What are the Top 10 Websites Only Available in the US
Even though the internet has given us the freedom to connect to other parts of the world, that freedom is not absolute. There are companies that employ certain restrictions on the internet, thereby limiting us from completely taking advantage of the internet. One such restriction is known as geo-blocking, which is a method that limits internet content based on a visitor’s geographical location.
For example, your daily routine while you’re in the United States includes accessing CNN Go for your daily dose of local news. To your surprise, however, you are unable to access the website when you travel out of the country. How did this happen? This is because CNN Go only allows visitors who are physically in the U.S. to access its contents. Website such as CNN Go that uses geo-blocking determines the geographic location of a visitor by checking the IP address.
Therefore, when you are in London for a business trip and visits the CNN Go website, you will be unable to access it because it detects that your IP address is from Europe, and not from the United States. Unfortunately, there are many websites and companies that make use of geo-blocking to restrict people’s access.
Why is there Geo-blocking?
It then leads us to these seemingly mind-boggling questions: Why is there geo-blocking? Why would companies restrict their contents?
Some websites that operate online businesses use geo-blocking to make sure that their products and services cannot be accessed in countries where they can’t legally operate. This is true especially for websites that offer gambling services because they are not legal in some countries.
The use of geo-blocking by some online vendors, however, has recently become questionable. These vendors employ a different pricing strategy in one country and another pricing strategy in another country. To most consumers, this double standard is not fair.
On the other hand, there are many companies that employ geo-blocking in order to extend their technological protection measures (TPM) online. During the era of CDs and DVDs, Hollywood producers and filmmakers use region coding as their TPM. This way, their films and music albums cannot be copied and played back outside their market. In the emergence of online streaming, these companies resort to geo-blocking as their TPM.
These same companies cite rights licensing issues as the reason for limiting their audiences to certain countries. And this is the main reason why you cannot access your favourite U.S. websites when you are outside the country.
Top Ten List of Geo-Blocked Websites in the U.S.
Aside from CNN Go that was mentioned before, there are many websites that are available only in the United States. Here is the top ten list of geo-blocked websites in the U.S., ranging from websites that offer movies, TV shows and music streaming, to websites that offer sports streaming.
You may argue that Netflix is not geo-blocked because you are still able to access it whenever you go outside the United States. However, notice that the content of the Netflix library when you are in the U.S. and when you are in, let’s say, Singapore, are very different. Netflix restricts several U.S. movies and shows from being available in other countries, that is why you cannot find Stranger Things in the library when you went outside the United States for a vacation.
Hulu is a video streaming company owned by four of the largest TV corporations in America – Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, Comcast and The Walt Disney Company. Hulu is very similar to how Netflix works, but it is not available internationally. It can be accessed only in the U.S., U.S. military bases, and Japan.
3. HBO Go
This popular website offers its viewers unlimited online streaming of HBO movies and shows such as the most sought-after series, Game of Thrones. You need to have an HBO account though in order to have access to this website and is not available in all countries.
VEVO is another online video streaming portal that contains high quality and sought-after contents. However, VEVO is only available in eleven countries. So when you go to a country where VEVO is restricted, then you won’t get to follow your favourite videos.
WatchESPN, or ESPN3, is an online video streaming website that is owned by ESPN, an American sports TV channel. People outside the United States cannot access the service due to geographical restriction.
6. WWE Network
WWE Network also has an online streaming service that allows wrestling fans to watch live games, replays, and commentaries. Most of the content on the network, however, cannot be accessed by people outside the U.S.
Lifetime is yet another U.S.-based TV network that has quality programs mostly centred on women. Shows and movies on this channel have won several awards. Unfortunately, the website is only available to people within the United States.
8. Food Network
Food Network is an American TV channel that offers a variety of shows that include giving people recipe and party ideas, cooking techniques, health advice, and many more. Access to it is restricted to the U.S.
CBS is American TV network that has several popular TV shows under its arms, such as CSI, The David Letterman Show, NCIS, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race to name a few. It is available for online streaming, but only for people within the United States.
Spotify is a music streaming service that also allows its users to watch podcasts and music videos. It is available in most countries, but like Netflix, the contents differ from one country to another. So if you are someone from Portugal who uses Spotify, you can only access music and videos that are restricted to your country. You won’t be able to access most of the music and videos that are from American singers.
Is there a way around Geo-Blocking?
You should still be able to access your favourite U.S. shows, news portal, and websites even when you are outside the United States. This is true especially when you are paying for your subscription. You may now be wondering, “How can I get around this geo-blocking technique?” and “Is there really a way to open blocked sites?”
Since these websites check the IP address of each of their visitors and allow only those that are from the U.S., then the only way to open restricted sites is to get a U.S. IP address. This way, these websites will think that you are physically in the United States.
In order to have a U.S. IP address when you’re outside the country, you need to use a VPN service. Being under the hood of a VPN network and when connected to a U.S. server, you will automatically have a U.S. IP address. Thus, VPN unblocks sites that are otherwise inaccessible.
The best VPN service is when the VPN provider has several servers in the United States so that you will have a number of options. This is very helpful especially when there are speed or latency issues, which is common when it comes to connecting to any network, whether public or private. You can connect to one server to another until you find the best server that can give you better streaming.
So the next time you go on a trip to Europe or Asia, you can still have your daily dose of local news from CNN Go, watch the next episodes of your favourite shows on Netflix, and be updated with the latest sports events. Gone are the days when you visit a website and get only the message, “This website is only available in the U.S.,” or “The page you are trying to access is not available in your region.”