Do you want to unblock websites you can’t access on your browser?
Depending on your region or country, there are websites that you can’t access normally.
Governments, schools, ISPs, companies, and various institutions block specific websites for safety reasons.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to unblock websites, like VPNs, web proxies, or viewing a cached version of the page.
Learn the different ways to unblock a website in our article below!
- Why Are Some Websites Banned?
- How to Unblock a Website to Access Restricted Content
- 1. Use a VPN
- 2. Use a Web Proxy
- 3. Unblock Websites in Google Chrome
- 4. Visit the Website’s IP Address Directly
- 5. Use Google Cache
- 6. Use a URL Shortener
- 7. Use HTML to PDF Converter to Download and View Restricted Content
- 8. View Restricted Content with Google Translate
- 9. Try the Tor Browser
- 10. Switch Between HTTPS and HTTP
- 11. Use Dynamic IP Addresses
- Is It Legal to Unblock Restricted Websites?
- Does Changing the DNS Settings Allow You to Unblock Websites?
- Best VPNs You Can Try to Open Blocked Sites
- Wrapping Up
Why Are Some Websites Banned?
Before unblocking websites, you need to know what restricts your access to these contents. Here are a few reasons why.
Different governments block access to certain websites to protect national security, prevent copyright problems, or restrict inappropriate content.
Your government can also restrict access to some websites for online censorship due to political reasons like silencing journalists and their opposition.
Some companies and employers block websites, including social media, gaming, gambling, and porn sites, to prevent their employees from slacking at work.
Some employers also ban users from accessing certain websites to protect their company from a potential data breach.
After all, there are people that save their passwords and other information on their phones, making them susceptible to information data leaks.
3. School Policy
Most schools censor certain websites on their networks to protect their students from obscenity, addiction, and other things that may affect their studies.
Since various websites, including inappropriate, gaming, and gambling sites are accessible on any device with an internet connection, it’s best if students can’t easily open these websites at school.
As such, you might find yourself unable to access certain content on your school computer or any device connected to the school’s network.
Geo-blocking restricts access to specific websites and services in certain regions due to license deals, copyright restrictions, and other regulations.
For example, some shows are only available in Europe but not in the US.
You’ll usually encounter this blocking type on online streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube.
Your Internet Service Provider can block websites to prevent people from accessing dangerous websites that violate the law within the country.
ISPs block websites through firewalls, DNS filters, or Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
As such, it’s difficult to bypass blocks from ISPs without using a VPN or proxy.
How to Unblock a Website to Access Restricted Content
If you want to access blocked websites, there are a couple of methods you can try. They may work depending on the type and level of restrictions set in your work, school, or region.
1. Use a VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to access restricted content, especially if you want to visit blocked websites regularly.
VPNs add protection and improved privacy when browsing online by encrypting your internet traffic and rerouting it to a server, thus disguising your identity online.
While most people use a VPN server for online anonymity and added security, you can also use it to bypass privacy restrictions to access restricted sites in your region.
Since most VPN services allow users to choose the server location, they’re the perfect tool to view blocked content from streaming services like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video.
Although VPNs are your best bet to unblock websites, most providers offer their services in exchange for a monthly or yearly subscription.
On the other hand, most free VPN services have limitations, slow internet speeds, and privacy issues that people don’t want to experience.
As such, VPNs aren’t for people on a tight budget.
2. Use a Web Proxy
Similar to VPNs, using web proxies reroutes your web traffic into their servers, allowing you to unblock websites.
It’s a good alternative when you can’t install a VPN on a public computer or device you use at work or school.
Most proxies are free, making them a good choice for those who can’t afford to subscribe to a VPN network for unblocking websites.
But while a public web proxy can help you bypass some geo-restrictions, don’t expect it to work every time, especially on streaming services, since admins can blacklist the proxy you use anytime.
On top of that, proxy servers don’t encrypt traffic that passes through them, making it possible for third parties to check and access your data anytime they want.
As such, you need to be careful when using a proxy server to access content online, especially sensitive information, since they’re not as secure as a VPN server.
3. Unblock Websites in Google Chrome
If Google Chrome is your default browser, you can use extensions to unblock websites with ease.
For instance, you can use a proxy or VPN browser extension to bypass content filters in your country.
Here’s a quick tutorial about adding extensions to your Chrome browser:
- Open Chrome on your computer and click More options (three vertical dots) on the top right.
- Click More tools > Extensions.
- Click the hamburger icon on the top left and select “Open Chrome Web Store” from the menu.
- Search for a VPN or proxy browser extension and check the results.
- Select the one you want to use, click “Add to Chrome,” and confirm your decision.
Depending on the extension you added to your browser, you might need to register or subscribe to the proxy or VPN service to use it.
If you want to remove the current proxy or VPN you’re using on your Chrome browser, visit the extensions menu to manage and remove the ones you no longer need.
4. Visit the Website’s IP Address Directly
If your school, company, or ISP only blocks domain names, you can use a site’s IP address to access it on your browser.
Although this method can work at times, you need to have a bit of background in using different system commands on the computer.
In any case, here’s how to check a website’s IP on Windows:
- Press Windows + R on your keyboard, type cmd, and press Enter to open the command prompt.
- Type “ping,” add a space, and type the website’s address. For example, “ping facebook.com.”
- Copy the IP address that comes up on the prompt, paste it on your browser, and press Enter.
Keep in mind that different operating systems have their own commands to check IP addresses, so if you own a Mac laptop, the steps will differ.
While using a site’s IP address is perfect for people who don’t want to install VPNs, please note that it doesn’t always unblock websites.
Aside from that, accessing a website through its IP address doesn’t provide any encryption, making you susceptible to different dangers online.
5. Use Google Cache
Chrome keeps a copy of any website on your device so that users can access it faster in the future.
As such, you can access a site’s cached version even when you can’t open the original webpage.
Here’s how to open a website’s cached version on Google Chrome:
- Open the Google homepage and search for the website that you want to visit.
- Tap the three vertical dots on the right of one of the items in the search results.
- Select the “Cached” option.
Although viewing the Google cache version allows you to access a blocked website at times, the content you find may be out of date.
Also, cached web pages don’t have security, so make sure you don’t enter any important information such as usernames, emails, and passwords when checking a cached site.
6. Use a URL Shortener
Depending on the institution that filters your web browsing, some only block a site’s full URL.
As such, using a URL shortener may work to unblock websites on your browser.
Here’s how to shorten URLs:
- Open your browser and visit TinyURL.
- Type the URL of the site you want to access on the empty field and click the “Make TinyURL” button.
- Copy the URL it produces, paste it on your browser’s address bar, and press Enter.
Since this method doesn’t require any installation, you can try it on Android and iOS devices.
Aside from TinyURL, there are other URL shorteners out there, like Bitly and Short.io, that you can explore and use online.
If you can unblock websites through this method, it means that your school, work, or ISP doesn’t have thorough website blockers in place.
7. Use HTML to PDF Converter to Download and View Restricted Content
If you only want to read a webpage’s content, you can convert the page to a PDF and view it on your device.
In this way, you won’t need to install VPNs or use proxies to read a website’s contents.
Aside from Adobe, there are a lot of tools online that allow you to convert HTML to PDF.
Downloading a webpage and viewing it as a PDF displays the page as it is, including images and text.
However, the downside of using this method is you can’t interact with the site contents.
8. View Restricted Content with Google Translate
While most of you may think of this as a prank, you can use Google Translate to unblock sites.
However, don’t expect everything within the page, including links and buttons, to work properly when using this method.
All you have to do is visit Google Translate, head to the Website tab, and type the URL of the site you want to unblock.
After selecting the Translate button, open the link that appears on your screen.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to access the content without a problem.
9. Try the Tor Browser
The Onion Router (Tor) is a free tool that protects your internet activity and privacy online by sending your traffic through different servers in the Tor network.
While many people associate the Tor browser with the dark web and illegal activities, you can use it to unblock websites you can’t access in your region or country.
The browser hides users’ IP addresses through the Tor network, allowing them to bypass internet restrictions from their ISP, government, or institution.
Aside from that, Tor reroutes your internet traffic multiple times on the Tor network, so it’s less likely to encounter blocking filters.
Unfortunately, some regions ban the use of Tor to browse the web.
So before downloading and using a Tor browser, make sure that it’s not illegal in your country to avoid any legal problems and disputes in the future.
10. Switch Between HTTPS and HTTP
These days, most websites have an HTTP and HTTPS version.
As such, you can try replacing the start of a website URL with “http://” or “https://” to access it.
Unfortunately, HTTP pages have less security than the HTTPS version.
So don’t enter your username, password, and other sensitive information when accessing these types of pages.
With that in mind, only resort to this method to unblock websites when you have no other choice.
11. Use Dynamic IP Addresses
A dynamic IP address is an address that you can use temporarily since it changes over time or after each use.
Since there are websites that block IP addresses directly due to different concerns, getting a new address can help you bypass website filters.
Nowadays, most ISPs provide dynamic addresses to their users, so restarting your router may get you a different IP address that you can use to unblock websites.
If you’re on a Windows computer, you can open the Command Prompt to get a new IP.
By using the “ipconfig /release” and “ipconfig /renew” commands, you can change your address, given that you have a dynamic one from your ISP.
Is It Legal to Unblock Restricted Websites?
In most countries, using VPN servers, proxies, and the Tor browser is entirely legal, given that you don’t participate in illegal activities online.
If you’re thinking of browsing social media websites at school or work, there’s nothing wrong with unblocking them to do so.
Also, there are no serious consequences when bypassing geo-blocked websites to watch a show that’s not available in your region.
With that said, everything depends on your country.
In countries like Russia and China, the use of unapproved VPNs is illegal and can result in jail time.
As such, check the rules and regulations when using VPNs, proxies, and the Tor browser in your country before resorting to them to access blocked sites.
Does Changing the DNS Settings Allow You to Unblock Websites?
Unfortunately, changing your DNS servers doesn’t give you access to banned websites in most cases.
Most ISPs nowadays have very efficient blockers that changing your DNS won’t have any effect.
It’s better to take your chances through proxies and VPNs to bypass internet censorship in your area.
Best VPNs You Can Try to Open Blocked Sites
There are a lot of VPN services that you can use to access your favorite websites wherever you are.
When it comes to choosing a VPN, it all depends on what you need and the added features that you prefer to have.
Here are some of the best VPNs for unblocking websites. Most of these have an app for mobile devices, so you don’t have to worry when you’re browsing with your phone.
NordVPN is one of the best and most secure VPN services out there, with a wide range of features.
The service offers numerous server locations in different countries, allowing you to bypass geo restrictions without a problem.
On top of that, NordVPN boasts a fast connection speed, allowing you to watch shows on streaming websites like Netflix and HBO easily.
- Fast internet connection speeds
- Built-in ad and malware blocker
- Multiple device support
- Multi-country servers
ExpressVPN is another option that’s easy to use while offering top-tier security.
However, being one of the top choices for personal VPN use due to its encryption and features, it’s relatively expensive when compared to other services.
If you’re hesitating to use ExpressVPN, you can use its free trial to test out its offered features.
- Split tunneling support
- Can protect multiple devices
- Wide range of server locations
- Network lock
While most people avoid free VPNs due to their privacy issues and limited features, Windscribe is an exception.
Winscribe is the best free VPN out there and a perfect option for people on a tight budget.
Although the free version adds a restriction to your internet bandwidth and only has a few server options, Winscribe doesn’t compromise the user’s privacy and security.
- Good free version
- Affordable subscription
- Supports simultaneous device connection
Surfshark is another top pick among the vast VPN services on the market.
Like other VPNs on this list, Surfshark provides its users with the utmost privacy while browsing online.
Aside from the usual features you find on VPNs, Surfshark allows its users to connect with two different VPN servers simultaneously, adding another layer of security.
- Whitelist option
- Available on various devices
While there are many ways to unblock websites, using VPNs is the best way to bypass filters from your ISP, government, school, or work.
Although most VPN providers aren’t free, they’ll get you access to most websites that you can’t access in your area.
But if you can’t afford a decent VPN or don’t want to install an app, you can try using a proxy website or the Tor browser to access banned content online.
However, we understand that there are situations where you can’t install apps or use proxies, like when you’re on a school computer or network.
Thankfully, there are other ways to unblock websites, especially ones with basic filtering, so all you have to do is try the other methods on our list!