OpenAI is a technology company that created the Generative Pre-Trained Transformer or GPT, a powerful machine learning model capable of creating natural-sounding, grammatically correct text. This model was used to power a publically released chatbot named ChatGPT that’s taken the world by storm immediately after launch and continues to attract a lot of attention from industry experts and regular users alike.
The chatbot is free to use after a simple registration procedure, so anyone can take it for a spin and test its conversational capacities firsthand. It is hosted on the OpenAI website and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, but there is a catch. The website might not be available in all parts of the world and some users who try to access ChatGPT receive an error message to this effect. This is a major inconvenience but it’s possible to work around it, and this article will teach you how to do it.
The owner of the ChatGPT technology, OpenAI, is based in the United States where its servers are also hosted. The website is generally open to the public around the world, but there are some countries that are not supported. If a user located in one of those nations tries to navigate to the site and start a ChatGPT conversation, he won’t be able to interact with the chatbot and will instead see an error message indicating that the services of the company are not available in that jurisdiction.
A notable example is China, where OpenAI doesn’t provide services due to the absence of an understanding of the government and its censorship policies.
Other examples include Iran, North Korea, and the war-ravaged Syria, all of which are regarded as rogue states and excluded from much of global communications anyway. Surprisingly, Italy made a decision to ban ChatGPT due to concerns over private data processing, raising questions about how the rest of the EU will react, but this ban is temporary and may be lifted in the near future.
If you happen to reside in one of the countries in which OpenAI website doesn’t work, you might still be able to access ChatGPT by circumventing the restrictions. There are a couple of elegant ways to do that, neither of which requires special training nor advanced coding skills. Here is what to do if OpenAI services are not available in your location but you still want to test its exciting new chatbot.
VPN software is generally very useful whenever there is a need to obscure your geographic location while accessing the internet. Software of this type works well for bypassing regional restrictions for the OpenAI website, but there is an additional obstacle to overcome that can’t be solved by VPN alone.
Since there is a phone verification step during the OpenAI registration procedure, a SIM card issued in your country could give away your actual location and prevent you from accessing the site. Thus, in addition to installing VPN software, you will also need a phone number registered in a country where OpenAI is working normally.
With these conditions in place, just do the following:
Step 1. Run a VPN solution on your computer and go to the OpenAI website
Step 2. Create an account and follow the on-screen instructions until you reach phone verification step
Step 3. Use a real phone number issued in another country to verify your account
Step 4. Once the phone number is confirmed, continue to OpenAI website and use the chatbot for as much as you want
There is another simple way to hide where you are trying to log in from and avoid being blocked by OpenAI. By accessing the website from a browser set to Private or Incognito mode, you can accomplish basically the same thing as with a VPN. However, this method doesn’t eliminate the requirement for new users to complete phone verification, so the issue with getting a foreign SIM card remains. However, users with valid accounts can use this method to log in from practically everywhere.
Here is how you can accomplish this using the Chrome web browser:
Step 1. Open Google Chrome on your computer
Step 2. Go to Settings and choose New Incognito Window from the menu
Step 3. Switch to the Incognito window and navigate to the OpenAI website
Step 4. Log in with your account credentials and start a new chat with ChatGPT
Why is ChatGPT unavailable in specific countries and regions?
Since every jurisdiction has its own data privacy laws and OpenAI has to meet some international regulations, its services are not rendered everywhere in the world. In some cases, the decision to restrict access was made by OpenAI, while in others the national governments made it on their own.
What to do if my country is on the list of supported regions but OpenAI site remains unavailable?
In very rare instances, users attempting to log in might see the error message despite the fact that the jurisdiction they currently reside in is on the list of supported regions. If this occurs, the best course of action is to contact OpenAI’s customer service directly and ask for an explanation.
Can I use an existing account to access OpenAI site from a country that is not supported?
Use of an existing account eliminates the need to undergo phone number verification, but geolocation data from the browser would still be accessible to the site’s filters. Only with a VPN app, is it becomes possible to circumvent the limitation and access ChatGPT using an old account from another country.
The arrival of ChatGPT is signaling the dawn of a new era when it comes to artificial intelligence, and OpenAI remains on the forefront of this wave. While there are alternative AI models that come close to its performance GPT is currently the golden standard against which all competitors are benchmarked. This is why people who live in parts of the globe where regular access to OpenAI’s site is restricted need to learn how to fix this problem using one of the methods we described above.