With the Internet, we get a world free of any boundaries. Everyone gets access to everything they require. There is no discrimination at all. But there is.
Video streaming services such as Netflix provide different contents to users of different regions.
You can watch all your favorite Netflix shows here, in the US but same may not be available when you travel to Australia, for example. In Netflix Australia, movies and contents are quite different from that of the US. They cater to a different set of viewers.
The content of the US Netflix is geo-blocked there, in the same way, Australian content is blocked for us. What is geo-blocking and how is geo-blocking done? Let’s answer these questions here.
What is geo-blocking?
While Netflix has some shows available in many regions, if you try to access the contents exclusive to Australia you will get an error. An error message that this content is not available in your region.
You can see this sort of thing also when you want to see the contents of say, BBC, the broadcaster in the UK. They have the contents available only for the residents in the UK.
This is known as geo-blocking. It is a system used to restrict your access to certain contents on the internet, based on your geographical location.
How is geo-blocking done?
Every device that you use to be online has got a unique identification number. This number, the IP address, is used to identify a device connected to the Internet.
Each time you visit a website, your device makes a request to the server to access the contents. With each request, the device also sends its IP address, so that the server knows where to deliver the contents.
But how the Netflix server does determine your location. The answer is with the help of your ISP. Whether you use AT&T, Verizon or Comcast, they each have a certain set of IP addresses to allocate. When you buy services from them, you get one of those IP addresses.
There are databases to map IP addresses to countries. This is how a server knows the geographical location of a device. The server checks the database with each request and then decides to approve or reject the request.
Why does Netflix block contents?
Like many other streaming services, Netflix also has licensing limitations. The licensing agreements with the content providers, restrict what Netflix can stream in different markets.
While most of the contents are available to the US market, there are movies and shows which are made for Australian taste. To limit these to the local market and implement the licensing terms, Netflix employs geo-blocking.
These geo-blocking terms pertain even to the Netflix originals.
Can we unblock the contents?
Yes, you can. The key to geo-blocking is your IP address. If you change the address, you can bypass the geo-block. All you need is to use a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN server encrypts your network and hides your IP address. You get an IP address of Australia when you connect to an Australian server.
Thus, with an Australian IP address, you can access Netflix Australia, right from your home.