There are numerous examples of websites being blocked in certain regions, which is a measure imposed both by private companies and governments. While governments block sites that they feel are against the culture and norms of their countries, companies do this to comply with regional legislation and for economic purposes. No matter the reason, a website can be blocked in many different ways, some of which are more restrictive than others. This is why we’ll use this article to talk about how to bypass VPN blocks, hopefully providing you with knowledge on how to access even the most securely locked websites.
Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to mention that many of us are facing roadblocks in the online realm daily. During the last year, we heard about the Russian VPN ban, when the government of this country decided to pressure several VPN services into implementing lists of restricted websites. We’ve also seen Bangladesh taking down adult-oriented and gambling websites, and India restricting half a billion individuals from visiting torrent sites. On top of all of this, these are countries where VPNs are illegal, and we highly recommend you read that article before proceeding. Once you’re sure that you’re on the safe side of the law, join us as we explore everything you need to know on how to bypass VPN blocks.
Aside from giving you some on-point recommendations on how to bypass VPN blocks, we want you to fully understand this topic. Depending on what you want to know, here’s a series of internal links to the chapters of this article:
- Why Are Some Websites Blocked in My Country?
- How Do VPNs Get Blocked?
- How to Bypass VPN Blocks?
- The Best VPN Services for Bypassing Blocks in 2020
- Frequently Asked Questions
DISCLAIMER: Before you read this article and learn how to access websites that have blocked VPNs, you must make sure the use of VPNs is not illegal, and bypassing VPN blocks will not get you in any kind of trouble with the police in your location. Even in countries like China, Iran, and the UAE, it is perfectly safe to access sites that have blocked VPNs. Of course, you should never use a VPN for any online criminal activities.
Keep in mind that it’s also risky to use VPN services at your school or your office as well. If you get caught, you could get into trouble with your teachers or your boss. You could get suspended or even fired from your job. You must keep these things in mind while enjoying the benefits of a VPN.
Why Are Some Websites Blocked in My Country? And Why Some Websites Block VPN Services, Specifically?
There are numerous reasons why websites might get blocked. To help you understand this topic and this issue in a more comprehensive way, we’ll list the most common causes.
1. Government-Imposed Censorship
Websites can be blocked for various reasons, and sometimes these reasons are political. If the government of a country feels that a site displays content that goes against the values the people of that country hold, then they will ban it.
The best example of this is perhaps The Great Firewall of China. The government of Mainland China has censored numerous websites, keywords, and certain types of online activities, including even some Wikipedia pages. Another example of political censorship is in Iran, where the government has banned many social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and people have to use VPNs to gain access to those websites.
2. Copyright Infringement Detection & Prevention
Even though there are signs of piracy rates declining worldwide, this copyright-infringing activity is still quite popular among Internet users. Recently, we’ve been hearing plenty about countries ramping up their strategy of fighting against piracy. In the USA, there’s an attempt to make piracy a felony. The situation isn’t any different in Europe, where countries like France, Denmark, Spain, and Sweden have been battling this problem aggressively.
Piracy is considered illegal and a form of theft in many countries, which is why many governments ban torrent websites and any other site that promotes piracy or distributes pirated content. Of course, we strongly advise you to stick to legitimate torrent websites only and to be on the safe side of the law.
3. Media Streaming Availability & Broadcast Licensing
Even though Netflix is now available in the entire world, many still want to access the US version of Netflix. That’s because this version comes with a seemingly endless library of content, with many movies and TV shows not being available elsewhere. Due to local broadcast rights, Netflix is forced to serve regional libraries, many of which are incredibly limited in terms of their size.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t only apply to Netflix. We’re also talking about watching Hulu outside the USA, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Now, and plenty more. Many of these are available in particular countries only, as expanding into new territories might not be a viable option right now. However, you can access those services by using your VPN, pay for the subscription, and then use their media libraries.
4. School- and Workplace-Related Restrictions
It is very common for offices and workplaces to ban websites that they feel would distract their employees from work. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are prohibited in a lot of offices, and it makes sense for employers to forbid them. However, we don’t see anything wrong in logging to your favorite social network during your break – which is one of the reasons why we’ll talk about how to bypass VPN blocks in this article.
How Do VPNs Get Blocked?
There are various methods of blocking VPN services – some of which are more powerful than others. It’s generally believed that the majority of VPN blocking techniques can be battled against, as VPNs become more powerful with each new day. So, here are the most common methods of how VPNs get blocked.
1. IP-Based Blocking
It is considered to be the most common method for blocking VPNs. Individual companies can build lists of IP addresses associated with VPN services. Therefore, in case you’re detected using an IP associated with a VPN service, your access is barred.
As you can imagine, all you need to go over this roadblock is a working IP address (that’s not on any blacklists). It is precisely why VPNs offer huge pools of addresses that are often rotated. It’s also worth mentioning that IP-based VPN blocks are relatively easy to overcome. You just need to get a new IP using your VPN – which can be done in a matter of seconds.
2. Port-Based Blocking
Sometimes, a firewall is used to block certain ports (for example, 1194 (UDP), 4500 (UDP), 1723 (TCP), etc.), which are used by VPNs. The reason for this is that your data travels through specific ports, which depends on the VPN protocol you use. Instead of focusing on individual IP addresses, this method is focusing on ports, so this kind of blocking is done on a larger scale.
To overcome this obstacle, VPNs offer multiple protocols. Today, we have protocols such as OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2, StealthVPN, WireGuard, and more. The chances are that you’ll get to bypass VPN blocks simply by switching to a different protocol. Some VPNs even allow you to fine-tune which ports are used within a single protocol.
3. GPS-Based Blocking
Aside from using your IP address, some online services can also detect your GPS data to locate you more precisely. So, even if your IP says that you’re in the USA, your GPS might say that you’re elsewhere and reveal your physical location along the way. It means your IP and your GPS data need to be aligned to bypass this block.
The good news is that not many Web services go through all this trouble. In the majority of cases, changing your IP should help you bypass plenty of VPN blocks. However, if you need to change your GPS data – well, this can be done as well. A highly reputable VPN called Surfshark has recently introduced GPS spoofing, which helps with this problem.
4. DPI (Deep Packet Inspection)
Several countries and individual ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are known to use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to analyze Internet traffic. At the moment, this process is happening in the USA, China, Iran, Russia, Singapore, Syria, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. Among those countries, China is perhaps the most aggressive one, detecting TLS handshakes to servers and therefore detecting services with a higher level of encrypted traffic. As you can imagine, these are mostly VPN services.
Deep Packet Inspection works by checking individual data packets flowing from and to your device when connected to the Internet. To overcome this roadblock, you need a VPN that’s capable to battle against DPI by “repackaging” your Web data while encrypting it along the way. Even though this is a highly sophisticated way to block VPNs, plenty can be done to overcome this problem.
How to Bypass VPN Blocks?
Now that you know a bit about the reasons why VPNs are blocked, as well as how this blocking works, let’s talk about possible solutions. Here are the most effective ways to bypass VPN blocks.
1. Try a Different VPN Server (or a Different VPN Service)
Websites and companies can block groups of IP addresses of more popular VPNs, but nobody has the time or the energy to block all VPNs. If the VPN you are using gets blocked, try switching to a lesser-known VPN (you can check our article on the best VPN Free trials for this purpose). Even if the IP you are using gets blocked, you can switch to a different IP of the same VPN provider by merely connecting to a different server.
To see the VPNs with the highest number of servers, make sure to click on the provided link. Having many servers, these VPNs also tend to have sizeable pools of IP addresses. It means that you’ll get an opportunity to switch between different IPs easily. We’ll also give you some additional recommendations for different types of VPNs, but, for starters, you can check the best VPNs – as all of those have a reputation for serving incredibly large pools of IP addresses.
2. Create Your Own VPN Server
If you like to tinker with hardware and software, you should strongly consider creating your own VPN server. Don’t worry, this isn’t something that requires you to be an IT expert. There are plenty of useful articles and tutorials online about creating custom VPN servers, and all those resources have made this process quite simple.
As you can guess, TechNadu is all about VPN-related security and privacy. With this said, we have our very own guide on how to set up a VPN server at home. So, make sure to check it out.
3. Use a Different VPN Protocol
Today’s VPNs come with a wide range of different protocols, created for various purposes. While some of these are putting your privacy and security first, others bring a compromise and deliver fast performance. We’re talking about a whole slate of VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP, and more. If you’d like to learn more, make sure to read our dedicated guide to VPN protocols.
Depending on which VPN application you use, you’ll easily get to switch to a new protocol. It is done by visiting the VPN’s settings panel and choosing a protocol. It’s that easy, and this can be one of the easiest answers on how to bypass VPN blocks.
4. Switch Between Different VPN Ports
A port is a docking point used to control the flow of information. In terms of VPN software, ports are used by different protocols to dictate the way your incoming and outgoing Web data is handled. By closing a port, you stop the flow of information, which is one of the possible ways to restrict access to VPN applications. In this manner, the solution is to use a different port.
- TCP Port 443: Whenever you access a website that requires you to enter important information, like your credit card number, your Internet connection uses the port 443 (used by HTTPS), which is the standard encrypted protocol. This port is almost never blocked because online shopping or exchanging important information is not possible without this port. Port 443 is also much harder for websites to discover by Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). The option to change port number is available in almost all VPN applications. If your software does not allow you to change your port number, you can do it manually by editing the OpenVPN configuration file. However, you should talk to your VPN provider before making any changes.
- TCP Port 80: This port is used by HTTP, which pretty much runs every website. This port can never be blocked, but Deep Packet Inspection can easily pick up VPN traffic on this port, separate it, and prevent it from flowing through that port.
- Stealth VPN: Sometimes, even on port 443, websites can detect VPN usage because most VPNs have a data packet header that can help firewalls detect them. VPN providers know that sites can sometimes detect VPN traffic on port 443, so they have come up with a method called “Stealth VPN.” It puts a cloak over your VPN traffic and disguises it as regular traffic, thereby allowing you to surf websites on port 443 without getting detected. Stealth VPN can rewrite the data packet headers so that the VPN traffic does not get recognized by the website. Some VPN providers who use Stealth VPN are ExpressVPN, TorGuard, VyprVPN, IPVanish, and more.
5. Use a Different Kind of Software
Aside from using a VPN to bypass any Web roadblocks, there are other types of software to consider using. All of these are designed to grant you anonymity, and they manage to do that via different types of technology. Here’s a helpful overview.
- Tor Browser: Tor is an Internet browser that allows you to browse the Web anonymously. Tor nodes can easily be blocked, but you can bypass IP blocks on them through Tor bridges. It can also evade Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) through a technique called Onion Routing. It ‘bounces’ communications through a ‘network of relays,’ which are controlled by volunteers. You can download Tor Browser free of charge.
- Shadowsocks: This application/proxy is actually very common in China. Shadowsocks is an open-source proxy application used in this country to access censored websites. We’re talking about an anti-GFW server and a SOCKS5 proxy created by a Chinese developer, which explains why it’s so popular in this country.
- Psiphon: This is another open-source software used for bypassing VPN blocks. Psiphon is an amalgamation of different VPNs, SSH, SSH+, and HTTP Proxy technologies. When you are using a VPN and cannot access a website because of a VPN block, you can change your settings to SSH or SSH+. One reason why people love this software so much is that if the Psiphon website is blocked in your region, you contact them through email and ask them to send the software to you.
6. Use an SSL/SSH Tunnel
SSL and SSH tunneling are two methods of routing your Web traffic over different types of encryption connections. Even though they require some manual configuration, your VPN provider should be happy to assist you in setting up these custom systems of encryption.
- SSL Tunneling: Through a program called Stunnel, it is possible to create SSL or TLS tunnels. SSL or TLS tunnels are used by HTTPS (online shopping, for example). When you connect to a VPN server using SSL or TLS, it becomes hard for websites to tell if you are on HTTPS traffic or VPN traffic. To create SSL and TLS tunnels, you have to contact your VPN provider because they must be installed on both the client’s PC and the server. AirVPN is a famous software that lets you create SSL and TLS tunnels easily.
- SSH Tunneling: SSH Tunneling is a lot like SSL Tunneling – it also creates a tunnel, only it uses an SSH (Secure Shell) tunnel and not SSL or TLS. SSH is a big deal in the business world, where it is used to access shell accounts on UNIX systems. It is not as widely used as SSL, but it is still a good way to access blocked websites. To make it work, you have to contact your VPN service provider.
7. Switch to Mobile Data via Smartphones/Tablets
In case VPNs are blocked in your school or workplace, you won’t be able to use this type of software to visit restricted websites. However, you can switch to a different Internet connection that’s not restricted. So, instead of using your school/office Wi-Fi connection, you need to rely on the mobile data plan provided by your carrier (on your smartphone or tablet).
This is a very simple trick, and it does not require any advanced techniques or knowledge. You simply turn off your Wi-Fi and browse the Internet through your mobile connection. Your carrier will charge you, but at least you will be able to access websites like Facebook and Twitter. Besides, you can also share your mobile connection from your smartphone, and use it on your computer via tethering.
Which VPN Should I Use to Bypass VPN Blocks? What’s the Most Powerful VPN Right Now?
Finally, let’s give you some on-point recommendations. After having tested a huge number of VPN services, we know which ones are effective in battling VPN blocks. So, here are the 5 best VPNs for bypassing VPN blocks.
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So far, our editorial team has reviewed dozens and dozens of different VPN services. Right now, ExpressVPN has the highest rating on our website, as it checks all the right boxes. It comes with plenty of high-end technologies (such as TrustedServer), a series of capable VPN protocols, it can unblock plenty of websites, and you can use it on up to five devices. Just recently, this VPN was audited by an independent cybersecurity company, supporting ExpressVPN’s claims of security and no-logs policies.
It’s interesting to note that ExpressVPN has been helping its Chinese users go over the Great Firewall for quite some time now. This VPN knows how to hide, encapsulate, and encrypt your Internet connection in the stealthiest way possible, allowing you to bypass VPN blocks easily. To learn more, we recommend reading our ExpressVPN review.
- Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), L2TP/IPsec, PPTP.
- Available Encryption Protocols: Up to AES 256-bit.
- Money-Back Guarantees: 30 days.
Next, we have another trustworthy VPN. Called NordVPN, this tool stands out from the rest in more than one way. It comes with a verified no-logs policy, and it has received numerous awards in the past. Also, this service comes with thousands of servers around the world. We’re sure NordVPN will help you bypass any VPN block, as it is known for its highly secure technologies that hide your personal and sensitive data while making sure you are 100% anonymous online.
It’s also worth noting that this VPN service has been recently expanding its product lineup. Just recently, NordPass was introduced, as well as an all-new file encryption service called NordLocker. This is an indication of NordVPN working on improving its service, which means that you’ll get a much higher value if you get one of the VPN’s long-term plans. To learn more, here’s our NordVPN review.
- Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, NordLynx.
- Available Encryption Protocols: Up to AES 256-bit.
- Money-Back Guarantees: 30 days.
Originating from Romania, this VPN has been around for quite some time. The latest iteration of this application comes with a much simplified user-friendly interface, suitable for both beginners and experienced users. CyberGhost VPN is known for offering a whole range of secure VPN protocols, and it provides plenty of flexibility and customization. And, of course, just like the rest of our recommendations, this one doesn’t collect your private data.
Among other important information, this VPN comes with thousands of servers spread across the entire planet. It uses AES-256 encryption and comes with speedy performance. You can install and use it on just about any platform, and it can help you easily unblock various types of websites. For additional information, turn to our CyberGhost VPN review.
- Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, IPSec.
- Available Encryption Protocols: Up to AES 256-bit.
- Money-Back Guarantees: 45 days.
This is one of the most potent VPNs out there, especially when it comes to average home users. On the outside, Surfshark is a highly polished application, allowing you to pick a server and create a secure tunnel easily. On the inside, however, this VPN is powered by the latest technologies, and it can easily unblock just about any website out there.
Aside from offering a range of standard VPN servers, Surfshark also comes with specialized options. You can use these to unblock media streaming websites, download P2P files, and more. Then, you get an ad-blocker, as well as a feature called ‘Whitelister,’ allowing you to bypass VPN blocks often imposed by banking apps. Learn more by reading our Surfshark review.
- Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2.
- Available Encryption Protocols: Up to AES 256-bit.
- Money-Back Guarantees: 30 days.
Finally, we know that some of you might be advanced VPN users looking for a reliable solution. Well, this is why we had to recommend TorGuard, one of the most innovative VPN services on the market. Its most significant selling point is a high level of customization, allowing you to truly fine-tune every single aspect of your secure VPN connection.
TorGuard protects your data by using a range of powerful VPN protocols, and it also uses SSL connections along the way. Moreover, it’s even capable of bypassing DPI measures, which is something we don’t see every day. There are apps for many platforms, and you get up to eight simultaneous connections. If you need more information, here’s our TorGuard review.
- Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, IKEv2.
- Available Encryption Protocols: Up to AES 256-bit; Up to 128-bit Blowfish.
- Money-Back Guarantees: 7 days.
We understand that some of you might be confused when it comes to VPNs. After all, this can be a complicated topic for inexperienced users. However, we’re here to tell you how to bypass VPN blocks and everything else you need to know. So, let’s answer some commonly asked questions.
Is It Legal to Use a VPN?
In most countries, VPNs are perfectly safe and legal to use. However, as you can already guess, there are some countries that restrict the use of VPNs. The list of countries where VPNs are illegal includes China, Turkey, Iraq, and more. Some countries have lists of ‘approved’ VPNs, such as Russia and Iran, for example.
Is It Legal to Bypass VPN Blocks?
This depends on what kind of a VPN block we’re talking about. If you simply want to stream Netflix outside of the USA, you won’t get into trouble. However, make sure you’re not going against the laws of your country, especially if using VPNs is forbidden. Besides, avoiding VPN blocks at your workplace might or might not get you into trouble, depending on when and how you use these VPN-unblocking techniques.
How Do I Know if My VPN is Working?
You’ll immediately know if your VPN is working by launching your Internet browser. Try to visit any of the previously blocked websites and see if you can now access them. Another reliable method to check if your VPN is working is by checking your IP address (which is useful when connecting to a server outside of your home country). There are many online tools that help you check this, including the IPLeak website.
How Do I Unblock Sites Without a VPN?
As mentioned earlier in the article, there are different methods of bypassing VPN blocks without using a VPN application. These include using a Tor Browser, Shadowsocks, or Psiphon. However, none of these can truly replace a reliable VPN in terms of protecting your security and granting you complete online anonymity.
Dear readers, that would be all we’ve prepared on how to bypass VPN blocks. If you still have any doubts or questions for us, make sure to use the comments section below – we promise to respond as soon as possible.