Best VPN For Geo-blocking To Bypass Country Restrictions (2021)
If you use streaming services, you must have come across geo-restrictions. Geo-restrictions are blocks that prevent you from accessing content from specific locations. Platforms notorious for employing location-based blocks include streaming services, betting sites, sports sites, etc.
For streaming sites and the likes, geo-blocks result from licensing and copyright agreements. Each of these platforms has arrangements permitting them to broadcast their content to certain regions. Violating this would automatically put them in trouble.
However, you can experience blocks for another reason: intentional censorship by some governments. Regions with repressive regimes typically censor what online content citizens access.
You can tackle each of the two challenges with a VPN. A VPN offers a reliable way to bypass restrictions while keeping you safe at the same time.
In this discussion, we show you how to avoid geoblocking using a VPN and the best VPNs to achieve that.
Steps To Using a VPN To Avoid Geo-blocking
The step by step process for using a VPN to access any blocked content as follows:
- Decide on a VPN provider to go with.
- Download and install the VPN app.
- Pay for a subscription plan and have the VPN running.
- Toggle and modify your settings.
- Connect to any VPN server in your preferred location.
- Start streaming!
Top Recommended VPNs for Getting Around Geo-blocks
There is no shortage of VPN providers who claim to unblock restricted sites. However, here are 5 providers we have verified and thus trust their claims:
- Number of servers: More than 3,000
- Speeds: Unlimited
- Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
- Fastest VPN out there
- Strict no logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Few discounts
ExpressVPN is a premium provider with utterly reliable features. Its unblocking ability is top-notch such that if ExpressVPN cannot get around any geo-block, then it is doubtful that any other provider will. It has maintained its status as a sought-after VPN provider for many years running. For unblocking any restricted site, you can count on this provider for the job.
ExpressVPN’s 3000+ servers are stationed in 120 global locations. Thus, you find many options if you are looking to switch servers and change your location. Each of these servers encrypts your network when your data gets routed through any. Thus, you can compete favorably and even surpass the blocks on any platform, including the Great Firewall of China.
This provider also has great security features. For one, it makes use of the AES 256bit encryption model. It pairs this with a kill switch, allows for split tunneling, gives you room to carry out speed tests, and supports the Onion Router. ExpressVPN supports great protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2. More so, it has its own proprietary protocol known as Lightway. Lightway is fast and gets through blocks within minutes.
You can download ExpressVPN on any device that you own. 5 simultaneous connections are allowed on its platforms. Finally, its 30-day money-back guarantee gives you the room to request and receive a refund if unsatisfied with the quality of service you receive.
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
- Servers: 5342 in 58 countries
- Lots of pricing options
- Netflix support kept up to date
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow app
If for some reason, you are unimpressed with ExpressVPN, NordVPN should be your next best option. Unblocking geo-restricted sites is the least of the concerns of this provider. From Netflix to Hulu to BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Roku, and others, this VPN provider tops the charts when it comes to unblocking ability.
You can access 5000+ servers in 59 countries with this service. All of the servers are fast and reliable for getting around geo-blocks. Apart from streaming or accessing content blocked in your location, NordVPN is also great for torrenting and P2P file sharing. It creates a secure connection that ensures that your security or data is not compromised while you torrent files. Only a handful of providers can assure you of that.
You also have only the best security features on this service. The features include the AES 256-bit encryption model it uses to secure its servers. It affords you the pleasure of using great protocols. Furthermore, it has its own proprietary protocol known as NordLYNX. Specifically for getting around blocks, this provider allows you to connect to obfuscated servers. These servers encrypt your network and also keep you invisible in high-risk countries. Furthermore, you can get a dedicated IP address with NordVPN’s service. This makes it harder for anyone to detect that you are using a VPN.
You are at liberty to connect 6 devices to one NordVPN account. It has apps for most device types and allows you a 30-day window to request a refund if unsatisfied with the quality of the service.
- Free trial? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
- Ad blocking? Yes
- Servers: 1000+ in 61 countries
- No footprints
- Allows torrenting
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Not the fastest
Surfshark is the new kid on the block. However, this has certainly not deterred it from trying to get into the upper echelons of VPN providers.. At the moment, it is regarded as one of the best VPNs for unblocking geo-restricted streaming sites. You can even attempt to use it to get around the Great Firewall of China. For your uninhibited use of cyberspace, we have no qualms recommending Surfshark.
This provider recently upped its server count to about 3200. Each one of these servers is equipped to deliver secure and reliable streaming speed. Thus, Surfshark has a comprehensive list of platforms that it unblocks. This includes the popular ones such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and even obscure services like DAZN, Hotstar, and Skygo.
Furthermore, you do not compromise your security in attempting to access these sites. Surfshark secures its servers with the standard military-grade encryption and offers protocols for users to connect to. Also, it has some other special features that allow you to go below the radar of streaming companies. One of such is its MultiHop feature that routes users’ data through multiple servers to evade detection. Furthermore, its NoBorders mode is excellent for use in high-surveillance areas like China.
You can connect an unlimited number of devices to one Surfshark account.
- P2P support? Yes
- 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
- Country of origin? Switzerland
- Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
- Simultaneous devices: 5
- Professional support
- Modern interface and apps
- AES-256 encryption
- Lesser known provider
If you have not heard of ProtonVPN, you surely must know of ProtonMail. ProtonMail is a secure emailing service that allows you to send top-secret emails safely. However, this service is not the focus here. The connection we seek to establish is the fact that ProtonMail shares its parent company with ProtonVPN. Considering the company’s strong leaning towards security, you can expect top-notch features with ProtonVPN. What is more, this provider has been tested and trusted when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content.
You get a little over 1000 servers with this service. These servers are top-of-the-line when it comes to speed. You get unlimited bandwidth to surf, stream or download content. Thus, you can expect that you will not get shut off for exceeding the allotted data limit on the platform. In addition to being excellent for streaming, ProtonVPN also affords you the room to torrent files securely.
Up to 10 devices at a time can get on one ProtonVPN subscription with no issues at all. In fact, this provider has a totally free version. This comes with limited functionalities but is nonetheless excellent if you are on a budget and net a premium service.
ProtonVPN offers you an exclusive fleet of servers it dubs Plus servers to get around geo-blocks on sites like Netflix, etc. You will find them in the US, UK, India, Italy, Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, or France. You will find the P icon next to them if you are using either an Android or iOS device. You need to know that the Plus servers are available only to Plus and Visionary Plan subscribers. Thus, if you are on the Basic ProtonVPN plan, this option is unfortunately unavailable to you.
- Connected devices at once: 7
- Automatic kill switch? Yes
- One click connect: Yes
- Servers: 5900 worldwide
- No logs policy
- 24/7 live chat
- Apps for mobile devices and routers
- No free option
With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, CyberGhost is anything but a pushover. In fact, with its 7000+ servers in 91 countries, this provider has one of the highest server counts in the industry. It ranks quite highly when it comes to speed, security features, unblocking ability, etc. We strongly recommend this provider if you are looking to unblock any restriction.
What security features do you get with CyberGhost? First, there is the AES 256-bit encryption model it uses on all of its servers. In addition, it has an automatic kill switch that comes on whenever your internet connection drops, DNS and IP leak protection features, amongst others. On this service, you get to choose between the IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocols. It also maintains a reliable no-logs policy. This way, even if the VPN gets compromised in the future, there will be nothing to trace back to you. Even more so, this gives them room to deny users’ data requests from any authority.
The reliability of this encryption protocol is such that even the United States military uses it. In addition, CyberGhost has apps for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices. It allows you to connect up to 7 devices to one CyberGhost account. When you run into any challenge, this provider’s customer service system is top-notch. It is worthy of note that it does not have a chatbot option. You either get to either live chat with a rep. or send an email and have your problem resolved within minutes.
How Exactly Does Geo-blocking Work?
How do platforms restrict access to a specific content based on a user’s location? Most providers use the user’s IP address to do that. An IP (Internet Protocol) address gives you a virtual location. Anyone can, through your IP address, discover your location. Thus, algorithms on restricted platforms match IP addresses with approved sites, shutting off those looking to access from blocked locations.
Some providers take it a notch higher by checking to see if users’ IP address matches the users’ devices’ GPS information. If you are using a weak VPN service, you may also be discovered. Strict providers have a collection of VPN-provided IP addresses. When any user connects to the platform, they run a check to flag any of the IP addresses on their list. They then block you if they discover you use a VPN.
Do Free VPNs Work for Unblocking Geo-restricted Sites?
In theory, they should. However, more often than not, free providers are unable to get around the blocks on geo-restricted platforms. This is because the providers here go through a great deal to secure their platforms. More so, restrictions imposed by government authorities are even harder to bypass. For instance, only a handful of VPN providers can reliably get around the Great Firewall of China. There is hardly any free VPN provider in this elite class.
Furthermore, even if a free provider could manage to get you access to geo-blocked sites, using any such offer may still be a bad idea. This is because your security may be compromised through this process.
Free VPNs look to recover the costs of running their services. They do this through gathering and selling the data of users. Most do this covertly, but several others mention clearly that they would retain your data when you use their service. This is problematic because your data could fall into the wrong hands this way. These providers ostensibly sell users’ data to third-party advertising companies and the likes. Who is to say the information will not find its way to hackers or other cyber criminals?
You do not suffer these challenges with paid VPN providers. They get around geo-blocks, allowing you to access streaming services with ease. Furthermore, their security features keep you protected the entire time you are on their service. There is no doubt that a paid subscriber trumps a free one on any given day.
Geo-restrictions can severely limit your online experience. Platform-based restrictions could prevent you from accessing some content just because of your location. On the other hand, you may be unfortunate to be in a location where the government uses online censorship. In each case, a VPN is most useful. We have discussed how to get around geo-blocks using a VPN and the best providers for that purpose.