Unblock a Blocked Website: Ten Different Ways

Why are certain sites blocked? Different countries block anything to do with popular culture, sexual issues, women's resources, or politics. In addition, companies, schools, and various organizations block sites to cut down on security breaches and boost productivity. However, sometimes you just need to get somewhere on the Web. The following methods can help you get around common online roadblocks.

Sites blocked at school, sites blocked at work

You're at school and/or work, and you need to get to a website, but you find it's been blocked. How do you handle this situation? More importantly, how do you do it without possibly getting into trouble? 

First of all, most schools, universities, and workplaces block websites for legitimate reasons - not just to cramp your style. Many schools and workplaces do a "blanket" blocking of websites they deem inappropriate for school and work use, and sometimes, this tends to block sites that are perfectly reasonable in an educational or professional setting.There are sites on the Web that present threats to network security, are inappropriate for a school setting, or cause distractions in the learning environment. The fact that a legitimate learning site might be blocked from student access - and does not pose a threat to the school's security - is most likely grounds for readdressing. In other words, it never hurts to simply ask. 

On the other hand, if you are attempting to visit a site that has zero educational value and is known purely for aiding procrastination, you are probably out of luck. Best to wait and go onto those sites on a computer that is not at school or work. 

The site is blocked? Here's what you can do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone in authority to see if the block can be lifted from a specific website. Officials usually will work with you, if the website has legitimate educational or professional purposes. Understand - as stated earlier - that if the site has little educational value, your request will probably fall on deaf ears. 

However, if this option is not available, you can unblock blocked sites with the tips in this article that are safe, cause no harm to the host computer, and (most likely) will not get you into trouble. NOTE: Use these methods at your own risk, especially in a school or work setting. No one but yourself is responsible for what may happen if you attempt to unblock a site that has been blocked for a legitimate reason! Most of the time, your best bet is to simply wait until you get home and use your own private computer. Schools and universities, as well as professional workplaces, usually have very good reasons behind their site-blocking policies, and take a very dim view of students and empoyees who try to get around them. Be very careful and use common sense when making this decision. 

Why is Facebook blocked?

One of the most popular social networking sites on the Web today is Facebook, a site that you can use to connect with other people in your circle. However, sometimes Facebook is blocked, meaning you can't get to it from where you access the Web. This could be for many reasons:

  • The country you reside in blocks Facebook for political, cultural, or religious reasons
  • Your workplace blocks Facebook for security reasons
  • Your school or university blocks Facebook for educational reasons

Whatever what might be your situation, there are several ways you can access the site.

Try using an IP address:

Don't type in "facebook.com"; try using Facebook's IP address (the numerical signature of any site on the Internet). You can locate the IP address of any site using a WHOIS tool, such as Whois Domain Tools.

Access the mobile version of the site:

Facebook is accessible via m.facebook.com; this URL is available from any Web-enabled device, whether that be a computer, smartphone, or tablet device.

Use a proxy:

A Web proxy basically shields your identity from any site you're trying to access, acting as a substitute IP address so your personal IP address is hidden. Anonymouse and Hide My Ass are both examples of free Web proxies.

What if I want to block other people from finding me on Facebook?

Many people have concerns about privacy on Facebook, and for good reason: the popular site is notorious for changing security settings that don't necessarily benefit the user. If you would rather not have your private Facebook information accessible to the public at large, read How to Block People From Finding You on Facebook, a quick tutorial on how to make your Facebook profile private.

NOTE: Violation of most terms of use by corporations can be grounds for immediate termination; in addition, universities and schools have rules that prohibit non-educational use of the Web. Use these methods at your own risk.

Use an IP address instead of typing in the domain name

Downloading Firefox at Work (using firefox)
mjmalone/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

Instead of typing in a specific domain name, try typing in the IP address instead. An IP address is the signature address/number of your computer as it is connected to the Internet. You can find the IP address of any site by using IP address tools such as Netcraft, or Whois Domain Tools.

Use the mobile Web

You can sometimes access the mobile version of the site that has been blocked. Use the mobile web on your phone OR computer (sites will look different that what you're used to on your computer, but you'll be able to see them). 

    USe Google Cache to find an older version of a site

    Google's cache, the way the Web page looked when Google’s spiders indexed it, is a great way to see a site that has been blocked (if you don't mind looking at an older version of the site). Simply navigate to Google's home page and use this command:


    This will show you this site (or any site you want) as it looked when Google last looked at it.

    Use an anonymous web proxy

    An anonymous Web proxy hides your identity from the sites that you visit on the Web. When you use a Web proxy to visit a blocked site, your IP address (see item number one on this list) is basically hidden, and the anonymous Web proxy substitutes its own IP address for your own. This means that if you live in a country that restricts certain sites, you will be able to visit them with an anonymous Web proxy's substitute IP address, since it will tell the powers that be that you are actually in another country (and no longer subject to their policies). Most free Web proxies will also encode the URLs that you visit, making your search history virtually untraceable.

    Use a translation service

    Most large sites have more than one language version of their content. You can find them simply by searching in your favorite search engine, for example, Google, by using this search string: "myspace france" or "wikipedia spain". Once you have found these sites, you can use a translation tool to translate the content on the page to your language, thereby bypassing the blocked site restriction and getting to where you need to go.

    Use an anonymous HTTP proxy

    Tetra Images/Getty Images

    An anonymous HTTP proxy is similar to an anonymous Web proxy (mentioned in this list): it's an actual server that acts as a go-between between the searcher and the site that they are trying to access.

    Basically, when you use an anonymous proxy and enter in the URL that you'd like to visit anonymously, the anonymous proxy retrieves the pages BEFORE they are delivered to you. This way, the IP address and other browsing information that the remote server sees does not belong to you - it belongs to the anonymous proxy.

    There are many public access anonymous proxy servers on the Web that can be used by anyone who needs to unblock blocked sites. Simply type "anonymous Web proxy" into your favorite search engine and several should come up; because of the nature of these proxies, their links change extremely often.

    Use a URL redirect or shortening tool

    There are many URL shortening tools on the Web that will take a long URL and shorten it to something that's easier to copy and paste. Sometimes, these shortened URLs can be used as a substitute for the actual URL of the site that you're trying to access.

    For instance, if you use TinyURL to shorten the URL of websearch.about.com, you would get this link: http://tinyurl.com/70we, which you could use to access this site (if it was blocked) rather than the actual URL, which is http://websearch.about.com.

    Try an RSS reader

    You can use an RSS reader to subscribe to the sites you'd like to see that are blocked (if they have an RSS feed). You can search within a feed reader for the site's feed you're looking for; most feed readers will also have a list of Most Popular feeds that you can browse through to see if the sites you're trying to access are there already.

    Convert the IP address to a decimal number

    In the first item on this list, I told you about using an IP address instead of typing in an entire domain name. You can also convert an IP address to a decimal number to unblock blocked sites. Use the tools mentioned in item one of this list, and then use this IP Address to Decimal Conversion tool to get what you need.

    Try using Tor

    Clear browser history
    Tor is a "a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet." It's a free software download that basically protects your activities on the Web from being tracked, and will allow you to access blocked sites. You can read more about Tor at the Tor overview, and learn about how to install Tor at the Tor documentation page. Since Tor does run through multiple nodes and networks, it tends to make your browsing a bit slow; however, you can bypass that by only using Tor when you are trying to unblock blocked sites (try the Tor button addon to make this even easier).

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