Nothing is quite as frustrating as trying to get on your favorite website and finding it blocked. There are many reasons an authority decides to block the public’s access to a website, just like there are many reasons the public wants to get through. Annoying bans and restrictions take place when employers, schools, and governments feel the need to censor content. Blocked websites are no match for a little ingenuity, but how do you do it?
Use VPN (recommended)
The best way to unblock websites is through a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Not only do VPNs allow you to access blocked websites, they also protect your privacy completely. For this reason and many others, it’s the best choice for this task. A VPN routes your connections through a private server, hiding your identity.
VPNs encrypt your data before it even leaves your device, which means even your internet provider can’t see what you’re doing. The data goes first to the VPN, then out into the world to connect with whatever site you’re looking for. Don’t confuse a “free proxy” service with a legitimate VPN server. “Free proxy servers” are almost always tracking your activity and serving you ads.
Some benefits of using a VPN include the facts that the destination site can’t see who you are, your computer can’t be identified by third parties, and data is encrypted instead of being sent out raw.
Try an online proxy (not secure)
If your access to certain websites is blocked at work or school, you can try a proxy. This will allow you to access social networking sites, video streaming, or other blocked websites. It is important to remember that proxy servers are not secure as a VPN. However, they will get the job done if there are no other alternatives. Proxy websites camouflage your ISP from the blocked site and let you access it. There are many different proxy sites you can find on the web to try.
Use Google translate
Sometimes even when Google is banned, Google Translate is not. This is because it is generally considered an educational tool so is non-threatening. However, it may be able to unblock sites for you at school or work. Convert the blocked site into another language that you know, and you may be able to bypass the block. You can also try Microsoft’s Bing or another translation service and see if it works.
Use the IP address instead of the domain name
One simple thing to try if you run into a blocked website is using the IP address instead of the actual domain name. This trick can fool DNS servers who are blocking the website. For example, instead of typing Facebook.com into your browsers address bar, type 188.8.131.52. If you don’t know the IP address of the site you’re trying to reach, you can find it here.
Look for browser proxy (if you’re on school or corporate network)
Your school or organization might be using internal network proxies. If you find a website blocked or restricted, you can try disabling the proxy settings in your network. How you do this depends on what browser you’re using. Go to settings and find the network or connections options. You can choose to have no proxy or select one that has unrestricted browsing. You may have to use a little trial and error before you get through.
A quick, simple thing to try with a blocked website is URL recasting. This is just fooling around with how the URL is written to try to get through to the blocked site. This sometimes works if a site doesn’t have a verified SSL. Try using https instead of HTTP, or leaving the HTTP off and just typing the www. If this results in a security warning, click proceed and see if the website opens.
Leverage portable browsers
To unblock a website at school, you can download a browser onto an external memory device. Install a web browser like Firefox onto an external USB or similar device and you could be able to bypass the block. A good set of portable browsers is located here.
There are many options for unblocking a website, with a VPN being easiest by far. VPNs are quick, reliable, and the most secure choice.
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