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You’re at work or school, but you want to check on Facebook, or watch something on YouTube. It’s blocked. Surprise, surprise.

We’ve all been faced with it, and subsequently got annoyed.

Now, you’ve two options: be productive instead 15 Productive Things To Do Online When You Have 15 Minutes To Kill 15 Productive Things To Do Online When You Have 15 Minutes To Kill Can we put some value in the minutes we waste? Let's get thinking about the productive things we can do online when we have a few minutes in our hands. Read More , or try and bypass the filter. Let’s face it, most of us would choose the latter, particularly if you need to view Twitter for research purposes (wink, wink). But how would you do that? Here are some of your options…

1. Use a VPN

Your best bet is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] Read More . You’ve probably heard a bit about them, but they’re not as complicated as they initially sound.

VPNs are best known for adding a much-needed layer of security and privacy using encryption — that’s useful if you’re entering sensitive information and are worried about hackers, or, as in this case, bypassing blocks. These networks connect you to a website via an encrypted “tunnel” What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up Read More , which scrambles data travelling through it either way. Though it’s certainly not fool-proof Don't Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Don't Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Encryption sounds complex, but is far more straightforward than most think. Nonetheless, you might feel a little too in-the-dark to make use of encryption, so let's bust some encryption myths! Read More , you can generally rely on this level of encryption How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More .

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Similarly, this is a dependable way of visiting blocked sites, but can require a bit of effort to install. The TOR browser, however, is easy to download How You Can Officially Browse Facebook Over Tor How You Can Officially Browse Facebook Over Tor Remarkably, Facebook has launched a a .onion address for Tor users to access the popular social network. We show you how to access it in the Tor-Browser. Read More and run. The reason it works is because any software trying to keep an eye on your browsing instead only sees that you’re using a VPN. Without considerable work, no one will be able to monitor URLs: cybercriminals might put in the effort to view your data, but it’s doubtful your employer or educational institution ever will.

It might also be worth downloading a VPN app onto your smartphone Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android VPNs can be useful for a whole host of reasons, but their main benefits are that they keep your data private even over a public WiFi connection (which are surprisingly easy to exploit) and they... Read More or tablet, if you plan on using it somewhere access is often blocked.

2. Bypass Firewalls Using Proxies

Most treat VPNs and proxy servers as interchangeable, but the latter lacks the encryption software that protects a lot of your data. That’s not to say it’s useless or a massive threat to your privacy though! Quite the opposite in fact: proxies hide your Internet Provider (IP) address — which anyone can trace back to your computer How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Want to see the IP address of your computer? Perhaps you want to discover where another computer is situated? Various free tools are available that tell you more about a computer an its IP address. Read More — making your searches anonymous by instead displaying the proxy’s IP.

There are literally thousands of proxy sites on the web. There are also sites that list proxy servers. Do a quick search online. You’ll be bombarded with free services, and, of course, plenty of paid-for ones. The former should be acceptable if you’re just bypassing a site now and then, but if you need a proxy on a regular basis, and are looking for something more secure (and anonymous) 6 Reasons You Should Be Using an Anonymising Proxy Server 6 Reasons You Should Be Using an Anonymising Proxy Server Online privacy is important, but you don't have to remain exposed. You can use an anonymizing proxy server to remain hidden from prying eyes, granting you a little more security in your online affairs. Read More , consider whether it’s worth paying.

Don’t be put off. It’s not very difficult to set up a proxy server How To Create Your Own Online Proxy Server In Minutes How To Create Your Own Online Proxy Server In Minutes Read More , no matter what browser you’re using, to get past restrictions.

3. UltraSurf

This is a seriously popular tool for bypassing blocked websites — except you’ll initially be put off because it uses Internet Explorer as default. That’s in its basic form, with no installation required, so download the EXE file onto a USB drive and run it whenever you need it.

It will open Internet Explorer with the UltraSurf homepage. From there, the web is your oyster.

Fortunately, you can use it on most browsers; notably, an add-on for Chrome and Firefox, but you can manually install it elsewhere. Though it’s only available on Windows right now, Mac and Linux trials are taking place.

The good thing is, it’s fast, because it routes you through a possible three servers so you get highly reliable speeds. You might initially be put off using Internet Explorer, but this, too, can be a benefit, as it’s what you have on IT lockdown. Therefore, it doesn’t look suspicious and you don’t need to have two different browsers open at the same time. Once you close UltraSurf, it erases your history and cookies.

Its main purpose is altruistic. UltraSurf was developed to get around the so-called Great Firewall of China How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China How To Quickly Check If Your Site Is Visible Behind The Great Firewall Of China The Great Firewall of China, officially known as the Golden Shield project, uses a variety of methods to block foreign websites that the Chinese government doesn’t like. The Chinese government doesn’t publish a list of... Read More . However, many have complained about pop-up ads, and some security suites 4 Things to Consider When Buying a Security Suite 4 Things to Consider When Buying a Security Suite McAfee, Kaspersky, Avast, Norton, Panda - all big names in online security. But how do you decide which to choose? Here are some questions you need to ask yourself when purchasing anti-virus software. Read More take issue with it. You also have to make sure you’re using the authentic version: otherwise, “exe” files are often used by hackers How to Spot & Avoid 10 of the Most Insidious Hacking Techniques How to Spot & Avoid 10 of the Most Insidious Hacking Techniques Hackers are getting sneakier and many of their techniques and attacks often go unnoticed by even experienced users. Here are 10 of the most insidious hacking techniques to avoid. Read More to add malware to your device.

4. Remote Access

The idea of remote access might have negative connotations — either you immediately think of hackers How To Simply and Effectively Deal With Remote Access Trojans How To Simply and Effectively Deal With Remote Access Trojans Smell a RAT? If you think you've been infected with a Remote Access Trojan, you can get easily get rid of it by following these simple steps. Read More , or you recall the last time you’ve had to phone a computer helpline to get someone else to sort out an infuriating PC problem How to Use Remote Desktop Connections Like an IT Pro How to Use Remote Desktop Connections Like an IT Pro If you work in the IT department of a company that has an internal network, the odds are pretty good that you've had to make use of Remote Desktop once or twice. Remote Desktop is... Read More .

But it’s not all bad.

Essentially, remote access is taking control How to Use Remote Access Efficiently, Safely & Securely How to Use Remote Access Efficiently, Safely & Securely Read More of your computer without actually sitting in front of it. To do so, you’ll need to download a handy bit of software: it doesn’t really matter whether you use popular remote connectivity programs 3 Tools to Control Your PC from A Distance Using Remote Access 3 Tools to Control Your PC from A Distance Using Remote Access Read More like LogMeIn, or opt for one of the lesser-known ones 12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven't Heard Of Yet 12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven't Heard Of Yet Are you constantly being asked for computer help? Or perhaps you’re the one doing the asking. Either way, seeing and controlling screens remotely can save time and confusion on both ends. Remote access programs aren’t... Read More .

The important thing is that you can now browse the internet at your leisure — by using your own computer remotely!

It might lag a bit, but it works brilliantly!

Of course, you’re then not confined solely to the web; you can use remote access to use any software on your computer, too.

5. Use RSS Feeds

There used to be a great way of getting any web page direct to your email address: in response to a URL in a subject line, WebToMail emailed you the contents of a webpage.

Image Credits: Orin Zebest via Flickr.

Sadly, that no longer works. Fortunately, you can still get articles and the like in your Inbox using RSS feeds What Is RSS and How Can It Improve Your Life? What Is RSS and How Can It Improve Your Life? Read More . These are syndicated editions of pieces regularly collated and distributed to email addresses and RSS Readers, saving users the time spent visiting individual sites. It also affords some privacy by not forcing them into subscribing to email newsletters.

Not every site has one, but that’s okay because you can easily create one How to Turn Any Website into an RSS Feed How to Turn Any Website into an RSS Feed Many websites do not offer RSS feeds, but there's still an easy way to get automatic notifications whenever a site updates! Read More !

There are limitations, naturally — you won’t be able to scour YouTube, for example. Still, you definitely shouldn’t discount the usefulness of these feeds for other sites you frequent but don’t have access to otherwise.

How Do You Bypass Restrictions?

Don’t forget: you’ll likely get in a heap of trouble if you’re caught bypassing a block. That could mean a warning or monitoring at work, or expulsion from class detention at school.

But how do you bypass blocked or censored websites? Have I missed the best? What do you think?

Image Credit: one photo via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Mike
    March 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    I have friends on the dark net, they can get me anywhere I want to go.

  2. A41202813GMAIL
    February 28, 2017 at 6:33 am

    ( MUO Changed The Comments GUI... Again )

    Most Of The Times, CHROME Clone Browsers Completely Block Sites With HTTPS Issues - On The Other Hand...

    ...FF Warns You, But Lets You Proceed - And That Should Be The Correct Approach For Every Damn Browser Out There...

    ...Warn Me, But Let Me Be Responsible For My Own Freaking Browsing.

    Sigh...

    ( End Of Multiple Rant )

    • Philip Bates
      April 30, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      I absolutely agree. It's really infuriating, and unnecessary. Everyone should be responsible for their own online activities, as long as they're given all the correct information they need.

  3. Moinulhaqq
    February 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Best way I know of is using tor browser. Free , fast and secure. No hassle.

  4. Charles Crisham
    February 23, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Set up a VPN on your home computer I have it on my network and always use it.

  5. Keith
    February 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I use a VPN service that provides IPs with an autonomous system number (ASN), and I've had websites like change.org deny access because of that. How do you get around THAT without disconnecting from the VPN??

  6. God'shacks
    March 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    lol i hacked my schools wifi and unblocked youtube for every one lol

    • CommandoNando
      May 9, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      how? help me please

  7. Sam
    January 6, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Hi,

    there's this stupid WiFi in my college that blocks all sorts of downloads and stuff like limewire,bittorrent,vdownloader etc. Is there any way i could get through these. Any help would be appreciated...

    thnx.

  8. Ganz
    December 25, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Hi,

    currently i am located in China ... Here YouTube is blocked...
    I am planning to go for ultrasurf. Can anyone tell me will it works not??? and is there any risk behind it?

  9. bloodnthirst79
    November 27, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I've tried XeroBank and UltraSurf. XeroBank is a bit 'heavy', wonder if they'll come up with a 'lite' version? But surfing wasn't entirely smooth.

    UltraSurf installed okay but it didn't work for me and I couldn't figure out what the problem was.

    I'm now on Freedur and I must admit it's one of the best I've tried so far, I finally get to access block sites and get to surf them without those pesky ads.

  10. Duncan
    November 23, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Myspace.com Facebook.com

  11. Duncan
    November 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    myspace.com and Facebook.com

  12. monkn
    November 12, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Can someone send me the latest proxy list from anywhere??

  13. grg m
    October 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    i just download a new browser

  14. sem
    October 13, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Out of the listed methods I would have to say that UltraSurf has been very effective for me. Never tried XeroBank because I have never really had to. I recommend UltraSurf to anyone out there having difficulty.

  15. Frenchbob
    September 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Ashlei,

    Where do you think you are, a bit torrent website?! Grow up and try to conduct yourself with some manners.

    F.B

  16. Titanium Pen
    August 27, 2009 at 2:53 am

    UltraSurf is fine for me. Try Jon Do. Don't know the exact name though, but the program is extremely slow.

  17. Jake
    August 18, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Hey I'm running off of a highschool Laptop and A Lot of things are blocked that don't make sense. I have been reading some of the reviews and so far that UltraSurf looks best, but there is a catch. One guy said that it came up as a trojan virus =/, which is not good because if they see aything like hat on a server they can tract who was using it. I can bypass blocks with a pass code. Any1 know where to get a good code gernerator/guesser?

  18. alexsimons218
    June 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    try humanpages.com, it is bloked for me in perris and riverside but it might work for you.

    • Jake
      August 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

      That site does not exist according to Internet Explorer... hmmm

  19. Kim
    June 6, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I work at a bank and all the suggestions here are blocked... am I out of luck because of the high security here at the bank?

  20. Andrew P.
    June 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    For those situations where you're "under IT lockdown" and can't use anything other than Microsoft Internet Explorer, there may be alternatives -- Firefox or Mozilla SeaMonkey equipped with the User Agent Switcher add-on. It comes with several profiles, but you can add your own. It makes the server think your browser is Internet Explorer, Opera, or whatever and can make it think you're running on Vista when you're really running on Linux. I haven't tried to use it to get through a company firewall, but I don't see why it shouldn't work.

  21. pari
    May 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

    our college wi-fi has blocked songs,social sites etc.we cant access orkut,facebook etc.please tell me the proxy software for this.earlier we used to run it thru ultrasurf but now that also doesn't works.......

  22. rmck
    May 19, 2009 at 5:53 am

    im on a school computer and alot of sites are blocked. Hotmail, google, etc... I tried to a few proxies but the are all blocked so far. Anyone know any good ones that might work? will certainly download that ultrasurf when i get home.

  23. Anelly
    March 11, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I read somewhere that it's possible to access blocked websites using Google translator. I really don't know if this is possible because i did not tried but seems interesting. I'm using IP Privacy http://www.privacy-pro.com and works fine for me.

  24. Juan F
    March 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    hi, im an exchange student and where im staying my "parents" have almost every webpage blocked... so xerobank or ultrasurf can work, correct ?

  25. ABHINAV
    February 13, 2009 at 5:02 am

    im not able to acess orkut through wifi of our university as it has been blocked by our it team .IS there any way through which i can acess it .....??

  26. Forte
    January 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I've recently noticed that UltraSurf will not let me access some sites that require login forms to work.

    I'm not sure if the sites have been modified to block proxies, but it works with some web based proxies.

    Until recently the sites had worked. Anyone else having this problem?

  27. tyler
    January 4, 2009 at 1:32 am

    My problem is different,
    In my office there are 2 common internet computers and other computers are in LAN but they dont have internet connection or in other way the net connections is blocked in other connection.
    Now the good part is, the internet PC is in LAN with other computers.
    Is there any way to install any software which can use internet connection from that common PC and i can browse internet from my computer ??

    • jun
      January 5, 2009 at 1:49 am

      these methods are all useless, since they are all blocked by our network provider.

  28. Big Dave
    December 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Ultrasurf came up as a Trojan on my anti-virus software - I would not recommend using it.

  29. Rebecca
    December 8, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I access all my blocked sites at work via google reader. I get an rss feed to a friend's myspace blog or facebook status updates, click on the link, and sign in. Most proxy sites are blocked here, but google reader never fails.

  30. lmanpig
    December 7, 2008 at 6:21 am

    I recommend Freegate, which resembles Ultrasurf, but in my case, I find it a little faster.

  31. youthworker
    December 7, 2008 at 5:50 am

    My college blocks youtube (and other sites) via Internet Explorer, but they haven't blocked iTunes ability to view video.

  32. krishna
    December 7, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Hi,
    I found ultrasurf interesting. I used it on firefox but unable to open some of the websites and can't even logged into the website.
    Is there any solution for that?

  33. Frenchbob
    December 7, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Hi,

    Great website, I'm hooked! I live in France and would love to be able to access BBC i Player and ITV etc. Can this stuff help? Thanks in advance.

    Frenchbob

    • Frenchbob
      December 7, 2008 at 7:07 am

      HI,
      Re my previous question, they are obviously very smart at the BBC as it seems they use some sophisticated software that recognises UK IP addresses. So, when I attempt to view it via UltraSurf I get message that basically as it can't recognise my IP I am blocked and to contact my ISP! Didn't think it would be possible, never mind. I'll keep UltraSurf on the PC for a while see how it goes.

      Regards,

      Frenchbob

    • Aibek
      December 7, 2008 at 11:21 am

      Did you try connecting via some UK based proxy server. I think Hotspot Shield shold work, though I never heard anyone using it for BBC iPlayer. Maybe you can be the first one :-), let us know how it works out.

      • Frenchbob
        December 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm

        Hi Aibek,

        I have read a little about proxies, will need to do more research. Are some of them a bit dodgy, as all my info goes via the proxy? Will also look at Hotspot Shield & let you know, although it doesn't look good for me. BBC say they are currently looking at an International version although I imagine it will be somewhat restricted. TV here in France really is dire!!

        Regards,

        Frenchbob

        • Aibek
          December 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

          Frenchbob,

          If you're going to look for proxies I recommend PrimeProxies

          http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/primeproxies/

          Now, as you have mentioned when using proxy server ur info pass through some other server and you don't really know how safe/secure it is. What I would do in your case is only use proxy when watching BBC iPlayer. If you have stuff like gmail opened then better close it (log out) before switching to proxy

        • Frenchbob
          December 9, 2008 at 12:35 pm

          Hi Aibek,

          No luck with any of those mentioned, it seems that BBC iPlayer will only let you in if your ISP's IP addresses are on their list of UK only providers. I tried a few different proxies, maybe I should keep trying more until perhaps one gets through?

          Regards,

          Frenchbob

  34. Asif
    December 7, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Hotspotshield anchorfree a very good service. dont miss it out and its free

    • phani
      April 7, 2009 at 9:23 am

      please say me the site to open unblocked sites

      • Zenairo
        April 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

        phani, sorry to flame but that isnt really a proper sentence. if you mean proxies then just search "fresh new proxies" on google and click the first link to the google group. it has lists of about 10-20 new proxies every day.

        is it just me or are most of the people here new to english?

        • DragonKyro
          December 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

          94% of the internet seems like their new to English, I'm not surprised there are people on MUO with such qualities.

  35. prem godara
    December 7, 2008 at 4:26 am

    There are two more ways by which we can bypass the blocked sites
    1) Use cached pages in google search results.
    2) Use google translate option by specifying the URL in the "Translate Web Page" text box.

    • Isipprell
      April 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Can you please explain exactly how to use google translate.

  36. kaly
    December 6, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Also see WebInMail.com

    Link to MakeUseOf Review: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/webinmail/

    • prem godara
      December 7, 2008 at 3:55 am

      We can even use google cached pages if the site and blocked. One another way is to use google translate option by specifying the URL in the "Translate a web page" text box.

  37. gregorylent
    December 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    your site is undreadable, the gray is way too dark .. especially with a glossy screen .. increase the contrast please .

    • Aibek
      December 7, 2008 at 11:18 am

      that happens to very few people, but unfortunately we can't replicate the problem on our end. No worries, we are working on the new design which should be out by the end of the week.

      Aibek

    • HAKEEM
      June 9, 2009 at 3:43 am

      Hey gregorylent , get a pair of glasses or change your brower coz everything looks alright to me.

  38. Khanxay
    December 6, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    I love UltraSurf. I used it all the time in high school last year.

    I just might have a look at the browser since I've been playing with different browsers lately. (Iron, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc)

    • Ben
      December 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

      XeroBank is pretty much FF portable but with some security and privacy add-ons.

    • ashlei
      September 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm

      damnit i wish i knew cause i would be on that and not this

  39. nathan kline
    December 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    At my college they have a public wifi spot but surfing is filtered and IM and third party email are blocked. My prefered method is to use ssh to my web server (or a home Linux server) and just add "-D ####" to create a socks proxy on the port that you specify with ####. Pick a port that is available and then set your browser to use it and all your traffic is not only unfiltered, but also encrypted through the ssh session.