Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are growing increasingly popular because of their versatility and, sometimes, downright necessity. In short, they work by rerouting and encrypting your internet traffic through a remote server, thus curbing geographical restrictions and keeping your online activities private.
Unfortunately, many places that would benefit from a VPN connection impose restrictions on this technology. The list includes schools, workplaces, public libraries, and even whole countries if the government wants to censor the populace.
Luckily, service providers have developed ways to bypass VPN blocks and allow customers to reap the benefits of privacy anywhere. Read our article and learn how to get around VPN restrictions.
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How to bypass VPN blocks
- Sign up for a provider with features for bypassing VPN blocks. Our #1 suggestion is NordVPN with its obfuscated servers, available for 69% off
- Download the VPN software on your primary browsing device
- Go to the settings menu and enable the features for circumventing VPN restrictions (i.e., obfuscation)
- Connect to a server that supports stealth VPN
- Enjoy the web privately without restrictions!
Best services for bypassing VPN blocks
- Bypass VPN blocks with obfuscated servers9.6
- VPN unblocking with NoBorders mode9.5
- Affordable provider with Stealth VPN9.2
Why do VPNs get blocked?
Virtual private networks get blocked for various reasons. It isn’t always clear what the justification is, but sometimes it’s pretty obvious. We’ll introduce you to the most common reasons, and then you’ll know when a secure VPN and its obfuscation features are necessary.
1. Online monitoring in schools and workplaces
The most common frustration is that VPN encryption prevents online monitoring. Keeping an eye on users is common practice in workplaces, educational institutions, and other publicly available networks.
Additionally, these networks usually block unessential websites, e.g., ones used for online gaming. Luckily, a VPN for school is the perfect tool for hiding against surveillance and accessing blocked services.
2. Streaming restrictions
A popular VPN use case is changing your Netflix region to access foreign movies and TV shows. However, streaming services don’t approve of such practices and try to limit the impact of VPNs. The most common way of doing so is by blocking server IP addresses. In extreme cases, they could block all encrypted traffic, but that’s quite unlikely.
3. Copyright protection
The reputation of P2P (peer-to-peer) technology has been tarnished by digital pirates. So much so that many networks (and even countries) block all torrenting-related traffic and websites. This state of affairs makes it challenging to download legitimate files via torrenting. Unless, of course, you have a VPN for torrenting.
4. Government censorship and surveillance
Authoritarian regimes despise VPN services because they make it more difficult to subjugate the populace. To be precise, a virtual private network will prevent mass online surveillance and unblock restricted websites.
Therefore, countries like China and Russia made unapproved VPN services illegal. And so, they block any unauthorized VPN traffic to ensure no one has access to foreign online services. Learn more about which countries block VPN services.
5. Fraud prevention
Many online banks block VPNs because of their ability to hide your identity and location. After all, criminals can use these perks to conduct fraud or money laundering. And so, you may run into issues while trying to access your bank while a VPN is enabled. However, details will vary between services because you may need an online banking VPN to access your account abroad.
How to get around VPN blocks
The best VPN services provide numerous ways of tackling VPN traffic restrictions. This vast number of methods is needed for various situations because each requires a unique approach. And so we urge you to learn more about each so you’d have no trouble dealing with VPN blocks.
When encountering VPN restrictions, your first order of business should be trying to connect to another server. This addresses the commonly-employed IP blocking tactic.
Use a dedicated IP address
You’re less likely to encounter IP blocking with dedicated IP addresses because they can’t be used by multiple people simultaneously.
Change tunneling protocols
The next step involves a bit more tinkering, trial, and error. It depends on how many options your VPN provider has regarding tunneling protocols. Try switching between protocols and checking whether anything works.
Change connection ports
Many VPNs use the same ports to facilitate connections. Therefore, restrictive networks block them to prevent virtual private network usage. Luckily, you can switch ports to circumvent these rudimentary blockades, although not all providers support manual port switching. We recommend trying ports 443 and 80.
Enable Stealth VPN
It’s time to pull out the big guns if the first methods didn’t work. Stealth VPN features, like NordVPN’s obfuscated servers or Surfshark’s NoBorders Mode, should manage to bypass any VPN-limiting technology, including DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
Try different software
The top providers support different methods of booting up VPN connections. For example, you can try VPN browser extensions because they take advantage of different masking technologies.
Alternatively, you can download VPN configuration files and use them with third-party apps. However, this method has some risks because you’ll miss essential features like a VPN kill switch.
Switch to mobile data
If you’re using a mobile device and a particular network isn’t playing ball with your VPN, you could switch to mobile data. Just don’t forget to keep an eye on your data consumption to avoid exorbitant bills the next month.
Enable Smart DNS
Some streaming-focused VPN services provide the Smart DNS feature for unblocking video content on devices without using VPN software. Each provider has a different implementation that involves changing DNS settings. It’s worth trying because it technically works differently from a conventional VPN connection.
Pick another VPN provider
As you can imagine, not every VPN has the previously-mentioned tools. Additionally, implementations will vary in quality and final results. Therefore, we recommend opting for top-quality VPN providers, such as NordVPN. They grant excellent performance and reliable results under any circumstances.
Other ways to unblock content
Let’s say it’s your unluckiest day, and all the virtual private networks you tried couldn’t bypass the VPN blocks you’re facing. In that case, you can try other tools entirely. We have a separate guide about how to unblock websites anywhere. Here’s a glimpse at some quick and easy fixes you can try out immediately.
- With a proxy. Proxies work similarly to VPNs since they act as a middleman between you and a remote server. However, they aren’t as secure due to using different protocols and the lack of encryption. But this works in your favor because it’s less detectable by firewalls.
- Using the Tor Browser. Tor isn’t your average web browser because it’s primarily used to access the Dark Web. It’s also great for anonymity and accessing censored content. Give it a shot if you have the option. Just keep in mind that, in other scenarios, it isn’t ideal without a secure VPN for Tor.
- Altering DNS settings. Users can deal with less-sophisticated restriction methods simply by changing their DNS settings. There are many providers and addresses to choose from (Cloudflare, Google, OpenDNS). Some are easy to remember, like 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206.
Best providers for bypassing VPN restrictions
As you may have guessed, it’s impossible to avoid VPN detection with any run-of-the-mill service provider. Instead, you’ll need to opt for superb services with exceptional reliability and features. Besides that, essentials like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and good tunneling protocols are crucial too.
We’ve selected five providers with tried and tested tools for bypassing VPN blocks. You can learn more about these services and how they work by reading our short overviews. But if that’s not enough, consider checking the full reviews to see the complete picture.
1. NordVPN – bypass VPN blocks with obfuscated servers
24/7 live chat, Email
- Exceptional connectivity with NordLynx
- Independently-audited zero-logs policy
- Loads of privacy and anonymity features
- Only six simultaneous connections
NordVPN is the ultimate service for getting around VPN blockades while remaining undetected. It’s trusted by millions of users worldwide thanks to its reliability, confidentiality, and top-notch security. You can try it out without commitment using the 7-day trial on the Google Play Store.
Obfuscated servers are the star of the show in this scenario. Enabling them makes your online activities appear as regular HTTPS traffic, preventing common VPN connection-blocking methods. Plus, you’ll be immune to online censorship and surveillance, allowing you to enjoy the internet as you see fit.
Additionally, NordVPN defends against other digital dangers with the Threat Protection feature. To be precise, it grants antivirus capabilities at no additional cost. Meanwhile, the Dark Web Monitor tool will notify you if you’re ever the victim of a mass data breach.
Subscriptions start at $2.99/month when you apply a NordVPN coupon code. Don’t hesitate to sign up because all plans are protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN – VPN unblocking with NoBorders mode
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- Unlimited device connections
- Low-priced and extremely effective
- Ultra-fast with WireGuard
- Some features cost extra
Surfshark VPN is a budget-friendly and reliable option for bypassing VPN blocks. It has many alternatives for tackling online censorship and other digital nuisances. Give them a shot by snagging the 7-day Surfshark trial on your preferred mobile app store.
The first feature Surfshark customers can use to avoid internet restrictions is the NoBorders mode. Alternatively, Camouflage mode is automatically enabled when using the OpenVPN tunneling protocol. Besides that, you can reroute your connection multiple times using MultiHop.
Conventional problems can be solved using the expansive 3200+ server network across 100+ countries. It’s worth noting that the entire fleet runs on RAM-only technology for exceptional data integrity. Meanwhile, connection speeds are mind-blowing when combining WireGuard with Software Defined Networking.
Excellent $2.21/month subscription prices are guaranteed if you have a Surfshark discount code at your disposal. Plus, you can always change your mind using the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – affordable provider with Stealth VPN
24/7 live chat
- Cheap and multipurpose
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Most affordable provider with Stealth VPN
- Lacks WireGuard
Tearing down VPN blockades doesn’t have to be an expensive expedition, especially if you’re using PrivateVPN. It’s one of the cheapest providers that can mask VPN traffic.
Users wanting to hide their VPN activities with PrivateVPN will have to enable Stealth VPN. It’s used for curbing DPI and firewalls in restrictive countries and networks. On the off chance that it doesn’t work, you can fall back on the Shadowsocks proxy.
Concerning hardware, PrivateVPN runs a tight-knit operation with 200+ servers in 63+ countries. The entire fleet is bare-metal and operated by the provider to minimize opportunities for third-party interference. Moreover, connections are conducted with the tried and tested OpenVPN tunneling protocol.
You can give PrivateVPN a chance using the 7-day free trial. Otherwise, a PrivateVPN coupon grants $2.00/month starting prices. Plus, there’s no need to worry about buyer’s remorse, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
4. ExpressVPN – pricey and reliable VPN for bypassing VPN restrictions
24/7 live chat, email
- Wide-reaching device compatibility
- Excellent connection speeds
- Independently-audited no-logs policy
- Only five simultaneous connections
Go with ExpressVPN if you’re willing to pay top dollar to bypass VPN blocks. The service is one of the most expensive options on the market but has enough tools to warrant a hefty price tag.
ExpressVPN makes it easy to circumvent VPN restrictions because it automatically enables obfuscation whenever DPI is detected. Naturally, cautious users can customize settings manually using the fully-featured application. For example, you can enable IPv6 leak protection and Network Lock to prevent any information from slipping through.
One stand-out feature of this provider is its one-of-a-kind Lightway protocol. It guarantees excellent connectivity and unlikely detection due to its unique features. However, the service also supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec if you require widely-used protocols.
Don’t forget to snag an ExpressVPN discount code for guaranteed access to $6.67/month starting prices. And don’t hesitate to back out with the 30-day money-back warranty if the service seems not worth it.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
5. CyberGhost – cheap VPN with a large server network for removing IP bans
24/7 live chat
- Based in Romania
- Thousands of worldwide servers
- WireGuard-powered speeds
- 7 simultaneous connections
CyberGhost VPN is another budget-friendly undetectable VPN with thousands of servers at its disposal. The service is easy to use and suitable in many scenarios with its impressive feature arsenal.
Firstly, CyberGhost VPN commands an impressive fleet of 10218+ servers across 100+ countries, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking for loads of IP address options. The network is split into specialized categories to help users achieve their goals. For example, NoSpy servers are made to bypass online censorship and stay completely anonymous.
Customers looking for speed should enable the swift and open-source WireGuard protocol. However, you also have other options to tinker with, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec. If that’s not enough, CyberGhost grants specialized apps for various devices and extensions for web browsers.
Learn more about this provider by signing up for only $2.03/month. There’s a chance to slim down the prices with a valid CyberGhost coupon code. Or get started with a free trial or the lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
Types of VPN blocks
Virtual private networks come in many shapes and forms. Therefore, the means of blocking them are also diverse to enforce restrictions effectively.
Naturally, this isn’t great for users trying to avoid VPN detection. But understanding the potential causes allows you to troubleshoot issues effectively and quickly get back on track. So, let’s dive into how VPNs are blocked and how to circumvent these restrictions.
Connecting to a VPN server is a great way to hide your IP address because it gets masked by the server’s address. However, VPN IP addresses can end up flagged by online services and barred from entry. This is a common issue because shared addresses are easily noticeable.
Luckily, there are a few ways of dealing with this. For starters, you can simply switch to another server and try your luck with another IP address. VPN services frequently renew their IP addresses to continuously curb geo-blocks. On the other hand, you could subscribe to a VPN with a dedicated IP address to prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.
Many networks restrict VPN usage by blocking connection ports commonly used by VPN tunneling protocols. For example, TCP Port 1194 and 443 are default OpenVPN gateways, and blocking them prevents establishing a VPN connection.
Users can address this problem by switching protocols, tinkering with connection port settings, or enabling other stealth technologies.
Deep Packet Inspection
Deep Packet Inspection, commonly referred to as DPI, is a popular digital censorship method employed by governments. It’s a sophisticated way of analyzing web traffic and blocking anything with the characteristics of a VPN connection, such as encrypted metadata.
Once again, the best way of dealing with this surveillance tool is by enabling VPN masking technologies. You could also try alternative hiding techniques, for example, proxies.
Provider-specific features for bypassing VPN blocks
Here’s a reminder of each provider’s features for getting around VPN blocks. These are typically enabled in the settings menu. If you can’t find it, check the provider’s self-help guides or contact customer support.
|Surfshark VPN||NoBorders mode|
|ExpressVPN||Stealth VPN (enabled automatically)|
Can a free VPN bypass VPN blocks?
Perhaps you’re a free VPN customer running into networks stifling your provider. Is it possible to use the same product to hide the fact you’re using a virtual private network?
Although it depends on your provider, the most likely scenario is that a no-cost VPN won’t be capable of bypassing VPN blocks. These services don’t have enough resources to deal with DPI or to update their IP addresses frequently. Not to mention all other issues that are common with free VPNs, such as:
- Limited monthly data
- Throttled bandwidth
- Abysmal server selection
- Absence of security features
- High likelihood of data logging and selling
Consider the previously-mentioned methods of unblocking content if you’re completely broke, although don’t expect stellar results. On the other hand, some of the top premium VPNs, such as NordVPN, offer free trials and deliver excellent performance. Plus, you can utilize the 30-day money-back guarantee to extend the costless testing period to over a month.
The numerous ways of blocking VPN traffic are no match for industry leaders with top-notch tools for bypassing such restrictions. Meanwhile, a free or low-quality provider will struggle in such scenarios and leave you without access to your favorite content.
Therefore, we recommend sparing no expense and signing up for NordVPN, the ultimate service that can bypass VPN blocks. It’s a well-rounded and affordable provider that will protect your online activities and remove digital borders anywhere.
What’s your go-to undetectable VPN for thwarting online hindrances? Do you know of any alternative tools to fall back on if the VPN fails? Leave a comment and share your methods!
Does my ISP see when I use a VPN?
Your ISP can assume you’re using a VPN because it can only see that your online activities are encrypted. However, it won’t know any further details, e.g., your VPN provider or what websites you’re visiting. Naturally, the ISP won’t be able to decipher anything if you’re using a secure VPN with ultra-strong encryption.
Can a VPN be blocked by the government?
Yes, a fair number of governments have outlawed VPN services and blocked their traffic entirely. Countries that restrict VPNs include Russia, China, North Korea, the UAE, Belarus, and more. Thankfully, the best VPNs can bypass VPN blocks by making their connections appear as regular HTTPS traffic.
How do I bypass a blocked VPN?
You can circumvent VPN connection blocking by enabling Stealth VPN features. The name will differ depending on your provider. For example, NordVPN users must connect using obfuscated servers. If your VPN doesn’t have such features, try other methods like using proxy services or changing your DNS address.
Can a VPN access blocked sites?
Yes, using a well-performing VPN is the best way of unblocking websites anywhere. It encrypts your traffic and redirects your web connection through a remote server, making it impossible to track your activities. Plus, changing your virtual location unlocks geographically-restricted websites and other content.
Can VPNs be traced?
No, secure and trustworthy VPNs with no-logs policies can’t be traced. However, picking an unreliable or fully-free provider is equivalent to getting traced because your data is collected and exposed behind your back. Therefore, choosing services with excellent privacy policies and jurisdiction in confidential regions is crucial.
Does my ISP see when I use a VPN?
Yes, technically, your ISP knows when you’re using a VPN because all your browsing data will be encrypted and unreadable. However, there’s not much an ISP can do because VPNs are perfectly legal in most parts of the world. And if you’re in a country where that’s not the case, use a secure provider with Stealth VPN features.
What is VPN obfuscation?
VPN obfuscation masks VPN traffic as regular internet traffic. This method hides any traces of VPN encryption from data packets, letting you bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). VPN obfuscation is recommended in regions where using VPN software is banned or restricted.
What is VPN bypass mode?
The VPN bypass mode lets you circumvent proxy servers and firewalls or prevent you from visiting unwanted websites. It’s an additional layer of security, and recommended when you’re connected to unknown networks and public Wi-Fi.
How do I bypass Wi-Fi restrictions?
The best method to bypass Wi-Fi restrictions is with a VPN. This software encrypts all internet traffic and lets you change your IP address. Essentially, you become untraceable online, and something that can’t be seen cannot be restricted.