Although the internet seems like the wild west in terms of information flow, it’s actually hampered by countless roadblocks and restrictions. For example, schools and workplaces typically block social media and other entertainment sites to minimize procrastination. Meanwhile, governments use widespread blocking to ensure censorship.
Thankfully, various website unblocker tools exist that allow netizens to circumvent unfair restrictions. One of the best and most reliable methods is to use a virtual private network service, also known as a VPN. It redirects your web connection through a remote server and masks your traffic with encryption, rendering it unreadable to governments and network administrators alike.
Learn how to unblock websites with a VPN and other tools by reading our thorough guides below.
How to unblock websites with a VPN
- Pick a worthy VPN service. My go-to choice is NordVPN, available with a 60% discount!
- Download the VPN software on your desired device
- Connect to a server in a country where your content isn’t blocked
- Enjoy the web free from blockades!
How to open blocked sites using 10 different methods
From a technical point of view, there are quite a few ways of hiding your online activities and accessing blocked websites. Naturally, some are more reliable than others, but knowing all of them grants more options to tackle different obstacles.
We’ll start with the most reliable and easy-to-use methods, with more esoteric workarounds to finish your potential website unblocking arsenal.
1. With a VPN
|✔️Works on almost any device||✔️Unparraleled security and privacy|
|✔️Minimal speed reduction||❌Requires a subscription|
A virtual private network redirects your connection through a server in a different location or country. That way, it can circumvent various geographical restrictions imposed in your region. Additionally, it encrypts your web traffic and renders it unreadable to network administrators, governments, and other potential onlookers. This process ensures privacy and makes it impossible to limit access to the internet.
However, it’s crucial to use a premium VPN to guarantee flawless performance and zero IP address leaking issues. Plus, it’s vital to download and install the software before connecting to the restrictive network, as VPN websites are usually blocked.
You can learn more about the basics of a VPN by reading our introduction to the topic.
2. With the Tor Browser
|✔️Free to use||✔️Open source and reliable|
|✔️Compatible with desktop and Android devices||❌Slow connections|
One of the most well-known methods of maintaining online confidentiality is the Tor Browser. It’s used by journalists, political activists, and other people who need to keep a low profile. It utilizes the Tor Network, a global fleet of volunteer-operated relays, to redirect and encrypt your connection multiple times.
Unsurprisingly, the downside is that your connection slows down to a crawl when jumping through so many hoops. Plus, some relays could be compromised and gather your data. Thankfully, Tor-compatible VPN services can be combined with the browser for the ultimate privacy combo while accessing the dark web.
3. With a different DNS
|✔️Easy to set up||✔️Many alternatives to try|
|✔️No installation required||❌No encryption|
When governments want a website blocked, they usually need the assistance of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to enforce the blockade. Luckily, you can forgo most ISP restrictions by altering your default DNS (Domain Name System) settings to an unbiased alternative. For example, Google Public DNS, which is 22.214.171.124.
4. Using open web proxies
|✔️No installation||✔️Could access geo-blocked content|
|✔️Free and easy to use||❌Slow|
A quick installation-free method of getting around web restrictions involves using trustworthy web proxy services. Just like VPNs, they redirect your online activities through an intermediary server and hide your IP address. All you have to do is visit a proxy website and input the webpage you wish to access.
The main caveat is that proxies don’t provide any encryption and leave you potentially vulnerable. Plus, proxy pages are usually blocked and unreachable on restrictive networks anyway. Not to mention that they have the potential to collect vast amounts of data about you.
Learn more about what is a proxy and how it differs from virtual private networks by reading our guide.
5. Proxy or VPN browser extensions
|✔️Works exclusively with a web browser||✔️Multiple server locations|
|✔️Bonus features||❌Needs a VPN subscription|
Some of the best VPN services provide customers with browser extensions as an alternative to fully-fledged dedicated apps. Unsurprisingly, they’re not as feature-rich and, technically speaking, are proxies, not virtual private networks. However, they have a more substantial backend and provide better security than open web proxies.
Overall, they’re an excellent alternative to web proxies because they can’t be blocked by network administrators as easily. However, they won’t work if you’re unable to install extensions on your browser, but that’s a rare occurrence.
Get NordVPN and have a VPN and a proxy browser extension at your disposal!
6. Online translation services like Google Translate
|✔️Easy to use||✔️Free|
|✔️Unconventional and usually works||❌Only available on desktop|
Sophisticated online translation services like Google Translate have the option to deliver an entire webpage in a different language. This has the unexpected benefit of occasionally circumventing network restrictions since the website now has an altered domain.
Of course, this is far from an ideal solution since you’re stuck on one page and can’t navigate elsewhere. Plus, you’re not getting any bonus security benefits in the form of encryption. That means the network administrator will see this trick and inevitably restrict it. But desperate times call for desperate measures
7. With URL shortener services
|✔️Simple to execute||✔️Can be prepared in advance|
|✔️Can try multiple services||❌Doesn’t always work|
Besides conveniently trimming long web addresses, URL shortener services can trick networks that block web domain names. This method won’t work everywhere, but it’s worth a shot.
Visit a website like bitly or TinyURL, input the website you want to visit, then paste the shortened version into the address bar. If luck is on your side, you’ll be able to access your desired website without any trouble.
Additionally, even if the shortener service itself is blocked, you can trim the URL of a webpage in advance and have the unique URL ready when you need it.
8. Connecting via the IP address
|✔️Absolutely free to use||✔️No additional software required|
|❌No bonus security||❌Requires prior knowledge|
Behind a website’s domain name lies an IP address. You can attempt to visit a page by typing in the IP address in the address bar. However, you’ll first have to find out the address of the website you wish to visit.
The methods of discovery differ based on your operating system. For example, Windows users need to use the Command Prompt and then use the ping feature. As illustrated in the image below, it returns the IP address of your desired page, which you can then paste into your browser’s address bar.
With Linux, you’ll need to utilize the dig command, while Mac users can use traceroute.
9. Converting HTML pages to PDF
|✔️No installation||✔️Free to use|
|❌Can transfer the content||❌Can’t interact with the page|
If you’re interested in the content of a particular website rather than complete access to it, downloading the page in PDF shape is ideal. Simply use an HTML to PDF converter to transform a web page into a downloadable PDF file.
Best of all, the file becomes available offline and can be transferred to USB sticks or other storage devices. Unsurprisingly, the main downside is that the page is static and unresponsive.
10. Alternating between HTTP and HTTPS
|✔️Simple execution||✔️No need to install anything|
|❌Unreliable||❌Numerous data risks|
Webpages come in HTTP and HTTPS versions. If you’re lucky, perhaps the network administrator blocked only one version, and you’ll be able to access the alternative. Remember that HTTP is severely outdated, lacks basic encryption, and will expose your personal information, data input, and specific pages you visit online.
Of course, you can avoid such security pitfalls by using a secure VPN, for example, NordVPN, in the background.
Best VPNs for accessing blocked websites
You should arm yourself with a trustworthy VPN before stepping into a network with numerous restrictions. That way, you won’t have to worry about potential blocks hindering access to the web and reaching all the other website unblocking tools. Plus, a VPN is exceptionally versatile and useful for general security and entertainment by changing your region on streaming services.
We’ve picked a pool of five virtual private network services for website unblocking that have unique sets of bells and whistles. Read their overviews below and choose one that’s most appealing to you. Plus, each one includes a 30-day money-back guarantee as a safety net should you reconsider.
1. NordVPN – the best VPN for unblocking websites
24/7 live chat, Email
- Exceptional speed
- Independently audited and trustworthy
- Diverse device compatibility
- No router app
The best VPN for unblocking websites under any circumstances is NordVPN. It’s packed with servers and provides various apps and features for dealing with online blocking.
NordVPN boasts a network of 5400+ servers in 60+ countries. Many of those servers are retrofitted with RAM-only technology to ensure peak privacy and stellar performance. Meanwhile, breakneck connection speeds are conducted with the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol.
Additionally, customers will have no trouble getting around online censorship and restrictions with the help of Obfuscated Servers. Meanwhile, outmaneuvering geo-blocks on streaming platforms like Netflix is child’s play with this VPN. Best of all, one subscription grants security for six different devices simultaneously.
You can test the unblocking potential of this service by claiming the NordVPN free trial on the Google Play Store. Alternatively, subscription prices start at $3.29/month when providing a NordVPN coupon at checkout.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – cutting-edge website unblocking VPN
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- Unlimited device connections
- Industry-leading features
- Reliable connectivity
- Unaudited no-logs policy
Surfshark pushes the boundaries of online security and website unblocking by developing one-of-a-kind products. It provides customers with an excellent balance between affordability and effectiveness.
With Surfshark, users can access 3200+ RAM-only servers across 65+ countries. You even have the option to connect through multiple locations using Multihop. Plus, minimal speed reduction is ensured when utilizing the WireGuard protocol.
Grabbing a subscription with this VPN ensured 360-degree digital protection. For starters, the Surfshark One package protects against personal information leaks, grants a private search engine, and prevents viruses. Meanwhile, Nexus grants numerous performance and security benefits, one of which is the ability to rotate your IP address constantly when connected to the VPN.
A shallow dive with this VPN is possible by claiming the 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Meanwhile, a long-term commitment starts at $2.30/month when providing a valid Surfshark discount code.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – versatile website unblocker
24/7 live chat
- 7-day free trial
- Excellent for streaming and P2P
- Stealth VPN for dealing with censorship
- Lacks WireGuard
Virtual private networks can work as website unblockers and privacy enhancers in other situations. A prime example is PrivateVPN, a top choice for dealing with streaming platform restrictions and torrenting issues.
PrivateVPN makes do with an efficient network of 200+ servers in 63+ countries. The provider oversees all hardware and software without assistance from third parties, ensuring zero opportunities for interference and maximum integrity.
The many uses of PrivateVPN are exemplified by its abundance of features. Firstly, users can enable Stealth VPN to circumvent the most widespread means of digital blocking and censorship. Meanwhile, a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding will put a smile on a P2P enthusiast’s face. Naturally, geographical restrictions are easy prey when unblocking bonus content on platforms such as Netflix or HBO Max.
All of that and more can be experienced by claiming the 7-day free trial on the provider’s official website. After that, subscriptions begin at only $2.00/month when providing a legitimate PrivateVPN coupon code at checkout.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
4. IPVanish – VPN for website unblocking and malware protection
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Unmetered device connections
- Fast and secure
- Protection against ransomware
- No anonymous payment methods
Visitors of suspicious websites will need the added layer of malware and ransomware protection. Thankfully, IPVanish is the perfect solution in this situation with the bonus of VIPRE antivirus software.
In terms of servers, IPVanish offers 2000+ across 50+ regions. The provider retains complete control over the network, guaranteeing peak performance and zero interference from third parties. Meanwhile, blazing connectivity is conducted with WireGuard.
Like many worthwhile VPN services, IPVanish provides dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Besides that, users can also enjoy the virtual private network on routers, Amazon FireOS devices, and Chromebooks. Best of all, one subscription grants protection for an unlimited number of devices.
Unfortunately, there’s no free trial to see if this VPN is the perfect fit. However, each subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Buyers can snag a discounted subscription for $3.99/month when providing an IPVanish coupon code when purchasing.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
5. Atlas VPN – website unblocker with a free version
Email, tickets, FAQ
- Free version
- Fast and secure
- Reliable security-enhancing features
- No router configuration
Not everyone is willing to open their wallets to unblock a website on a restrictive network. If you’re like that, you’ll need to get familiar with Atlas VPN. This freemium service provides a limited but reliable method of curbing firewalls and other digital roadblocks.
Atlas VPN customers can select from 750+ servers in 37+ countries. The servers are categorized by use case, meaning you’ll have an easy time achieving your goals with this VPN. For example, you may connect to streaming-optimized locations for effortless geo-unblocking and ultra-fast connectivity. Meanwhile, SafeSwap servers ensure security and privacy by alternating your IP address intermittently.
Additionally, users can reap the benefits of reinforced security and encryption by utilizing Multihop+. It reroutes your connection through multiple VPN servers and constantly rotates your digital location for unparalleled protection and anonymity. Plus, all Atlas VPN apps block online trackers, malicious ads, and domains used for phishing attacks.
The free version limits users to 10GB/month, but that should be enough for occasional website unblocking. If that seems unacceptable, consider using an Atlas VPN coupon to get a long-term subscription for only $1.99/month.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
Can I use a free VPN to unblock websites?
There’s a crucial distinction between entirely free VPNs and freemium services, for example, Atlas VPN. It’s unclear how the former makes ends meet, but the common assumption is that no-cost VPNs collect user data to sell and offset maintenance costs.
Meanwhile, freemium options stay afloat thanks to premium subscribers. Unsurprisingly, the free versions of such services are limited to prevent excessive resource usage by unpaying users. However, they’re usually loaded with some features to entice customers to try the apps.
For website unblocking, we recommend opting for freemium alternatives. There’s no guarantee that they’ll work, but at least you won’t be putting your personal information at unnecessary risk. Our top choice is Atlas VPN, but other services like ProtonVPN and Hide Me VPN are also worth considering.
Unblocking websites at school or workplaces
Whether at school or a workplace, there’s no silver bullet for dealing with all possible network restrictions. Administrators employ different rules on networks, and it’s unclear what’s the best method of tackling them. We suggest due diligence and preparation before going down our list of proposed unblocking methods.
For example, you need to install a VPN on your device before connecting to the school or workplace network. If that’s not possible, you’ll need to try other options. Additionally, if you don’t own the device and can’t install new software, you can still attempt to add VPN extensions to a browser as most administrators won’t restrict the device that much.
How to unblock a website on Chromebook
- Subscribe to a trustworthy premium VPN. We stand by NordVPN, the top choice for security
- Install the VPN on the device with which you want to access blocked content
- Connect to any nearby server for optimal connectivity
- Enter your desired website or online service
How to unblock a website on Google Chrome
- Purchase a VPN that offers browser extensions. The most versatile option is NordVPN, available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge
- Install the VPN extension from a reliable source, ideally the provider’s website
- Log in and connect to another server
- Enjoy privacy and freedom from restrictions
There are numerous methods of unblocking websites on restrictive networks. However, the list of options shrinks dramatically if you can’t install software on your device. Plus, administrators typically limit access to the most common means of circumventing network restrictions.
As such, it’s wise to arm yourself with the necessary tools and knowledge before connecting anywhere. Subscribing to a VPN service works best because it provides multiple tools in one neat package. Plus, it grants security, privacy, and other perks useful in your everyday life.
What’s your go-to method of unblocking websites? Did you ever run into unbreakable restrictions? Share your experiences by leaving a comment!
How to unblock websites at school?
You can unblock websites at school by installing a VPN on your smartphone. It will reroute your connection through a remote server, hide your activities, and prevent online restrictions. Additionally, the best VPN services provide proxy extensions that you can install on browsers, allowing you to curb blocks even on school computers.
Which browser is best for blocked sites?
The most reliable browser for accessing blocked websites is the Tor Browser. While slow, it guarantees privacy by redirecting your connection through multiple encrypted nodes. This browser is frequently used by human rights activists, journalists, and regular citizens trying to deal with online censorship.
Can a VPN unblock sites?
Yes, a VPN can unblock geographically restricted websites by rerouting your online activities through a server in another country. Furthermore, it can curb other network restrictions by encrypting your web traffic, rendering it unreadable and immune to blocking.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.