Sharing music, movies, photos, and games on school networks is only a dream for most students. Sounds familiar? We bet it does. Fear not, though. We’re here with a guide to help you unblock websites at school – the simple way.
It’s common for school network administrators to block access to social media websites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, as well as streaming sites, such as Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu. There are understandable reasons for this, but we all know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Luckily, there are ways to unblock just about any forbidden thing on your school network. These include:
- The Wayback Machine
- URL shortener
- VPN (Virtual Private Network) services
Let’s dive right in.
How to unblock websites at school?
There are multiple ways to access blocked content during school hours, and we’ve selected the three best methods to do it – just for you. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Use the Wayback Machine
If they block the website today, just access it yesterday with the Wayback Machine!
The Wayback Machine is a tool that saves all the websites on the internet, including the files stored on those websites, and archives them on its own servers. With this amazing service, you can see almost any site that’s been on the web since (gasp!) 1996.
To unblock any restricted website from school, just go to the Wayback machine and paste the URL of the website you want to access into the address bar at the top, like we’ve shown below:
Once you click Browse History, you’ll see a calendar with the dates the website’s been archived. Just choose a date from the calendar and enjoy the view.
2. Use a URL shortener
While not 100% effective in all cases, using a URL shortening service is another simple method that can help you unblock websites at school.
To bypass the block, just visit any URL shortening website (if they’re not blocked in your school) like Bit.ly and paste your desired URL into the address bar:
Once you have the shortened version, just click it or paste it into your browser’s address bar. Boom! The school’s censorship attemps have been foiled again!
3. Use a VPN
The simplest and easiest way to bypass school blocks is to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN that works in the school should be capable of hiding your physical location and make it appear like you’re accessing the school wifi from somewhere else.
Why would you use a VPN at school?
Schools are learning institutions where information and knowledge should be easily accessed and shared rather than censored. However, with the right tool, such as NordVPN, you can hide your physical location and enjoy benefits like:
Schools typically observe and log all your online activities. Which means that school administrators knows what you’re doing online.
A VPN keeps your browsing private, so nobody – neither your school’s network administration nor the internet service provider (ISP) – can monitor and track your online activities.
Maintaining safe and secure connection
The school wifi is password-protected, but it’s far from secure.
Other people are also using the same wifi. This means that they can easily and maliciously hack your device and cause irrevocable damage, like deleting notes or term papers, or hold your device “ransom.”
Also, if you bring your laptop to a shopping mall or a café to do school work, it can be easily hacked. A VPN protects and encrypts your traffic, so those with harmful intentions can’t find you.
If we’re being honest, the following reasons to use a VPN at school are important as well.
Taking your mind off studies
Yes, you’re entitled to your break between studies. So if your school administration blocks websites that put your feet up, you may as well get around their restrictions with a VPN.
Unblocking video games and streaming sites
Usually, these websites are blocked because they can use up bandwidth and slow down the entire school network.
When you log in with a VPN, you can bypass these restrictions, unblock websites at school and watch Netflix, Hulu and other streaming sites, as well as play games. That’s not what we’re suggesting, but we all need a little fancy break sometimes, right?
Best VPN for school: what you should consider
First of all, you need to be sure how your school is blocking the VPN you choose. If it uses port blocking, choose a virtual private network that supports the SSTP protocol via port 443 or OpenVPN port forwarding to port 443 or 80.
If your school uses Deep Packet Inspection, opt for the one that offers to conceal VPN traffic making it look like regular.
If you use multiple devices such as smartphones, laptops, and desktops, make sure to go for a VPN is compatible different operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, or macOS.
If you’re not a computer wizard, go for a VPN tha’s quick and easy to use. Make sure it has an intuitive interface, too.
Trust us on this – you’ll need a fast internet connection for the numerous tasks you have to embark on, so a speedy VPN connection is a must.
Different VPNs have different servers in different countries. If you need to unblock websites at school to access censored content from all over the world, make sure to check that your chosen VPN has a broad choice of servers.
Does your school block VPNs? No problem!
The school administrators may realize that students are using VPNs to access school wifi.
This may cause the school to block your newly discovered way out. It can be inconvenient since you may need to discuss a group project with a friend on Facebook or even Snapchat. In this case, you need to mask your VPN traffic to make it look as regular web browser traffic.
You can do this by using stealth VPN or obfuscation to cover your usual stream of traffic, so that it’s not identifiable. Top-rated VPNs have stealth protocols that can reliably bypass VPN blocks, including the Great Firewall of China.
Why do schools block websites?
Usually, school administrators block access to specific websites to keep you focused on education and tasks related only to schoolwork.
Moreover, it’s a moral obligation to protect you from the unsafe content floating across the internet. Bandwidth use is also an issue. If everyone’s busy downloading or streaming videos, the entire school network will slow down.
Why is this an issue for students?
Keeping students within schools’ firewalls often prevents them from accessing essential content they need for academic research and school-related topics.
Yes, schools consider website blocking and filtering as a way of protection but we forget that students may also need to message friends on Facebook about the details of a group project or look up a tutorial on YouTube.
Blocking certain websites can derail the learning process.
Let’s be honest about another important factor – we all need a break and life in school ain’t a piece of cake.
So, in order not to stress out, students need some options to relieve tension. Be it a fun video on YouTube, online game, or a simple chat with friends. Short breaks on Snapchat or Twitch don’t do much damage.
On the contrary, they give a moment to relax between classes and can prevent burnout.
Julie is a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. She is a traveler and blogger, focusing her efforts on exposing censorship and discrimination around the world. She wants to hold corrupt governments and shady companies accountable by writing investigative articles and helpful guides.