Whether you are a serious globetrotter or live in a foreign country, you’ve probably noticed that over the last few years, more and more content is becoming geo-blocked. In the music world, the clearest example of this is SoundCloud. In 2017, they unrolled a new region-locking system. This makes certain songs unavailable depending on the country. This short guide will explain the geo-blocks websites like SoundCloud use and how you can work around them by turning to a VPN.
What Exactly Are These Restrictions?
Everything goes back to copyright. Generally, countries agree on copyright and the fair usage of material. If there is no agreement, then you won’t be able to access specific content in a particular country. On platforms like SoundCloud, you instead only get a 30-second preview of the song, or it may not appear at all.
Unfortunately, many fans of the platform use it to enjoy DJ mixes that are often an hour or more in length. Even if just a single song of the mix is copyrighted by someone who won’t share the usage rights, then the whole set may become unavailable. What’s worse, in some countries like Turkey and China, SoundCloud has become completely inaccessible.
How Does a VPN Go Around Geo-Restrictions?
When you are connected to the internet, you have an IP address. IP addresses contain a huge amount of information, most significantly, they show what country you are browsing from. When you see ads that pop up and say “find local singles in Iowa City, Iowa,” that’s because the ad processes your IP and spits out a matching location to wherever you are.
SoundCloud does the exact same thing. It sees where you are browsing from and restricts certain music accordingly. With a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you are can go around these blocks. In this case, you connect to a remote server, which then connects to the website you are trying to access. Besides, you have the benefit of choosing which country you want the server to be in. For example, if you are somewhere like China or Turkey, you can switch to a VPN through the US server and access SoundCloud just as you would if you were in the States.
What Else Can You Use a VPN For?
VPNs aren’t just beneficial for websites like SoundCloud, but all kinds of platforms that use geo-restrictions. Other examples include YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and many more. Another great example is BBC Radio, which is also famous for its DJ mixes. These are only accessible through a UK server, which you can switch to by using a VPN.
VPNs are also very effective in protecting your privacy and security online. When you connect to the internet without a VPN, it’s like inviting your ISP and hackers to spy on you. It’s very easy for them to gain access to not just your IP address but also your browsing history and personal information. VPNs encrypt your connection to make sure everything you do online is much safer.
How Do You Use a VPN to Stream Content?
One of the most important things is to make sure you have the fastest VPN possible. VPNs have many great features, but the trade-off is usually your internet speed. As you are working through an additional server, it slows things down. This is where you need to do a little homework. Nowadays, VPN technology is getting better and better and the following service seems to be one of the most innovative in those regards.
The best thing you can do is run a speed test of your internet and then try out a few different VPN options. The best and fastest VPNs typically offer speeds that should be within 90-95% of your usual browsing speed when the VPN is turned off.
Generally, the fastest VPNs are the ones with most servers. It’s also important that they allow you to select from a wide variety of different countries. Even if you never need to act as if you are browsing from Estonia or Argentina, having many locations is a sign of a solid VPN platform.
Finally, some sites have software that detects a VPN connection and will automatically shut you out. Netflix and the BBC iPlayer are two of the most famous examples. When selecting a VPN, be sure they mention that their VPN can work around this. That’s why you’ll want to shop around before settling on one VPN over another.
Bypassing Geo-Blocks on Music Websites
No matter where you are in the world, you should be able to access the content you want. There’s even a big debate in the EU right now about whether geo-blocking is legal. Until that is settled, the best thing you can do is find a reliable VPN. Be sure when you are choosing the best one for you, you’re not just going for the fastest VPN, but the one with the best array of features to suit all your online needs.