Though it doesn’t always seem like it, much of the information available online isn’t actually available to all. At every turn, you’re running into virtual walls preventing you from accessing a wealth of data.
In some instances, those walls are paid subscriptions and accounts. More commonly, however, they are geo-restrictions that block your access based on your geographical location.
Because of geo-blocks, you can’t watch the TV show “Friends” on Netflix in the US but can in the UK, for instance, or why you can watch your favorite sports team play a game on cable but not via your favorite streaming platform.
While geo-blocks are often necessary for licensing, legal, and other reasons, they can be a nuisance, and the best way to go around them is with the right proxy service.
Keep reading to learn more about proxies and why they’re necessary for bypassing geo-restrictions.
What are proxies?
Proxies are servers that create a bridge between you and the internet. When you use them, all your internet traffic is routed through them instead of going directly to the websites you want to visit.
Whenever you want to request information from a website, your proxy intercepts it, taking over the request, sending it to the website in question, and returning the response back to you. Your device never comes in direct contact with the site, so all your device information, such as its IP address, is kept secure.
Proxies come in many different shapes and forms, the most common types being:
- Datacenter proxies – not affiliated with any Internet Service Provider (ISP), datacenter proxies are housed on cloud servers or large data centers. They hide your IP address and provide you with a fake new one, allowing you to browse the internet under a layer of anonymity;
- Residential proxies – affiliated with genuine networks and devices, residential proxies provide you with an authentic IP address from any country or city you choose, such as an Iran proxy. They’re reliable, secure, and virtually undetectable;
- Mobile proxies – similar to residential proxies, mobile proxies are affiliated with mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. They route your traffic through genuine mobile devices, giving you a mobile IP address from any location of your choosing.
Whether datacenter, residential, or mobile, a proxy can help you hide your IP address (and your physical location), allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions and access any type of online content you need.
How proxies work
As mentioned, proxies are a bridge between your device and the internet, and to understand how they work – you first need to know how browsing works.
Without a proxy, your device needs to connect to the site you want to visit, such as Netflix. When connecting to it and sending a request for the aforementioned TV show “Friends”, let’s say the platform first needs to read your device’s information, including your screen resolution, software and hardware configuration, and, of course, IP address.
Your IP address contains sensitive information about you, revealing your actual physical location to the website you’re visiting. In the case of Netflix, for instance, it could read not only that you’re from the US, for example, but that you’re from a specific city and neighborhood in the US. Using that information can prevent you from watching one of your favorite TV shows based on your location.
With proxies, on the other hand, none of this information is available to the sites you’re visiting. Your traffic is routed through the proxy servers, meaning that the website can only read the proxy server’s information. If you choose an Iran proxy, the site will be under the impression that your traffic is coming from Iran, and you’ll get access to the information available there. Find more info about Iran and other proxies here.
The benefits of using proxies
Proxies can simplify your browsing experience and give you access to the information you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. Some of its main benefits include:
- Bypassing geo-restrictions – as discussed, proxies provide you with a new IP address based in virtually any location you may need, so you can use an Iran proxy, a US proxy, a Germany proxy, and the sites you’re visiting will be under the impression that your traffic is coming from those countries;
- Offering a layer of anonymity – considering that your IP address and other device information is hidden from the websites you’re visiting, you can browse seamlessly under a layer of anonymity and without worries about your privacy;
- Internet control – proxies can unlock access to online content but can also prevent it. If you want to install parental controls, for instance, or prevent students in a school/employees in an office from visiting social media or other sites, you can use proxies to do so;
- Data collection – proxies can be effective tools for data collection methods such as web scraping, as they can rotate your IP addresses and help you avoid IP blocks.
Although relatively simple, proxies are potent tools that offer an array of benefits to all users.
If you want unlimited access to the wealth of information that’s available online, you can only get it through proxy servers. They easily bypass geo-restrictions, keep your privacy protected, and allow you to browse without limitations.