Whether you are a German who has moved overseas, a resident of Austria and Switzerland who consumes German content, or you just enjoy the country’s cultural output, it can be frustrating when you aren’t able to access German content because you are in the wrong region, especially given the open and international nature of the internet. Networks such as ProSieben broadcast programs made exclusively for their own channel, and so if you aren’t able to catch your favorite shows while abroad, you may be looking for ways around this.
The good news is that there are things you can do to enable you to access content restricted by region from anywhere in the world. If you want to know how to access Germany-exclusive content from anywhere in the world, and other region-locked content as well, read on.
Why Does Region Locking Exist?
One of the best things about the internet is its borderless nature. The traditional barriers that have separated people from different parts of the world are all but invisible. Thanks to the internet, a teenager in Siberia can write messages to a friend on the other side of the world. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, chances are that you are interacting with a whole range of different people from around the world.
However, in recent years there has been a noticeable shift in the borderless nature of the internet. Today, the internet is widely used to stream entertainment content, content that is owned by rights holders. These rights holders want to make as much money as possible from the intellectual properties that they own. In practice, this means that they seek to sell the rights to their show as many times as possible.
If rights holders can sell the same show to different distributors in different regions, this is more profitable than selling the rights to a single entity. However, for the consumer, this means that the content that they can access online will depend on where they are in the world.
You are probably aware that, for example, Netflix will have a different library of titles available if you access it from a different country. This is a result of Netflix having distribution rights in some territories, but not in others. Similarly, in Germany, services like ProSieben are only available to German users and require a German IP to access.
How Does it Work?
In order to understand how we are going to subvert this region locking system, we need to know how it works to begin with. You might be imagining some kind of complicated, advanced technology that is able to somehow discern your physical location, but the answer is much, much simpler.
Whenever a device, whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop, or a smart speaker, connects to the internet, it needs to be assigned an IP address. A device’s IP address is like a digital license plate that the user uses for the duration of their online session.
You can use an online service like tracemyip.org to find your IP address. You can also see that the website is able to discern your general location from your IP address. This is exactly how online services are able to identify where you are connecting from and what content to give you – they simply look at your IP address. This makes the IP address a very reliable way of telling where a connection is coming from.
How to Beat it
The weakness of this system lies in that last sentence – it only tells you where a connection is coming from. Usually, when you connect to a website or service, your device will use the Domain Name System (DNS) to look up the IP address of the server that hosts the content or service you wish to access. The device then connects to the relevant server and sends requests telling it what it wants to do. The server responds by processing the request and sending a response.
If, instead of connecting directly to the target server, you first connect to an intermediary server, you can use that intermediary to send requests and receive results. If the intermediary server that you use to connect to a target server is located in Germany, other internet servers will treat you as if you were in Germany. That means you’ll be able to access services like ProSieben that are region locked to Germany.
Oh, but it isn’t! What we are referring to – using an intermediary server to connect to the internet – is the way that internet proxies work. There are now a plethora of VPN and proxy services available today that are geared towards people who have only the most basic technical background.
All of the hard work will be done for you by client applications – all you need to do is install the relevant client on your device and you’re good to go. All you need to do is choose the right service to use.
Proxy or VPN?
Proxies and VPNs accomplish the same result but using different methods. A VPN uses an encrypted communication tunnel between the device and the VPN server, which is great for security.
However, the drawback to using a VPN is that you will have to share an IP address with other users. That IP address will also be easily traceable back to the VPN data center. Online services who want to use region locking will block the IP addresses of known VPNs.
With a proxy, you can get around this issue by using a residential proxy – meaning it will assign you an IP address that will trace back to a residential area. This enables you to blend in much better when you want to stream content and evade potential IP bans.
If you want to access German region-locked content from anywhere in the world, a German proxy service is the way to go. You should never sign up to a free proxy service – these are the perfect way for malicious actors to steal your data and information.
It is worth paying the costs necessary to use a secure premium service. If you choose the right proxy provider, you will never have to worry about geo-blocking again. If you want to access German content from anywhere in the world, this is how.