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How To Bypass VPN Blocks?

How To Bypass VPN Blocks?

Updated: 08-12-2021

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are great for bypassing geological internet restrictions, keeping your details private, and encrypting your internet traffic. The problem is, countries such as Iran and platforms such as Netflix have caught up on the use of VPNs to circumvent their restrictions. Therefore, most of these countries and platforms have invested in VPN blocks to prevent such breaches.

As a journalist, I love travelling around the world covering stories from a different perspective, often controversial, especially where politics are involved. In countries where VPNs are restricted, I’ve learned that bypassing VPN blocks isn’t that difficult.

A VPN block is a firewall set up by a country, school, hospital, workplace, etc., to detect when a user tries to access forbidden content. After detecting the attempt, the firewall restricts access to the intended content.

Thankfully, VPN providers have stayed ahead of the game with advanced technology to bypass most of these blocks. Still, no single VPN can bypass all the blocks in the world.

It can be pretty disappointing to find out that you can't view your favorite content even after investing in a VPN. That's why I took it upon myself to sample and analyze most of the highly recommended VPNs so you know what each of them can and can't do.

In this article, you'll learn about:

  • best VPNs for bypassing blocks
  • Types of VPN blocks
  • General settings you should have on your VPN to bypass specific blocks
  • Alternative tips to make your VPN undetectable

Why Are VPNs Blocked?

Currently, more than 30 countries have banned internet freedom for one reason or the other. Here are a few of the reasonable ones;

Licensing Issues

Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney plus, etc., have different versions depending on the country. Therefore, the content you find in one country might not be available in another - this is very inconvenient, especially for travelers or movie reviewers.

This restriction is because the content of every country's broadcasting license differs from one another. Certain content may be allowed for viewing in one country while banned in another. However, you can easily bypass the content restrictions by using a VPN.

Copyright Issues

Some governments ban access to websites that promote or distribute pirated content, such as torrent sites. Some countries like the US and the UAE have even criminalized the consumption of pirated content. To be safe from being criminally charged, you need to be careful when bypassing blocks in such countries.

Institutional and Workplace Usage

Most institutions block their students and employees from accessing social sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube using the provided public internet. The reason being, they want to prevent distractions and increase the productivity rate.

In other institutions, the restrictions prevent you from viewing content deemed unsafe for a controlled environment because of nudity, political slurs, violence, religious extremists, or violence.

Government Restrictions

In countries such as Iran, the government has banned access to numerous websites and social sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as they feel the content shared on the platforms doesn't align with the values of their people.

In China, the government has put up a firewall, popularly known as The Great Firewall of China, to regulate its internet use. As a result of the ban, their citizens can't access Twitter, Facebook, Google search, and countless other websites.

This is because the government deems such sites as counterproductive and mentally harmful for consumption. But the main challenge with this ban in such countries is that it is challenging to download VPNs legally, making it very complicated (but not impossible) to bypass blocks.

School Censorship

Schools often enforce internet restrictions to prevent access to nude or objectionable content and protect their students from harmful content. While the censorship may make sense for elementary and secondary schools, some people argue that the government should abolish such restrictions in colleges as most college students are adults.

Types of VPN Blocks

In modern times, VPNs have massively evolved and can now bypass any blocks. However, a VPN's bypassing ability depends heavily on the type of VPN and the firewall's strength. Below are the most common blocks you might encounter in the process.

Port Blocking

Usually, your internet traffic is received and distributed using ports specific tothe type of VPN you are on. For example, HTTP traffic uses TCP port 80, HTTPS traffic uses TCP port 443, and OpenVPN traffic uses UDP port 1194.

A firewall monitors all traffic coming from a specific port and blocks any encrypted traffic. This method is widely used as it blocks internet restriction breaches on a large scale instead of blocking through individual IP addresses.

Thankfully, this is one of the most uncomplicated VPN blocks to circumvent; all you need to do is switch the VPN protocol. In layman's terms, a VPN protocol is how you instruct a VPN provider to transmit and encrypt your data. Different protocols have unique ways of handling your data - this is why switching the settings circumvents a port block.

IP Address blocks

The internet tailors your content according to your IP address. On the other hand, VPNs work by replacing your actual IP address with one manually generated with a VPN server and made available by the provider. So one way to block internet restriction breaches is by blocking any IP address associated with a VPN.

Institutions, governments, and companies each compile a list of IP addresses associated with a VPN. They then exchange these lists, and each of them blocks every address in the list.

This block is easy to bypass as all you need is another IP address that is not blacklisted. Most VPN providers can replace your IP address within seconds of you requesting another.

VPN Traffic Detection / Deep Packet Inspection

Countries such as China, Russia, Kazakhstan, etc., now use an advanced method of blocking VPNs called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). This method monitors data packets that come through your device. In short, every VPN has a specific signature (such as SSL) that is very distinct.

Every time the firewall detects that a particular signature has an influx of encrypted traffic, it automatically blocks its internet access. This sort of blocking is more difficult to overcome when compared to the ones above. To bypass this block, your VPN should possess the ability to repackage your encrypted data before it reaches the firewall in such a way that it remains undetected.

Geo-Based Blocking

Some countries and platforms such as HBO use both your IP address and geolocation to pinpoint your actual location. For example, your IP address could show that you are in the US while your geolocation says you are in Germany. When that happens, you will be blocked from accessing restricted content.

Some VPN providers such as Surfshark have recently introduced GPS spoofing, ensuring both your GPS location and IP address match. This way, you can circumvent blocking while protecting your personal information.

How To Make Your VPN Invisible

It is not easy to know when your VPN has been blocked. But the moment you find out, it is easy to bypass the block by making your VPN undetectable. Here's how to go about it.

Changing Ports

As mentioned earlier, all internet traffic is received and distributed via a port. Most VPNs scan every port you connect to so they can prevent detection hence avoiding blocks.

But if the VPN you are using doesn't have this feature, you can easily bypass a block by switching ports. For example, you can change to port 443 as all regular unencrypted traffic passes through this port before being sent to a more secure version of the site, making it even more difficult to detect your VPN.

Additionally, you could switch to port 80 as regular encrypted HTTPS traffic passes through this port for safety reasons. This means the information passed via this port isn't scrutinized, making it easy for you to go undetected.

Some top VPNs, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, have a stealth feature that makes it impossible for regulating parties to detect.

Switching Servers

When you log in and connect to a VPN, you are assigned an IP address generated by the provider's server. Meaning, if you switch the server, your IP address automatically changes. So sometimes, when you encounter a block, the best thing to do is switch the server. The block may be because the IP address you are using has been blacklisted.

Most of the top VPN providers have thousands of servers scattered all over their area of operation - the more the servers, the more the IP addresses to choose from. Some VPN providers even notify you which is the best server to connect to for a specific service. If they do not provide this information, you could contact customer service for help.

Using SSH/ SSL Tunnels

Although this feature is only supported by select providers such as AirVPN, it is beneficial in bypassing VPN blocks. Creating an SSH/SSL tunnel helps bypass restrictions by connecting your device to another device with no Geolocation restrictions. You can do this by installing the tunnel on both your devices and the VPN server.

For instance, if you are in China and facing VPN blocks, you could connect any device, e.g., laptop, to another of your laptops in a remote location, such as the UK. This way, your traffic will be redirected to seem like it's coming from a UK computer's IP address. And since the UK probably doesn't have restrictions like China, you could get away with accessing the content you want. 

Changing Security Protocols

Most VPNs allow you to come with many protocols to choose from, so your final choice depends on whether you prefer a secure or fast service.

If you do not want to compromise on security, OpenVPN protocol is a great choice. This is why many VPNs set it as the default protocol. The problem with this option is, site operators and internet regulators focus on OpenVPN when cracking down on breaches.

Since choosing the suitable protocol is not common knowledge, here is a brief guide:

L2TP/ IPSec

This protocol has slow speeds, but IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) ensures that your information is fully protected.

IKEv2

This protocol offers workable security standards and reliable speeds. On the downside, only specific devices support it, and its user interface is quite difficult to understand.

SSTP

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is one of the best protocols, thanks to its ability to bypass any block. However, it functions only on Windows devices.

WireGuard

WireGuard is a fairly new security protocol with average speeds and above-average security. Unfortunately, it is only available on Linux devices.

PPTP

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) offers very high speeds, but with inadequate security, this means your information is not safe from prying eyes.

Besides the security protocols mentioned above, most of the top VPNs come with their own security protocols explicitly designed to bypass blocks. Thankfully, most possess outstanding speeds and excellent security.

The Best VPNs for Bypassing VPN Blocks

There are thousands of VPN providers in the market, all claiming to offer the best deal. Since not all VPN providers meet client's expectations, here are a few good ones.

NordVPN

NordVPN is a Panama-based provider with over 5000 servers scattered across over 50 countries. It comes with a 30-day free trial with a money-back guarantee, no questions asked. Also, they have a no-log policy, meaning they don't store any of your personal information in their system.

This VPN is user-friendly, can easily bypass various internet restrictions, and has an exceptional encryption file known as NordLocker that guarantees privacy for its users. Each of its packages ensures access to five accounts that you can use on any operating system.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is tailored to provide everything you need as far as VPNs can go. Currently, they have over 3000 superfast servers in over 90 countries. This means that you will probably never lack a server connection regardless of your location.

Thanks to its military-grade encryption, you can easily bypass even the strictest internet restrictions like those in China. Besides, one account offers access to five devices simultaneously, enhanced VPN protocols, and efficient malware protection.

Surfshark VPN

Though Surfshark is relatively new to the industry, it has quickly risen to be a top contender among the best VPNs. It is one of the few VPN providers that offer unlimited connections per single subscription.

Thanks to its kill switch feature, all your information is erased as soon as your connection is disabled. Also, its military encryption feature guarantees utmost security. The best part is, Surfshark has ultrafast speeds and can be used on all devices and operating systems.

CyberGhost VPN

Aside from boosting 256-bit military-grade encryption for all your data, CyberGhost has more than 6000 servers to choose from. Generally, it boasts a high speed and can easily bypass most internet restrictions.

FAQs on Bypassing VPN Blocks

These are some of the most common questions asked about VPN blocks.

Is it legal to use VPNs?

Contrary to popular belief, it is very legal to use VPNs in most countries as long as you do not use them to perform criminal activities such as downloading banned movies or copyrighted songs.

However, it is illegal to use VPNs in some countries such as North Korea, Belarus, and Russia as they have cracked down the use of almost all VPN providers.

How To Bypass Netflix’s VPN Block?

  1. First, you will need a premium VPN provider that is capable of bypassing Netflix VPN blocks.
  2. Download the VPN app and sign up for the package that suits your needs.
  3. Connect your VPN to the appropriate server. For example, if you want to watch something on Netflix Germany, you will need to connect to a Germany-based server.
  4. When connected, you should stream and download your desired content without encountering many blocks. If not, contact customer support or apply the tips provided above for bypassing blocks.

How To Bypass a VPN Block in Minecraft?

To bypass a VPN block in Minecraft, please refer to the steps outlined in the question above.

 

Is it legal to bypass VPN blocks?

Whether or not VPN blocks are legal is hugely dependent on why the content is not allowed. If you are in school, then it's technically legal but not recommended.

If the content is blocked by the government or is not licensed to be aired in your geolocation, then it is illegal. Nevertheless, bypassing VPN blocks hardly guarantees any jail time or repercussions unless you commit a serious crime or activity deemed unlawful in your country.

How Do Services Detect and Block VPNs?

Some possible reasons for detecting and blocking VPNs include copyright issues and institutional policies. To find out how services detect and block VPNs, please refer to the section above labeled 'Types of VPN blocks' and 'Why are VPNs blocked.'

Can You Tell if a Platform Has Detected VPN Usage?

Most platforms such as Netflix and Prime video will tell you if they think you are using a VPN. For example, Netflix will display the message:

'You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Try switching it off and try reloading the page.'

Other platforms such as Sling TV will let you know the service is not available in your country.

However, sometimes the platform will not let you know it has detected your VPN. Instead, it will pause the download halfway or stop working, or the content will begin loading slowly. In such cases, you may use the above tips to bypass the block.

Can I Unblock Popular Streaming Platforms With a VPN?

You can easily unblock popular streaming platforms with a VPN. All you need to do is download a premium VPN service, sign up and connect to a server located in a country/region with no restrictions. However, it is difficult to unblock content when using a free VPN as they are slow and often experience blocks. I recommend using Premium VPN services since they're fast and have advanced features compared to free versions.

Alternative Software for Bypassing VPN Blocks

Besides using a VPN to circumvent internet restrictions, you could use various alternative software just as discreet and equally effective as VPNs.

Obfxproxy

If you're a frequent user of OpenVPN connections, then you've probably heard of Obfxproxy. It was created as a supplement to the TOR browser to help hide its traffic. The TOR subproject scrambles your traffic data to the point regulators cannot tell the difference.

Obfxproxy is best used in countries such as China that have implemented Deep Packet Inspection to block VPN connections. You can also use it to bypass ISPs that filter SSL traffic since it changes the way online traffic flows.

TOR browser

TOR is an open-source browser that allows you to surf the internet undetected. It reroutes your traffic through various computers, making it difficult to be found by the internet regulators.

However, the TOR browser doesn't guarantee you total security as it is prone to blocks by ISPs. The best way to go around this is by finding VPNs compatible with the TOR browser, configure it, and use it to bypass VPN blocks.

Shadowsocks

Shadowsocks is a socks5 proxy used in countries with overly stringent internet restrictions. Though it has a complicated interface, it is worth giving a chance.

Internet freedom is fundamental whether you are a whistleblower, journalist, or just want to catch up on social media. Thankfully, VPNs offer different ways to bypass blocks and have significantly advanced over the years, making it easier for you to access the internet freely.

All you need to do is ensure you choose a top-notch VPN with plenty of servers. Afterward, you will only have to deal with VPN blocks once in a while, which are also easy to circumvent.

It is easy to bypass VPN blocks and internet restrictions if you invest in a great VPN. Most VPNs employ high-security measures to keep your information safe. If you are tired of not having access to certain content on the internet, it's time to invest in a VPN service.

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