Have you ever wanted to watch a show on Netflix, but could not find it upon searching, yet it was available in another country? Or, have you ever wondered what YouTube TV offers or how it functions but were met with the annoying sentence, “It looks like you’re outside of the United States…”?
What you may not have known at that time is that you could not access these sites’ content because they were geo-restricted. The list of geo-blocked content is endless. There are many websites and apps whose content you cannot access if you are located in certain countries.
Well, you can bypass the geo-restrictions if you use a VPN or proxy server, and in this article, we’ll detail how you can use proxies to unlock geo-restricted content. For instance, to access Netflix Brazil, you need a Brazil proxy. But first, what is a proxy server?
What is a proxy?
A proxy (or a proxy server) is an intermediary between your computer and the internet. All the web requests from your browser (web user) go through the proxy, which assigns them a new IP address before directing them to the target website.
Uses of proxies
By hiding a user’s computer’s IP address, the proxy servers add a security layer, anonymity, and privacy that makes them perfect for web scraping applications. There are several types of proxies, and while all assign a new IP address, not all are suitable for web scraping. Others are perfect for the applications listed below.
- To distribute web traffic, thereby safeguarding web servers from crashes due to the inability to handle large volumes of traffic. Datacenter proxies are ideal as they are fast.
- Email monitoring to protect a computer network from email phishing and attacks.
- To restrict access to certain websites, thereby protecting productivity among workers in an organization. Transparent proxies are ideal for this.
- To access geo-restricted content.
- Ad verification.
- Enhance connection speeds for customers accessing your company’s website. Proxies achieve this by caching web pages and files that most visitors access regularly.
Geo-restriction or geo-blocking can be frustrating, especially if you were pumped up about the content you initially thought you could access. You may have read its reviews on social media that got you excited only to end up disappointed at what sometimes feels like discrimination. The European Commission considers geo-blocking a form of discrimination if the content is only available in specific EU markets but not others, mainly when done to increase profits.
Geo-blocking refers to technology’s use to restrict access to content on the internet based on a user’s location. The web servers and hosts that restrict content check a user’s location by analyzing the IP addresses. If the IP address happens to be whitelisted, then the webserver provides the requested content. However, if the IP address is blacklisted, the opposite holds.
Websites also determine a user’s location by measuring a network connection’s ping. If the ping/delay is long, the website perceives the user as being located in a region far away. Alternatively, they analyze a user’s profile information.
Companies use geo-restrictions for the following reasons:
- To restrict content to their target market.
- To prevent content from spreading that would harm the brand’s reputation and outlook in other areas.
- To restrict products to states or countries whose tax codes the company uses.
- To keep online releases in check, that would have been open to anyone with internet access due to licensing constraints. However, this use case makes geo-restriction a reserve of a few.
- Copyright laws
Luckily, there are ways of circumventing geo-restrictions.
Unlocking Geo-restrictions using proxies
Recall how proxies work and how websites determine a user’s location? Proxy servers assign a new IP address from a pool of such addresses. Reputable proxy service providers avail IP addresses from different backgrounds. Thus, to access content from, say, Brazil, you would need to start using a Brazil proxy, i.e., a proxy that assigns you a Brazilian IP address.
Proxy servers provide an easy way of accessing geo-restricted content. For this reason, they are also used for ad verification. Ad verification is the process of determining whether ad publishers display your or your company’s ads ethically and according to the contractual agreement.
Choose a reputable proxy service provider, unlock geo-restricted content, and bypass geo-restriction in Brazil or the US using a Brazil proxy or a US proxy.