Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Trick Geo IP Services. Or, I Want to Do What Your Country Can Do But in My Country!

I like to travel a lot (or sometime I'm forced to!). What I have found is that certain websites, apps, and services will not be available to you because your are no longer in the country where they are supported. Even if you have an account made from that country, it will not matter. Why? Because of Geo IP tracking.

Geo IP tracking is a system that tracks where you are "browsing" from depending on your IP address. One of the best examples of this is Craigslist. Craigslist went through a transition period where they wanted people to be able to only post from within their city, as opposed to anywhere nationwide. They made this possible by initiating a Geo IP service. When someone would make a post in a city they weren't in, within the hour, that post would be taken down automatically. Smart for Craigslist, a bummer to others.

So, how has Geo IP affected me? My biggest trouble was with Amazon Appstore. In case you don't know, Amazon Appstore gives away one free app everyday. They are mostly games, but not always. My first app was Kayak Pro! Anyways, Amazon is not available in every country, therefore neither is their app store. But I wanted my free apps! Instead of giving up, I decided to trick the Geo IP service Amazon uses. I setup a free virtual private network (VPN) on my Android to bypass their Geo IP service check and allow me to download their free apps! I've been through the process so many times (as it is daily) that I know that it is quicker to get to the point of "purchasing" the app before starting the VPN. Otherwise, the VPN really slows down the WiFi connection and takes forever!

Is that it? Just Amazon Appstore? No! This works with other services as well. Pandora is not available is most countries, but you can still download and install it with a bit of know-how. After Pandora is installed you can attempt to open it, but you'll get the message that Pandora is currently not available in your country. Enable VPN, and voila! Pandora now works!

The VPN I use is not exclusive to smartphones, it also works on my desktop. I do some work with websites and from time-to-time buy domain names from GoDaddy. When I buy domain names while overseas it will allow me to get to the final page and confirm payment before bringing me to a webpage stating that there has been some issue. I have confirmed with GoDaddy several times that the reason for this issue is my physical location. But, after enabling VPN on my desktop, my payment to GoDaddy will successfully go through!

Often times the Internet service providers in a country may try to restrict people from viewing certain websites or videos. Your URL will be redirected to some message from your Internet service provider usually with some BS about it being dangerous. On the other hand, videos just tell you that the video is not allowed to be viewed in your country. I have found that while a VPN can work in these situations, it can be painfully slow. Instead, I just use a proxy service and enter websites and/or watch videos.

What's the difference between a VPN and a proxy? Basically, a VPN will secure all your information while surfing about, so you don't have to worry if your login information is being stolen and saved somewhere when logging into certain places. A proxy will not secure your information, but will normally be much faster.

I won't go into detail on how to setup your Android, IOS device, or anything else, as that information is better documented and readily available from a Google search. However, I will point you to my favorite free VPN and proxy:
I also want to add that these methods won't always work. I use PayPal every-so-often, usually when purchasing used electronics. However, because I am in a country that is considered "dangerous", I can never make payments without getting locked out from my account and having to go through a song and dance to get control of my account back and allow payments to be made directly from my bank account. I have tried VPN's and proxies to no avail. I have asked PayPal if it is okay to use them, as I did not want to have my PayPal disabled by trying, but they assured me they didn't care (probably because it won't work!). However, it is likely a good thing that a company handling money transactions has such security setups.

1 comment:

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