How to Unblock Any Websites Online

Updated: 2022-07-29 / Article by: Timothy Shim

Have you ever come across a site that you eagerly need to access but find that you can't? Chances are, you would have experienced this numerous times in your lifetime. You'd be right to feel frustrated, even downright irritated. After all, there’s Internet freedom, right?

If you need to unblock any website online, there’s good news and bad. The good news is that it’s possible. The bad is that you may need to experiment with various methods.

For whatever reasons you may have to go on a blocked site, please remember to stay vigilant and be careful. While it may be possible to access blocked content, it might also be illegal. That said, here are several ways that you can explore to help you access blocked websites.

Keep in mind that the success rate of each method varies. Much depends on how the block is implemented.

Method 1 – Using a Virtual Private Network to Unblock a Website

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is perhaps the most common and easiest method you can use to help gain access to a blocked site. It hides your actual IP with that of the IP of the VPN server. As such, the blocked site will ‘see' you coming in from another location that has access rights to it.  

The process of using a VPN to unblock a website is simple;

  1. Purchase a VPN Plan
  2. Download and Install the VPN App
  3. Launch the App and Connect to a Server
  4. Launch your Browser and Access the Blocked Website

How Well Does It Work?

Many people use VPNs to access geo-restricted content. Additionally, they can help overcome online censorship imposed by the authorities. I have used VPNs countless times to gain access to blocked sites. For me, they worked all the time. So, whenever I come across a blocked website, I simply turn on my VPN, and I'm in. It's that easy.

Remember that VPNs vary significantly in speed, security, and overall capabilities. If you need one, I happily recommend either NordVPN or Surfshark.

Read more – How a VPN can be useful

Method 2 – Use a Web Proxy

Akin to a VPN, web proxies shield your actual IP; the site you want to access will think you're coming in from elsewhere. As such, usually blocked websites become available to you. Most web proxies are free and straightforward to use. They do not need you to download and install anything at all. Just visit the web proxy site and key in the blocked site’s URL.

Here’s what you need to do to unblock a website with a web proxy;

  1. Go to a Web Proxy Website (for example, Hide.Me)
  2. Key in the URL of the Blocked Site
  3. Select the Proxy Location
  4. Select any Extra Options
  5. Click ‘Go’

How Well Does It Work?

Web proxies are primarily used in situations when you need to unblock a blocked website quickly on a public device where you don't have the liberty to install a VPN. Although it is easy to use, you have to always go through the web proxy every time you click on anything on the site. 

As such, a web proxy can be disruptive when you need to browse through and search for something on the blocked site. Additionally, web proxies are not as secure as VPNs. As such, I seldom use web proxies to unblock a website online. But when I do, they do work. However, in general, I tend to lean towards using a VPN instead. 

Read more – How to change your IP Address using a proxy server

Method 3 – Use the Tor Browser

If you're a security buff, chances are, you've come across Tor (The Onion Router). The Tor network is known for its many layers of encryption used, making Tor a highly secure way to browse the internet anonymously. It is also a well-known way to overcome online censorship and gain entry to dark websites (.onion sites).  

Due to its many layers of encryption, the connection speeds may be slow. Also, you'll need to install the Tor browser, which is an open-source tool, to access the Tor network. Traveling through the massive number of servers in the Tor network hides your actual IP. As such, the blocked site will not know your real location and will believe that you're coming in from another place.

Here’s how you use Tor to unblock a website;

  1. Step 1. Download and Install Tor Browser
  2. Step 2. Launch Tor Browser
  3. Step 3. Search for the Blocked Site’s Name

How Well Does It Work?

If you're not familiar with using Tor, it can be rather daunting, especially for a beginner. That said, Tor is helpful to gain access to blocked sites. Furthermore, connection speeds can be slow. As such, I seldom use Tor to gain access to blocked sites. 

Read more – Guide to browsing the dark web using Tor browser

Method 4 – Configure Settings in Chrome for the Blocked Sites

Configuring your Chrome browser settings is a simple method to access blocked sites. Your company or school may sometimes pre-configure Chrome settings to control your web access. You can check your Chrome settings to confirm this. 

  1. Launch Chrome
  2. Click “Site Settings”

How Well Does It Work?

Configuring your Chrome settings is not always successful, as this highly depends on the method the blocked site uses to restrict access. But you can try since the steps are simple enough. However, I rarely use this method as the success rate is not that high.

Method 5 – Use the IP address, Not the URL of the Blocked Site

As you know, under every URL of any website is the IP address. The authorities may have stored the URL instead of the IP address of the blocked website, which means that they will be looking out for the URL of the said site instead of the IP address. 

Using the IP address instead of the URL of the blocked site may help.

  1. Launch the Command Prompt
  2. Type in “ping” and add the URL of the blocked website
  3. Key in the IP address of the blocked website in your browser

This process is relatively simple. The challenge here is to find the IP address of the blocked site. If you're on Mac, you can go to Network Utility, then click ”Traceroute” at the top. Input the URL of the blocked website to find its IP address. If you're on Linux, use “dig websitename.com” in the terminal, and you can obtain its IP address. 

How Well Does It Work?

Unfortunately, using the IP instead of the URL is not always successful, as this depends on whether the authorities block you based on the IP or URL. I have tried this method several times, and sadly, I was unsuccessful most of the time.

Why are Some Websites Blocked?

Akin to your physical home address, your IP address is typically your “digital” home address. An IP address identifies you. When you try accessing a website, the website will recognize you by your IP address. There are varied reasons a website is blocked:

Geo-Blocking

While there are multiple reasons a website is blocked, the most common one would be accessing geo-restricted content; certain content is available to specific regions only. This phenomenon is due to different copyright distribution rights in different areas. As such, you'll find that you can access different content from your friends in other countries.  

Censorship

You may be surprised to learn that censorship is still at large. Governments sometimes have policies that may restrict web access. These restrictions are then enforced by technology to help regulate their people's internet access. 

China, for example, is known as being the most notorious of all with its implementation of the Great Firewall. Its citizen are essentially blocked from almost all popular international platforms and services like Google, Facebook, Twitter, to name a few.

Work/School Policies 

Generally, education institutions and offices impose restrictions upon which sites allow access. They usually block access to sites that contain immoral, inappropriate, and unethical content. However, some have blocked access even to harmless sites to conserve bandwidth, reduce distractions and improve productivity. 

Is it Legal to Unblock a Website?

Addressing the legality perspective of gaining access to an unblocked website is debatable. You'll need to deliberate on the method you're using to do so. And, even though the process may be deemed legal, finally getting access to a blocked site still goes against the policies set by your workplace, education institution, and also the site's terms of use. 

Also, it depends on the country you reside in as countries differ in their set laws and regulations. As such, before you dive head down into unblocking any website, do your due diligence first.  

Conclusion

There will always be some blocked websites whenever we do our daily browsing. And although there are many reasons that ‘justify' the authorities doing so, having hit blocked sites often can be frustrating.

However, fret not as there are ways to circumvent this. Feel free to go through the above-listed ways to help unblock any websites online. A word of caution, please always be vigilant whenever you do so. 

Read more: 

About Timothy Shim

Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.