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How to unblock websites and access restricted content from anywhere

11

In the age of freedom of expression, the mere fact that you might need to google the phrase “how to unblock websites” seems like a cruel joke.

Fortunately, you can unblock websites quite easily – just use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)!

But that's not the only way to get through to the website blocked by your school, workplace, or the government itself (I’m looking at you, China). Occasionally, open proxies or simply tinkering with your DNS settings can do the trick, too.

So, with that out of the way, let's look at 8 methods to let you browse the web freely, bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions.

How to unblock websites anywhere

1. Use a VPN to unblock any site you want

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is possibly the best method to unblock websites, especially if you need to access restricted content on a regular basis.

In short, a VPN is a tool that encrypts your internet traffic and lets you fake your IP address so that nobody can see your real location, allowing you to access geo-blocked websites, e.g. US Netflix. At the moment, it is also the most popular tool to combat online censorship - instead of accessing a website directly, you are doing so through a VPN server, which means your ISP doesn't know what you're doing and can't block you.

The best thing about VPNs is the fact that they make your online activity completely anonymous. In this way, even your Internet Service Provider won’t be able to track you when you unblock websites that are restricted in your country (or office).

NordVPN country selection interface

In addition, most top VPN providers offer apps for different platforms. For example, NordVPN has native apps for Windows, Linux, Android, Mac, iOS, and more. This opens a lot of possibilities to unblock sites whenever you want, no matter what kind of device you’re using.

Security level: High

2. Unblock sites with an open proxy

If you’re in a hurry or need to unblock a page on a public computer, using a proxy website is the best way to go.

Just like VPNs, proxies hide your real IP address from the website, as well as the website's IP address from your government, workplace, or university. Using a proxy is free and requires no installation, making it a perfect tool to get around restrictions at work, school, or a public library. Proxies are also able to unlock some geo-restricted pages, but you won't have any luck with big streaming services like Netflix.

Free web proxy interface

Proxies have their own drawbacks. Some proxy providers might monitor your online activity or even leak your IP, failing to let you unblock sites at all.

Also, your school or workplace might block proxy websites themselves. Luckily, as the number of proxy sites on the web is huge, you are likely to find one that isn’t blacklisted.

Security level: Medium

3. Install a VPN or proxy browser extension

If you need to unblock a dynamic site like Youtube, Twitter, or Amazon, a website-based proxy might not be enough. Instead, you can try installing a proxy in the form of a browser extension for your Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. This kind of website unblocker tool will help you browse with ease, letting you choose different servers depending on your needs.

NordVPN browser extension

You might also want to try a VPN browser extension as an alternative to installing the program onto your computer. Most big-brand VPNs offer add-ons that you can use with your preferred browser.

Security level: High

4. Use an IP address instead of a URL

There’s always a chance that your institution blocks specific URLs instead of IPs. If that’s the case, you can unblock a site with the help of its IP address.

In case you’re not familiar with the terms, an URL is the website address string you see in your address bar (like https://facebook.com or https://reddit.com), while an IP address is a specific sequence of numbers that is unique to the server hosting the website. You can paste it into the address bar and access the site you need.

However, how do you find the IP address of a website?

Well, there are a few methods. For example, this is what you can do if you’re using Windows:

  1. Type in “cmd” into your start menu
  2. Open a program called Command Prompt
  3. Write the word “ping” and the name of the website you want to unblock (for example, reddit.com)
Ping reddit in command prompt

Then, all you have to do is press Enter and you’ll have the IP address of the site you want to unblock. Paste it into your search bar and enjoy your restricted content!

Unblock sites with Command Prompt

Keep in mind that other operating systems have different tools for locating IP addresses. Linux users can find theirs by typing dig websitename.com into the command line while Mac users can use the Traceroute option.

Security level: Low

5. Use the Tor Browser to unblock banned sites

The Tor Browser is a free open-source internet anonymity tool created as a response to online censorship.

By sending your data through a network of volunteer servers, it hides your IP from the destination server and hides the destination server IP from your ISP. As a result, the Tor browser is a great tool to unblock sites.

Tor browser

If you want to give it a shot, download Tor and use it as your regular browser. Keep in mind that your connection speed might plummet while Tor is in use, and that some websites might still be blocked.

Security level: High

6. View blocked content with Google Translate

Even though this might sound like a joke, you can actually unblock (or rather "access content on") sites by using good old Google Translate.

Simply paste the website you want to unblock into the field where you would type the text that needs to be translated. Then, click on the link that comes in the translation section and you’ll access the page!

Unblock websites with Google Translate

However, be aware that the quality of the content displayed can be disappointing. You might even see only text instead of the usual layout. In addition, you might not be able to click the links presented on the website.

As a result, Google Translate is useful only when you need to unblock a site for its information, e.g. an article or a forum thread.

Security level: Low

7. Take advantage of a dynamic IP

This method will help you access sites that specifically block your IP address. However, it will work only if your ISP has given you a dynamic IP address, which changes occasionally.

It’s not rocket science: if you can’t access a particular website, simply restart your router and see whether the page you want to visit is able to load.

Unfortunately, if you have a static IP address, restarting your router won’t work for you. To determine the kind of IP you have (dynamic or static), write it down and compare it with the one you get after the router restart.

Tip: To see your current IP address, type in “what is my IP address” into your browser’s search bar.

Security level: Low

8. Use HTML to PDF converter to download restricted content

If you don’t really need to access a restricted website, i.e. you only need to read its contents, then this HTML to PDF converter may do the trick.

Unblock websites with a PDF converter

This free tool will take any URL and convert it to a PDF document, displaying the text and pictures as they appear on the site. You can then download the file or simply preview it online.

Security level: Low

Best VPNs to access blocked sites

If you've hit a brick wall when trying to access some web page, a VPN is a superb solution to overcome these restrictions. The problem is, it can sometimes be a bit hard to choose the right VPN for you. If you want to unblock particular streaming services, you should instead go directly to pages like best VPN for streaming or best VPN for torrenting. These will guide you in the right direction.

For everyone else, I've gathered a couple of VPNs that should be good in most scenarios when unblocking websites.

NordVPN

Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

NordVPN is a widely known VPN for unblocking websites. If a page is online with NordVPN, you will be able to access it, even if your government blocks it. This also applies to streaming services that are not yet officially available in your region. Ever wanted to watch that blocked YouTube video or subscribe to Hulu or HBO Max? You will be able to pull this off with NordVPN.

In addition to this, NordVPN has a SmartDNS feature. You can set it up even on devices that don't even support VPN apps. For more NordVPN features, see our NordVPN review.

Choose NordVPN for:

  • large server fleet
  • strong security features
  • fast connection speeds
  • independently audited no-logs policy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfhark

Surfshark banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!

Surfshark is another great pick if you want to browse the web freely. Although it's one of the newest VPN providers on the list, it can prove to be an invaluable tool that increases the scope of what content is available to you.

With plenty of servers (including obfuscated ones), it won't be hard to find one that works for you. Even if you want to access traditionally hard-to-unblock websites like Netflix or DAZN, Surfshark manages to deal with both.

The app constraints don't restrict it – you can set up their SmartDNS to use it with any device. For more information, read our Surfshark VPN review.

Choose Surfshark for:

  • Windows and Android OS
  • AES-256-GCM encryption
  • Chrome and Firefox browser extensions
  • NoBorders feature to use in heavily restricted countries
  • 7-day free trial

VyprVPN

vyprvpn
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:700 servers in 70 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get up to 12 months FREE!

While Vypr most time flies under the radar, it's one of the best VPNs for unblocking all kinds of websites. All of their servers are owned by them, and they're using their proprietary DNS servers. They also have a DNS relay system in place, which helps disguise the fact that you're coming from a VPN.

This approach seems to be working, as we could unblock most of the inaccessible servers with VyprVPN. It wasn't isolated to geographically restricted store pages. You can also watch foreign Netflix or HBO Max libraries. For more information, read our VyprVPN review.

Choose VyprVPN for:

  • great security features
  • good connection speeds
  • zero-log policy
  • inexpensive option for long-term users
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

How to unblock websites at school or work?

It’s no secret that institutions like schools, universities, or offices can restrict access to certain websites that are deemed inappropriate or might put a strain on productivity.

However, these restrictions sometimes go overboard. Whether you want to check your emails or take a scroll or two through your social media platform, you may need to have a way to unblock the sites that let you communicate with the outside world.

So, here’s what might work best for you. If it’s your personal work computer, you might be able to install a VPN and use it as much as you please. However, you won’t have such luxury if you’re using a public computer at school or if you don’t have an assigned workstation at your job.

In this case, a proxy website might become your best friend, as it requires no installation. Other good methods to unblock sites at school or work are using IP instead of URL or simply converting the page’s contents into a PDF file.

You may also like to read:

Why are websites getting banned?

If you find yourself unable to access a web page, there can be multiple reasons behind it. Luckily, whether you’ve accidentally left the Parental Control filter on or the site got banned by the government, there’s usually a way to fix this problem by yourself.

  • Censorship. Believe it or not, online censorship is still a huge problem in 2021 - and China is not the only culprit. There are many governments that limit the access to content that might clash with their political or religious views, and a good VPN is one of the few ways to bypass this.
  • Geo-blocking. The majority of streaming sites offer a different content selection for people in different countries because of copyright agreements. Luckily, you can watch movies unavailable in your own country thanks to proxies and VPNs.
  • Work policy. Some schools, universities, or offices block access to certain websites that contain unethical, illegal, or inappropriate content. However, even completely safe sites often get blocked in an attempt to increase productivity or to preserve bandwidth.

In Western countries, the usage of tools like VPNs or proxies is completely legal as long as you don’t involve yourself in illegal activities like torrenting copyrighted content.

So, if you simply want to unblock Facebook at work, you won’t break any laws. Sure, you go against your work policy and might still get into trouble, but that’s about it. The same goes for unblocking geo-restricted content on streaming sites like Netflix or Youtube. It is not illegal - it simply goes against the site’s terms of use.

However, keep in mind that every country is different. Countries like China, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea (which are listed as “Enemies of the Internet” by Reporters Without Borders) have much stricter laws in terms of VPN usage. It is smart to research the regulations of your particular country before trying to access restricted websites.

Bottom line

Whether you live in a country where the majority of international websites are blocked or you simply want to watch a Netflix movie unavailable in your region, having lots of options to unblock sites feels liberating. Plus, software tools like NordVPN make the process really simple even for novice users.

It’s good to know that no matter how hard someone might try to enforce online censorship, there will always be people who develop new ways to defend your right to information.

FAQ


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

How to Bypass VPN Blocks & Stay Undetectable: become a ghost with these proven methods

How to Get a US (American) IP Address: become a citizen without the need to apply for citizenship

How to Bypass Circle with Disney: accept no censorship in your household with these solutions


Comments
noo
noo
prefix 16 days ago
my school probably saw this because all these methods are blocked
Mimi
Mimi
prefix 18 days ago
It did NOT work for me either... But everything I try that i found on this SITE, on my chromebook, it just says blocked.
bruh
bruh
prefix 13 days ago
I agree, even if I DO manage to get a hold on one of those websites, it'll just say "Content Keep Filtering", or some baloney like that.
meo
meo
prefix 24 days ago
if anyone has a suggestion for unblocking discord [my school blocks any vpn websites, classified as "security.proxy"] please let me know thx
aaaaaaa
aaaaaaa
prefix 25 days ago
proxy websites are blocked on my school computer :[[[[[
rebeca
rebeca
prefix 4 months ago
I tried it and it did not work on my school computer and i am a little mad because i want to watch netflix but it wont work and i think you are lieing
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 4 months ago
Hello, Rebeca! Could you please tell me which method(s) you used? In terms of unblocking Netflix, your best bet is using a VPN.
Basil
Basil
prefix 4 months ago
Thank you man im wanting to go on this website called discord so me and my freinds can work together online even though were in the same classroom and when we get free time I would love to chat to them and send nice pictures but my school blocked it I did go on it once with 2 of my friends but when we got off the next day it was blocked so my school is spying which is an invasion of privacy.
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 4 months ago
Hello, Basil! I’m sorry to hear your school has blocked Discord. You can simply try using a proxy – this usually works.
motionpass
motionpass
prefix 3 months ago
use canary.discord.com, works for me
most schools dont register canary discord
Bobby
Bobby
prefix 1 month ago
Mine does, any other suggestions?
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