Streaming movies and TV series on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu is a favorite pastime nowadays. Gone are the days of cable television — you’ll find all the content you can ever wish for on the countless streaming services available today.
However, you’ll often encounter an annoying error message on these platforms — something along the lines of “This content is not available in your country.”
The good news is that this isn’t a problem with your computer, your Internet connection, or the streaming service. In fact, this message shows things are working the way they’re meant to.
Why do streaming services say “Content Unavailable In Your Location”?
Whenever you get this message, it almost always is due to one reason: content licensing. When a studio or production house releases a new TV show or movie, they have a whole bunch of rights to that content. And they rarely sell all those rights to the same buyer.
Rather, to maximize profits, they sell those licenses on a country-by-country or region-by-region basis.
Content distributors like streaming services or TV channels prefer to get one license for the content at a huge discount, but the providers would prefer to sell lots of smaller licenses and make more bucks from their content.
So if you’re trying to stream a show on Netflix in one region of the world, but the content license for that region hasn’t been negotiated yet (or if the owners of the show have decided not to sell the license in that region at all), then you’ll see this pesky message.
In short, the fault doesn’t lie with Netflix or your device. It’s about content owners wanting to maximize their profits by negotiating licensing territory-wise instead of selling a global license to Netflix (or whichever streaming service you want to watch).
How you can hide your location to access streaming services?
Essentially, the problem is that your streaming service checks your IP address against its geographical database to find out where you’re located on the planet. It will then compare it to the licensing database that tells the service what content is allowed to be displayed and streamed.
And so, now that you know the reason behind the unavailability of content, the solution is pretty straightforward.
If a streaming service checks your IP address, then you need to have an IP address that makes it look like you’re from a location where you are allowed to view the content. The same goes for unbanning online chatting services like Omegle, which are often restricted to users from certain locations.
Typically, that is the US, as the US has the widest range of titles on various streaming services. But depending on the content, it could also be Europe or Australia.
Regardless, there are two ways to change your IP address:
- By using a proxy
- By using a virtual private network (VPN)
Proxies are dedicated servers that fool programs into thinking the IP address is different than it is. Proxies are useful for security and file sharing, but they are not so effective for video streaming as the streaming services know about proxies and actively block all the known ones.
Though new proxies spring up constantly, it doesn’t take long for them to be tracked down and blocked.
The other, better way around is to use a VPN.
VPNs are an amazing piece of technology, not just because they allow you to watch restricted content on Netflix, but also because they put a protective cloak of confidentiality over your internet activity and safeguard you from cyber attacks on public WiFi.
Even if you have nothing to hide, that doesn’t mean third-parties should be able to monitor your online activity, and a good VPN helps to maintain your privacy.
What to look for in a good VPN?
When choosing a VPN, there are a few key features you must consider.
This means that the VPN provider will not keep your activity log with them. Even if they receive a court order, they won’t be able to report what you do online as there will be no record of your activity.
Multiple destination VPN servers
To dodge geoblocking, you need a destination VPN server in the territory where your content is allowed. For instance, to gain access to the full range of Netflix titles sitting in India, you would want a service with multiple US IP addresses to get access to the widest possible range of content.
Good levels of encryption
Encryption isn’t important for accessing streaming services for which you are paying the subscription fee but is an added benefit for your other browsing activities.
So, with advanced levels of encryption, anyone watching your connection will not be able to see your activity.
Works with Netflix or other streams
Netflix and other streaming services are fighting against VPNs, as they are forced to do so by their license holders.
Even if you’re using streaming services besides Netflix, selecting a VPN provider that works well with Netflix is sensible, because it shows that the VPN service is aware of the potential for issues, and actively changes their IP addresses so that the streaming services can’t block them.
This refers to the updates and fixes in protocols, encryption methods, and IP address ranges. As bugs and vulnerabilities are found, a quality VPN provider will fix them right away to keep users safe.
The frequency of their updates is a good sign of how they value their users — and that’s going to be reflected in other areas of their product too.
So there you have it. If you wish to use streaming services or watch content that’s not available in your country, your best bet is to invest in a good VPN service. Once you pick a VPN provider, setting it up is fairly easy as you just have to follow the steps given by the provider.
Have you used a VPN or currently use one? How would you rate it? Let us know in the comments below!
Also Read: Top 8 VPN Providers With Hardened Security