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Hearing about a hot new content platform with awesome shows and movies is amazing – at least until you find out it’s not available in your area. Or, even worse, that you can’t watch it while you travel abroad, even if you can sign up for it where you live.

That was the case with Disney+ for me. I was very excited when I first heard about it. I was especially looking forward to The Mandalorian. But that excitement quickly disappeared when I found out the service wasn’t going to work in my region (Eastern Europe).

For now, you can only watch Disney+ in the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Sure, the platform is gonna come to Europe too, but only in Western countries. And it’s still gonna take a lot of months for the service to be widely available there too.

Safe to say it’s gonna take even longer for the service to hit my part of the world. And right now, if you try to watch content on Disney+ outside of the places where it’s available, you won’t be able to do it. Yep, even if you already have an account, and are vacationing abroad. Sure, you can watch shows you downloaded in advance, but that’s not very convenient.

But how exactly do Disney+ and other services restrict your access? One word – geo-restrictions. If you’re not familiar with that term, here’s all you need to know about it:

What Are Geo-Restrictions, Exactly?

Geo-restrictions (also known as geo-blocks) are a form of content control technology. Content platforms use them to dictate who gets access to their services and who doesn’t.

Basically, geo-restrictions work because a website can see your real IP address. And your IP address reveals personal info about you such as:

  • What country you live in.
  • What city you live in.
  • Who your ISP is.
  • What your ZIP code is.

All in all, it is enough info for a website to tell what your geo-location is. And if your geo-location is blacklisted by the website, one of three things will happen:

  1. You’ll be denied access to the website.
  2. You’ll be redirected to a landing page that says the service will become available in your area sometime in the future (it’s not usually specified when).
  3. If the service works in your area, you might get redirected to your country’s library, so you won’t have access to all the content you want.

Why Do Disney+ and Other Platforms Use Geo-Restrictions?

One of the main reasons is that content providers have to respect copyright regulations. Sure, Disney+ owns a lot of the content it has on display, but it must stick to previous licensing agreements. Not to mention itss library will also contain series from other sources like Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic, and ABC Studios.

So, Disney+ has to respect any copyright agreements it has with those other studios. And if those agreements say Disney+ can’t make some content available outside the US or any other country, they have to respect them.

Besides that, you also need to keep licensing fees in mind. Basically, if Disney+ (or any other content platform) were to make all their content available worldwide, they’d have to buy licensing rights in every single country.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize just how expensive that can get. Financially, it makes more sense for Disney+ to stick to a few select markets which they know for sure will be profitable.

Also, some content providers (not Disney+ in this case) have to use geo-restrictions to comply with the law. That’s usually the case with BBC content since it receives funding from taxpayer money. So it wouldn’t really be fair to them to make the content available worldwide.

Are Geo-Restrictions Even Legal to Begin With?

It really depends on the region of the world, but yeah – geo-restrictions are normally seen as legal. That’s especially true in the US, Australia, the UK, and Canada.

The EU has it a bit better since it requires content providers with paid services to offer a type of “roaming” within its borders. However, that kind of roaming still comes with some limitations, so it’s not 100% unrestricted.

How to Bypass Geo-Blocks and Enjoy Disney+ Today

Alright, so your IP address gives you away. Obviously, you need to hide it. It sounds difficult, I know, but it really isn’t. Luckily, I found a very simple solution that gave me instant access to Disney+ content – using a VPN.

If you’re not sure what it is, just think of it as an online service that hides your real IP address. Basically, when you connect to a VPN server, it automatically replaces your IP address with its own address. So, all you really need to do is just connect to a VPN server in a country where Disney+ (or the content platform you want to unblock) is available.

Yep, it’s as simple as that.


How Do You Pick the Right VPN, Though?

Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as just using a VPN. After all, there are hundreds of VPN providers on the market right now, so picking a good one can be tough – especially since Disney+ is pretty good at blocking VPN services.

Don’t worry, though – you won’t need to do hours of research and testing to find a good VPN. Instead, just follow this link to see more about the best VPN services for Disney+. The guide has all the info you need, and it’s a very quick and informative read.

The Bottom Line

Most content platforms offer amazing entertainment nowadays – especially Disney+, the most recent streaming service. Sadly, you can’t enjoy all the shows and movies if you’re from a blacklisted part of the world. The website simply won’t let you access its content.

Fortunately, you can just use a VPN to bypass any geo-blocks you come across. Still, even if there’s a solution, I still want to know how you personally feel about geo-blocks. Are they necessary or just annoying? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Emily Walsh
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