Few things are as frustrating as receiving an “Access Denied” website message. And with the ever-increasing use of geo-blockers and regional filters to govern what web users can access, this kind of message is becoming depressingly common.
But we don’t believe that people should have to limit their online freedom just because it suits companies like Netflix. There are actually quite a few ways to work around and access denied website notification, so no site has to be off limits – no matter how much the owners might want it.
This blog will explain exactly how to fix access denied website notifications for some of the most popular sites. So if you don’t like the idea of digital barriers restricting your freedom, read on.
Why do websites place restrictions on access for ordinary web users?
There are plenty of reasons for those annoying “access denied” messages to appear, and most relate to the business models being adopted by online sellers.
For example, the American airline Southwest routinely denies access to users from outside the United States, and the company rigorously restricts the places where you can buy their tickets. That way, they can minimize their costs and ensure total control over ticketing policies.
Similarly, the TV channel HBO offers its “Go” streaming service (tagline “It’s HBO. Anywhere”). But if you live outside the USA, you’ll be out of luck. Instead of a wealth of great content, the platform delivers a simple “Not in service area” notification.
In this case, the reason is mainly digital rights management. Platforms like HBO can’t legally offer every show or film to every jurisdiction without incurring huge payments. While sites like Netflix ration content from nation to nation, HBO choose a blanket ban. Either way, that’s bad news for entertainment fans.
In other cases, platforms may want to juggle the offerings available in various countries, as tastes tend to differ. And hosting content that nobody wants to watch can be a waste of resources.
British people may have experienced this before when trying to watch the BBC iPlayer overseas. The BBC is pretty strong at restricting access when you leave British shores, causing holidaymakers to miss episodes of their favorite shows.
However, there may be more devious considerations. For instance, retailers can offer the same products for wildly varying prices in different countries, exploiting levels of demand to maximize their profits.
Then there is out and out censorship. In the UK, for instance, over 600,000 sites have been blocked – usually for legal breaches. Many of these are likely to be legitimate sites that have been incorrectly or harshly treated.
What’s actually happening here? How do sites block users?
Underneath the hood, the internet is a surprisingly simple environment, and the techniques used by websites aren’t all that complex. Most of the time, companies like Southwest simply use IP addresses to determine the location of the user. If that address falls outside a certain region, then access is denied.
For those who don’t know already, your IP address is usually a 12-digit code which includes a range of identification data – including the location of your server. So, if you use an ISP in the UK, websites in the USA will easily be able to tell this.
How to fix access denied website notifications
As we’ve seen, when you receive an access denied website message, the reasons could vary. But whatever the cause of the denial, the solutions are usually related. Here are some tips to use which should allow you to beat even the tightest online blockade.
1. Install a reliable Virtual Private Network
Having a good VPN is the number one solution to working around access denied website notifications. No other tools have the ability to mask your online identity and fool websites into thinking you’re located nearby.
How do VPNs manage this trick? They work by assigning users a totally new IP address, one which could be located on the other side of the world. If there is no IP address leakage involved (which can happen with free or low-quality VPNs), sites won’t have a clue about the deception. So you’ll be able to log onto whatever entertainment platforms or airline booking portals you desire.
Moreover, VPNs encrypt every packet of data you send over the web, which makes your identity even harder to detect.
2. Research the current situation regarding Netflix unblocking
Before you download the most appealing VPN around, a word of caution is necessary. Netflix is well aware of the way VPNs can be used to work around geo-blockers, and has taken steps to neutralize many popular providers.
If VPNs aren’t entirely watertight, users will give away tell-tale signs that they are being used. And sites like Netflix are becoming more sensitive to these signs all the time.
Because of this, the best VPNs include features which hide the fact that you are even using a VPN. This “Double VPN” function is likely to become essential for streaming fans in the near future, so make sure your chosen VPN includes it.
3. Use a Smart DNS tool
If you don’t want to install a full-blown VPN, you might be able to use a Smart DNS app to get similar results. Smart DNS (also known as proxies) tools don’t encrypt any of your data. But they do route your traffic through alternative servers, assigning you a new identity.
This has some advantages. For example, streaming speeds can be faster due to the absence of encryption. So it’s worth giving Smart DNS a try. But don’t be surprised if the access denied website notification returns.
The problem is that proxies aren’t very effective at fooling more sophisticated geo-blockers, and they are becoming less useful all the time. Still, they have their place. Some VPNs also come with the option of switching to faster connections, so they may be the ones to go for.
Smash down geo-blockers and liberate the internet
By now, you should have a fairly good idea about how to fix access denied website content. With a high-quality VPN, you should be able to surf streaming platforms or retailers without running into irritating notifications.
And when you do, you may be surprised by some of the benefits. For instance, flights can be much cheaper when ordered in certain countries, as can car rental or hotels. So experiment and shop around. And above all else, enjoy how it feels to be truly free when you use the web.