Unblocking Websites

Do Not Pass Go: How to Unblock Geo-restricted Websites

Unblock Geo-restricted Websites
Written by Lisa Patrick

You have probably noticed lately that many once enjoyed and frequently surfed websites are now being blocked. Last year, Pakistan ruled to completely block Netflix from internet access. Australia continues to block certain sites from people and China has begun to block some unblocking software programs from accessing content in their country. Many people in the US are blocked from access to certain websites in their schools and corporations. Geo-restricting is becoming a global epidemic and the website unblocking market is booming. How do you unblock Geo-restricted websites? What is geo-restriction, anyway?

A Brief Lesson

Geo-restriction is the practice of blocking websites from public access in specific geographic areas. The reasoning behind this practice, many of the websites will tell you, is due to International Property laws. Some countries claim that it is due to questionable content that goes against cultural and religious beliefs. Schools and businesses block websites to maintain student and employee focus on the day’s tasks and lesson. Parents block certain websites to protect children from inappropriate content. For whatever reasons, geo-blocking is annoying at best and controlling at worst.

How exactly does this work? Geo-blocking works by filtering an IP address or a list of IP addresses through a software program either preloaded on your web browser program such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. There are instances, however, when a virus program or malware can and will block all of your internet access. What we want to focus on here is how to access blocked websites by bypassing the software that is restricting websites from your viewing. Here are a few methods that will unblock Geo-restricted websites anywhere.

VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is by far the safest methods to unblock Geo-restricted websites. Giving you complete anonymity, a VPN will unblock whatever website you choose to unblock as long as you “appear” to be from the country that is blocking you, i.e. the US.

  • Once you have created your account with your chosen VPN provider and selected a country (which can be changed), then
  • You will need to create a new network connection on your computer.
  • Rather than creating a home network or a Wi-Fi connection you will select “Create VPN Connection”
  • Give the network a name
  • Enter the VPN’s IP address (not your own or that of your ISP)
  • You can choose to make this your own private VPN or make it usable by anyone who has access to your computer.
  • Create a shortcut on your desktop and connect your VPN.

Many VPN providers have more detailed step by step instructions for all of your devices and operating systems they support.

[Related article: How to Setup a VPN on Windows 7 and 8 ]

Smart DNS

Using a Smart DNS is far faster than a VPN, but less safe. Your information is not encrypted like on a VPN and only your DNS setting is changed. A good SmartDNS comes with a minimal price tag and there are a few reputable free DNS and Proxy sites you can use to access blocked websites like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook and YouTube: (these instructions are for Windows systems)

  • Use an internet search engine to locate a DNS server that will give you an IPv4 address.
  • Find the Network Connections in the control panel and open it.
  • Open the properties tab and find the “change settings of this network” tab. Open that.
  • Choose the “Internet protocol TCP/IP” and choose IPv4. Usually IPv4 will either be 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4.
  • Change the DNS button to “Use the Following DNS Address Automatically” and enter the DNS information you choose to use.

Easier Still…

There are even simpler methods to unblocking Geo-restricted websites than VPN or SmartDNS and Proxies

  • Try using the IP address instead of the DNS. Instead of using www.blahblahblah.com, enter the IP address of the website into the address bar instead, if you know it.
  • Use a URL redirect site like http://shorturl.com/. These sites, usually free, allow you to change the URL to a short hand version that is then redirected to the blocked site.

They may ban you from accessing their websites, but not for long. A few savvy tricks and some clever keying will get you back surfing in the forbidden zones in no time. Whether through VPN, SmartDNS or URL Redirect, they World Wide Web will not remain restricted for very long.

Featured Photograph by Nemo,  distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license

About the author

Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is a freelance writer in the United States with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Phoenix. Since 1984 she studied computers and computer technology. She has written for various companies for the better part of 20 years and enjoyed every word of it. She also enjoys reading and writing fiction and non-fiction, riding motorcycles, watching horror movies, making gemstone jewelry, singing, and dancing.

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