Also known as geo-restriction, geo-blocking may feel discriminatory. This is especially so because websites do not display the same uniform content for all visitors around the world. And even more, interestingly, a website may be accessible to residents of a particular country but not visitors from a neighboring nation.
In some countries such as Turkey, however, internet censorship, propagated by the government, is the main reason behind the restriction. To access the geo-blocked content, residents can use tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxy servers. Turkish citizens looking to bypass the censorship can use a Turkish proxy. Find more info on Turkish proxies here.
What is a Proxy?
A proxy or proxy server is an intermediary developed to intercept communication between a browser and web server. Under this setup, all outgoing requests go through the proxy before being directed to the target web server.
Similarly, all incoming responses from the web server are routed through the proxy on their way to the web browser. This interception achieves various functions, depending on the type of intermediary used.
There are several types of proxy servers:
- Forward proxies
- Reverse proxies
- Transparent proxies
- Residential proxies
- Datacenter proxies
- Shared proxies
- Dedicated/private proxies
- Anonymous proxies
- High anonymous proxies
- Rotating proxies
- Static proxies
- HTTP proxies
- SOCKS proxies
Benefits of Proxies
Some of these proxies, namely transparent proxies, block access to some websites to increase productivity. Others such as HTTP proxies and reverse proxies are used to filter requests or server responses, safeguarding the security of web servers or local networks.
In addition, proxies such as residential and datacenter proxies are used in web scraping. The former is preferred in large-scale web scraping, while the latter is utilized in small-scale web data extraction.
All proxies have a shared characteristic regardless of the function for which they are used or deployed. Typically, a proxy hides the IP addresses of the computer on which the browser is installed. In its place, the proxy server assigns a new IP address, effectively anonymizing the requests being sent by the browser.
This makes proxy servers handy tools for bypassing geo-restrictions/geo-blocking. But before detailing how they achieve this, let’s explore what geo-blocking is.
What is Geo-Blocking?
Geo-blocking is a practice in which websites limit access to their content based on visitors’ geographical location. Though companies that implement geo-restrictions do this to improve profitability by targeting specific market segments and adhering to copyright laws and licensing agreements, it has been linked to several negative impacts.
Firstly, some lawful subscribers frequently move from one country to another. And if they eventually find themselves in a country that has been geo-blocked from accessing the website to which they are subscribed, they may not enjoy a site’s services.
In some cases, the site may still deduct the subscription fee even if they cannot access the content. Secondly, geo-blocking limits cross-border e-commerce.
Geo-blocking has also been linked to dictatorship. And as stated, this practice can be propagated by dictatorial regimes that want to prevent their citizens from accessing information and news from other countries. According to reports, Turkey, for example, has had a history of internet censorship that dates back to 2007.
And by the end of 2019, over 408,000 websites and 130,000 individual URL addresses had been blocked. Citizens in this country can, however, go around this problem using a Turkish proxy. But how exactly does such a proxy work?
How to Bypass Geo-Blocking with Proxies
Proxies enable users to bypass geo-restrictions by assigning outgoing requests a new unique IP address. Typically, IP addresses contain location information. So, by hiding the real IP address, proxies effectively hide the user’s real location.
They then virtually transport the user to another country by assigning their outgoing requests a new IP address. This way, the requests appear to originate from the proxy instead of the user’s computer.
For instance, using a Turkish proxy, which assigns you an IP address registered in Turkey, will enable you to view content that is only visible to people residing in the country. Additionally, given that the Turkish government is known to block tools such as proxies and VPNs, which are known to bypass geo-blocking, rotating proxies are a surefire way to prevent this from happening.
Companies implement geo-blocking because they wish to maximize profits, target specific market segments, or adhere to copyright laws and licensing agreements. On the other hand, geo-restriction may sometimes result from censorship propagated by the government. Nonetheless, the good news is that you can bypass such restrictions and access your favorite website and content.
All you have to do is to use a proxy server. A proxy assigns your outgoing requests a new IP address, masking your real online identity and location. Thus, your requests appear to originate from the country associated with the IP address. This way, you can access content from any country you want, provided you have an IP address from that nation.