Online freedom is only available to internet users that are equipped with tools and tricks that can help them access unlimited contents online. In this guide, we will highlight ways of accessing blocked websites and restricted contents in 2019.

Geo-restriction is commonly thought to be limited to countries that have openly taken a bold stand on content censorship.  However, as revealed by the blocked.org.uk, geo-blocking is also a prevailing issue in the UK with over 700,000  contents inaccessible to internet users in this country. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend in Europe and it has put a dent on cross-border e-commerce in this region. In a bid to end this discriminatory practice, the EU has introduced a new policy that focuses on illegalizing unjustified restrictions.

Away from Europe, a collaborative study by researchers from the University of Michigan and Cloudflare revealed that geo-restriction is increasingly becoming a political tool in the US as a study shows that US-sanctioned countries are often restricted from accessing contents from the US. Also, following the implementation of the latest privacy policy, US-based companies are struggling to comply with the GDPR, hence, they tend to be courteous when it comes to allowing access from the European region. What all these mean is that global internet freedom is on a decline.

Fortunately, there are some tricks that can help you unblock websites and surprisingly enough, they are easy; 10 of these tricks are discussed below.

  1. Use The Mobile Web

In some cases, accessing the mobile version of a website, instead of the desktop version might just do the trick. You can access the mobile version of websites on your computer too though the interface would seem a little weird.

Also, for smartphone users, it is advisable to use the carrier’s internet service when trying to access blocked websites in order to bypass some website filters. In contrast, a Wi-Fi connection enables the web filtering put in place by the website owner or company.

  1. Use a URL Redirect or Shortening Tool

URL shortening tools basically convert the URL of a website to one that is easier to work with. Since this URL is an alternative to the original URL of the website, it is possible to access the website through it.

Using a modified URL will give you access to the blocked website, however, you could lose access the moment you click on any link as this automatically redirects you to the original URL. as such, this trick will not work if you are planning on navigating the website.

  1. Use An RSS Reader

For people that are trying to access a blocked website that gets updated on a daily, you can use an RSS reader to access the site – this will only work if the site has an RSS feed. Apparently, you can use a feed reader to get the feed of the website and subscribe to it.

  1. Use an anonymous web proxy or http proxy

In most cases, organizations block blacklisted sites that they deem unacceptable in a professional environment like Netflix and personal emails. To bypass this, you can use a proxy website as a quick fix solution. This is also true for contents that your ISP blocks for whatever reasons best known to them. What a proxy basically does is that it masks the website you are accessing from your ISP. Although this is similar to the functionalities of a VPN, a proxy is less secure.

To unblock the website, you have to enter the web address of the restricted site into the appropriate URL box and click Enter. Unlike VPNs, proxies like HideMyAss are basically a webpage or they run on a browser extension and only your activities on the webpage is invisible to your ISP. Also, it is advisable to use proxies that guarantee the encryption of your traffic with HTTPS encryption.

  1. Unblock with a VPN

VPNs are the ultimate online privacy shield that internet users can use to prevent unauthorized access to their activities on the internet. As far as unblocking geo-restricted websites is concerned, there are few tools that are as efficient as the VPN.

VPN acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet and all your activities are routed via the VPN tunnel. Hence, it masks your location as well as your activities. Using a VPN makes you evasive to web filters and other blocking mechanisms utilized by your ISP or other entities restricting contents in your region.

Interestingly enough, installing and using a VPN does not involve any hardware device. All you need do is download or buy the software online and configure the settings In order to choose other locations other than your home country. On the downside, utilizing a VPN connection could slow down your internet connection speed, depending on the reliability of the VPN service. Apart from giving you access to a blocked site, a VPN can enhance IoT device security.

  1. Use The Tor Browser

To people that are skeptical about surveillance on the internet, the Tor browser is an effective tool for protecting your activities from prying eyes. Furthermore, the tool goes beyond your typical anti-surveillance system. You can configure its settings and use it to access restricted websites. Hence, a Tor browser is an effective tool for unblocking websites while retaining your anonymity.

  1. Use the IP address Rather Than domain name

In some cases, you can simply access a blocked website by using the IP address instead of the URL. An IP address is an alternative address of the website which does not include the protocol identifier and the domain name. For example, you can access Facebook’s website by entering either the URL address (https://www.facebook.com/) or its IP address (31.13.90.36) on the address bar of your browser.  

Therefore, completely blocking access to a website requires that both the URL and IP address are disabled. In some cases, however, an authority might only block the URL address which means that users can access the website through the IP address. So, next time you notice that you are unable to access a website, retrieve its IP address online through Whois tool try using the backdoor.

  1. Use Search Engines’ Cache

Most search engines include the link to the cached version of the websites they list on their search results, for Google, simply click on the dropdown arrow at the end of the URL address of the search result and click on Cached.

This simple procedure will allow you to access websites that do not require authorized access or logins. You can also access this feature on other major search engines.

  1. Use A Translation Service

Translation sites can help you unblock sites, especially if there are other language-based versions of the website. For example, you might not have access to Amazon.com in your region and Amazon.fr is accessible. To translate the content, use a translation tool and Voila!, you have access to the content.

Also, Google Translate can do way more than merely translating copied contents. You can also translate the contents of a website which makes it a useful tool for unblocking websites. Simply enter the blocked website into the provided box and choose any language except English as your preferred language. Automatically, Google Translate will bypass the restriction and give you access to the contents of the website.

  1. Ask For Permission

Authorities often block access to some websites mistakenly, especially in institutions and organizations. If you have legitimate reasons for visiting a website, why not ask the network administrator to grant you access, instead of going through unnecessary stress trying to find a way around it.

Conclusion

Do not be fooled by the illusionistic view that internet freedom is accessible to every internet user. Only the informed can navigate various restrictive mechanisms that are put in place to limit access to contents and mouthwatering deals. The tips listed above are some of the effective ways of experiencing true online freedom.

Joseph Chukwube

Entrepreneur, Digital Marketer, Blogger

Entrepreneur and Online Marketing Consultant, Joseph Chukwube is the Founder of Digitage. He's highly enthusiastic about all things business and technology, and he shares informative resources to help businesses and consumers stay informed, safer, and smarter online. Want to say hi? Shoot him an email at joseph@digitage.net