Why Hotstar and Other Streaming Services Geo-Block Some Users?
It’s frustrating to see any message that restricts you from streaming a movie or series. Unfortunately, due to subscription and location issues, some streaming sites and services, like Hotstar, restrict people’s access to watch videos online.
Technically, this online incident is known as geo-blocking, which limits your internet access depending on your geographic location. But how does geo-blocking work? Why are you getting geo-blocked?
Why Are You Geo-Blocked? Is There A Way To Solve It?
There are two common situations where you’ll encounter access restriction in streaming sites:
- You’ve paid a subscription to a specific streaming site but still can’t access it.
- You’re not located in the site’s allowed regions.
Because of illegal streaming and similar threatening situations, geo-blocking was developed. On another end, you should know the difference between geo-blocking and geo-restriction. Geo-restriction happens when you can access a streaming platform but have less available content.
Fortunately, there are different ways on how to watch Hotstar outside India, the country’s largest video streaming platform, without getting geo-blocked or -restricted. These methods will be elaborated later on.
Geo-Blocking: Everything You Need To Know
To get past geo-blocking, it’s important to understand first what geo-blocking is all about and how it works. Take note that some entertainment platforms are location-specific, and places outside that list will be geo-blocked.
Your device or computer possesses a unique address called an internet protocol (IP) address, which serves as your online identity. Your IP address can accurately identify your computer’s geographic location.
Before entering a website, your computer requests the server for content. The request contains your IP address for the server to identify where to send the requested content. Because of this, all online services and websites that your computer interacts with can view your IP address.
Consequently, if you attempt to enter a streaming site and your IP address is one of the restricted regions, you won’t get access to its content. Typically, geo-blocking boils down to licensing and copyright protection of these platforms.
Protecting Licensed Content Through Geo-Blocking
By separating access to different regions, entertainment platforms can release their content in one market. Some companies also use this strategy by targeting separate audiences. In this way, they can boost marketing campaigns.
Digital piracy and copyright infringement are getting out of hand today. Without geo-blocking and other technologies that protect copyrights, there would be no future of video technology. Thus, protecting licensed and copyrighted content is the most significant advantage of integrating geo-blocking technology to different platforms.
Through geo-blocking, certified streaming platforms can regulate who can access their content and keep their digital assets secured.
Ways To Overcome Geo-Block Restrictions
Since people specifically make guides to bypass geo-blocking, many individuals might think that doing so is illegal. However, getting past geo-blocking isn’t illegal but only goes against the platform’s terms of service.
As discussed above, you’re geo-blocked because streaming platforms detect your IP address that doesn’t belong to their permitted countries. Thus, you can’t get geo-blocked if you can find a way to hide, disguise, or alter your IP address.
Here are a few, proven methods on overcoming geo-block restrictions that you can try:
1. Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
Virtual private networks (VPNs) work by rerouting your digital traffic through a server in another region or country. Once your ‘identity’ is directed into a different place, your IP address will be exchanged with an IP address representing that country. Consequently, the streaming platform won’t identify who uses VPN with those who don’t.
Take note that a VPN can slow down your internet connection so make sure to choose the best VPN for your Windows PC.
A domain name system (DNS) is like an internet phonebook, and your IP address symbolizes your phone number. Online service platforms use DNS to locate your IP address.
Both SmartDNS and VPNs transport you into a new location but in different mechanisms. The SmartDNS only focuses on DNS queries, while other traffic that enters the internet remains unencrypted. Still, the results of SmartDNS and VPN are the same: making it look like you’re from another location.
Compared to VPN, the internet connection in SmartDNS is way faster and supports devices with no VPN access.
3. Proxy Servers
Proxy servers work differently than the two previous methods. They bridge the gap between your computer and the streaming platform.
Proxy servers don’t necessarily modify your IP address. Instead, it gathers content on your behalf, then passes the content to you. The streaming site will only view requests from the proxy server and not directly your computer.
4. The Onion Router (TOR) Browser
Lastly, The Onion Router (TOR) browser is a relatively new geo-blocking solution created in 2009. Using a TOR browser, you’ll be connected to a random TOR server. Then, you can proceed with browsing or streaming while remaining anonymous and protected.
Streaming movies and shows are exciting ways to entertain yourself amidst a stressful life. Therefore, ensure that your movie night won’t add up to your pile of stress because you’re geo-blocked and can’t watch your favorite shows.
By knowing how geo-blocking works and why they do this to users, you can still explore streaming platforms while guaranteeing your safety and privacy online.