5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs

Philip Bates 11-12-2019

Picture the scene. You’re at work or school, and in your downtime, you want to peruse a website. Maybe you want to check your social media feeds or need to watch YouTube for research purposes… but it’s blocked.


This is one of the many reasons you’ll want to turn to a proxy service or try a VPN—except the former are often blocked too, and the latter requires a bit more effort than you might like if you are just trying to sneak a glance at censored sites now and again.

Fortunately, you still have options. Note that you’ll need to turn to other methods to unblock live TV streaming abroad, though.

1. Try the Short Link Versions

This is a hugely popular method because it works in most cases. However, that also means administrators are getting wise to it. Still, it should definitely be your first port of call.

5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs Shortened URL

Shortened URLs became prominent due to Twitter: back when addresses counted towards the character limit, using short links was a way of condensing a tweet. It’s incredibly easy to do. You just copy a URL into a service like Bitly, TinyURL, or and it’ll give you something like


Insert it into the address bar, and you should be redirected to where you want to go, bypassing any blocks that might be in place — fingers crossed.

2. Try HTTPS

Though it acts against the very purpose it exists, the HTTPS often goes unnoticed What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default Security concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody's mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by... Read More in a URL. The “s” means it’s a secure connection, verified using SSL certificates What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More . It results in that padlock appearing in the address bar, and means peace of mind when visiting sites that require any sensitive information. Think Amazon, PayPal, or, these days, Facebook.

Aside from being a great security measure, it also comes in handy when trying to access blocked sites. This is because quite a few schools block the common port 80, which is the endpoint for HTTP traffic — leaving the secure connection, port 443, open for exploitation.

It’s not always going to work, but it’s certainly worth a try! Some sites, including Facebook, YouTube, and email providers, automatically redirect to the HTTPS option, so in turn remove the extra effort on your part, or have reminded administrators to block the port.


See more tips on bypassing a school firewall How to Bypass a School Firewall: Tips and Warnings Need to know how to bypass a school firewall? It's probably not a good idea, but here are several methods to try if you're desperate. Read More or bypassing a regular firewall 6 Ways to Unblock Websites From Behind a Firewall Need to know how to unblock websites? Here are several methods you can use. One of them is bound to work! Read More if you need further advice.

3. Translation Services

You’re probably pretty familiar with services like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator: their standard offering is changing one language into another, so you can convert any sentence from English to Japanese, Urdu, Gaelic, et al. and back again. In school, you could’ve used it to find out what your French teacher meant when she said “merde” under her breath.

It also translates whole websites… whether you actually need them translating or not. And that’s why it’s helpful here too.

Whatever the site, simply type the URL into the text box and click on the link in the translation output. You’ll be redirected to it, but chances are that the blocks used otherwise will miss the page as it’ll appear under a different address, namely something like, followed by various seemingly-random digits.


It’s not perfect. It’ll struggle with video streaming and social media sites, for example, and responsive pages won’t be as smooth as they’re intended to be. Just check out the warped elements on the usually-beautiful MakeUseOf homepage.

5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs MakeUseOf translation

Still, if it’s an article you need to read for research reasons, it’s ideal.

Similarly, you could search for the page you want to read then click on its cached version Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains] Whenever you have an issue with a website, one of the first suggestions you will hear from IT support is "try to clear your browser cache" along with "and delete your cookies". So what is... Read More , which, again, should show up under a different URL that won’t be blocked. Simple. Effective.


4. Convert to PDF

You’ll generally need to sign up for this one; however, it’s worth it, not just for reading censored pages but also creating content that’s easy to share and a pleasure to read.

There are plenty of services available online which will convert websites into PDFs: you just have to choose whether you want to pay for it or not. Take Five Filters’ PDF Newspaper for instance, a free PHP app which transforms articles into, effectively, a personal publication. You can read output from all your favorite sites in printable A4 or A5 sheets The 6 Best Tools to Print to PDF PDF printer tools let you save any file you can print as a PDF. Here are some of the best PDF printer apps for Windows 10. Read More that are more aesthetically pleasing than RSS feeds.

I use it to keep physical copies of online articles I’m particularly proud of, filed away in an online portfolio. You could use it to bypass blocks because Five Filters does the work of scouring a webpage for you.

5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs DWC PDF Interview

It goes without saying that it’s useless for YouTube and Twitter, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Of course, you’ll need to know the exact addresses for articles, as you can’t peruse a site.

Further alternatives include PDFMyURL,, and WebToPDF (which lets you view the results in your browser or via email).

5. Tether to Your Phone

You want to view a blocked site. You’re clearly a rebel who doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but your own. In which case, you won’t have any grievances with using your phone when you possibly shouldn’t.

5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs Personal Hotspot

The idea here is that you use the internet via tethering your smartphone How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC via Tethering With data tethering, you can use your mobile internet on your PC, laptop, or tablet. All you need is an Android phone! Read More , so yes, you’ll need a quality data plan to do this. It’s not worth it if you just want to read something from a censored site, but if you want to watch YouTube and nothing else is working, this should work 3 Foolproof Ways to Create Your Own Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot for Tethering in North America Do you want to give multiple wireless gadgets on-the-go internet access? Are you sick of getting ripped off by wireless hotspot tethering? There’s a variety of technologies that can help you – the two most... Read More … though it’s likely to be slow.

Go to Settings. From there, the method will vary slightly depending on your operating system How to Tether Any Smartphone to Linux for Mobile Internet Want to use your phone's mobile internet on your Linux PC? Here's how to use USB mobile tethering on a Linux PC. Read More . On iOS, just turn on Personal Hotspot and note the password. It’ll give you the option of connecting through Wi-Fi, USB (if you were really prepared!), or Bluetooth. From there, just follow the instructions in that section. On Android How to Get a Tethered Android Connection On Any Carrier, Anytime There are ways to tether on any Android phone, even if your carrier has disabled tethering. The first method we'll be covering here doesn't require root (though rooted users have more options). Read More , in Wireless & Networks, tap More > Tethering & portable hotspot > Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot > Set up Wi-Fi Hotspot and make note of the password.

This should really only be in emergencies, however, as you risk substantial bills if you go over your data usage limits. And be aware that your organization’s IT department might have blocked connection to new Wi-Fi networks.

Bypass the Blocks?

Not everyone has the know-how to effectively use VPNs or proxy sites, but using these techniques, you should be more than capable of bypassing any blocks you encounter without jumping through too many hoops.

There are also some relatively easy proxy sites you can use to access geoblocked content—provided they aren’t blocked. Plus, you can use PirateBrowser to bypass censorship 3 Shocking Reasons to Use PirateBrowser in Your Country The PirateBrowser may seem like a pointless piece of promotion for the Pirate Bay, but it can help dodge censorship and more. Read More in a pinch. We must warn you that while it does the job, it’s not entirely secure.

How else do you get around censors? Do you rely on free VPNs for your browser The 10 Best Free VPN Extensions for Google Chrome Here are the best free VPN extensions for Chrome to block trackers, bypass region blocking, and much more. Read More , or do you prefer easier alternatives?

Image Credits: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

Related topics: Online Privacy, VPN.

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  1. Anonymous
    December 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    There's a sixth way you can do it. However, it does NOT work with sites that use Cloudflare protection.

    In the command terminal for your operating system, type "ping", replacing with the web adress of your site. It will show you the IP adress of the site, and if you enter that into a web browser, it will take you to that website without being blocked by the filter because most web filters do not check IP adresses.

    However, if the site you are trying to reach uses Cloudflare protection, you will get a 1003 Error: Direct IP Access Not Allowed.

  2. Why do I tell you my email address?
    April 10, 2017 at 3:09 am is a good alternative too!

    • Philip Bates
      April 30, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Yes, absolutely! Great suggestion. Thanks.

  3. Na
    March 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    As a network engineer, companies and educational facilities have the right to content filter what they deem inappropriate. I shake my head at this article. 4 out of 5 suggestions usually will not work with modern day filters in place, especially if a entity is decrypting SSL traffic(https will be blocked depending on the filtering policy). How about a little more productivity in the workplace/educational institution and a little less social media creeping. This is what our society has become.... Utterly pathetic.

    • Philip Bates
      April 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      I can understand your point of view, absolutely. Nonetheless, sometimes, blocks are inappropriate. That might be while you're on your lunch break (in which case, productivity isn't a factor), or the block might be unnecessary - as was the case of a mate of mine who found many of the resources he uses blocked, so couldn't carry on with his work. Plus, what if someone's more productive while listening to music? You might not encourage phones in the workplace, so they'd naturally turn to YouTube, which may be blocked.

      Still, I agree that, in the vast majority of cases, blocks are a good thing, and of course companies have a right to use them.

  4. Fred Thompson
    March 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    "Bypass Blocked Sites", the article is about accessing blocked sites...

    • DougStanhope
      March 2, 2017 at 5:09 am

      If they change the title to "Bypassing A Site's Blocks," would you stop your hair-splitting?