When visiting foreign sites or downloading apps, you might see prohibitive messages like “Content is not available in your country”. This is the typical pattern for Western music and video services that block their sites outside of Europe and the US. Let’s consider what are the possibilities to bypass territorial restrictions for your favourite sites:
Install VPN extensions for web browsers
Perhaps this is the easiest way to bypass the blocking. It is enough to install a VPN plugin for your browser and enable the function while working with sites unavailable in your country.
Everything is simple: you click on a button – and the extension puts the browser into a special mode in which geographic restrictions do not apply. Once you have finished working with the unblocked site, you can turn off the VPN just as easily – with one button.
Pros. In addition to its simplicity, this method is convenient in that it most likely does not require you to change your favourite browser. After all, popular internet browsers support VPN plugins. Besides, such extensions encrypt traffic, which provides additional protection for user data on the Web.
Cons. While there are many free VPN extensions out there (Windscribe, Hotspot Shield Free, Hola Free VPN, etc.), most security can only be achieved with a paid subscription.
If you don’t care very much about your anonymity and the privacy of your personal data, you can give a shot at the free VPNs. You don’t need extra expenses.
Use browsers with built-in unblocking services
Some browsers can bypass blocking without third-party programs thanks to the built-in VPN technology. For example, in the popular browser Opera, it can be enabled in the settings, in the “Security” section. The VPN also works in mobile browser versions: you simply download the application to your tablet or smartphone and enjoy the Internet without borders.
Other browsers work with blocked sites through Tor. At the heart of this technology is an intricate chain of servers through which encrypted traffic is transmitted anonymously.
Pros. Free, ease of use, and increased data security.
Cons. If you’re used to Chrome, Firefox, or whatever, you probably won’t want to switch entirely to Tor or VPN browsers. In this case, you will have to use several browsers for different tasks.
Download VPN Apps
Supposably your browser doesn’t support plugins and doesn’t have built-in VPN functionality. But you do not want to change it to another for the sake of fighting blocking. In this case, instead of a plugin, you need a dedicated VPN program for Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS. It will work the same as an extension, but regardless of the browser. You can download this software on VPN sites.
Pros. VPN programs not only open access to blocked sites but also allow you to use applications that are not available in the country.
Cons. You will have to download and install additional software on your device. And, as stated above, not all, but many VPN services are paid.
Use proxy services
Another popular way to get access to restricted apps and blocked sites is through a proxy. This is the name of an intermediary server that is located in another country and redirects your traffic through itself. If the desired site or app is not blocked in this country, then you will also get access to it through a proxy.
To use this technology, you need to search proxy service website, select a server in a suitable country, copy its parameters (IP and port), and add them to the browser.
Pros. Using a proxy allows you to do without installing third-party programs.
Cons. There is usually a price to pay for good proxy servers. Also, sites unblocked through a proxy may not display correctly.
Installing the Tor browser
This browser is the heavy artillery of internet anonymity available to home users. Tor is a free web application that implements onion routing technology for Internet traffic.
The principle of data transmission over the Tor network differs from the usual one in that all transmitted information is repeatedly (layer by layer) encrypted and follows a randomly built chain of proxy servers absolutely anonymously. Neither the intermediate nor the endpoint is informed about the originator of the request and the traffic route.
Each server reads exactly the information that is necessary to transmit the packet to the next node (figuratively removes its own layer of onion husks). Such a system provides the user with maximum privacy and makes tracking his traffic, if not impossible, then very difficult.