10 Best Ways to Unblock a Blocked Website

Unblock blocked sites in your country, at school, or during work

Illustration of computer and stop sign coming out of a computer screen

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Organizations and even entire countries block parts of the web. The reasons for this behavior vary from outright repression to good-faith concern about protecting legitimate computing resources. Many blocks can be worked around, however.

Why Do Sites Get Blocked?

There are several possible reasons for why you can't access a specific website:

  • You're in a country that blocks that URL or the type of content on the site. Some countries simply don't allow certain websites, whether they be news sites, social media sites, adult content, messaging services, etc.
  • Your school or workplace has a website block in place. This is extremely common, where the business blocks a certain type of content for a legitimate reason. Maybe they filter websites deemed inappropriate for school or work use, or prevent you from accessing websites with known malware.
  • Your device might be set up with particular DNS servers that block sites according to a predetermined policy.

A blocked site as described on this page isn't the same as a site that's blocked by a password or one that's simply offline. The methods listed below aren't helpful if the website is password protected or if the site isn't loading properly.

Should You Unblock Websites?

Sometimes, the blocks put in place prevent you from accessing websites that are perfectly reasonable in an educational, professional, or personal setting.

For example, a filter banning pornography might interfere with legitimate research about breast cancer. Or a restrictive blocker that filters out everything related to gaming might prevent you from reading news articles that mention online gaming.

If you're in a country that blocks all outside information, such as news or normal services like messaging tools, you might have real reasons to bypass them.

However, some sites are blocked in schools and businesses because they tend to distract from the objectives you should be focused on. Many companies, for example, block social networking sites as being potential time-wasters, and they block online file storage services as being a potential security or data theft risk.

Circumventing a web filter isn't always advised. If your employer blocks social media sites, for example, finding a workaround to check Facebook is likely a violation of your work agreement and could see you disciplined. In general, it's preferable to respect filters — even if you disagree with them — than to risk sanction, penalty, or even arrest for breaking through them.

01
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Disconnect From Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi symbol with red cross through it

Website blockers that are implemented in businesses, schools, and other organizations, apply only to that network. Disconnecting from Wi-Fi lets you use your mobile carrier's network to unblock the website, which in most cases, will let you view the site just fine since mobile carriers hardly ever apply web filtering rules.

If it's a laptop or desktop you're using, or a tablet that doesn't have its own data plan, you can connect to your phone via a hotspot to avoid the company's Wi-Fi while also having internet access.

02
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Use an Archived Version of the Web Page

Wayback Machine home page

Another super helpful way to unblock websites is to use an archived version of the site. This works because the website that archives the page you want to see, is most likely not blocked. This method is most helpful if the website is blocked based on the domain name and not the content on the page.

One way to do this is with Wayback Machine. All you need is the URL of the page you want to access. Wayback Machine will show you an archived version of it that you can browse just like you could if it were live.

Google provides a cached version of pages, too, which you can use to unblock sites without even leaving Google Search. A quick way to unblock the site is to perform a search like this on Google:

cache:example.com

The pages you view through Wayback Machine or Google are, by definition, cached sites, which don't always reflect the same page that's live on the web right now.

03
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Use the Site's IP Address Instead of Domain Name

Blocked URL illustration

If the website is blocked by its domain name, you might have luck unblocking it if you bypass the name and access it using its IP address.

This works because the IP address is how you're really accessing the domain, but you don't typically do this because a string of numbers isn't as easy to remember as a domain name.

There are several site-to-IP tools you can use for this purpose, like IPVoid. Once you find the IP address for the website, enter it into the navigation bar of your browser as if it were a domain name.

For example, if Google.com were blocked in this way, you might still have luck opening it through 173.194.223.99.

If this method works, consider changing the DNS servers your device is using. If you can unblock the website through its IP address but not the domain, it means that the DNS servers you're using are responsible for blocking the site. There are lots of DNS servers to pick from.

04
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Use an Anonymous Web Proxy

The Dark Web is the anonymous web.

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An anonymous web proxy hides your identity from the sites that you visit. When you use a web proxy to visit a blocked site, your IP address is essentially hidden from the network you're using because the proxy substitutes its own IP address for yours.

This method is useful if you live in a country that restricts certain sites. So long as the web proxy you use is unblocked, you can visit nearly any site through it. Whatever is responsible for the website block will see that you're accessing the proxy instead of the blocked site.

05
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Connect to a VPN

VPN connection illustration

VPNs are similar to web proxies but hide all your traffic, not just the specific site that you tell the proxy you want to access. You might use a VPN to unblock a website if a proxy doesn't support the site, if the proxy is blocked too, or if you want to unblock more than just a website, such as the Netflix or YouTube app.

There are several VPN service providers to choose from. Most work on mobile devices and computers, and some are built specifically for unblocking certain content from specific countries.

06
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Use the Site's Mobile Version

Mobile phone illustration

You can sometimes unblock a website by accessing its mobile version. A mobile site is optimized for smaller screens, and this is sometimes done by pointing you to a mobile-specific domain name.

This website unblocking method relies entirely on whether the mobile site has its own domain name, such as m.example.com instead of example.com. If the mobile version isn't blocked, then you'll be able to access the entire website no problem.

The best way to try this out is to use your phone to open the site, or to change the user agent setting to a mobile device.

07
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View the Site in a Different Language

Computer cursor selecting an English button

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Most large websites have more than one version, each in a different language. Some do this through entirely different domain names, one of which might not be blocked in your country or on the network you're using.

For example, Amazon.com might be blocked where you are, but Amazon.fr may not be. There's usually a language selector somewhere on the site that lets you pick through these other domains, but if not, try changing the top-level domain like in this Amazon example.

If you can't read the other language, there are online translation tools that can convert them into your language. Translation sites are also useful as a sort of web proxy that can bypass a website block and get you where you need to go.

08
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Use the Tor Browser

Illustration of cloud computing against blue background

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Tor is a "censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content." You can access the Tor network through Tor Browser.

This private web browser is designed to keep your web activities private and help prevent your habits from being tracked. Due to how it works, it's also useful for accessing blocked sites, similar to the VPN and proxy options mentioned above.

09
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Try an RSS Reader

RSS Feed icon

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Another way to unblock a website is to view its content via an RSS feed. There are online RSS feed readers you can use to access websites without actually opening the pages, potentially circumventing the website block.

Unblocking websites via RSS is especially helpful if the website updates often, like if it's a news site or a blog.

10
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Ask an Admin to Unblock the Site

Illustration of three hands putting a giant key into a lock

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Especially in a work or school setting, asking the system administrator to unblock a domain for a legitimate business or educational purpose might be best if the methods detailed above aren't working.

You might also go this route if you risk breaking the rules while trying to unblock the site.