One of the internet beauties is the freedom to access any content you wish. However, web censorship is significantly on the rise these days. That is why many people have turned to VPNs. But there is one problem here as well; VPN blocks, which many platforms (mostly streaming services) deploy today.
So, internet censorship is the act of making specific websites and contents inaccessible to users in a particular country or organization. Government alongside private organizations censor the internet today. Nevertheless, censorship is a challenge to internet freedom, no matter the reasons for it.
It significantly reduces access to information on the internet, which may be frustrating. The irony is, sometimes, organizations and authorities go as far as blocking VPNs as these tools help bypass censorship. So what do you do when your VPN is blocked?
We have great news for you.
If you’re worried about internet censorship and VPN block, we’re going to unveil how to bypass VPN blocks and enjoy your favorite content on the internet in this article.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the best ways to beat internet censorship in normal circumstances. All you need to do is install a VPN and connect to a server located in a region where the content is not blocked.
But that is not possible with every VPN out there.
Content censorship deploys a state of the art anti-VPN system that can quickly detect your VPN and block it out. That precisely is how authorities around the world are blocking and banning the use of VPNs in their regions.
Some countries have even made the use of VPN illegal. If you have been using a VPN to access blocked content and you suddenly realize that it’s no longer working, a VPN ban or block may be the reason.
But worry no more.
Keep reading to learn about Virtual Private Network blocking and how to maneuver around it. You will get the answers to resolve your issues and gain internet freedom in a while. Let’s cover some essential basics first.
In a hurry right now? Here are three best VPNs to avoid VPN blocks:
- ExpressVPN — It has servers in more than 94 countries, which gives plenty of options and makes bypassing geo-restrictions a breeze.
- NordVPN — Can help get around even the sturdiest geo-blocks as it offers dedicated IPs alongside a large pool of servers (boasts 5,400 plus servers in 59 countries worldwide).
- Surfshark — Blasts through content censorship technology with servers in more than 63 countries and its double-VPN feature.
Starting from the ‘why’ for covering important details, some of the reasons for VPN blocks include the following:
Reasons behind VPN blocks
Many Governments around the world carry out internet censorship for political, economic, and moral reasons.
A good example is the state censorship of Iran and the Great Firewall of China. Also, Russia and the UAE have always been on the headlines for criminalizing the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass internet restrictions.
Recently, the USA announced a ban on the Chinese owned apps WeChat and TikTok. The White House’s order declared that the messaging app (WeChat) and the Viral Video App (TikTok) would be blocked in the US app stores.
WeChat has been blocked since then. But the US Federal Government announced that TikTop would also be banned permanently if it doesn’t sell to a US company. On September 27, 2020, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to TikTok against the Trump administration’s order of banning the viral video app from U.S. app stores. But, the injunction halts only the anticipated September 2020 TikTok ban in the USA. As per experts, the Chinese-owned app could be forced off app stores by firms like Google and Apple at any time.
All in all, the bans on websites, apps, and other content have become increasingly common in various countries. This aggressive form of censorship is prevalent in Europe, with Russia and the UK leading the charge.
Many organizations would often prevent their employees from accessing certain content on the internet. Companies censor contents they feel would distract the workforce, such as social media, or contents they see toxic to the working environment. Some of the work-related restrictions are understandable, while others are not justified.
Colleges and schools
Internet censorship is widespread among educational institutions. Even though, sometimes, censorship is essential if the pupils are minors. But a lot of higher institutions today carry out censorship and unjustly restrict students from accessing certain websites.
Censorship in higher educational institutions is ironic and bad for internet freedom. These institutions do not only block content, but they also block VPNs, making it more difficult for students to access the services and apps they need. So is there a way to bypass the school VPN block? Yes. There is. This article also covers how to bypass school VPN block. Hold along.
Broadcast licensing limitations and media VPN blocks
A lot of content streaming sites have deployed technologies to block VPNs. They deploy anti-VPN systems to restrict IPs associated with a VPN provider and block it to enforce Geo-content blocking. Prime examples here include BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, and others.
The reasons for VPN/contents blocks by the streaming sites are mostly due to copyright and economic reasons. But if you’ve been asking yourself questions like “How do I bypass Hulu VPN block,” this article shows you varieties of ways to Bypass Hulu VPN blocks alongside the blocks imposed by any media or streaming service online.
Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) would also limit VPN use due to copyright infringements. That is because some people use VPNs for illegal piracy and “torrenting.” They download copyrighted software, songs, and videos, which leads to a VPN ban.
Moreover, ISPs sometimes also unjustly restrict VPN’s use as it stops them from throttling the user’s internet. Internet throttling is a scenario whereby your ISP cut down on users’ bandwidth usage without their consent, which can dramatically reduce internet speed during certain activities.
How does a VPN get blocked?
Institutions and Government agencies deploy various technologies to block VPNs. Below are different ways used for VPN blocking today:
1. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
Governments and corporations can use DPI techniques to examine the data that travels through their network and act depending on what they find.
Using DPI, they can determine if a VPN is being used and then either block, re-route, or log the data. DPI is an advanced/highly effective way of blocking the traffic that comes from a VPN. It checks the type of traffic rather than checking where the traffic originates from.
Most of the VPNs out there use OpenVPN protocols, which make them easily detected. The cryptography system of an open VPN cannot bypass DPI. This is why it’s tough to find a VPN that can be used to unblock Geo contents restrictions in some countries.
For instance, the great firewall of China uses the deep packet inspection technique. This technology is so robust and advanced that only a strong VPN that offers various types of connection protocols can bypass it.
2. IP blocks
Internet Protocol (IP) is a unique address that is associated with every internet-connected device. When you connect to the internet through a VPN, it would mask your device IP while displaying the VPN servers’ IP address to all third-parties. This implies that whenever you connect to a streaming site such as Hulu (for example), it would show the IP address of a server that is based in the USA.
If you connect to a server in the UK to watch BBC iPlayer, it will reflect a UK based IP address and vice versa. Theoretically, it implies that all VPNs should easily bypass streaming sites’ geo-blocking technology. But that’s not always the case, and it’s not as simple as that.
Many streaming sites, educational portals, and apps have a database of the IP addresses associated with VPNs. If you try to access a site with your VPN server IP database, they automatically detect and block you. That is why many virtual private servers cannot bypass the geo-blocking system of streaming websites such as Hulu, Amazon prime, etc.
3. Port blocking
Virtual Private Networks use ports and tunnels to route internet traffic. The Anti-VPN systems quickly detect and block them. If your VPN offers various protocols, for example, and you choose the OpenVPN security protocol, it will send your internet traffic to port 1194.
Anti VPN technology would continuously lookout for traffic that is routed through those ports and blocks you. Once the anti-VPN tech detects and blocks your port, you cloud not access the contents blocked for you.
VPN port blocking is not as common as Internet Protocol blocking (IP). But it’s one of the ways anti VPN technology deploys to block VPNs. However, you can bypass this by regularly switching between ports and installing a VPN service that offers multiple connection protocols.
Quality VPNs offer multiple protocols such as PPTP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, WireGuard, StealthVPN, and so much more. That said, switching ports alone would not always be sufficient for you to bypass VPN blocks. That’s why some VPNs fail to bypass geo-blocking technology.
4. GPS-based blocking
Another method that governments and firms deploy is GPS-based blocking. It uses information from your device data to determine your exact location and block you.
It doesn’t matter whether your IP originates from the USA, UK, or any other place. Once your GPS data location differs from your server location, the technology will block you.
A lot of VPN services automatically change your IP to a location of your choice. But they don’t adjust your GPS data accordingly. The good news is, you can find reputable and robust VPN services to change both the IP and GPS data (more on best VPNs to bypass VPN blocks later).
What to do when your VPN gets blocked
Now that you are familiar with VPN blocks and the reasons behind them, let’s talk about the workarounds to get rid of this trouble.
Below you go with 7 most effective methods to overcome VPN blocking issues:
1. Obfuscated servers
As you might have an idea by now already, anyone that monitors your connection when you visit the web using a regular VPN will detect that you’re using a VPN.
Surveillance agencies, governments, and even your ISP can see a digital signature associated with a VPN without seeing your actual traffic. That is where an obfuscated server comes in-handy. It scrambles your internet traffic entirely and makes the traffic look like it’s coming from regular internet traffic.
That way, it doesn’t only hide your traffic but also masks it. Besides, the server does not leave a digital signature behind for anyone to use and trace you. Furthermore, it obliterates your browsing metadata. By doing that, anyone surveilling you would think that your traffic is normal internet traffic.
VPN services offering obfuscated servers add an extra layer of anonymity to your connection to mask your VPN and browsing traffic. This feature is ideal and extremely efficient for websites that deploy strong content censorships.
The problem is, not all VPNs offer obfuscated servers. The good news is, all our top 5 VPNs to bypass VPN blocks that we list in the next section (a little below), provide you with obfuscated servers.
2. Get a dedicated Internet Protocol address
It would be best if you always opted for a VPN that offers dedicated IPs. With some VPNs, you can purchase a dedicated server on your regular subscription while a few top VPNs offer dedicated servers with the subscription by default.
Therefore, get a VPN service that provides dedicated IP (also known as static IP) to save costs and reduce risk. VPN provider that does not offer dedicated IPs would usually share the same IP address among thousands of users. That makes the provider more likely for censorship engines to detect and block it.
If, for example, multiple people are using the same IP address to visit Hulu, it would be easy to detect. But with the use of a dedicated IP, each VPN user will have a unique IP address. This strategy makes it far more difficult for a censorship system to detect that your IP is associated with a VPN. One VPN that we can recommend for static or dedicated IPs is NordVPN.
3. Switching VPN servers
Sometimes switching to a different VPN or server can be all you need to bypass blocks. Anti-VPN technologies continuously scan the web to look out for IP addresses associated with VPN servers. Therefore, a simple switch can help you to bypass censorships.
This will mostly work if the VPN has servers in various locations around the world. You can simply disconnect from one and reconnect to a server in a different location. Top VPN services would regularly refresh their IPs and add fresh ones. That makes it more difficult for geo-blocking technologies to detect.
Therefore, it is absolutely important to opt for a state of the art VPN technology with a large pool of servers worldwide. That way, you can connect to numerous servers in different locations around the world to escape VPN blocks.
4. Change ports
As covered above, web censorship technology also uses ports to monitor devices that connect through a VPN. You can overcome this is by switching ports regularly. While some VPN services change ports automatically, others don’t.
So, you can manually adjust your port if your VPN service does not do it automatically. Here are the best ports you can switch to, which can help you evade detection and overcome VPN blocking problems:
- Port 443: This port is used to transmit unencrypted data to a secure version of a website. For example, shopping sites would usually redirect you to the HTTPs site when you are about to make a purchase. HTTPs sites ensure that your card and personal details are protected from prying eyes. It is a wise idea to change your VPN port to 433 if you have encountered a VPN block or want to stay safe from one.
That’s because anti-VPN systems will more likely not block this particular port. Why? We hear you ask. Because exchanging important information or online shopping is not possible without this port. Also, port 443 is enormously harder for sites to discover by DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
Almost all the VPN applications boast an option to change ports. If your provider does not allow changing port numbers, you can take the manual route of doing it by editing the OpenVPN configuration file. Nevertheless, we recommend you should chat with your VPN provider support before deploying any changes.
- Port 80: Port 80 is also used to route encrypted HTTPs traffic. So, anti-VPN technologies rarely block it because it is used to secure all HTTPs sites.
5. Switch to another VPN protocol
VPNs available today come with a broad range of VPN protocols. Each of the protocol is developed for a specific purpose. While some offer super-fast speeds, others put your security and privacy above everything where they compromise speed a bit.
In general, you could switch to a new protocol easily as all the quality VPNs have an option to change encryption protocols. Often, a user simply needs to visit the VPN’s settings dashboard and pick a protocol of his liking. It is that easy, hence, this is among the easiest methods to bypass VPN blocks. Below are some protocols we recommend you to shift to:
- SSTP Protocol
SSTP is an acronym for secure socket tunneling protocol. It is very efficient, but not every VPN service allows it. The SSTP port uses port 443 by default, unlike OpenVPN that uses port 1194. This port is also used to secure website traffic; therefore, it lets you evade anti VPN systems effortlessly.
WireGuard security protocol is a new technology and comes with state of the art VPN systems. It would help if you looked out for VPN services that offer the WireGuard protocol. WireGuard provides various connection options and protects you while browsing on the internet. It uses OpenVPN security technology with the speed of IKEv2. Also, this VPN protocol offers a great security option for users and helps against VPN bypass proxy.
Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is one of the oldest security protocols of VPN systems. It offers high connection speed, but its security is not as strong as that of the WireGuard. It helps you evade blocks but then exposes you to IP leaks sometimes.
Aside from the aforementioned security protocols, some VPNs have their customized protocols that offer security and speed. You should check them out and opt for a protocol that provides the best connection and censorship evasion.
Most countries put in laws banning the use of VPNs that are not compliant with their regulations. The reason is to prevent criminal activities, especially by individuals. The UAE was recently on the headlines when the Government announced that anyone caught using a Virtual Private Network risk been fined up to 2 Million Dirham ($545,000, €495,000, £415,000).
The offender would serve a prison term if he or she cannot pay the fine. So, it is essential to properly analyze how VPN laws are enforced in your region so that you can stay out of trouble.
Some Virtual Private Network blocks are put in to protect minors from unlawful contents or extremists’ materials. So, the owners of a LAN or Wi-Fi have every right to restrict what you can do on their network, including networks in homes, offices, schools, hotels, cafés, etc. Therefore you should exercise caution while bypassing VPN restrictions on such networks.
We know that the potential of getting caught and prosecuted in such scenarios is exceptionally slim. But it can potentially result in the suspension of your device altogether or other forms of punishment. It is, therefore, necessary to weigh the pros and cons adequately before evading VPN blocks.
5 best VPNs to help you evade VPN blocks
It is essential to point out that not every VPN service can beat anti VPN technology that governments and organizations use today.
Also, using a VPN alone does not guarantee security. Some malicious programs also work as VPN providers, while others cannot keep you enough anonymous and evade blocks.
You would need a state of the art VPN service with multiple servers around the world, numerous connection protocols, and obfuscated servers to escape VPN blocks.
Here are the top 5 VPNs that can help you achieve that for complete internet freedom.
ExpressVPN is the park leader and ranks head and shoulders above most VPN services out there.
It boasts high-speed connection rates, provides adequate security, and helps you avoid a VPN ban on every portal online including amazon prime VPN blocking as well as Netflix’s aggressive anti-VPN system.
Many people all around the world trust this service because it is efficient to the level that it has been reported to be unmatchable. That is something we came to an agreement in our extensive ExpressVPN review.
Browsing the web doesn’t have to expose you to malicious programs and VPN blocks. NordVPN would keep you safe, whether you are accessing blocked content, shopping online, using public Wi-Fi, etc. This top VPN hides your IP address and also uses obfuscated servers to maneuver VPN blocks all around the world. Feel free to review our detailed NordVPN review to know more about it.
It is one of the few VPNs providing a one-click install and secure mechanism for users. You can use this VPN on every device for maximum security and encryption against anti VPN blocks as it offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
Surfshark provides more robust data protection to take charge of your online security and privacy all the time. It has one of the best data encryption mechanisms alongside having ultra-fast internet connectivity. Read our complete Surfshark VPN review if you want to know the details about it.
Perfect Privacy comes to mind when you want speed, reliability, and flexibility. Very few VPN services do it as perfectly as Perfect Privacy when it comes to setting you free from VPN blocking technologies.
It has many servers all around the world, hence, you can get numerous options. Also, it doesn’t log your files and doesn’t have a traffic limit.
Last but on the least, IPVanish is among the best VPN solutions to let you bypass restrictions and use the web without limitations. It meets the requirement for a private connection and offers faster speed for web surfing without compromising safety.
It takes more than just deploying any VPN to remain anonymous and free from VPN blocks. Also, only the incognito mode does not help you stay safe online. But, you can consider IPVanish VPN with confidence if you’re looking for a reliable solution against VPN blocks.
Internet censorship is useful in protecting kids from gaining access to harmful content. However, it is not right to restrict adults from accessing the content they like. Organizations have taken it one step further by blocking VPNs as well.
Not only by companies, but content censorship is also becoming a rampant practice by governments, ISPs, educational institutions, and organizations. They go as far as deploying aggressive anti-VPN technology that detects VPNs and blocks them.
VPN blocking threatens the internet’s freedom, but as you now know, you can bypass restrictions and VPN blocks through various methods.
Better yet, some top VPN providers have been working extremely hard to ensure that you can easily bypass anti-VPN technology.
So, opt for a VPN service that has a range of obfuscated servers around the world. There are some effective ways to bypass VPN blocks should you face any, for sure, as discussed in this article. But making sure you get only the best VPN in the first place can help you to not even encounter this problem ever.
VPN is legal in most countries. But some countries have banned VPN use while others have a list of approved VPNs. For instance, using a VPN is illegal in countries such as Turkey, China, Iraq, and the UAE.
In countries where VPNs are blocked, it is illegal to bypass VPN blocks. But you may be safe if you want to watch only the streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, or Hulu with a VPN. But if it not permitted, avoid bypassing VPN blocks in your workplace because it may be against your organizational policies.
Your VPN is working if you can access restricted contents that you couldn’t access without the VPN. Another way to see whether your VPN is working is by checking your device IP after activating a VPN.