Time to Take Back the Internet
Ever wondered if and how you could access blocked websites at work or school? This article was inspired by Mark, who was devastated that his employer blocked The Onion. They went a step further and blocked proxy redirect sites that allow easy access to blocked sites too! When social networks, good reads, and stress relieving games get blocked how are we to survive our depressing desk-dining hour in the office? Here are some creative ways to enjoy the open Internet without interference from big brother.
The top three VPNs and proxy redirect software programs are Hola Unblocker, HideMyAss, & ZenMate. Your choice depends on the level of encryption needed for yourself (or to bypass) and your budget. If your school or network admin blocked proxy redirect websites like Mark’s, you can skip to number 2.
1. Using a Proxy Redirector or VPN Brower Plugin
· Hola Unblocker (hola.org)
· Hide My Ass (hidemyass.com)
· Zenmate (zenmate.io)
Hola Unblocker is completely free, and you can use it with almost any browser, or install a nifty browser plugin on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
Hide My Ass has both free and paid options, paid options of course come with better encryption & security features.
Zenmate is not free, but for a few dollars a month it might be worth the investment considering the heightened encryption & security features.
2. Use TOR: A Free Internet Browser Designed by the US Navy
Alternatively you could download TOR (torproject.org), an internet browser originally designed by the US Naval Research (UNRL) Lab to encrypt military communications in the late 1990’s. Caveat: TOR users may be flagged as having nefarious intent because it is so popular with criminals, so use with caution. It’s also popular with everyday people who simply want a secure browsing experience free from big brother tracking.
To use TOR with ultimate anonymity, create a new identity each time you browse the web. Although the browser employs a high level of encryption using thousands of servers across the globe, creating a new identity ensures you will never be tied to the same server twice. Another bonus of using a new identity each time you browse is that changing identities switches you to another browser, making the infamously slow browser a little faster.
3. Using the Wayback Machine to View Previous Versions of the Site
Ever heard of the Way Back Machine? It’s a web archive created in the 1990’s by the non-profit organization Internet Archive. Visit http://archive.org/web/ and search for the history of the site you want to visit while not on a website restricted computer. If the version you want to read isn’t there, just save the current version of the page by entering it in the field provided and a cached copy will be stored for you and anyone else to view by date. You can also create a collection of webpages using their paid but affordable Archive-It tool (and enable viewing of different versions) to save for viewing offline, monitoring changes, or just reading at work or school unrestricted.
4. Access Blocked Sites with Feed Readers & URL Shorteners
URL shorteners like feed.ly, tinyurl, or Google’s goo.gl redirect the URL of websites to an unblocked one so you can view restricted sites at work or school.
5. Use Google Chrome Proxy Servers to Unhide Restricted Websites
Go to google.com and type in http://www.gmodules.com/ig/proxy?url=”http://blockedwebsiteexample.com/ and access the blocked site. This will show you the latest cache of the website. Alternatively, go to over to google.com and right click on the browser window, then select “edit search engines”.
Then scroll down to the very bottom of the list and there wil be three empty fields. Type “Google Proxy” in to the search engine name space, then type “proxy” into the keyword box, then cut and paste http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache into the url field. Now when you want to visit a blocked website, simply enter the word proxy and then a space before the actual website url. For example, instead of typing www.onion.com you would type proxy www.onion.com.
6. Use Google Translate to View a Blocked Website
Head on over to google.com/translate and enter the url of the website you want to view. Then select translate to English and you can view the blocked site (even if it’s already in English). Alternatively you can go to the UK Google Translate site translate.google.co.uk and follow the steps above. Note: do not select auto-detect language or this will not work.
7. Convert Blocked Site’s IP Address to Decimal URL
To view a blocked site using the decimal version of it’s address, go to http://www.ipaddressguide.com/ip and type in the IP address of the website you want to visit. To find the website’s IP address just go to whois.net and do a domain name ip search. You can also visit allredroster.com and type in the IP address you want to convert into its decimal url, and it will give you the website’s decimal version for sneaky viewing.
8. Browse Blocked Websites with Mobile Version or a Mobile Browser
Most search engines have a mobile search version that in most cases is not blocked by your employer or school. For example, Google has a mobile search site at https://google.com/m as do many other sites. Try it out by searching for the blocked site’s mobile address or using m as a prefix or following the desktop URL version with a trailing slash and m. For example, the mobile URL for Facebook is m.facebook.com. Sometimes this works too.
9. Accessing the Cached Version of a Blocked Website
To view the cached version of a restricted website on Google, perform a search for the site you wish to visit. Under the search results for that website you’ll see a cache of the page you’re trying to access. It’s not the most current version but in most cases this works for reading website content. You’ll have to make sure you have browser caching enabled in your browser to use this trick.
10. Change your Browser Settings to View Blocked Websites
Sometimes viewing a blocked website is as easy as enabling private or secure viewing in your browser settings. You’ll find these settings under internet options in Explorer or the settings menu in Google Chrome. Alternatively you could just open an incognito window.
11. Access Firewall Restricted Websites Using a Remote Desktop
You can use a remote desktop service like TeamViewer or LogMeIn to view websites restricted by a firewall. Then you’re actually using a third party IP address (like your home or dorm computer) to access the website remotely completely unrestricted. This is also very useful for accessing and storing files on your personal device or pc.
Now Go Read the Onion Mark!
Hopefully one of these options works for you. Just remember, violating your school or work’s code of conduct may have serious consequences. Always weigh the pros and cons of attempting to unblock websites when you’re not supposed to responsibly. After all, they blocked certain websites for a reason and sometimes it’s for your own good.