When travelling we often encounter a number of limitations. We can only take so much liquid through to the gate, getting around isn’t quite as simple as your regular Metro service, it’s sometimes impossible to get a decent coffee!

How To Bypass Geoblocks & Stay Entertained Abroad

One thing many of us really can’t deal with however is the internet and our online entertainment.

Geoblocking can cause havoc with our streaming, browsing and general communication with people and it’s quite frankly something we could live without.

However, geoblocking is in play in a large number of countries across the world. In some cases that could be down to government blockages, in others it could well be down to the service or site you’re trying to access.

What Are Geoblocks

Geoblocking is a method of censorship that prevents browsers from accessing online content due to their geographical location.

Your IP address carries a unique number which is given in blocks to your internet service provider which provides details of the location you are browsing from.

This in turn will then trigger any geoblocks in place on the site in which you’re connecting to.

How Do They Affect Our Entertainment Apps?

For our own entertainment purposes, this can be a significant blow to your viewing options, particularly if there’s a big show you wish to keep up with away from home.

Entertainment apps and streaming services use geoblocking in a number of different ways and this is usually due to licensing.

You’ll find you’re either limited to what you can stream or download or completely unable to access content. This is particularly the case with services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

In the case of Netflix, the service has different licenses for various shows in different country, so what you’ll find is a different catalogue in the USA in comparison to the UK for example, while in the likes of France, Australia or Thailand that will be completely different once more.

In other cases, a service may not allow you to stream while outside the country it operates in. For example, TV channels rarely allow you to stream their shows online from outside it’s broadcasting remit. For example, you won’t be able to watch any BBC iPlayer shows outside of the UK.

The Most Censored Nations

As well as this, governments may also block content within its boundaries, to prevent their residents from accessing anything that might offer negative sentiment towards it or that doesn’t comply with the nation’s values.

There are a number of nations which have little freedom online. Countries in the Eastern world are particularly censored, with some countries even preventing access to its people, like in North Korea, where there are just four networks and little over 1,000 IP addresses.

Below you’ll find ten of the least free countries when it comes to online access, as noted by the Indy100.

  • China
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Ethiopia
  • Cuba
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain

How Can We Get Around This?

However, just because your own IP address is limiting your entertainment options, there are ways around it.

VPNs are the perfect solution and allow you to bypass any geoblocks and browse just as you would at home.

These virtual private networks work by essentially duping the site and your network into believing you’re browsing from somewhere else. This is done by the VPN using encrypted data to connect you to the internet with the destination site seeing the VPN server as the traffic origin.

You can connect to VPN servers all over the world with some of the best VPNs, essentially unlocking any geoblocks that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. For example, you could connect to a VPN server in the USA while browsing from Greece and unlock Netflix’s American catalogue as the site would believe you’re browsing from there.

So, what VPN works with Netflix? Well, in fact many do. The likes of ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN are popular choices with many people who travel frequently, thanks to their expert product and reasonable cost.

ExpressVPN’s allow you to connect to servers in 94 different countries, allowing you to browse the Netflix catalogue from almost any country it operates in.

In some cases you’ll also be able to download VPNs for free, which do just as good of a job. All you need to do, is download one to your device and load it up once you’re looking to browse a website or streaming service which is blocked. You’ll then be able to safely choose another country to connect to and you’re ready to bypass any blocks and enjoy your favourite shows, just as you would in the comfort of your own home.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.