As an Android owner, you’d think you could download whatever app you like from the Google Play store, no matter where you are in the world. Unfortunately, the “this item isn’t available in your country” error message is real, and it’s here to ruin your day–unless you use a VPN, that is. We show you how to get started below.
Although our world is becoming increasingly digital, with access to goods and services available from the comfort of any internet-connected device, certain content laws remain stubbornly lodged in the past. For example, when trying to install apps from Google Play which haven’t been made available in your area due to copyright and licensing restrictions, you’ll likely encounter the infamous “This Item Isn’t Available in Your Country” message.
Messages like this can appear when shopping, trying to access streaming sites like Netflix, and of course downloading apps. If you’re sick of the frustration artificial content blocks impose upon you, don’t worry! All you need to break through to the other side is a reliable and safe VPN. Today, we’re going to explain how to bypass this error (plus others like it), and unblock apps from any marketplace. We’ll also provide quick recommendations for the most reliable VPN providers out there, then give you a crash-course in understanding geo-blocking.
Finding the best VPN to access worldwide content
VPNs are marvelous little tools. Simply running one in the background gives you access to a wealth of benefits, everything from virtual location variability to data encryption, identity protection, and all-around information security. Best of all, VPNs are inexpensive and extremely easy to use, and they work on just about all modern devices, including smartphones.
VPN features you need for unblocking apps
Not all VPNs are as good at accessing content from other countries as others. There are dozens of features you can research and compare, everything from encryption strengths to privacy features and logging policies. Learning which items to prioritize when looking for the best VPN is key to coming out ahead. We’ve streamlined the process below with a list of the top criteria used to select a reliable, fast, and safe VPN.
- Excellent reputation – Can you trust your VPN? Using established services is a good starting point for keeping data safe and secure.
- Large server network – To view content not available in your country, you need lots of servers located in regions where the content is accessible.
- Security extras – Does the VPN offer an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection? How about other extras? The more options you have, the better.
- Software availability – You need to be able to run compatible VPN software on all of your devices to fix geo-restriction issues.
- Zero-logging policy – VPNs can store logs of your activity. To ensure this doesn’t happen, go with a service that has a zero-logging policy.
Recommended VPNs to unblock restricted Google Play apps
Sick of seeing that error message “this item isn’t available in your country”? With a good VPN on your side, you can break through geo-restriction walls and bypass region locks with ease. With the right VPN you can even get a U.S. IP address from anywhere in the world. It all starts with a reliable service, and any of the selections below will do the job.
Here, we present our top three recommended VPN providers proven effective at unblocking content worldwide:
ExpressVPN is an extremely easy to use VPN that aims to make online security and content unblocking as easy as a single click. The company offers incredibly intuitive software for a wide variety of devices (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.), all of which start up and connect automatically. Once you sign up with ExpressVPN, all you have to do is install the app and you’ll be able to bypass country blocks to access content from anywhere in the world.
ExpressVPN offers the right balance of privacy features to keep you safe. Data sent to and from your device is secured with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption and backed by a strict zero-logging policy on all traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. Information is also protected by an automatic kill switch and DNS leak prevention features. These features work in conjunction with ExpressVPN’s massive network of over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries to provide fast and secure internet access each time you click “connect”.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
- Reliable and fast connections
- Supports ALL devices
- No personal information logs kept
- 24/7 Customer Service.
- Limited configuration options
- High cost for month-to-month users.
NordVPN is a fast and secure VPN that countless thousands of users rely on every single day to unblock content, protect data, and keep their identity safe. NordVPN runs a large network of fast servers, currently over 5,500 servers in 58 countries, which is one of the biggest offerings in the VPN industry. This variety delivers incredible speeds no matter where you connect from, and it allows NordVPN to offer unique click-to-use features like double encryption, protection from DDoS attacks, and onion routing over VPN.
NordVPN comes with everything you need to stay safe online: 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a zero-logging policy that covers time stamps, DNS requests, IP addresses, and traffic. It’s extremely easy to use on any device, offering lightweight yet powerful apps for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and other platforms. It can also unblock content from most countries thanks to its incredible network of servers. When you need solid, fast protection, and unparalleled unblocking features, you can’t go wrong with NordVPN.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
- No bandwidth caps
- Connect up to 6 devices at once
- Strict zero logs policy on both traffic and metadata
- Money back guarantee policy.
- Very little
- Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
When you need a VPN that’s simple to use but offers plenty of unblocking features, PrivateVPN is the perfect choice. The service is fast, safe, and easy to use, helping everyone from VPN newbies to privacy experts bypass region locks and keep their data secure. You’ll be able to surf and stream in complete privacy on a variety of devices, including PC, iOS, Android, Mac, and plenty of other platforms, all with a couple of quick clicks. PrivateVPN makes it so you never have to worry about your online privacy again!
PrivateVPN operates a small yet reliable network of over 150 servers in 60+ countries, enough to give you good location variety and speeds without sacrificing quality. Data is locked down and secured with strong 256-bit AES encryption to keep your connection safe, and an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection along with a zero logging policy on all traffic ensure your privacy is never at risk.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
All about geo-restrictions and region locks
Seeing the dreaded “not available in your country” message on Google Play or other online marketplaces is enough to make you want to throw your phone across the room. With a VPN on your side, however, you can crack through the barrier and watch whatever you want with ease. How exactly does this work, and why are international content laws in place at all? We’ll look at just those issues below.
Why does this error occur?
The country availability error message pops up in the most frustrating of places. Most users run into it when trying to download apps on Google Play that haven’t been made available in their area. It also appears when you try streaming content from a movie or TV show service that doesn’t offer connections in your country. No matter its location, the availability error is always related to the one thing: your IP address.
IP addresses are sort of like postal service addresses for online data. Each device you connect to the internet with gets assigned a unique IP the moment it goes online. This is used to send and receive packets of information and ensures content always goes where it’s supposed to. Without IPs, you couldn’t really do anything online, as there would be no way to determine which device requested which piece of information.
The downside to IP addresses is they make it extremely easy to pinpoint a user’s location. Each IP is associated with a particular range of addresses tied to a certain country. By keeping a master list of these countries, a website or streaming service can monitor where users are connecting from, then deny them access if they’re in the “wrong” country.
Why is Google Play different?
Google Play’s country availability error message is slightly different than the ones you might encounter on other websites. It’s not always related to IP addresses, it can also have to do with the countries set by the app uploader, or the region you selected under your account preferences. The good news is that even though Google Play follows some different rules, it’s still really easy to fix the error, especially with a good VPN.
How do VPNs bypass geo-restriction barriers?
VPNs use a simple trick that sneaks around region locks almost by accident. Each time you connect to a VPN your local IP address is exchanged with an anonymous one from the VPN’s server network. If you connect to a node in Canada, for example, you’ll have a Canadian IP address associated with your online identity. This does wonders for online privacy and security, but it also cuts through geo-restriction barriers like they’re not even there.
If you can’t access a movie or an app because it’s “not available in your country”, most of the time all you need to do is open your VPN, connect to a server in a country where the content will be available, reload the page and suddenly you’ll have access. All it takes is a few clicks and the right VPN!
Is it illegal to bypass region locks?
For the most part, no, it isn’t against the law. The legalities surrounding worldwide content access on movie streaming services and Google Play sits in something of a gray area, however. In truth, it depends on what content you’re accessing, and where you’re specifically accessing it from. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule that says it’s legal to bypass region locks.
As always, it’s your responsibility to research and understand local laws before utilizing a VPN to unblock anything. A VPN does not give you license to do as you please on the internet, nor will it provide complete protection if legal action is taken against you. Addictive Tips does not condone any action that may break the laws of any country. Always consider the consequences of unblocking or accessing foreign media before opening your VPN.
How to fix ‘This Item Isn’t Available in Your Country’
With all the background information out of the way, it’s finally time to set up your VPN and start downloading some new content.
Setting up your VPN
The first thing you’ll want to do is download and install VPN software on your device. In your favorite web browser, preferably on a PC, create a VPN account with one of the recommended providers above, sign into the official website and download the app for your device. Launch it and sign in as soon as this process completes.
Most VPN software will automatically search for the fastest server and connect you to it the moment you open the app. This may not meet all of your unblocking needs, however, so you’ll need to take an extra step. Go to the VPN’s server browser and search for a connection in another country. If you’re not sure which area will fix the error message, try the biggest regions first, you can always come back and try another country later.
Once the connection is complete, you’re safe and sound. Let the app run in the background and keep it active whenever you connect to the internet, both at home and while you travel. This will ensure you’re always safe each time you go online.
Unblocking region restricted content with a VPN
With your VPN is installed, connected, and configured all you need to do is try loading the website you couldn’t access before. Open a web browser and type in the URL. It should open automatically, all without service error or access denied messages.
If you still can’t access the content, you likely need to switch to another country. Go back to the VPN’s server browser and pick a different location, one you think will be unaffected by the availability issue. Now head back to the website or service, reload, and try again.
Bypassing app availability issues on Google Play
If changing your virtual location via VPN doesn’t make the “this item isn’t available in your country” error go away, you may need to take further measures to access content on Google Play.
Clearing the app cache
If you encounter the region error while checking out Google Play on your smartphone or tablet, VPN access should clear everything up right away. In rare cases this doesn’t work, you’ll want to try clearing out the app cache and reloading it to make sure it accepts your new virtual location.
The instructions below will walk you through the app clearing process for most versions of Android. The details may be slightly different if you’re using a different version of the Android operating system.
- On your Android device, find and tap the Settings icon.
- Navigate to Applications – All Applications, then search for the Google Play Store.
- Tap the Google Play entry and choose the Clear Cache button. Note that you do not want to clear data, only the cache.
- Tap the Force Stop button to close the app.
- Go back to your home screen, then relaunch Google Play.
- Your store will now be updated with the new virtual location details in place.
Change your account’s region
If none of the above tactics work to eliminate the availability error, your last line of defense is to change the region associated with your Google Play account. This requires setting up a new payments profile, which only takes a few moments to do.
- In a web browser, go to https://payments.google.com/payments and sign in using your Google credentials.
- Click settings on the left side of the screen.
- Click the pencil icon next to Country/Region.
- Click the Create New Profile link that shows up.
- Follow the prompts and enter the details requested by Google.
- Enter country details you think will unblock the app you’re trying to access.
- Once the profile is ready, go back to the content you requested and reload the page. It should remove the “not available” error and you can download right away.
- If the new profile doesn’t work, try following the cache clearing steps above. You may also need to wait an hour while the profile propagates across Google’s servers.
Seeing “this item isn’t available in your country” is frustrating for a lot of people. Worldwide app and video streaming rights are difficult things to negotiate, which leaves countless countries waiting for issues to be resolved before they can enjoy their favorite content. With the right VPN on your side, however, you can leap over these barriers to play the games you want, watch the movies you want, and enjoy a free and open internet once again.
Which apps are you hoping to download first with your new, region-free VPN connection? Let us know in the comments below!
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.