How to Bypass Blocked Sites and Internet Restrictions
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It doesn’t matter where in the world you live; there are times when you’re going to come across blocked sites and a restricted internet.

If you come across an internet block, don’t panic. Keep reading to find out more how to bypass barred sites and internet restrictions.

Why Do Blocked Sites Exist?

The possible reasons for the blocks are numerous.

Firstly, lots of services use geo-blocking tools to restrict access to their content in certain countries. The issue is perhaps most commonly associated with Netflix’s catalog. However, it can also apply to videos on social media (such as sports clips), news articles, and even entire services which are not available outside of their country of origin (like Hulu).

Secondly, governments often block access to sites to suit their agenda. The Twitter block in China is perhaps the most famous example, but in recent years we’ve also seen Turkey block access to social media in an attempt to quell protests in 2016 and Sri Lanka stop access to Facebook in the aftermath of the April 2019 terrorist attacks, supposedly to prevent the spread of fake news.

Thirdly, employers often block sites on their internal networks. Heaven forbid that you waste a few minutes of their time checking Facebook…

Lastly, some countries have odd laws that can restrict access to certain types of material. The UK’s controversial porn ban, which requires users to verify their age, and Germany’s crusade against YouTube are two of the most notable cases.

6 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites and Restrictions

1. Use a VPN

cyberghost server list

The most popular way of accessing blocked internet sites is to use a high-quality paid VPN.

VPNs have many benefits, but from a blocked sites standpoint, it’s the technology’s ability to provide you with an IP address in another country that’s the most important. The foreign IP address makes it appear as though you are based in a different location. Thus, you won’t trigger a site’s geo-blocks and can circumnavigate restrictions.

Some services theoretically block access from VPN IP addresses. In practice, this has resulted in a massive game of cat and mouse, in which the VPN providers are generally victorious.

VPNs are incredibly easy to use: download the app onto your phone or computer, enter your login credentials, and choose the network that you want to connect to.

Need a VPN? You can score discounted plans with CyberGhost and ExpressVPN if you sign up using these links. Both are reputable, performant, and mindful of your privacy.

2. Use a Smart DNS

The recent clampdown on VPNs by services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer has resulted in a growth of smart DNS providers.

Smart DNS services have some pros and cons when considered in contrast to VPNs.

One of the most significant advantages is internet speed. Unlike VPNs, which route all your web traffic through a different network, smart DNS providers only need to reroute information about your location. This process results in a faster browsing experience.

On the downside, DNS services do not offer any of the same privacy benefits as VPNs. They do not encrypt your traffic, nor do they change your IP. If authorities in your location are likely to prosecute based on the sites you visit, a smart DNS provider is not right for you.

One of the best smart DNS providers is Getflix.

3. Use a Free Proxy

If you need to quickly access a blocked website on a one-time basis, a free proxy might be the way to go.

A proxy will hide your IP address, thus helping to disguise your location. It will not, however, encrypt your traffic. The lack of encryption means proxies are not as secure as VPNs; they are an excellent option to get around blocks on work and school networks 5 Tips to Bypass Your School Firewall and How It Can Fail You 5 Tips to Bypass Your School Firewall and How It Can Fail You It's probably not a good idea, but if you really need to know how to bypass a school firewall, here are several methods to try. Read More but are not suitable for browsing which requires anonymity.

Proxies are typically much slower than VPNs. You’ll also find they often have issues with page formatting and images. Both of these problems preclude them from being a reliable long-term solution.

We’ve written about some of the best proxies for geo-blocked content if you’d like to learn more.

4. Use Google Translate

google translate blocked sites

Google Translate is a less technical way of bypassing content restrictions. It doesn’t require any third-party apps or downloads, and there’s no need to worry about IP addresses and DNS servers.

Just head to the Google Translate homepage, enter the blocked site’s URL in the box on the left, and click on the hyperlink in the right-hand box.

The trick will not work if you try and translate English > English but will work if you set the source language as something different, even if the site is actually in English.

For example, in the image above, you can see I set the source to Spanish on the BBC homepage. As long as the output language is set to English, it will work.

Once again, it goes without saying that using Google Translate to bypass internet blocks offers no privacy protections.

5. Use a Site’s IP Address

tracert bbc ip address

When you think of web addresses, you probably think of the domain name (e.g., www.makeuseof.com) that you type into your browser’s address bar.

In practice, the domain name is like a veneer for the IP address. It’s the IP address that points at a server and directs your traffic. DNS servers are responsible for converting domain names into their associated IP addresses.

However, if you know a site’s IP address, you can enter it directly into your browser, and you will still end up viewing the site.

Because many networks only block domain name URLs and not their underlying IP addresses, this trick is often a great way to circumvent internet restrictions.

The same principle applies to short URLs. It’s unlikely that a small employer or school has blocked all the short URLs that point to a site. You’ll often enjoy some success if you try to use them.

You can find the IP address of a site by opening Command Prompt as an admin, they typing tracert followed by the domain name, for example, tracert bbc.com.

6. Use Tor

When you use the Tor network to browse the web, your traffic is taken on a long journey through thousands of nodes all around the world.

This process makes it almost impossible for a regular website to know where the request originated, so it’s unlikely to get caught in any blocking filters.

Be aware that Tor and the dark web is not completely anonymous. Government authorities can, and do, monitor persons of interest on the network.

Learn More About Using VPNs

Our preferred method for accessing blocked sites and bypassing internet restrictions on a regular basis is to use a VPN.

If you would like to learn more about VPNs, you should read our articles on how to set up a VPN anywhere and how to use a VPN on Android How to Set Up a VPN on Android How to Set Up a VPN on Android Need to know how to set up a VPN on Android? We've got you covered with the best VPNs and instructions for using them. Read More .

Explore more about: Browsing Tips, Internet Censorship, Online Privacy, Proxy, VPN.

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  1. Carlos
    May 12, 2019 at 6:03 am

    You sounds like a victim of something you did and you got caught . You hate soy software because you got caught . Spyware people are tools that where created for good cause and to be aware of who could be hurting someone . Most people out this software into bad reputation so don’t blame the software blame the people who use it for the wrong cause . FWY JAILBREAING IS LEGAL AND IT WILL NOT MESS UP YOUR WARRANTY. Before you make another stupid insignificant mediocare article get facts before to start typing

    • Dan Price
      May 13, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      I think you've commented on the wrong article?

      And to be clear -- jailbreaking DOES void your warranty. Proceed with caution.

  2. Jess W
    May 11, 2019 at 5:20 am

    I think the best possible combo is using a VPN over Tor. I have ExpressVPN on my Mac and use it with Tor. Extra private and speeds aren't affected.

  3. Roderick
    July 7, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Rod
    Referance comment by Tim above; TalkTalk here in the UK happily censor some sites.
    Blandly stating they have been told to "by the courts"

  4. baback
    February 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I live in IRAN ,85% of the world sites are blocked , Not a single form of video is allowed ,there are VPNs sold out but these PERMITtED VPNs!! = 2 agents sitting right next to me , or they are rats ear ( there is an expression in Persian saying : THE WALL HAS MOUSE AND THE MOUSE HAS EARS ! != be careful what you say! (or click)
    The article is perfect clearing filtering tasks .makes me read a lot to make my own fragile anonymity( would take months ,a pilot ,not much of internet) then through that a tor or something .
    I tried almost all the above didn't work ,Why? any site containing VPN , PROXY , TOR , CISCO.....are blocked and local vpns bring tons of cookies, malwares , trojans , ... that would take years to get rid of, but i am not giving up , thanks for the article again

  5. Anonymous
    July 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Blocking VPN services seems trivial to me. Most publish their DNS and IP entries publicly (see PrivateInternetAccess.com - which is what I use).

    I realized this accidentally, when my VPN service was refusing to connect at a local university.

    It turns out the university used OpenDNS (which I did too), and the default OpenDNS filter for Pornography interestingly includes anonymization and proxy services - including my VPN service!

    Very trivial indeed. I replicated the issue by setting my home router to use OpenDNS DNS IPs, then logged in to confirm I was using the default filters. Sure enough - no VPN service.

    I contacted PrivateInternetAccess.com via webchat to see if they had any ideas to get around this, and their official reply is "We can do nothing about networks that employ advanced security..." Advanced?!! More like child's play.

    I can see it being trivial as well for companies to simply scrape sites that list open proxies, etc. and shut those down as well. Wouldn't be surprised if OpenDNS already did that.

  6. Anonymous
    June 6, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I'm amazed at how many people in the US do not realize that the US censors many types of pornography. The net result is that most porn is now made by essentially paid prostitutes instead of amateurs who enjoy sex, and the audience for porn is stuck with essentially being directed to prostitutes and public prostitution by the government! It these prostitutes merely plied their trade in private, it would be considered an illegal act of prostitution though.

    Amateur producers of porn cannot protect themselves from the government's harassment of what they are filming, so porn production is left in the hands of a few giant COMMERCIAL purveyors of acts of prostitution being filmed, who can group and access legal resources when the government comes their way, The result is a very ugly and consistently offensive 'sex' being sent our way by teams of prostitutes and those that pay them their salaries. Prostitutes are not very sensual at all since it is merely a business transaction and not an erotic one.

  7. Tim
    February 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    The United Kingdom also censors the internet, dont forget to list the western countries !

  8. Lisa M
    December 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    What about websites that "censor" in their own way by "requiring" real names and social media logins before commenting, thus contributing to "group-think" and gutting the "online dis-inhibition effect"? Or companies that fire you for posting something online that they "don't like" for whatever reason, i.e. if you work for Chick-Fil-A and post something favorable about gay marriage? What can be done about this problem, which is a very significant problem in the so-called "land of the free" United States? Congress is no help, of course...

  9. Carl C
    November 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I live in Mexico, and while Mexico itself doesn't block any sites, there any many sites that don't allow visitors from outside the US (Pandora, for example). The best way that I've found to circumvent these restrictions is an extension for Chrome called Hola Unblocker. It's available in the Chrome store, and it works perfectly: it allows you to visit US-only sites from anywhere in the world.

    • kihara
      November 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Carl, that's sounds interesting, I'll definitely check it out!

  10. AndreG
    November 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I have not yet looked into its use to circumvent DNS blocking, but, there is a DNS encryption client free from OpenDNS (source is on GITHUB) .

    Also in your article a quick read would suggest that OpenDNS is used to circumvent controls, when actually it is a control, and a good one at that... I have the pleasure of reviewing their umbrella service too, and again a quick review suggests a very good first defence for minimal outlay..

  11. Nabil
    November 13, 2013 at 9:51 am

    just use ultrasurf.us

    • Unknown
      December 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      blocked in my country :v