Many times we find ourselves on networks where we cannot get to websites that we want to see because of some silly restriction on particular subjects and all sorts of good stuff. There are instances where you will need to get to a specific site for homework or real work and you cannot get to them due to things like restrictive materials, dangerous knowledge and even reproduction. What do you do? Not do your work?
I will show you some tricks I have seen in action as a network administrator over the years and some I have discovered myself. But before starting, know that your system administrator might not be partial to you circumventing their network security so do so at your own risk and make sure you are fully aware of the possible consequences first!
How to Unblock a Web Page – Retrieving The Site’s IP Address
The first trick we will use gets around most firewalls or content filtering that work by domain name or URL. The trick is to ping the website from the command line from your home or another computer not on the restricted network. This can be done by hitting start ->run and then typing cmd. On Vista and Windows 7, just hit the start orb and type cmd.
Then at the command prompt type ping www.site.com replacing site.com with the actual website you want to get to. Like so:
I chose a random site called www.restricted.com and pinged it as you can see above and it returned the IP address. Then I can type in http://220.127.116.11 in my browser and bypass the URL’s restriction.
The Google Cache Trick to Unblock a Web Page
If that didn’t work for you we will move on to the Google Cache trick. Search for the website you are trying to get to. In this instance, we will use http://www.wtfluck.com. On this imaginary network we are blocking this site and its IP address. So what can we do? Google for it of course, like so:
Hit Google Search and you will see results that look like these:
Maybe you have never noticed it before but there is a Cached button after each entry and you can click on it to see the site like so:
And on closer inspection to the URL we see this:
The URL http://www.wtfluck.com does not appear in the main URL which here is but if you click the links then you will be taken to the real site so be forewarned!
The next method to unblock a single web page from behind a restrictive firewall or filter is to use the Wayback Machine located here. Archive.org keeps a working replica of sites from way back when or maybe closer. This is a good way to get content that is a few years old.
Check it out and lets take a look at what we can see:
Can you imagine a network blocking MakeUseOf? Well this is what we could do to read it regardless:
Clicking on one of the links will take you “back in time” and that will bring up a version of the site from that day like so:
And clicking on the links will still keep you in the archive like so:
And my final suggestion is one which is the one I always use, which is 100% effective, and is not monitored by your IT group. Use Remote Desktop to connect to your computer at home and browse away there. For even more security, open a VPN tunnel between the two machines and encrypt your traffic! You can find a post on this subject by Varun by clicking here. Also, check out Jack’s article on some more tips to bypass a firewall.
How do you bypass security restrictions like this? Let us know in the comments!