Certain websites can get restricted at a local level due to workplace restrictions or manual blocking on your device. Depending on where you live, your government or the website’s owner can also block your access to the website. Not just that, a URL filter function from your antivirus and firewall could also limit your access.
Nevertheless, you can still work around it and perform certain solutions to regain access to the websites.
How Do You Identify Blocked Websites?
Numerous factors can prevent a website from loading. Among these factors are spelling errors in the URL, poor internet connections, HTTP errors, blocked access as mentioned earlier, etc.
Initially, it’s important to verify if your internet connection is working. If other websites open, slow internet is not the problem.
You can identify a blocked website by checking whether it opens on a different device. In case it refuses to open on any device in your region, it’s blocked. However, it is also possible that there are problems with the website itself. Or, if you have tried multiple times to open the website, but it still does not open, then it is most probably blocked.
Also, it is possible that your device has blocked the website. If you have used a site-block extension or modified your host file, you may encounter this problem.
How to Access Blocked Websites?
As we discussed above, it is important to identify whether the website is blocked locally at your device or if it is blocked at the ISP’s end. Then, you can go through the respective fixes below to get access to the blocked websites.
Editing the Host File
If a website is opening only on devices other than yours, chances are someone blocked the website from host files.
Right-click on the notepad icon and click on Run as administrator.
Click on File from the toolbar at the top of the notepad when it opens
Click Open or press Ctrl + O.
Go to This PC >Local Disk (C:) > Windows > System32 > drivers > etc
Change file format from Text Document to All Files at the bottom right corner of the dialog box.
Double click on the hosts file. Then, the host files open in the notepad.
As marked in the above image, check if there are any URLs between the localhost. (Blocked URLs can be found there. From the above picture, www.facebook.com is blocked)
Remove the whole row to unblock the target URL. (Removing 127.0.0.1 plus www.facebook.com from the notepad unblocks Facebook)
Afterward, save the file and refresh your browser.
Note: Incorrect modifications can block access to other sites. So, create a backup before starting the process.
Disabling Site Block Extensions
Website blocking extensions can also be the reason behind blocked access. Check to see if you have such an extension installed on your browser.
Here’re the steps to unblock websites that are blocked by extensions:
Click on the Extensions icon on your browser (top right corner)
Then, locate website-blocking extensions. (Go to Manage Extensions if you cannot find them)
When you find it, go to the extension’s Options.
There, you need to locate the block list. Then, remove your target website from the list.
Close the window and start browsing.
Using a VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network allows you to access blocked websites from computers and smartphones. Since VPN encrypts all the data within the tunnel, it essentially bypasses the ISP and the government.
A VPN helps you gain access to sites that restrict access in your region. They send your request through their own server and change your IP address. Then, the website identifies it as an IP address from an acceptable geographical region.
Furthermore, since VPN creates a data tunnel that passes from your device to their server, the connection is secure.
You can access a VPN by following the steps mentioned below:
Open your preferred VPN service
Go to Change Locations
Choose a target location. Choose a location with no geographic restrictions to the target website.
Depending on your preferred VPN service type, the ways to change the geo-location can be different. Paid VPN services offer better encryption, protection, and a better user experience.
Changing the DNS address
DNS is a directory of websites on the internet. When you try to access a website, you type in a domain name/URL. A DNS request is made from your computer to the DNS server to get an IP address for the URL. But, for blocked websites, the IP address is recognized and blocked by your ISP.
You can fix it by changing your DNS address from your ISP to a free public DNS address. When you do so, your ISP is unable to block access to the target website.
You can do this by following the methods mentioned below. For this article, we’ll use Google’s public DNS address.
Right click on the Wi-Fi/Ethernet icon on the bottom right corner of your computer
Click upon Open Network & Internet Settings
On the left-hand side, click on Change Adapter Settings
Right-click on the network connection that you use and click on Properties
Double click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
Select Use the following DNS server addresses
Type in the following IP Address:
Preferred DNS server: 18.104.22.168
Alternate DNS server: 22.214.171.124
Allow on Validate settings upon exit box
Click on OK
Click on the Apple icon and choose System Preferences.
Click on the Network icon
Select the network that you’re using. (Wi-Fi/Ethernet)
Click on Advanced
Go to the DNS section
Then click on Add (+ icon) on DNS servers: section and type in the DNS address: 126.96.36.199
Again click on Add (+ icon) and type in 188.8.131.52 to create a second row for an alternate DNS address.
Click on OK and Apply
Open your Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi settings on your phone
Press on the Wi-Fi network connected to your phone
Scroll down and click on Configure DNS
Click on Manual and press on Add Server
Type in 184.108.40.206 and press Save
Go to settings and select Wi-Fi.
Press on the Wi-Fi network connected to your phone
Go to Additional Settings
Click on IP settings
Scroll to the DNS section, type 220.127.116.11, and press Save.
The way to get to the IP setting depends on the smartphone model. So, locate it on your phone and apply the method mentioned above.
Using a Proxy Server
You can change the path for your request from your device to the website’s server by using a proxy server. With a proxy server, the request for a particular website is made through the Proxy server’s IP address. This way, you can bypass your ISP’s server.
You can access an online proxy server through proxysite.com or any server of your choice. You can also use the Tor browser. It has an in-built proxy server.
To use the proxy websites, follow the steps mentioned below.
Enter the target website’s URL in the Enter URL box.
Click Go and wait for the website to open.
Note: The steps are the same for Windows, Mac, and smartphones.
Proxy servers can provide access to blocked websites. But they’re not as reliable as VPNs. Unlike a VPN, data is not encrypted when you use a proxy server. Rather, these data just go through a different IP address. It can lead to increased security risks due to unencrypted data transfer.
Using Google Translate
Google Translate can translate the contents of a website (mostly in text form). Using Google Translate on a blocked website opens the target website by redirecting it through its portal. For this, follow the steps mentioned below:
Set the target language to the one that you prefer.
Then paste the URL of the target website in the search box and press Enter
Then click on the URL in the result section, and the website opens
This method works well for all your devices, including PCs and smartphones.
Using Web Archives
The Wayback Machine has an archive of millions of web pages on the internet. This includes the website that you’re blocked from. You can open a copy of the website you want access to from their archives. So, follow the steps mentioned below to access these websites:
Type in the URL of the target website in the enter URL or keywords box
Then, choose a date and time that you prefer
Enjoy access to the website
This method works well for all devices, including PCs and smartphones. However, this provides you with an archived version of the actual website. So, it may not provide all the functionality of the latest version.