Waiting for the next season of the walking dead, while everyone else is watching it? Not gonna happen.
There are several reasons, why you may want to bypass the country restriction on video sites. Say —
- You stumble upon a YouTube video which unfortunately is not available in your country
- You are not happy with the Netflix catalog of your country
- You are traveling overseas. And there, you can not watch your favorite shows on Hulu, Netflix, AMC etc. Even though you have the active subscription
- Or let just say, you live in the country with Internet censorship.
Usually, these video sites add geo-restriction, due to licensing rights. But, by the end of the day, it’s the end user who has to suffer. So, here are three ways to bypass the country restriction. Let’s get started.
Bypass Country Restrictions on Video Sites
1. Try Proxy Sites
Now this is the most simple method and probably the first thing you should try.
I remember, a few years back, somebody on Reddit shared a YouTube link of the first episode of Mr. Robot. It was uploaded by the official channel, but they have the restricted the video to the U.S only. And this is where this proxy method was helpful.
So, how does it work?
Say, you have this YouTube video which is not available in your country. Then, simply copy its URL in your clipboard and then head over to Google. Type in proxies websites and hit enter.
Now, most of these proxies services often get shut down once they become popular, so there is no single name that I can suggest. Google search is the best option. Though this one working fine for a few years now.
So, try the first few links in the Google search (the first one works most of the time.) Paste the URL of the YouTube video in the search box present in proxy websites. Switch to supported country. And that’s it. Now, you can easily stream that video.
The advantage of using a Proxy sites is – they are free, quick and easy to use. But the downside is – they only work on you current browser and not the whole computer. Also, you can’t use proxy sites on big video sites like – Netflix or Hulu etc, where the content is hidden behind the login wall.
2. Use a VPN
VPN or virtual private network is a popular way to bypass geo-restriction. Like proxies, VPN also spoofs your IP address and thus changing your location.
But unlike proxy sites, that can only work on the browser level, VPN can also work on the system level (if you use their desktop tool). This means every app on your computer or smartphone can change its IP address. So if you want to stream content from other countries on Netflix, you will need a VPN.
So, which VPN should you choose?
Well, there is no one answer to this. There are many players in the market. Some are FREE and others are PAID. Each having their own pros and cons.
However, if you are looking for decent free VPN, I recommend TunnelBear. In the free account, you get 500 MB bandwidth. Or you can try Hotspot Shield (has ads) Some older guides suggests Hola free VPN. Avoid that, it’s not safe.
How does it work?
First Install Tunnelbear client. It’s available for Windows, MAC, Android, iOS. Next, create a free account, enable the service (you’ll see ON/OFF button there) and switch to the country you want. Now, if you refresh the page, the video will start playing.
ProTip: Most video sites only check for location (IP address) in the starting of the video. So once the connection is established and the video start playing, you can turn OFF your VPN and stream on your regular internet.
I have been using this workaround for a few years now, and it worked for many popular video hosting services. Overall what it means is, you can stream 100’s of hours of content with just 500 MB of data. Not bad. Right?
|Works on both desktop and mobile||Do not work with console or media streaming devices like Chromecast, Xbox or Apple tv etc|
|Connection is encrypted||Slow down your connection speed|
|Limited free version is available||The good ones are paid|
So, if I want to watch Canada Netflix on TV using Chromecast, it won’t work. Also, in past one year, Netflix has started blocking all the connection coming from popular VPN. So, you need something that works on router level and should also be reliably fast. And this where the third solution comes in.
So the way DNS unlocking works is quite different from what we have seen in VPN or proxies. Instead of changing your IP address (like what the VPN did) a DNS unblockers will override selected DNS entries. (explanation here)
This means you can unblock all geo-restricted content while retaining your IP address as well as your speed.
Popular options are SmartDNS and Unblock-us. Both are paid (5$ monthly subscription) but you can try it for FREE for a week or two. No credit card required. I use SmartDNS proxy and it works fine with my Chromecast.
How does it work?
Go to the official website. Signup for a trial account. Next, you’ll be given two IP address, you have to add them to the dns1 and dns2 entry of your router (or any device you want) Restart your device and go back to the official website once again.
If you have done everything right, you’ll see a confirmation message and the option to change the country. Well, that’s it. Now you can watch fav video sites on any devices.
|Works for all devices connected to the router like – Chromecast, Roku, Apple Tv etc||Paid service (worth the money, if you use though)|
|Easy to setup. The website has guides for most routers and devices||It only works with only popular video streaming sites|
|You retain your IP address and use your full bandwidth||No encryption like VPN|
So, these were some of the ways to bypass country restrictions on video sites like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu etc. If you are casual users, a free VPN like TunnelBear should work fine for you. However, if you like to binge watch Netflix on all your device or looking for long term solution, services like smartDNS make more sense. For a small monthly subscription fee, you can live worry free and enjoy our favorite shows.