IP packet at a network level or rejecting the access attempt at a system level.
Geo-blocking is mainly conducted by examining the IP address from which the request originates, as well as by looking into other characteristics like routing, traffic data, number of router hops and packet latencies. By examining this information, the location of the requester can be estimated, and access is either allowed or blocked accordingly.
Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ use geo-blocking to regulate access to their online content. Geo-blocking is necessary for them because in various geographical locations they have different pricing plans and content licensing agreements. Intellectual property and copyright laws dictate what content can be streamed in particular locations, with government censorship also playing a role. Similarly, DVDs and Blu-rays have traditionally been subject to region coding for the discs and players.
Can Geo-Blocking Be Bypassed?
Using a VPN is an effective way to circumvent geographic blocks. This is accomplished by diverting your internet connection through a server in another country, allowing you to appear as if you are connecting from that location. By doing so, online users are able to access geographically restricted content from all around the world.
A VPN allows users’ data to be transmitted through a secure virtual “tunnel” to a server located in a foreign country. This means that the true IP address, which can be used to determine the actual location, is hidden and replaced with a temporary IP address associated with the other country.
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