At times, you’ll visit a site and find that it’s blocked. You won’t be able to access the site, even though your internet connection is working.
You can figure out whether the site is working using a checking tool which will tell you if the site’s servers are down. If not, the site could be blocked for your region. So why do websites get blocked? And how can you unlock a site behind a firewall?
Why Do Sites Get Blocked?
There are several reasons you might see an error saying “This webpage has been blocked”.
The site could be restricted so that it is only available in certain regions. Or the network you are connected to might have a firewall which puts limitations on which sites you can visit. You can check a site’s status using a tool like Down For Everyone Or Just Me.
You may need to unblock sites if you run into problems with automatic spam detection software. Many sites will block access to ranges of IP addresses if they believe them to be the source of spam requests. But sometimes, innocent users can get caught up by these filters even if they’re not doing anything wrong.
How to Unblock Websites From Behind a Firewall
You have several options to access websites from behind a firewall. You can try switching to a different network or restarting your modem. Or you can visit a site’s IP address instead of its URL.
If you just want to skim the page, you can use the Google cache version. And if you have access to a VPN or proxy server, you can use this to access the site. Finally, you can try unblocking the site by using the Tor browser. Let’s look at these tips to access blocked websites.
1. Bypass Firewalls By Switching From Wi-Fi to Mobile Data
Sometimes, you’ll find a web page blocked due to restrictions such as a firewall for Wi-Fi networks. For example, if you’re connected to Wi-Fi at school or at work, the network administrator may restrict which sites can be accessed.
Sites which are considered inappropriate might be blocked, as might those that require a lot of bandwidth, like YouTube.
If you find out that this is indeed the case, the simplest way to unblock a website is to disconnect your device from the Wi-Fi network, and use another way to access the internet.
If you’re on your phone, you can use your mobile data to try and access the site instead. On the other hand, if you can access the site using 4G but not with Wi-Fi, you know that the problem is with restrictions on the Wi-Fi network.
2. Open Blocked Sites By Visiting the IP Address Directly
If you don’t have the option of using mobile data, you can unblock sites by bypassing the URL. The way domain names work is that when you type one into your browser, such as google.com, your browser is directed to a server. That server sends over text, images, and anything else your browser needs to load the site.
If the site is blocked when you type in the URL, you can attempt to access it by going straight to the server’s IP address instead. This works as sometimes blocks only apply to domain names. If you can go directly to the server, you can still use the site as normal.
To try this, you’ll first need to find out the IP address of the site you want to visit. Go to a page like IPVoid’s Find Website IP tool and enter the domain you want to know the IP address for. Then hit the Find Website IP button.
This will bring up an IP address in the lower text box. In the case of google.com, for instance, the IP address is 18.104.22.168.
Now copy this IP address and enter it into your browser. You should be taken to the site you’re looking for, and you may be able to access it even if the domain name is blocked.
3. Access Blocked Sites By Viewing a Cached Version
If a site is down but you still need to access it, you can try using cache. This is ideal if the site isn’t updated regularly, and you just need some information from it.
The cache is an older version of the website which Google keeps a copy of as a back-up. It can’t show you pages that you need to be logged in for, such as Facebook content. But it can show you older versions of simple text-based sites that don’t require a login.
To use Google Cache, perform a search for the site you want. You can do this by entering in “site:makeuseof.com”, for example.
In the Google search results, you’ll see the title of the website, plus a snippet of the content on the site, then below that, the site’s URL. Next to the URL is a link that says Cached. Click on this to view the Google Cache version of the page.
Alternatively, you could also try accessing a different version of the site, such as the mobile version or a version in a different language or for a different region. You might find that only one version of the site has been blocked.
4. Unblock a Website By Restarting Your Modem
At other times, your modem will assign you what is called a dynamic IP address. That means that whenever you connect to the internet, you’ll be assigned a temporary IP address to use for that session.
If a website has blocked your IP address, you can get around this by getting a new one. The easiest way to do this is to restart your modem, and you’ll have a new IP address once your modem reboots.
However, if your ISP assigns you a static IP address, which is more common, then your IP address will remain the same no matter how many times you restart your modem.
5. How to Open Blocked Websites Using a Proxy or VPN
If you have a static IP address, there is another way to change it. You can use a VPN or a proxy server to access blocked sites by masking your real IP address behind a fake one.
These two tools work slightly differently, but for the purposes of unblocking a website, they are the same. You start your proxy or your VPN, and the service will assign you a new IP address. Then, when you send a request across the internet—for example to load a particular page—that request appears to come from the new IP address.
This means you can use a proxy server to open blocked sites. If a site is blocked in your geographical region, you can connect to a proxy or VPN server which is located in another country.
6. How to Unblock a Website Using the Tor Browser
If all of these methods fail, you can try using the Tor browser. This works by hiding its users’ locations, so they can browse the internet without censorship.
Similar to a VPN or proxy, when you use Tor, your real IP address is hidden behind a new IP address assigned to you. It does this by passing your traffic through relay servers hosted by worldwide volunteers. That means you can use Tor to access websites even if they are blocked on other browsers.
The downside of using Tor is that it can be slow, and it is incompatible with some devices such as anything running iOS. But if you’re on desktop or Android, and you’re looking for a solution that will let you access text websites from anywhere, it’s worth trying.
Use These Tips to Unblock Websites and Browse Freely
Just because a site is blocked from your browser doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to access it. You’ll be able to open many sites even if they are blocked at first—even if you don’t resort to using a proxy or VPN.
As ever, you need to stay safe and vigilant before unblocking a site, so ask yourself why it’s banned in the first place. If it might be a security risk, it’s not a good idea visiting regardless.
The PirateBrowser may seem like a pointless piece of promotion for the Pirate Bay, but it can help dodge censorship and more.
About The Author