How to Unblock Websites

Bruno Mircevski

Written by Web Hosting Expert

June 23, 2022
How to Unblock Websites

Content censorship is a big deal in today's world. Even though it's gotten better over time, it's still present, so much so that over 80% of the world doesn't have content that is 100% uncensored.

Some parts of the world struggle with blocked websites and content more than others. Iran places high on this list, where increased censorship and restrictions have affected 60% of the population. Moreover, over 40% of the blocked websites contain political or governmental content.

With all of this being said, let's see what you can do to unblock websites and access their content.

Why Am I Being Blocked From a Website?


Here are the most prevalent reasons why you can be blocked from accessing a website:

1. Legally Blocked by the Government

Governments usually block content that they deem a threat to national security, content containing copyright-infringing material, etc. However, many countries also block political content that doesn't agree with their plans and content that criticizes their methods, military, etc. Over 60% of Internet users live in countries that incorporate political and anti-government censorship.

Website Legally blocked by the government

2. Internally Blocked (network at school/workplace)

Companies and educational institutions like schools, universities, etc., also block websites and content that they think would distract students and employees from their tasks. Usually, the websites that you can't access on your school or work network are easily accessible on your home network. Companies and educational institutions usually block websites based on their URL.

Internally blocked

3. Blocked by your Internet Service Provider

Though not as common as the other blocks mentioned, some users also experience website blocks from their Internet service provider or ISP. These blocks are usually easier to work around compared to government blocks and are placed to either protect the user's browsing experience or the ISP itself. For example, some ISPs in countries like Mexico and Brazil block certain VoIP services, while in Belize, the ISPs offer their own and block all other VoIP services.

Blocked by your Internet service provider

4. Geo-Restriction

Many websites use geo-restriction to block certain content based on the country it's accessed from. For example, users in Romania do not have access to the same content as users in the US. Geo-restrictions are especially popular with streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, HBO, etc. Furthermore, streaming platforms must adhere to distribution laws that specify which nations and regions can access specific content. To bypass these geo-restrictions, you need to access the streaming platform or website from an approved country to be able to consume all the content they offer.

Geo-restriction

5. Personal Ban

You can receive a personal ban from a particular website as well. Many major websites, such as Twitch, Omegle, and Twitter, have the ability to remove users who violate their terms of service or who promote criminal activities

Personal ban

6. Age-Restricted Content

Popular websites such as YouTube flag specific videos as unsuitable for viewers under 18. These videos are age-restricted and cannot be accessed by users with accounts where their birth date shows that they are under 18 years old. Also, users that are signed out cannot access age-restricted content.

Age-restricted content

7. Spam Content

Many prominent social media platforms or channels and profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, etc. that interact with large communities have moderators who control the content and comments that are being said on those platforms and channels. These moderators have the ability to block or restrict specific users that type spam content and messages.

Spam content

Is It Legal to Unblock Sites?


Whether it’s legal to unblock a website depends on the method you use and the country you are located in. For the most part, when you unblock a website, you go against the terms of use of some of the websites. This can get you in a bit of trouble, but it’s not illegal. However, the rules are different in each country. So, to be sure, let’s take a look at the specifics:

VPN

Unblocking websites is legal in most countries with VPNs. VPNs are permitted in many countries. However, some banned the use of VPNs, like:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Belarus
  • Uganda
  • Iraq
  • Turkey
  • UAE

Torrents

On the other hand, Torrenting copyrighted media is always illegal, whether or not you use a VPN. For example, some of the countries that have banned or shut down torrenting sites are:

  • Germany
  • Japan
  • UK
  • Finland
  • France
  • UAE
  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • China
  • Malaysia
  • US
  • Russia
  • Latvia
  • Australia

Generally, it is not illegal to bypass content restrictions on services like HBO GO or Netflix to watch specific series, but it may be against their terms of service. For example, around 56% of users use VPNs solely to access Netflix and get unrestricted content.

So, all in all, the legality of bypassing content restrictions and unblocking websites depends on your location and the method you use to achieve your goal.

How to Access Blocked Websites


1. Browser Extension

You can use browser extensions like UltraSurf, ProxMate, Hola, and others to access dynamic websites that may be blocked for you. You don't have to download or install these extensions. All you have to do is add them to your browser, and you're good to go. Additionally, you can pick from a wide range of free extensions that are safe and will protect your online presence, like the ones mentioned above. Also, browser extensions do not slow down your connection to other apps.

2. Anonymous Browsers

You can use anonymous browsers like Tor to ensure that your online presence is entirely anonymous. Tor is a free, open-source network that hides your online identity and reroutes your traffic through a wide network of relays which enables you to unblock websites and access their content. Tor is based on a massive overlay network that is run only by volunteers. To access the Tor network, you have to download it and choose a connection. While some countries prohibit Tor, you can get around these restrictions by enabling Tor to download through its own network. After this is done, you install Tor, and you can start using it.

3. VPN

Virtual private networks are the most popular method for bypassing content restrictions and unblocking websites. It's an industry that is expected to have a value of over $31 billion. VPNs reroute your Internet traffic through their own secure servers, which means that instead of your traffic being sent directly to a website, VPNs filter it and resend it to multiple servers. VPNs also encrypt your outgoing traffic to ensure your online identity is hidden and safe. VPNs unblock websites by replacing your IP so that websites don't know your location. However, because most major websites try to ban access from recognized VPN servers, providers must maintain massive networks of scattered servers to ensure access. Each VPN provider has a different number of servers and levels of performance. Some VPN providers include: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, NordVPN, etc. There is also another categorization of VPNs, which is:

  • Free
    VPNs that are free are usually limited versions with reduced features and functionality that companies offer to promote their complete paid services. However, these limited free versions can be enough for some users, especially if they are new and need a VPN for personal uses. If you're not in business or don't want to access anything too personal, such as your bank's website, a free VPN will suffice.

  • Paid
    If you need a VPN that offers advanced security, speed, features, etc., than you should go for a paid VPN. Paid VPNs offer everything you would need, regardless if you use them for personal or business reasons. Also, most of the top-quality VPN providers offer affordable plans, and you can reduce the subscription fees if you get a one or two-year plan. So, paid VPNs are really worth it in the long run.

4. Proxy

A web proxy is helpful for swiftly unblocking content on public computers or if you can't install a VPN or Tor on a work or school computer. You'll first connect to a proxy server, then to your selected website, all while concealing your actual location. To use a proxy server, go to a website known as a proxy website, type in the URL of the actual website you wish to see and click a button to access it. A disadvantage of using proxies is that you must first go to the web proxy before reaching the desired site every time and for each site. Also, while web proxies are typically free, they do not offer the same level of privacy and security as a VPN or Tor because they do not hide your traffic and offer significantly fewer servers. Some free proxies are the HMA, KProxy, Zyte, GeoSurf, etc.

5. URL Shortener

You can use URL shortening sites like is.gd, TinyURL, Bitly, etc., to unblock websites if your school or work network uses basic and straightforward blocking methods. These sites make the URL of the website you want to unblock shorter, and you use this shorter version to access the website you want on your school or work network. However, URL shorteners provide no security for their users and do not always work. But this method is really easy and quick to use, the tools are free, and you don't need to download them.

6. Different DNS

Changing your ISP's DNS settings to anything else may allow you to access the restricted website you want to visit. You can change your DNS to Google Public DNS. Right-click the network icon in the taskbar and select Open Network and Sharing to change DNS. Double-click your network in the new window that displays. It will open a dialog box where you may modify the DNS settings for IPv4.

7. Wayback Machine

If you want to access a website that is no longer available in your region or has been deleted, you can use the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is an Internet archive that saves different versions of websites and makes them available to users. There, you can access videos, audio recordings, images, etc. that are no longer available.

One-Time Ways to Unblock Websites


The following are one-time ways to unblock sites because they only apply to the individual site you’re unblocking at the moment and you have to repeat the process every time you unblock a website:

  • HTTP -> HTTPS
    Switching a website's protocol from HTTP to HTTPS or vice versa can unblock that website if your school or work network uses simple blocking methods. So, if the site http://www.website.com is blocked, you can try https://www.website.com to see if it works. It is a free and easy method that does not require any downloading or installing. However, it doesn't always work, and the HTTP protocol is not secure at all.
  • Cache
    Search engines like Google usually keep a local copy of the commonly visited websites. So, if the live version of the website you want to visit is blocked, you can maybe work around this by accessing the cached version. Type cache: before the site address in the Google search field to access a cached site version. Then, using the down arrow, select Cached. If you're lucky, you might be able to get around the content block by accessing the site's cached version.
One-Time Ways to Unblock Websites
  • HTML -> PDF
    You can use a PDF converter to convert the HTML code of a webpage into a readable PDF format if you only want to view the contents of the page and don't need to access the actual site. Some tools to convert HTML to PDF are HTML PDF, PDFCrowd, Zamzar HTML to PDF converter, etc.
  • Use the IP address instead of the URL
    If a website is blocked, try accessing it by its IP address because the blockers may have concealed the URL. Using a free PING tool like WebSitePulse or in Command Prompt, you can get the IP address you need. However, if the blockers have opted to hide the IP address, this method will not work.

The Bottom Line


To conclude, there are ways to unblock websites you want to access. Some of them are more secure and legal in most countries, like using a VPN, and some are not secure at all but are free and take no time at all to complete.

So, depending on your needs, you should choose the most suitable method for you and decide whether you want to go for the safe but paid options or the free but more risky ones.

Frequently Asked Questions


Will HTTPS affect my site performance?

Yes. SSL impacts the site performance since it takes extra round trips to establish a secure connection. But, the increased level of security is worth the wait of a few milliseconds.

How HTTPS is important?

HTTPS is important because It protects customer and communication information. Businesses that use HTTPS can also be verified, since HTTPS works to legitimize any site.

Will an SSL certificate be included in both shared and WordPress hosting?

Yes, you’ll have access to a free SSL certificate on all hosting packages at Verpex.

Why should I get an SSL certificate?

You need an SSL certificate to convey trust to users, prevent attackers, verify ownership of your website, and keep your user data secure.

Bruno Mircevski
About the Author
Bruno Mircevski

Bruno Mircevski is a web hosting services expert. He has spent years researching the niche, exploring the most diverse aspects of Shared, VPS, WordPress, Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Resellers, etc. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he can grant you meaningful insights on our blog, whether you are a beginner or a hosting pro.

View all posts by Bruno Mircevski
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