How to Use Snapchat on a School’s Wi-Fi Network
Ah, teenagers and Snapchat; can you name a more iconic duo? Wait, we’ve got one. Teenagers and finding novel ways to use Snapchat on school Wi-Fi!
As you’d expect, most IT departments block access to services like Snapchat and Instagram at school. After all, there’s not much that Snapchat can teach you about trigonometry or the American Civil War.
So, if you want to unblock apps on school Wi-Fi, keep reading.
Warning: Proceed at Your Own Risk
Before we dive into how to use Snapchat on school Wi-Fi networks or unblock Instagram on school computers, a word of warning…
Many schools have strict policies in place regarding their internal Wi-Fi networks and the devices they’ve issued to students. If you are found to have breached the rules, you could put yourself at risk of being suspended, or worse, expelled.
Check with your organization before attempting to follow any of the recommendations in this article.
How Do Schools Restrict Wi-Fi Access?
Many schools in the US deploy cyber-nanny software. One of the most commonly used systems is called iBoss. You’ll also find it used on office Wi-Fi and other restricted networks.
From an education standpoint, iBoss has noble intentions. It’s no secret that the US has a significant problem with school shootings. iBoss aims to lets schools detect at-risk and high-risk students by alerting them to threats against other pupils, suggestions of self-harm, and other associated topics, in real-time.
It also keeps a complete history of students’ internet activity and works on all devices in all locations (regardless of whether a student is connected to the school’s Wi-Fi or a home network).
Other similar systems include Open DNS Umbrella, Cisco Umbrella, WebTitan Web Filter, Kaspersky Security for Internet Gateways, Lightspeed Systems, Symantec Web Security Service, and Citrix Secure Web Gateway. The feature sets differ, but the softwares’ underlying principles are all the same: restricting and monitoring students’ web activity.
What Is iBoss and How to Bypass It
Students can try a few different ways of bypassing iBoss (or whichever other cyber-nanny software your school uses).
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Use HTTPS
There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for using Snapchat and Instagram at school. Much depends on how your IT department’s filters and port blocking.
For example, you might discover that simply switching from HTTP to HTTPS unblocks many sites. Many schools only block port 80 (the one used by HTTP), leaving port 443 (used by HTTPS) open for use. To test, just tweak the address in your browser and see if it works.
2. Use a Free Proxy
Another way to unblock apps on school Wi-Fi is to try a free proxy site. There are dozens of sites out there; a quick Google search will bring up several free public proxies.
Sadly, free proxies have a few disadvantages compared to VPNs. Most notably, they do not encrypt your traffic. That means that it’s much easier for your school to know that you’ve unblocked Snapchat on its computers—a free proxy means you’re far more likely to land yourself in trouble. Free proxies are also notoriously slow and often struggle to load images, videos, and complicated web pages.
Check out our roundup of the best free proxies to learn more.
3. How to Use Snapchat on School Wi-Fi Using a VPN
The most reliable way to unblock sites on school computers is to use a VPN. However, you might run into a situation in which some VPNs work while others don’t.
Broadly speaking, free VPNs are less likely to work—your school has probably blocked the ports. If you want to try, some of the best free VPNs for school Wi-Fi include SurfEasy, ProtonVPN, Hotspot Shield, and Speedify. Check out the article on MakeUseOf if you need more information.
To improve your chances of success, you need to use a paid VPN. Many students agree that the most reliable paid VPN for school Wi-Fi networks (and for bypassing iBoss) is Windscribe. It offers servers in 60 countries and 110 cities. It will also block ads and trackers. A plan costs $9 per month or $49 per year.
Other paid VPNs that will let you unblock Snapchat and Instagram on school Wi-Fi networks include Surfshark, ZenMate, and CyberGhost. They cost $12/month, $10/month, and $13/month respectively. Discounts are available with all three providers if you sign up for an annual plan.
With MakeUseOf, you can get a 49% discount on ExpressVPN, our #1 ranked VPN.
4. Unblock Apps on School Wi-Fi With a Portable Browser
Many schools will not allow you to install extensions on the default web browser they have provided. If that’s the case, you might need to use a portable browser (on a USB stick) to circumvent the restrictions. You can then add your preferred proxy or VPN extensions and bypass iBoss.
Some of the best portable browsers to choose from include Opera Portable and Firefox Portable.
Learn More About Using a VPN
We’re confident that at least one of the four methods we’ve described will let you use Snapchat (or any other blocked app) on a school’s Wi-Fi network.
But we’re also conscious that not everyone is comfortable with using a VPN. For new users, they can be intimidating and confusing.
If you would like to learn more about the process, make sure you read our other article on whether VPNs are legal in the country where you live .
Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.