How to Unblock Websites: 10 Simple Methods
A website block or ‘ban’ is a technical measure intended to restrict users from accessing specific websites or resources. Typically, users are denied access to a web server based on the IP address of their machine. This is known as an IP-based block.
A website block is intended to restrict users from viewing particular parts of the internet.
We’ll first introduce our six favorite methods for unblocking a website. These are the most effective ways for you to access restricted content online.
We’ll then move onto four less reliable alternatives that you can also use.
1. Use a Web Proxy
Using a web proxy is a quick and easy way to unblock a website.
A proxy acts like a middleman between you and your destination website.
When using a proxy, your internet traffic gets routed via an intermediary server rather than going directly to the website. The server then visits the site on your behalf and forwards you its content.
A proxy hides your IP address and true location from the websites you visit.
From the website’s perspective, your traffic is coming from the location of the proxy server.
Because proxy servers hide your IP address and make it appear as if you’re browsing from another country, you can use a proxy server to unblock a website that is blocked in your location. Just make sure to pick a proxy server based in a country where your desired website is unblocked.
A web proxy will also allow you to unblock websites at school or at work. These blocks tend to focus on the restricted website’s IP address or URL.
When you browse with a proxy, you never actually visit the website yourself. The proxy visits the site on your behalf and forwards you its content. You can’t get blocked because you never actually connect to the banned IP or URL. It’s that simple.
There are lots of different types of proxy server, but most people use web proxies. Popular ones include: Hide.me, HideMyAss, Whoer, and kproxy.
Web proxies do come with certain risks. Most importantly, they are not encrypted, meaning your ISP, government, school, workplace and hackers can all monitor your online activity.
For this reason, we strongly advise against using a proxy for anything involving personal or sensitive information.
Web proxies aren’t always the most reliable or safe way to unblock websites either:
- Proxy servers get overcrowded, causing slow connection speeds and even crashing.
- Web proxies work at the browser-level, meaning only traffic sent from the specific browser window you are using will be routed through the proxy server.
- Web proxies have been known to inject adverts into your browsing session. More worryingly, some have also been found to insert malware.
You should use a web proxy if you’re trying to quickly unblock single web pages or bypass filters at school and work.
Don’t use a web proxy to access sensitive information or if you’re concerned about privacy and security online.
For more information about the different types of proxy server and their potential dangers, you can read our Proxy vs VPN guide.
Web Proxy: Pros & Cons
|Web Proxy Advantages||Web Proxy Disadvantages|
How to Use a Web Proxy
To unblock a website using a web proxy:
- Visit a web proxy website. In this example, we’ve used hide.me.
- Type in the URL you want to unblock.
- Select a proxy location (pick a country where the website you’re trying to access is unrestricted).
- Click ‘visit anonymously’. The website should appear unblocked on your screen.
2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPNs are a safe and reliable way to bypass website blocks.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a piece of software that encrypts your connection and channels all of your internet traffic through a remote server in order to protect your privacy and hide your IP address.
When you access the internet using a VPN, your traffic goes to the VPN server first and then onto your desired website. Your IP address will change and your browsing data won’t be linked to your real location, making everything you do online much more private.
VPNs encrypt your traffic. This helps to hide your Internet activity from ISPs, hackers, network administrators, and other prying eyes.
A VPN will also encrypt and re-route all of the traffic sent from your device, while a proxy will re-route only the data sent from your browser window.
VPNs therefore offer a much more secure and private connection than a web proxy. For more information on exactly how VPNs work, you can read our dedicated guide: What is a VPN?
Depending on which VPN provider you’re using, you’ll be able to choose from dozens or even hundreds of VPN server locations around the world. This means you can trick websites into thinking you’re browsing, streaming, or torrenting from a specific city or country.
For this reason, VPNs are one of the most popular ways of accessing geo-blocked websites.
By hiding your IP address and replacing it with a VPN server’s IP address, you can circumvent website blocks that are based on your location or identity.
You can also bypass any blocks in place at your school or place of work. These restrictions are usually based on the IP address or URL of the websites you’re trying to visit.
You should use a VPN if you are:
- Worried about your online privacy.
- Unblocking websites on a long-term basis, like when traveling.
- Accessing personal information from abroad.
- Trying to bypass geographical restrictions.
If you just want to unblock a single web page quickly, you’re better off using a web proxy. If you require complete anonymity, use the Tor Browser.
It is also worth noting the importance of choosing the right VPN service provider. Different VPN providers will be better suited to different needs.
- If you require servers in specific locations, you need to ensure you pick a VPN provider with servers in that location.
- If you are using a VPN to avoid censorship, you’ll need a VPN with obfuscation technology.
- If you want to unblock certain services like Netflix, you’ll need to make sure your VPN works with those services. You can find our VPN recommendations for Netflix here.
Choosing the right VPN provider is also important from a safety perspective.
Simply put, when you use a VPN, you’re trusting the service provider with all of your browsing data. That includes the websites you visit, what you do on those websites, your IP address, and more.
It is therefore crucial that you use a reputable provider. Good VPNs will not leak, collect, or share your browsing information.