Whether you are being censored by your government or a private or public organization, you know that online censorship is more common than people think. Connecting to a VPN is easy to do and will solve the problem most of the time. However, you may have experienced some situations that stop that process. Those include blockades by governments, schools, colleges, and even many private companies. If you are not in the targeted area to view some content, you will be blocked because of geo-restrictions. In this guide, we will help you bypass VPN restrictions.
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As the world becomes more connected and more citizens start to get on the internet, it seems the amount of government censorship increases. That is because governments like to control what information their citizens have access to. Of course, some counties are quite a bit worse than others. The categories used to separate them and their definitions according to the OpenNet Initiative are:
- Pervasive – Quite a bit of content in several categories is blocked.
- Substantial – Medium or low amounts of content are filtered in many categories.
- Selective – A small number of websites or topics are filtered out.
- Suspected – Some websites may be blocked, but there is no official confirmation.
- No evidence – While there is no evidence of any website blocking, other blocking tools may be used.
In the Freedom of the Press report, 30% of the world countries are listed as not free. If you have done any research, you probably know which countries are the worst for government censorship. Those include North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and quite a few others. Some of the less obvious culprits block access to websites that may infringe on copyrights of the country. Restrictions like that are not talked about as much.
Institutional and Workplace Censorship
At many learning institutions, firewalls are common. In fact, one of the most well-known VPN companies was founded because of them. Perhaps some of the censorship could be justified if the students are underage. However, adults are also blocked. The types of sites that are usually blocked are websites involving video games, adult content, social media, copyright infringement, occasional political content (depending on the school), and others. Schools can set the firewall rules based on their moral compass.
Censorship at the workplace is becoming more and more common. Typically, there are several different categories that are blocked. Those can include adult content, social media, gaming sites (whether betting or video games), and others. One of the goals behind it is to make sure that other employees are not offended. Of course, it may also increase productivity in some cases. One of the downsides to these types of workplace and institutional blocks is that you may miss important information. To demonstrate, we will propose an example.
If a dangerous situation comes up, someone may be trying to get share critical information on social media. These people may not have the time or access to message each person individually, but you could be in danger if you are unable to view or post to social media. Several people have been able to escape disaster because of that type of usage. It would be a shame to have a bad situation made worse because the organization did not want you to chat with friends or acquaintances.
What to Do About VPN Restrictions
Though we have not covered all types of restrictions here, you can certainly see how blocking VPNs causes a wide range of issues. No one wants to be blocked from seeing content, and as we mentioned, it could be harmful in some cases. If you are being restricted from using your VPN, there are several options you have.
- Change your port to 443 – When using the OpenVPN protocol, the default port is 1194. Though that may vary, using the default will be flagged as VPN traffic. By selecting port 443 instead, your traffic will show up the same as a secure transaction. That is usually the port designated for HTTPS websites.
- Use a stealth VPN or obfuscation – Some VPN companies have the option to use what may be called a stealth option or obfuscation. What this does is allow the user to hide their VPN usage by stripping the encryption information and make it look different. This may be referred to by several different names, depending on the company. This is the easiest way to unblock restrictions, and it has at least a 90% success rate.
- Use the Tor Network – Using this method adds several different layers of encryption because of the way it is designed. However, it tends to make your internet speed extremely slow. You gain more privacy and security, but you compromise speed.
- Use a wireless connection – Though this won’t work for country restrictions, it will definitely work for school and the workplace. Of course, you would have to use your data plan. It will work, but this is not always the best solution.
Concerns About Bypassing Restrictions
There are several things you should know and think about before you perform this type of action. While there may be a high success rate, it is not 100%. If you are caught, you need to be ready for the consequences. Here are some of the possible problems you could face.
If you try to use a VPN in a country where they ban VPN usage, you could face jail time, fines, or worse. Remember, the countries that have these types of bans will not be known for having a great justice system. If you plan on using a VPN at school, you could potentially get in trouble. Even though you may be fine for a while, constantly breaking the rules and getting caught could cause problems. For those that want to try at work, it depends on the company. If caught, you could get reprimanded at first, or eventually fired.
Final Thoughts on Unblocking VPN Usage
As you can see, there are definitely some good reasons to unblock VPN usage. However, you will want to be careful if at all possible. There might be harsh consequences for your actions, so take the time to find out what the rules are before you attempt to break them. We hope you have found this guide helpful in explaining a bit about unblocking VPN usage and the reasons behind both sides.