If you live outside of the United States, you’ve likely gotten a “Content not available” alert when trying to stream content online. This alert is the result of a geo-restriction placed on the content.
Many websites only make their videos, shows and movies available in certain countries, keeping everyone else from accessing them. This leads to understandable frustration and may result in someone going to alternative sites to watch their favorite content, exposing themselves excessive advertisements, viruses and hackers.
Luckily, these alternative sites are not the only option when you want to access geo-restricted content. Using a technique known as geo-spoofing, you’ll be able to safely access all the content you want no matter where you live.
What Is Geo-Spoofing?
Geo-spoofing, as its name would imply, is the act of making your IP address and your computer appear as though they’re in a location that’s different from their real one. While this may sound complicated, and is complicated behind the scenes, it’s actually fairly simple to do with the right tools.
There are two methods you can use to make your computer appear as though it’s in another location. Both of them require connecting to a server that’s located in the country where the content you’re trying to access is not blocked.
The first option is to use a proxy service. These services essentially act as middlemen between your computer and the internet. They funnel your internet traffic through a remote server to make your location appear different than it actually is. Proxies can be fairly complicated to set up and require some additional computer know-how to get started.
The second option, which is significantly easier and more convenient, is to use a virtual private network. VPNs can make your computer and IP address appear as though they’re in another country and have the added benefit of encrypting your internet connection to protect you and your data from hackers and tracking software.
Another benefit of using a VPN is that you’ll be able to safely connect to the internet from anywhere without fear of your information being stolen by other users on the same connection. You’ll be able to use public Wi-Fi as confidently as you use your private Wi-Fi connection at home thanks to the encryption software built into every reputable VPN service.
How to Geo-Spoof Your Location with a VPN Service
Using a VPN will allow you to easily change your IP address and spoof your location in seconds. Most VPN providers have advanced options available that allow you to customize your connection. One of these options allows your computer to automatically connect to a VPN server as soon as the VPN application is launched. This gives you a seamless experience and keeps you protected every time you use your computer without having to take any additional steps.
This feature also means that you’ll easily be able to stream geo-restricted content without having to remember to connect to a VPN server. You’ll be instantly connected and will be able to access all the content that had previously been blocked.
To start using a VPN to protect yourself and your data, and to stream geo-restricted content, complete the following steps:
- Purchase a VPN package. Do your research before signing up with a service and make sure that the service you sign up for has servers in the country where the content you want to watch isn’t restricted. Keep in mind that top streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are regularly improving their services to keep people from using VPNs to access their content. Make sure that you sign up with a VPN provider that has the infrastructure and technology to bypass even the toughest of geo-restrictions.
- Follow the directions that your VPN service provides to install their app on your device. Detailed installation guides should easily be found on their website for any device or operating system.
- Launch the VPN app, log into your account and choose a server location. Make sure to choose one where the content you’re trying to access isn’t blocked. Then, connect to the server.
You should now be able to stream content that was previously geo-restricted. Your device will appear to be in a different location thanks to the geo-spoofing capabilities of your VPN service.
Advantages of Using a VPN for Geo-Spoofing
As is clear at this point, geo-spoofing is ideal for gaining access to geo-restricted content. While this capability alone is likely enough to justify buying a VPN package and trying geo-spoofing for yourself, there are other advantages of geo-spoofing as well.
One of these advantages is that it can help to protect your privacy. Your IP address can give information about your location to any app, service or website that you happen to use, even if you don’t explicitly give them permission to collect this information. This allows them to track you and build a profile of who you are based on where you live and where you spend your time.
Geo-spoofing can also help you to avoid government surveillance. In our modern world, government surveillance is not limited to countries where an authoritarian regime is the ruling party. The governments of democratic nations are just as capable of spying on their citizens and collecting information on their online activities.
Using a VPN to spoof your location is one way to protect your privacy from the government, but the other features of a VPN are just as important. Remember that VPNs encrypt your internet connection, meaning that surveillance software will be unable to make sense of your internet traffic and will, therefore, be unable to track your activity.
Other VPN features that will protect you are the malware protection and kill switches that are often included with VPN services. Malware protection will protect your computer from being infected with software whose sole purpose is to steal your information. A kill switch will halt your internet activity if your connection to the VPN server is lost. This will keep you from unknowingly using an unencrypted connection in the event of a lost connection.
Yet another advantage of using a VPN is improved internet speeds. Internet service providers (or ISPs) often reduce internet speeds based on what type of activity you’re engaging in or what websites you’re trying to access. They may slow down your connection if you’re downloading a large file, streaming high-definition content or accessing popular sites like Facebook or YouTube. This is known as internet throttling and is done for a variety of reasons. We have a detailed guide about internet throttling if you’d like to learn more.
To avoid internet throttling, you can take advantage of the encryption capabilities of your VPN service. If your internet connection is encrypted, your ISP will be unable to see what you’re doing on the internet. Since they won’t know if you’re accessing a popular site or downloading a large file, they will be unable to slow down your connection based on these activities and you’ll have a faster internet experience.
Is Geo-Spoofing Safe?
The short answer to this question is yes, geo-spoofing is safe. However, some issues can arise when using this method to access geo-restricted content.
The main issue that can occur is called domain name system poisoning, or DNS poisoning. A DNS server is responsible for translating the web addresses that a user enters into their web browser’s search bar into the IP address associated with the web address. Once this is done, the web browser can access the website that the user was trying to reach.
When attempting to spoof your location, which requires changing your IP address, you can sometimes be directed to a fraudulent IP address instead of the correct IP address for the website you’re trying to access. This fraudulent IP address will present itself as the correct webpage, which may lead you to enter in your username and password to access your account. While this would be fine on the real website, on the fraudulent one it gives hackers access to your personal information. It can also lead to the spread of malware.
DNS poisoning occurs when your altered IP address confuses your ISP’s DNS server, which is the one you would normally use on an unencrypted internet connection. However, quality VPN providers have their own DNS servers. Using a VPN to connect to the internet allows you to bypass your ISP’s DNS servers and use the ones that belong to your VPN provider. This will protect you from DNS poisoning as the VPN’s DNS servers will not be confused by your altered IP address.
It’s important to note that DNS poisoning is not the same thing as a DNS leak. A DNS leak occurs when a VPN provider accidentally reports a user’s internet browsing data to their ISP. This is especially problematic if the user is using the VPN to avoid internet censorship.
The possibility of DNS poisoning or a DNS leak is why you should only use one of the best VPN service providers. They offer advanced protection against DNS leaks and use their own DNS servers to avoid DNS poisoning.
Geo-restrictions can make streaming content, which is supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing activity, frustrating and even impossible in some cases. Luckily, thanks to geo-spoofing, these restrictions can be bypassed to give access to geo-restricted content to everyone who happens to live outside of the countries where the content is available.
Geo-spoofing also helps protect you from governments or websites that want to track your online activity. You can avoid being bombarded with personalized advertisements and can protect your privacy with the features included with reputable VPN services.
These VPN providers are consistently working to help their users maintain their privacy and their access to restricted content.