Some have certainly stumbled across country blocks on Youtube, but other services also protect their content with so-called Geo-IP blocks. Pages like Google determine the country of origin of the user and send them to corresponding target pages. A search via google.com becomes impossible for a German user. In this special we show you what geo-blockades are all about and how you can deal with VPNs, proxies and other tools.
- Using services from abroad in Germany
- Example solutions for the best-known US services
- Geo-blocker: Why some services do not work despite VPN
- Using German services from abroad
- Paying and setting up US accounts
Not only Youtube is annoyed by the country ban, services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, Netflix and Co. also use geo-blocks. The reason for this is not malicious actions on the part of the operators, but rather licensing issues. The best known is certainly the licensing dispute between Youtube and GEMA, which provides the known (error) message for some videos.
But Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video also have the problem. The exploitation of rights to individual films stands in the way of their being broadcast in Germany. For example, Netflix may have the rights to broadcast a season in the USA, whereas in Germany a pay-TV channel is preferred and Netflix may not broadcast this season in Germany until six months later.
On the one hand, this may be understandable, perhaps in some places it doesn’t matter, but it’s not a situation for serial junkies and film lunatics. We’ll give you the right tools and explain how to deal with the geo blockades with simple tricks.
Using Services From Abroad
Services from the USA or other countries that use a geo block can usually be handled with a proxy. All you need is a proxy server in the country of your choice and then connect to the desired service via this proxy. Ideally, the proxy does not pass your IP, but the proxy IP to the service, which thinks you are from the country where the proxy is located.
At least for the EU, the use of services should become much easier in the future. A corresponding legislative proposal provides that a streaming contract may be used throughout the EU. This may only be valid for a limited period of time, such as business trips or holidays, but it should still bring benefits to the user.
The story has two little hooks: On the one hand, some proxies work “transparently” and thus pass on your real IP to the service. On the other hand, some proxies have very bad connections. The former is recognized and prevented by the services, the latter leads to frustration, especially with streams.
The more practical way is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). For this purpose, there are various providers who make servers available all over the world for little money. It is easy to switch between servers and the connections are usually also suitable for video streaming. Alternatively, there are services that only manipulate the DNS queries, so-called SmartDNS services. The use of unblock-us is worth mentioning here.
Read our overview of the various solutions, the legal background and the costs involved in using VPN services. If this means your choice is a VPN service, take a look at our VPN services comparison. There we compared five large VPN services for you, then you can directly read the corresponding VPN instructions and configure your computer, tablet or smartphone accordingly.
As soon as you have been assigned a new IP, you can easily check with our IP-Checker. There you can see if you are perceived as a German, American or Chinese surfer. Our ProxyChecker will also show you whether the proxy server passes your IP and you may not be able to use the service of your choice.
Geo Blocking: Why Some Services Do Not Work Despite VPN
As mentioned above, geo-barriers are mainly set up for licensing reasons. Since these can be circumvented, some services have to follow suit and try to prevent the circumvention of the country closures. Netflix blocks different VPNs and proxies and HBO also blocks different VPN services.
Using German Services From Abroad
German services must also set up geo barriers for licensing reasons. If you try to access ARD from Mallorca, you will find that you cannot receive the live streams of the public broadcasters. The same applies to pay-TV offers such as Sky and Sky Go. Use from abroad is not possible without further ado.
In principle, you can use the same principle as you do if you want to access a US service from Germany. As destination country for your proxy or VPN you choose “Germany”. Using ARD and the Unblock-Us service as an example, we explain this in detail or you can see how you can use Amazon Prime Instant Video from abroad.
Paying And Setting Up US Accounts
Some services require US accounts or cannot be paid with German credit cards. Sometimes you have to be a little more creative, for Hulu you can use gift vouchers for payment. Read this guide if you want to install American apps on your German iPhone and learn how to create a US account under iTunes or how to use the US version of the Netflix streaming service with a German account.