Companies, governments, and individuals can block access to websites in numerous ways. From proxies that filter content to banning in firewall rules, the methods are many and produce varied results.
Luckily, there are equally as many ways to access a blocked website. You can access blocked websites by using both paid methods that are nearly unstoppable and free methods that might be a little more shaky, but still work on a consistent basis.
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1. Use proxies
Using a proxy website to purchase the servers and integrating them into your browser or application is the most powerful method. Other ways to access blocked websites will either produce identical or weaker results.
Due to the way proxies work, they give you ways to circumvent all ways individuals, companies, and governments block websites. Most of these methods revolve around restricting your personal IP from accessing a specified URL.
Proxies, on the other hand, interject between your IP and the destination. Instead of sending requests directly to the destination, the connection is first turned over to the proxy. Since no one can block all proxies as hundreds of millions of them exist, you will always have access to them.
Once your connection is sent to a proxy, all blocks are off. Government and company restrictions will not apply to the proxy server as it will exist in (likely) a far off country. Additionally, if there is some geo-restricted content that’s only available in a specific country, you can always find a proxy that will let you access it.
In the end, using a proxy website to get paid or free proxies is the most optimal way to regain access to blocked websites. When picking free proxies, however, check if the provider has a free trial and a paid product. If they’re giving it all away without a payment and have no way to monetize them, it’s likely that they will be selling your data.
Finally, you might be using a forced proxy due to company or institution settings. In that case, go to the web browser or OS settings and find the “change network proxy” entry and switch it to the ones you bought. Make sure, however, that you’re allowed to do that by the administrator.
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2. Use a VPN
Using VPN services is the second most effective and one of the most common options out there. A VPN (or virtual private network) functions in an almost identical manner to proxies, except instead of having the choice of routing a single application or the entire traffic through a server, VPNs always do the latter.
Other than that, they essentially provide you with an IP address that forwards requests for you. Since, again, the connection goes first to the provided IP, no blocking can occur. VPN services, however, have a more limited pool of servers, so theoretically it could be possible to block them all. That rarely happens in practice, though.
Additionally, a VPN is often quite a bit simpler to use as they are intended for a regular, non-tech savvy user. They have fancy and easy-to-use UIs, great user experience, and tons of guides on how to bypass restrictions.
Finally, while proxies can accomplish all of the same goals as a VPN, there’s a lot more flexibility within them. You can find proxies that will encrypt traffic and make it harder for the Internet Service Provider to track you while others won’t. Some proxies may leak your IP address, others won’t.
VPNs, on the other hand, give you the entire package all in one go. You don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice or anything of the like. All it takes is reading what the VPN provider will give you and see if it matches your needs.
3. Use Tor browser
For those who want to access blocked websites and maximize online security, Tor browser is the best option. It’s a completely free software package that aims to fully anonymize online activities while changing your IP address.
They use a chained relay system where none of the nodes know the full information of your request, only where to forward it. As such, snooping on your data becomes impossible and so does tracking.
Unfortunately, Tor browser does have quite a few issues. For one, there’s no personal choice of the IP address. You get one randomly assigned and use the “switch identity” button to get a new IP address. Such randomization means you’ll have trouble bypassing geo restrictions.
Additionally, it’s all a volunteer effort, meaning that the optimization simply isn’t there. Most of the time you’ll experience extreme slowdowns due to the overload of the nodes that are running the routing process.
All in all, Tor can help you regain access to any blocked website, albeit with a price of performance. It will help you stay completely anonymous online, however, so it’s a worthy trade-off for some.
4. Use Google Translate
An interesting way to bypass some restrictions for free is to use Google Translate. You don’t even have to translate anything to get the desired effect. They essentially access blocked sites (for you) and provide a cached version of it.
Getting to the blocked website is simple. Copy the blocked website’s URL from your web browser’s address bar to Google Translate. Since they now automatically switch between pairs of languages, you’re best off selecting “Detected Language” and the one you want it translated to.
That way you’ll be able to avoid translation if you don’t want to change the language of the page. For example, picking “Detected Language” and “English” will show you the original version of the page if it was written in English.
Finally, some of the displayed content will look clunky and ruined. So, Google Translate is best used on simple websites that you want to read. If there’s videos, pop-ups, and various complicated layouts, you’re better off trying something else.
5. Change your DNS server
Sometimes all it takes to unblock websites is to change your DNS server. They are connection request communication intermediaries that speed up the process of finding the right website.
A DNS can sometimes be used to also block websites as they can filter out IPs that the administrators deems unfit. So, changing the DNS to a public one would solve all of your issues and unblock websites.
To set up a public DNS, go to the Network settings of your OS and find the network you’re currently connected to. Go to the properties section of it and find “DNS”. Then add these IPs to the associated sections:
These are DNS servers provided by Google, so they don’t block any websites. If the DNS servers were the way access to websites was blocked in your case, changing them to the public Google ones will solve the problem.
If it doesn’t solve the issue, that means websites were blocked with another method. You’ll have to choose from the other entries and try to regain access that way.
6. Use the IP instead of the URL
The final way to bypass restrictions is to get the IP of the website. In other words, instead of typing in some URL such as “www.google.com”, you’d get the IP and use the number combination to access the same website.
You can get IPs of websites by using the Terminal or Command Prompt. Open up either of these tools and type in:
ping [website URL]
Once the actions are complete, there will be an IP stated within the results. Use that IP address to access the website instead of typing in the URL.
Unfortunately, the success rate of such a method is quite low. While it’s one of the simplest ways out there and it’s completely free, you’ll only be able to bypass the simplest of restrictions.
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