Some of us grow up knowing that the internet is borderless—a global network without restrictions where people worldwide can connect and communicate. However, in reality, the internet does not do that.
Some countries heavily restrict the internet, or at least some websites and applications that go through it. Due to these geo-restrictions and censorship, accessing online content from different corners of the world can be a challenge. The rise of tools like residential proxies shows how desperate people are for online freedom.
As the internet becomes less accessible, many individuals feel frustrated when they want to access websites and platforms restricted to their area. Moreover, information and services become somehow limited, making it difficult for people, especially students, and employees, to stay informed and knowledgeable.
Some of us may have experienced clicking a link and having an error shown on the screen, indicating that our network has been blocked from accessing such content. Blocked content may stem from websites using geo-blocking tools, the government’s choice, like the UK Parliament’s Online Safety Bill, your workplace’s rules, or laws from different countries.
However, fear not, because you can still experience a borderless internet and overcome geo-restriction and censorship with these digital strategies:
Use a VPN
Using a VPN online is one of the most popular ways to overcome geo-restriction. Users can connect remotely and access content in multiple regions using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). VPNs hide your IP address while encrypting your internet connection, making you browse the internet anonymously and invincible to geo-restrictions and censorship.
Many VPN services are available, either for free or with a fee. Choose one with strong encryption, fast speeds, and a wide range of server locations.
Use Proxy Servers
Proxy servers act as a gateway or an intermediary between users and the internet. They can allow users to access blocked content by routing their traffic through a server from a different location. However, while proxy servers don’t encrypt your internet connection like VPN, they allow you to access blocked content.
There are many proxy servers, but the residential proxy is particularly effective in bypassing censorship.
Residential proxies provide an IP address that can be traced back to a physical device where all requests are redirected. This remarkable feature makes it hard for websites to detect you using a proxy server, avoiding blocks and interrupted surfing.
In other words, a residential proxy gives you an identity and makes it appear that you originate from an actual residential area.
However, keep in mind that these things don’t make them foolproof. As the borders of the internet become clearer, websites have also built advanced techniques that will enable them to detect residential proxies. Using residential proxies for illegal activities may also have legal consequences.
Use a Smart DNS
While a proxy server replaces your IP address with its own, Smart DNS simply tricks websites into thinking that you’re from an unrestricted area, making their content available.
Smart DNS does the job by redirecting your DNS queries to a remote server that conceals your device’s DNS address. Your DNS addresses are then switched from local to those of the Smart DNS server.
However, Smart DNS is less secure than VPNs, and cybercriminals can still easily access your data.
Use a Site’s IP Address
Do you know that using a site’s IP address can also help you access blocked content? It is because many networks only block domain URL names and not their IP addresses.
If you know a business website’s IP address, you can directly type it into your browser and still view its content.
You can try finding a website’s IP address by opening Command Prompt as admin and then inputting “tracert” followed by the domain name. Take, for example, tracert.google.com.
Use Tor Browser
Tor is a free, open-source web browser that enables people to anonymously surf the web by routing their internet traffic to several servers.
It is clearly one of the easiest methods to access restricted online content, as Tor encrypts your internet traffic by letting it pass through thousands of nodes worldwide, making it more complicated and confusing for third-party entities to track your online activity.
However, with over two million people using Tor daily, it can be slow, and some websites may block its access from the browser’s exit nodes.
Alternate Between HTTP and HTTPS
Switching a site’s URL from HTTPS to HTTP is the easiest way to access restricted content online.
Doing this can make the network think you’re visiting a different site, granting access. However, remember that HTTPS is preferred nowadays as it sends data using encryption. Using HTTP puts your data at risk.
The internet may have made us feel that it removed the continental borders of the world. Still, it built digital barriers that challenged several people to access content in different regions. It can question internet freedom and pose problems, especially for people working abroad.
Fortunately, there are strategies and tools that you can use to enjoy a borderless internet. Some use VPNs, residential proxy servers, Smart DNS, the site’s IP address, and software that implements encrypted technologies.
Remember, as you overcome geo-restrictions and censorship, you’re putting many things at risk, particularly your data. Be responsible and take precautions in using the strategies mentioned above.