Trying to visit a website only to find out it’s restricted can be truly annoying and such scenarios are quite frequent these days. Regardless if the website has been blocked in your region or your office or school is the one preventing the access there is something you can do about it.
How to access blocked websites
If you want to learn how to access blocked websites, there are several methods you can try that really work which include using proxies, VPN, extensions and many others which we will discuss in detail below.
Use a VPN service
Virtual Private Networks can be used to connect your computer (or another device with an Internet connection) to another network over the Internet via a secure connection.
As a result, a VPN will change your IP address to a different region and allow you to connect to websites which are banned in your country or blocked in your school or office network.
With that said, here are some excellent VPN services you can use:
- NordVPN – High security using state of the art encryption
- ExpressVPN – Excellent service offering privacy, speed, and unblocking
- IPVanish – Perfect for torrenting and P2P traffic in general
Use proxy websites
Organizations and institution have the habit of blocking access of their employees to certain websites and services which are considered distracting. In such a situation, an easy way to bypass these restrictions is to use a proxy website.
VPNs are still the best choice security-wise but if you need a quick solution to access a banned website or online service a proxy will get the job done just as good.
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A proxy server will make the web request on your behalf, collects the data, and forwards the web page to your computer so you can access it in your browser.
Here are some good web proxies which you can use to bypass website restrictions:
Use the website’s IP address
Every website’s URL also has an IP address. Often, the authorities blocking the website have the URL stored and not the IP. If such is the case, all you need to do is use the IP address to access the site instead of the URL.
You can get the IP address for any website by pinging the domain in Command Prompt. It will work unless the website has hidden it’s IP. Here’s how to do it:
In Windows, click the Start button and type “cmd” then open the Command Prompt desktop app from the list of results. In the Command Prompt window type “ping www.websitename.com” without quotes and replace websitename.com with the name of the site you’re trying to access. Hit Enter and the command will return the IP address. Then, enter the IP address in your web browser address bar and press Enter to open it.
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The good news is, this works on practically any platform although the steps might be a little different. Linux, Mac, Android, and most other operating systems have similar commands you can use.
Change network proxy settings in your web browser
Your school or office might be using multiple proxies for their network. As a result, it can happen that some sites are blocked on one proxy but still accessible in another. Luckily, it’s not difficult to disable your browser’s proxy settings
In Chrome click the three-dots icon in the top-right corner and select Settings. In the Settings window scroll down to the bottom and click Advanced. Scroll down to the System section and select the option called “Open proxy settings”.
In the Internet Properties box that opens click the LAN settings option and a small pop-up will open. There, uncheck the option called “Automatically detect settings” and make sure the one called “Use a proxy server for your LAN” is unchecked as well. Click Apply and then OK to close the window.
All major browsers have similar settings so you can do this in other web browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, and others.
Use Google Translate
Most of the time, Google Translate is not blocked by governments and institutions simply because it’s an educational tool and it’s usually considered harmless. As a result, you can use this tool to bypass the restriction by converting the website you’re trying to access into another language you’re familiar with.
It’s obviously not the most comfortable option but it is a super fast way to access a blocked website. On that note, Microsoft’s Bing also has a translation service that can be used to unblock a website.
Try browser extensions to bypass website restrictions
Dynamic websites like Facebook and YouTube which are often blocked by offices and institutions can still be accessed using dedicated extensions such as Hola, and ProxMate. Another similar extension is UltraSurf which relies on an encrypted proxy network so you can browse the web without restrictions.
Use URL recasting
Some websites are hosted in a VPN and don’t have a verified SSL installed. For this type of site, you can go to your browser’s address bar and try accessing https://www.websitename.com instead of www.websitename.com or http://www.websitename.com. You might get a security notice in which case you can just click the Proceed Anyway option and visit the website.
Use the Internet Archive – Wayback Machine
The Internet Archive is a very useful service that stores a copy of almost all websites on the Internet.
In fact, it stores multiple versions of a website so you can even see how it looked in the past. More importantly, you can use the service to browse online content which would otherwise be blocked.
Use the website’s RSS feed
RSS readers might be old but they still allow us to easily get fresh content from our favorite websites and read it without having to actually open it.
Most websites have RSS feeds so you should have no trouble grabbing the feed of the restricted site and add it to your reader. If you need a reliable RSS reader we recommend you give Feedly a try.
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You should also know that even if the website doesn’t have a feed there are online services you can use to create the feed. If you need to visit a blocked website on a regular basis, this trick is surely worth the effort.
Use a portable Firefox version
If your office or school is in the habit of blocking access to certain websites it might also ban browser extensions. A simple solution is to use Firefox portable or another portable web browser from a USB drive. In conjunction with a reliable proxy, you should be able to surf the web freely.
Use HTML to PDF converter
SodaPDF offers various PDF conversion tools including one that can turn HTML into PDF files. This will allow you to download an entire web page to your PC without actually visiting it.
Simply visit this link and enter the URL you’re trying to access then press the “Get PDF” button to save the page to your computer. Obviously, this works with other HTML to PDF converters that allow you to enter a URL.
Use the Tor browser
The Tor browser has gained popularity due to its ability to maintain online privacy. When properly configured, Tor will also bypass website access restrictions while also keeping you anonymous online.
Let’s not forget that pairing Tor with a VPN service like NordVPN or ExpressVPN is an even better method of unblocking websites and perhaps one of the best when it comes to online privacy and security especially since these and other VPNs offer technology such as Onion Over VPN.