Citizens of North Korea requires special permission to buy a personal computer. Similarly, in Cuba, one can only access the internet in cyber cafes, which cost up to $10/hour. The average weekly salary is $20.
Now, these are some of the biggest examples of internet censorship. But they are not the only one. Restricted internet everywhere.
Middle east blocked many websites. Pakistan has their own local version of YouTube. China use ‘Great firewall’ to filter out ninety percent of the web. And even in 2 biggest democratic nation (India/USA), offices/colleges blocked websites they do not like.
And even in 2 biggest democratic nation of the world (India/USA), offices and colleges blocked websites they don’ t like. So much so, for internet freedom.
Sometimes internet censorship is justified. But usually, it’s the misuse of power.
The internet is an excellent place to learn new stuff. People like me, even make a living out of it. And it’s one of the best things in my life. But it would never be possible if I didn’t have access to the internet.
Internet is a free place and it should be kept like that.
Therefore here are some tips & tricks to access blocked content. However, some countries/institutions are strict about internet censorship. So if that’s your case, then beware of the consequence.
Use the internet to gain knowledge, but don’t break any laws.
Having said that, let’s get started (see video tutorial)
Access Blocked Websites
1. Start Simple
If the website is not opening, try replacing ‘http‘ with ‘https‘ in the URL.
This worked flawlessly on my college WiFi, which has banned Facebook and several other social media sites. If you get SSL error saying, the website is not trusted. Click on the proceed anyway button.
Another small trick that you should try before pulling the big guns is using URL shorten service. Try this one from Google.
However, most institutions are smart enough for this. So don’t expect it to work everywhere. And this brings us to our next method.
2. Use proxy website
Google the keyword ‘proxy websites’. Open the first link and enter the URL of blocked website and click on Go. The proxy website will fetch the blocked content to you.
How proxy websites work?
The concept is simple. a proxy replaces your IP with their own. So instead of directly requesting the page, you send a request to the proxy website first and then it forward your request to blocked website.
However, your institution can easily block proxy website as well. So the least popular is the proxy site, there are more chances that it will work.
Or Use Google translate
It may sound crazy but believe me, you can use Google translate as a proxy site as well. And the good part is institutions don’t block Google translate.
So head over to the Google translate. In the translate box type in the URL of blocked website and convert it to some local language you know. Unfortunately, they have removed translate to same language feature.
However, Google translate don’t work with the dynamic websites like Facebook or YouTube. So for that, use the next approach.
3. Browser extension
To access country restricted websites like Pandora and Spotify, you can use browser extensions like TunnelBear or Zenmate. To get this extension, do a simple Google Search. And install it from the store. You will need to create an account to use them.
TunnelBear only gives you 500 MB of free data every month. Now, this is sufficient for text browsing. But say, if you use tunnel bear to watch US Netflix content, or for any video content, then all your free data will be gone in a single session. Right?
Well, there is a small trick here. Most service only checks your IP only when you log in or start playing a video. So once you are in, you can simply turn OFF the VPN service. It had tested it for Spotify and Netflix from India. And it worked fine.
Netflix has recently launched 130 countries, but its content is not equal everywhere even when it charges the same. To access, all the Netflix content in one app, use Smartflix. It’s available for windows and mac. And works really well.
4. Access Blocked Websites in Android
If you are using Android on restricted WiFi, then use Orbot. It’s Android client for famous Tor browser. All you need to do is turn on Orbot and it will configure everything for you.
Tor is based on onion routing protocol i.e. it has 3 layers of protection and it’s also open source. So you can use it to access any blocked websites, without working about is someone is keeping your logs.
However, since it’s route your traffic to 3 different computers situated across the world, the speed you get is not good. It’s good for text-based browsing and emails, but for videos or file sharing, well you have to wait a lot.
Download Orbot from Play Store.
5. Get a VPN
Proxies are good for browsers, but if you want to other apps on your PC like uTorrent or skype, then your will need VPN. Moreover unlike proxies, it’s difficult for ISP to block VPN.
Moreover unlike proxies, VPNs are not public, so it’s very difficult for ISPs to block it.
The only downside of VPN is, they are paid. But you can find some free version available like tunnel bear or hotspot shield. In return, they will either show you ads or you get limited bandwidth. Don’t expect torrents to work with free VPN though.
In the video above, I have shown how to install free VPN like Hotspot shield. All you have to do is download the free version, install it on your computer and that’s it. The program will automatically start the service.
#6 Change your DNS
This is the ultimate solution.
By default, we use our the DNS (short for domain name server) provided by our ISP. And since everything happens in the background, we never notice it.
But services like SmartDNS provide you with different sets of DNS, which can unblock everything i.e. websites, streaming services like Netflix and even torrents.
The advantage of using them are — since you add the DNS setting on your router level, it will work for all your device i.e. smartphone, computers and even chromecast. Also, they are faster than VPN and very hard to block.
Related: How to change DNS in every platform
Video tutorial (recommended)
I tried everything but nothing worked. Now What?
OK, so your college is smarter than we thought. In that case, I suggest you use UltraSurf to access blocked website.
But the most effective way to hide identity is to use Tor. I use this all the time in my college. The only downside is, when you access torrents or YouTube the connection is very slow. But hey, you can access any blocked websites. Right?
Related: How to use Tor Browser Bundle.
So which method looks most promising to you? Share your thoughts and let me know if you have any question via comments.