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What Is Geoblocking And How Does It Work?

what is geoblocking

Have you ever attempted to access Hulu, Netflix, or any website only to be greeted with a notification stating, “This material is not accessible in your country?” This is geo-blocking or geo-restriction, and it can be annoying.

You might wonder whether geoblocking has any real advantages. The answer is that while geo-blocking has many benefits for businesses, it can also prevent you from accessing content you love.

So what exactly is geo-blocking, and how can webpages and online services so easily determine your IP geolocation? We will cover all of that in this post, along with what you can do about it.

What Is Geo-Blocking?what is geoblocking

Geoblocking involves limiting or denying access to content or services based on location information. For example, companies typically use it to restrict access to streaming sites or music outlets. 

It is, however, important to note that Geoblocking and content censorship are two different very different things despite the fact they can both prevent you from accessing information.

Censoring material refers to a nation or government installing a firewall that prevents access to internet sites or applications that it deems undesirable or illegal. China’s Great Firewall, which prevents access to online resources (such as YouTube) and applications (such as WhatsApp),  is a glaring example. On the other hand, addding an IP to geolocation service to your application can improve the way it performs or the services you deliver.

Many people wonder how geo-blocking works. It is actually pretty simple. Geoblocking (or geo-banning) uses your geographic location and IP data. It has nothing to do with a government restricting access to certain content. Geographic restrictions do not depend on your internet service provider.

For instance, a server will deny you access if you attempt to open the BBC iPlayer from a location outside the UK. In a similar vein, Sling TV is only available in the US. If you’re a US citizen trying to watch Sling TV from another country it will show you an error message.

What’s The Use Of Geo-Blocking?

Media firms and content producers geo-block for a number of reasons. Here is a handful of them:

How Does Geo-Blocking Prevent Copyright And Licensing Issues?

Protecting licensed or copyrighted content is the most frequent justification for geoblocking. A licensing agreement grants a party the authority to use licensed content for predetermined purposes. It provides a means for producers to make money from their content, including movies, TV series, audio, publications, and more. In order to comply with licensing agreements, content producers (media corporations) impose geo-restrictions.

How Is Market Segmentation Done?

Geofiltration is a technique some multinational corporations use to partition the world’s markets. This can just modify a website’s content according to a user’s location. It is a more subtle method than wholesale access restrictions.

Using geofiltration, businesses can charge users from different locations a different price for the same offering. The media, tourist, and retail industries are all rife with this behavior. For instance, streaming services like Netflix charge more in one location than others for the same service.

Can Geo-Blocking Restrict Illegal Content?

Geo-blocking is also a tool that governments can use to block illegitimate internet content like gambling and obscenity. If it is abused, this technology is can be a weapon for internet censorship.

For example, the Chinese Communist Party is infamous in mainland China for its ruthless repression. As a result, it prevents users from using well-known social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Google. However, there are local versions of these websites that are more receptive to the demands of their government.

Is Geo-Blocking Permissible By Law?

You may wonder if geo-blocking is legal. Sadly, regardless of how annoying it may be, geo-blocking is completely legal. Websites can geo-block visitors based on internet protocol addresses to enforce legal contracts, such as copyright agreements with geographical limits.

Because the transmission and marketing rights for films or TV shows frequently differ from country to country, geo-blocking is widespread among media companies.

For instance, Netflix might only have the rights to stream a particular TV program in the UK, US, and Canada. A broadcast station in Australia may have the right to air a show,  but a platform in Thailand may not.

Geo-blocking addresses commercial as well as legal concerns. As a result, airing some shows may simply not be financially viable in certain countries.

It is also legal to use geo-blocking for dynamic pricing, which involves charging more for identical items in some nations. in addition, limiting access to “undesirable” websites is authorized in nations where internet restriction is the norm.

So, while Geo-blocking may be legal, is it appropriate?

How To Bypass Geo-Blocking?

how to bypass geoblocking

Because most geo-blocking depends on your computer’s IP address, you can circumvent it using any technique that changes or masks it. By changing your IP address, you appear to be located in a different country.

Here are some methods you can use to bypass geo-restrictions:

A Virtual Private Network is the most popular method for masking your IP address. Routing your internet activity through a remote site using a VPN is tried and true, secure, and dependable. It is the most common method of bypassing geo-blocking.

You can also use proxy servers to avoid geoblocking. A proxy server acts as a gateway. It acquires content before passing it on to you. A proxy acts as an intermediary rather than changing the IP address of your machine. As a result, the website hosting the content doesn’t see you or your real IP address. It only sees requests from the proxy service.

People are always developing new strategies to get around geoblocking. For example, a Canadian company accesses a well-built network of proxy servers using different smart DNS configurations. As a result, most internet traffic can pass straight to and from the web. This configuration makes it easier for home users to use proxy servers.

Then there are specialized browsers, plugins, and services. These services are easy to install and configure. They are also free to use. By using a more reliable peer-to-peer network they make accessing the BBC and other blocked web pages more user-friendly.

How To Protect Your Privacy With Ipstack?

what is geoblocking

Ipstack offers a comprehensive real-time IP to geolocation API. It can assess security issues and provide precise location data. The API delivers its findings in JSON or XML format in milliseconds. In addition, the ipstack API can identify website visitors and adjust the user interface and application they see accordingly. 

Because the ipstack dataset and API interconnect with a number of large ISPs that frequently provide data on new and existing IP addresses, ipstack has a very high degree of precision with its IP data.

Furthermore, after nine years of continuous optimization, the infrastructure supporting ipstack and the API is incredibly scalable and efficient. It currently handles around 2 and 3 billion API calls each day.

Ipstack updates the API’s dataset regularly. It performs up to 24 record changes per day, using multiple channels that provide real-time IP data. Ipstack supports over 2 million unique locations in more than 200,000 cities worldwide. The number of identifiable locations grows daily.

The ipstack platform offers a useful beginner guide for if you don’t want to read through extensive instructions or need complete documentation. You can also access sample code in JavaScript (jQuery.ajax) and PHP (cURL).

What Characterizes Ipstack As The Upcoming Geo-Location Software?

Ipstack offers premium and distinctive features in addition to the basic functionality of the IP address API. Several additional factors also influence its reputation as the top geolocation API. Here is a better look at its features.

You can identify the location of people who visit your website with the help of IP geolocation APIs. Using that data, you can enhance your marketing approach and boost sales. This free IP address location API can also help your developers create better apps and localize the content of your website. Finally, you can communicate with foreign clients more efficiently. Integrating a geolocation APIs into your web apps is straightforward. You should seriously think about using one.

Try out all of ipstack’s features and options. So, let’s get started with your journey with Ipstack.

 

About author

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.
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