Founded in 2006, file-hosting service Zippyshare has been around for well over a decade.
The sharing hub, with an estimated 100 million users, is listed among the 500 most-visited sites on the Internet.
However, in recent months Zippyshare began selectively closing its doors in several regions. In March we reported that UK visitors had been blocked, and a few weeks later German visitors got the same treatment.
Instead of being welcomed by the regular homepage, they see a “forbidden” error in their browser, suggesting that the operators have specifically banned these regions.
This month Zippyshare’s mysterious blocking efforts expanded to Spain. Visitors from Southern European countries, or anyone who accesses the site from a Spanish IP-address, can no longer access the site.
The error message doesn’t explain what’s going on which has resulted in some simply presuming that the site has shut down, voluntarily or not. That’s certainly not the case though.
Others believe Zippyshare is blocked or banned in Spain, noting that it can still be accessed through a French VPN server.
While that’s closer to the truth, the site isn’t being blocked by ISPs. On the contrary, it appears that Zippyshare is responsible for the blocking here. For some reason, people from the UK, Germany, and Spain are no longer welcome.
We tried to get a comment from the site’s operators this week but have yet to receive a response. Our previous inquiries also remained unanswered.
One likely explanation is that Zippyshare took this step after some kind of legal pressure. It wouldn’t be the first time that a website has done this. Previously, several stream-rippers also blocked UK traffic, presumably over similar concerns.
While we’re not aware of any concrete legal issues, the RIAA did report Zippyshare as a ‘notorious’ pirate site to the US Trade Representative late last year. That said, the site remains freely available in the US.
Whatever the reason for or source of the localized blockade is, people can always find a workaround. The site can still be accessed through a VPN, as long as it’s not from a server in one of the blocked countries.