We have all faced access restriction issues when visiting the desired website. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you’re living in; some sites will be restricted for your region. It can be frustrating to be blocked from a site, and we’ve all wondered if there is any way around these restrictions.
- What Is Website Restriction?
- Reasons For Blocking Of Website In Your Region
- Are There Any Ways To Access Restricted Sites?
- Is it Safe And Legal to Unblock Blocked Websites?
What Is Website Restriction?
Website restrictions bar access for specified websites to users in specified regions, keeping users from accessing their favorite content. For example, a government can restrict sites from spreading unverified information or making unsubstantiated claims.
We all know that the internet is one of the most significant technological advancements we’ve seen, but it can also be used counter to our best interests. We have seen many websites spreading false news, committing fraud and other crimes, and used for other immoral and illegal activities. Governments will generally seek to restrict these types of websites for cybersecurity purposes. As a different example, we can easily access Facebook from most countries–but not from China, where it is blocked.
And it’s not only the government that restricts websites, but websites can also block themselves from specific targeted audiences.
Reasons For Blocking Of Website In Your Region
There are many reasons for blocking or restricting access to websites. Some of them are as follows:
- Geo-Restrictions: As already mentioned, both government and site managers can restrict users in certain regions from accessing a site. Many movie streaming apps and television shows restrict everyone outside of their targeted regional audience. This practice can prevent a server crash on a popular site because of the potentially heavy load.
- School Or Work Restrictions: Schools can restrict all websites except those defined as educational on their school computers. Of course, schools restrict websites that are not suitable for children. Similarly, companies can restrict entertainment websites in the workplace to prohibit their use during work hours.
- Company May Restrict Itself: Companies can choose to restrict certain app features in certain regions. For example, there is no option to listen to online music in YT Music from Nepal. However, users can listen to downloaded songs on it. Companies can also restrict their features from access by non-targeted users.
- Censorship; A government can restrict many movies or TV shows because of their abusive or harmful scenes. If the subject matter can be construed as offensive, companies or governments can choose to restrict or ban them. Movies will likely be banned if their subject matter is disrespectful of religion, race, or nationality.
Are There Any Ways To Access Restricted Sites?
If a website is restricted, does that mean we can’t access the site? Isn’t there a way around such restrictions? There are multiple ways to access restricted sites. In countries such as China, where most of the websites are censored, these techniques can genuinely help access any site within minutes. Here are nine ways to gain access to restricted sites:
- Use VPN
- Use Proxy Websites
- Use Google Translate
- Use TOR
- Use Extensions
- Use Website IP Address
- Use URL Shortener
- Change The DNS
- Try Changing HTTP And HTTPS
1. Use VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a tool that provides online anonymity while using the internet. It masks the IP address of the device sending the request and replaces it with another address. This will enable us to use an IP address from any country location that we desire to access.
VPN replaces one IP address with another IP address of a different location. If anyone wants to find the source behind your internet activity, they wouldn’t be able to discover your actual location. Instead, they would find a location hundreds if not thousands of miles away. In this way, your device virtually belongs to a new location, enabling access to your desired location’s restricted site.
VPN helps to gain access to the restricted or blocked sites and gives you an extra layer of online security. No one can trace your search history, online payments, etc. It can also be beneficial for online security when we use public WI-FI or hotspot.
There are both free and paid VPNs available online. We can use a free VPN if we just want to access the restricted sites. The main disadvantage of this is that it will contain ads. In the event we need more security, we can use a paid VPN service.
- Step 1: Download VPN for your required device(Android, Windows, iOS). Choose your plan(paid or free).
- Step 2: Select a country from where you want to gain access. It is recommended to choose less crowded servers so that you can enjoy fast internet.
- Step 3: Wait for a few seconds to connect. After receiving the connected signal, you can access any of the blocked sites.
Pros And Benefits
- Secures and protects data privacy
- Can choose the location of any country
- Very hard to trace your real location
- Strong encryption algorithms
- Slows the internet speed
- Many ads on the free version
- Some might be unsecured.
2. Use Proxy Websites
Proxy servers are generally the chain between the internet and your device. An SSL proxy is an IP blocker tool that can be used to enter the restricted or blocked site securely. When you connect your device with the proxy, the information you receive will first pass through the proxy server to your IP address. So from the view of the target website, the IP address location is different from your actual location. VPN and proxy function is relatively the same but has a few different features.
When you use a proxy website, your browser’s IP address remains the same, but the other websites will see it differently. Proxies are also known as ‘forward proxy’ because at first, the proxy server will receive the information for which you’ve searched, then it transfers it to you. As the servers will see your IP address in different locations than restricted locations, it will permit you to enter.
We can use proxy in different devices in different ways. We usually have to pay for the proxy, but there are many free proxy sites. So, if you just want to access the restricted sites, you can use free proxy websites. You can use hide. My website to access restricted sites.
- Step 1: Open your search engine and search for free proxy websites. In this example, we’ll choose to hide me.
- Step 2: Select the location and website URL that you want to gain access to. Search and enjoy surfing!
Pros And Benefits
- Hides complete IP address
- Security and protection
- Saves bandwidth by the cached sites
- Proxy providers might misuse your data.
- It might not be connected to every device
- Shared or public proxy may contain spam and ads.
3. Use Google Translate
Frequently, the government, schools, and companies will restrict websites but not Google Translate. Translation tools such as Google Translate allow users to translate websites into any language, avoiding the government ban.
As it is an educational tool, most people don’t think to restrict it. We can use this loophole to access the blocked or restricted sites, although it’s not sure that the website you want to visit will open through it. Here is precisely how we can use it for our purposes:
- Step 1: Go to Google Translate. Paste the website’s URL that you want to unblock.
- Step 2: Go to the website. Now you’re on your favorite website.
Pros And Benefits
- Easy to use and try
- Can choose contents in the expected language
- Website content needs to be translated so, and you can’t get it in the original language.
- It won’t work on every website.
4. Use TOR
Tor browser can help you to gain access to any kind of blocked or restricted sites. It is a free service that makes you anonymous while accessing blocked sites. The browser can protect anyone from tracking you because it has a series of servers connected worldwide. When you’re surfing the internet on Tor browser, it is almost impossible for an average person to trace your location.
It is filled with multiple layers of security to enhance the security of the users. Tor is the most powerful tool for gaining access to sites that are also restricted to regular browsers. Many journalists, researchers, and anti-government bodies use it because of its extreme safety. Even many criminals make use of it for illegal activity. While Tor browser can help you quickly gain access to restricted sites, you may find risky and dangerous sites too. If you choose to use the Tor browser, use it carefully. Tor is based on onion routing, which means the user’s data or simply their IP address is encrypted, and then it’s passed to the different Tor servers. It makes multiple encryptions and keeps the third person away from your IP. The Tor browser is available for most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, etc. Let’s move on to the steps to use the Tor browser.
- Step 1: Go to your usual browser, then download and install Tor Browser. Then, click open to launch.
- Step 2: It will take some time to bootstrap and make the connection between Tor and your browser. Let it complete 100%.
- Step 3: Once it is complete, you’ll see its home screen. Now you’re successfully connected to the Tor browser.
Pros And Benefits
- Keeps your privacy safe
- It is free to use the software; anyone can use it
- Increased freedom of speech
- It takes a lot of time to load a page
- Requires VPN for encryption
- Home of hackers, fraudsters, criminals, etc.
5. Use Extensions
Opera browser comes with free VPN technology in it. Unfortunately, other browsers like Google Chrome do not have this feature. There are many extensions that we can use to access restricted sites. Unlike a proxy, extensions can be used to access multiple sites at the same time. They work to establish security and privacy by making your browsing confidential.
The extension can help you bypass firewalls, hide IP addresses, and encrypt all the data you browse. It can help to access the geo-restricted sites within a few minutes. Extensions are easy to use, and you can quickly connect them wherever you want. The good thing about extensions is that they can be used in any operating system.
Some of the best chrome extensions you can use are Zenmate, Browsec, and friGate. Here are the steps to use extensions:
- Step 1: Open Chrome browser. Go to the Chrome Webstore. Search for any extension.
- Step 2: You’ll see the ‘add to chrome’ option. After that, it will install. You can see its logo on the upper-right desktop. Click on it, and its dashboard will open.
- Step 3: Signup with your email and new password(it’s free). Verify your email, and it is ready to use.
Pros And Benefits
- Virtually browse from different locations.
- Free to use and deactivate
- Favorable for both mobile and desktop users
- Slows down the speed
- Needs two-step email verification to access
6. Use Website IP Address
In most cases, authorities restrict or block the website domain(example.com) but not the IP addresses. In reality, domain names are not the whole identity or the only way to access the browser. You can enter any website if you have its IP address. An internet protocol(IP) is the set of numbers that connects the network devices with servers. This is an example: 205.67.111.01.
This trick can be the easiest and most helpful way to access the site. When you get the IP of a particular website, you can search it on the search engine, and it will load if the website IP is not blocked. This technique can work if there is weak blocking; otherwise, not. Anyway, you can try it out. Here are the steps to use this technique:
- Step 1: Type ‘windows’ + ‘X’ on your keyboard. Use the ‘windows prompt’ command.
- Step 2: Type ‘tracert’ and add one space. Type the website domain’s IP—for example, Facebook.com. Enter, and you’ll see the website IP. Now you can copy it and search for it on search engines.
There is another easy trick to find IP addresses. It can be beneficial for mobile users.
- Step 1: There is a website called 24×7.com. You can find the website IP address there just by searching its domain name.
- Step 2: Copy IP and search for it on search engines.
Pros And Benefits
- Easy to use
- No change in internet speed
- I cannot work on every blocked website.
- It cannot work if websites hide IP.
7. Use URL Shortener
When the authorities have blocked websites without any higher-level security, websites can be easily accessible. They can be easily accessed by shortening the URL. This method is straightforward, quick, and useful for low-security restrictions. Generally, it can crack the restrictions of schools, hotels, offices, etc.
Most of the URL shortener’s services are not blocked by the authorities so, by using them, you can shorten the URL and enter it into the website. Unlike VPN and proxy, you do not need to connect your device with any other server to access this method. You can download the free URL shorteners or directly visit their website to access your favorite sites. Some of the URL shortener websites are Shorturl and Bitly.
Using these websites is very simple. Here is how you can use it.
- Step 1: Just go to the website, and you’ll see a box to enter the URL. Type the URL, and it will give its short form.
- Step 2: Copy the URL. Go to any search engine and paste it there.
Pros And Benefits
- Easy to use
- Safe and time-saving
- Smoothly works on weak restrictions of office and schools.
- Does not work on high-security restrictions
8. Change The DNS
A domain is the mask of the website, while an IP address is a real face. Domain name server (DNS) is the system used to find the website’s IP address by its domain name. When we search for a website on search engines, our computer performs DNS lookup. DNS acts as a middleman between the data traffic and the computer. If any computer blocks the website, then the DNS will not access it.
When authorities restrict or block websites, they block their DNS from being connected with the ISPs. So when you search a restricted website, it won’t load. You can use free Google DNS to get access to the blocked website in this way:
- Step 1: Click on the ‘control panel’ and find “network and internet.” Then, click “Network and Sharing center.”
- Step 2: On the left, you’ll see change adapter settings. Click it and go to properties. Select “Internet protocol version” and click on “properties.”
- Step 3: For Google DNS, enter 220.127.116.11 for the preferred DNS server and 18.104.22.168 for the alternate DNS server. Click ok.
Pros And Benefits
- Works from anywhere at anytime
- Can improve internet speed
- Good for security
- A burden to use because of a long process
- Doesn’t hide your location
9. Try Changing HTTP And HTTPS
On a website’s complete URL, you’ll see the HTTPS or HTTP. Sometimes removing or adding them can work to give access. For example, suppose a website you want to access is https://www.example.com, and it is not opening. You can try to remove “s” from the URL, and it can work if the website is not banned correctly by the authorities. And if there is HTTP, try to add and see.
When the authorities have not blocked websites wholly or correctly, they can be accessed easily. This type of method rarely works, but you might be lucky.
Pros And Benefits
- Can work on schools or office where websites are not correctly blocked
- Usually, it doesn’t work.
Is it Safe And Legal to Unblock Blocked Websites?
Using VPNs, proxies, extensions, and others of the methods mentioned above are not necessarily illegal as they’re not only being used to access blocked websites. They have many other advantages related to security concerns, establishing support systems, etc. Even China allows VPN and other security tools. However, in some countries, it is illegal to unblock blocked websites, while most countries still have no objections to using these tools and services. Of course, it is illegal if you’re stealing others’ content, pirating movies, or watching child pornography.
These activities are always illegal, whether the use of access tools is legal or not. In conclusion, we can assert that using tools and services that unblock restricted websites is entirely fair. Along with access to restricted sites, you can also gain security layers while browsing online to maintain online safety.
The internet is free to everyone, and anyone connected with it has the right to access it as they wish. However, the desired website must comply with the laws it is governed by and should not contain immoral or unethical material. Governments block websites to protect consumers from unsafe and unscrupulous practices. Sometimes, the government mistakenly blocks legal websites, but in these situations, you’ll be able to access them using any tool.
On the other hand, offices and schools block websites so students and working staff can only view relevant material.