How to Access Blocked Websites

More and more websites get blocked by ISPs or government authorities. At the same time, more and more ways of unblocking them appear. Unblocking websites might seem to be a problem at first thought, but in reality, it is not as difficult as you think. If you are one of those who travel a lot or experience some sort of Internet censorship, then this article would be useful to you.

Use virtual private networks

VPN is considered to be one of the most powerful ways of getting access to a restricted website. Modern VPNs are hassle-free and user-friendly. VPNs work by routing all the Internet traffic inside a special tunnel through its servers. Traffic is encrypted and thus your Internet activities are hidden. Distant servers allow unblocking the inaccessible websites.

When ISP or any other authority block a webpage, it is most likely that they have already blocked more than just the website’s domain. Other restrictions may include blocking ports, blocking wide IP address ranges, etc.

VPN is preferred over other methods because once a connection is established with the VPN network, there are no more hurdles that can be placed on the way of accessing the website. The connection established by a VPN works as a secret passage that is kept away from any type of surveillance.

Since your Internet traffic passes secretly through the VPN tunnel, ISPs cannot stop you from connecting to a blocked website. Moreover, ISPs cannot even know that you successfully bypass their restrictions. They do not know what sites you visit.

Apart from unblocking websites, there are many other benefits of using a VPN. Read this post if you want to know why people need a VPN. For now, there a lot of free VPNs that may leak your confidential information or intentionally sell it to third parties, or even allow malware like this to access your computer. It is important to choose only trustful VPN services.

Use Tor

The Tor network shares a few similarities with the VPN applications. Like its contemporary, Tor routes the Internet traffic through a network of servers\nodes. It is far more decentralized but less reliable when it comes to unblocking all blocked sites.

The main advantage that comes when working with the Tor network is that it ensures enough anonymity and the messages are sent and received well encrypted. You connect to the desired site through random servers provided by the network.

Some disadvantages also exist. Tor can sometimes function slowly, and it does not always work with different devices and systems.

Use search engine’s cache

Utilizing the search engine’s cache when you are willing to access the basic data from any website without the preliminary logging in or database processing, can save you a lot of time and efforts granting you entry to blocked sites.

Most often authorities block IP addresses and domains of websites but Google along with the other major search engines provide effective means to access the desired websites by storing the cached versions of all websites that they index on their servers and using Google IP addresses. IPSs or governments cannot block Google IPs as they use them too or this might cause economic problems. 

By clicking on the down arrow provided next to the site’s URL in the search results page, and then clicking on the “cached” option. will open the cached content.

Change your DNS

If by some reason you cannot use the above methods, restricted access to the websites imposed by ISPs can be overcome by changing your DNS address. The ISP’s DNS can be replaced with any other DNS. If you do not already have a DNS available, you are free to use the ones suggested by Google. Here are a few DNS that can be used:

IPv4 – IP: 8.8.8.8

IPv6 – IP: 2001:4860:4860::8888

Here Google provides instructions on how you can go about changing your DNS address and configure it with Google’s. Different operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Mac are covered as well as different routers, mobile phones, and other devices.

Type the website’s IP directly

When a website is blocked on the URL level only, you can try accessing it by directly visiting its IP rather than opening it via its URL. In some cases, your ISP saves efforts and only blocks the URL of the website.

To understand this procedure better, it is crucial to know the difference between IP address and URL. URL consists of a protocol identifier and the domain name. Like https:// and google.com. When these two parts of the URL come together, you get https://google.com. And if blocked, you can access it through its IP address which is 173.194.223.99.

You can easily locate the IP addresses of the blocked websites by entering the website URL here, the service will immediately return its IP.

Wayback machine

The Wayback Machine is provided by Archive.org. You can use it to unblock many websites. Wayback machine regularly indexes almost all websites and stores their past versions. You can go and check how the particular website looked back in 2005. The downside, however, is that it does not have the latest versions of most websites. One more issue is that the Wayback Machine does not allow to access websites that require entering login \ password details.  

Conclusion

So, as you see, we have listed six ways to access blocked websites. It is easier than most people think.  

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About The Author
David Balaban
David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the Privacy-PC.com project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.

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