If you are living on campus at a school, you may have noticed that they like to block access to certain websites, apps, and games through their network. That includes social media, video games you may want to play, and others. There are several ways the school can block access to what you are trying to view. The most common are keyword filtering, DNS tampering, and IP blacklisting. If you are having this problem or about to go to a school that has blocks like that, you can resolve the issue by using a VPN. We’ll explain more after sharing our list of the best VPNs for unblocking sites at school.
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Through the use of their firewall, schools are very effective at blocking their students from things they deem inappropriate or a hindrance to them. Let’s take a look at the most common ways they achieve those results.
- Keyword Filtering – Every website and game use keywords. Those are great to help you find things when using search engines. However, blocking software and firewalls take advantage of those keywords as well.
- DNS Tampering – DNS stands for Domain Name System. This is a way of highjacking the browser (effectively) to go to a different website than the one you entered. Any time you enter a name into the address bar, the associated IP address gets delivered to the screen. When tampered with, the owner of the DNS server can either remove the IP address causing an error message or redirect the user.
- IP Blocking/blacklisting – As we mentioned, the IP address associated with the name you enter is typically delivered. However, with IP blocking or blacklisting, the request gets interrupted. With the number of websites online now, this is not quite as effective as it used to be, but it still works.
Schools can use several others or a combination of all of these techniques. Fortunately, there are ways around these types of filtering.
Use a VPN to Unblock Websites, Apps, and Games at School
When you use a VPN, you create a secure and encrypted connection. Instead of seeing the website, app, or game you are using, the blocking software just sees encrypted traffic. Because of that, you will be able to use them as you wish to. This is the best method to use, and you will be able to get around all sorts of filtering.
Other Methods to Use
Use the Tor Browser – The Tor Browser is a legal anonymity browser that may or may not work to unblock sites. You can find it on the web, but if you do try to use it, keep in mind it is slow, so it probably won’t be a good solution for you in speed situations.
Change your DNS server – If you see evidence of DNS tampering, you may be able to overcome it by changing your DNS server. There are several good free options to do this including OpenNIC and Cloudflare. Again, this may or may not work, depending on the type of filtering you are experiencing.
And there you have the best methods to unblock websites, apps, and games when you are on a school campus. Again, not all the methods are suitable to use, depending on what type of blocking system the school uses. However, you can count on connecting to a VPN to help you resolve the issues we just mentioned. It should be your best option.