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How to Make Your VPN Undetectable & Bypass Any Blocks

Updated: January 3, 2022 By Dean Chester

How to Make Your VPN Undetectable

Image source - Shutterstock

A VPN is the go-to tool if you want to avoid government surveillance and bypass censorships, geo-restrictions, and ISP monitoring. If you choose yours carefully, you can reclaim your internet freedom and gain access to the open internet securely.

However, this might not always be the case as most functionalities of a VPN can be limited if you encounter VPN blocks. Although a VPN automatically bypasses some blocks through its default functionality, anti-VPN techniques have improved, and it’s now harder to bypass VPN blocks put in place by governments and streaming services.

That said, it is usually a cat and mouse game, and you can configure your VPN to bypass any blocks. In this guide, we’ll show you various ways you can make your VPN undetectable.

We’ll also look at:

  • Why VPNs get blocked
  • How VPN blocks work
  • Best VPN for bypassing blocks
  • Alternative ways to bypass restrictions

Why Do VPNs Get Blocked?

Restrictions are put in place to regulate how people access the internet, but VPNs provide a way of circumventing these censorships. As a result, it only makes sense for the various entities to find ways of blocking VPNs too.

Government Censorships

Most governments control/regulate what type of information their citizens can gain access to over the internet. This is the highest level of censorship, and most of the time, it is meant to suppress the freedom of expression. Government censorship usually target politics (suppress opposition), social norms (mutually incompatible beliefs), the economy (boost local products and services), and security.

In extreme cases, government censorship can leave its citizens in the dark, especially during elections. Foreigners may also find it hard to gain information on what is happening in a particular country.

But with a VPN, you can circumvent government censorships by simply connecting to a server and accessing the internet a person from a different country. This can be seen as a threat since you can access what is restricted, and so governments with strict censorships block VPN connections.

Copyright Agreements and Licenses

Copyrights, licenses, and distribution agreements protect how certain content, especially media, is consumed worldwide. However, some individuals illegally reproduce and share the content without the owner’s permission – digital piracy. In the long run, content owners lose billions of revenues.

Usually, online piracy is associated with P2P networks. Activities such as torrenting involve sharing pirated content such as movies, games, audio, and other materials. To curb piracy, ISPs are tasked with blocking torrent connections and even access to torrenting sites.

VPNs allow users to unblock these sites and torrent privately and securely, and so some ISPs block VPN connections.  Port and IP address blocking are the two popular techniques used here.

Streaming Restrictions

Streaming restrictions go hand in hand with copyrights, licenses, and distribution agreements. Most online streaming services offer content according to the region they are allowed to show it. For instance, some Netflix content is only licensed for the USA and not the other parts of the world.

Nonetheless, when using a VPN, you can trick the service that you are in the USA when you are not. You will then be allowed to watch the USA content from where you are. This makes it seem like the streaming service is allowing users to infringe license agreements, so most streaming services have put up powerful VPN blocks.

Common streaming services with VPN blocks include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO, Prime Video, Sling TV, Paramount, and sports broadcasts.

Organizations/institution Restrictions

Works places and learning institutions restrict how you can access the internet or what you can do over the internet. These restrictions are put in place to ensure positivity for employees and a less-distracted learning environment for students. They are mostly meant to prevent access to social media and various other sites.

VPNs allows students and employees to bypass the restrictions put in place, and so it only makes sense to detect and block VPN connections.

Types of VPN Blocks

Before we dive into how to make a VPN undetectable, it’s important to understand how these blocks work.

There are four main types of VPN blocks. The blocks may be used together or one at a time, depending on the restricting body. As a result, you may find that you can use a VPN to unblock some websites but not geo-restricted streaming services.

Website Blocking

This type of block prevents you from accessing various websites. This can be because the website is illegal, or the ISP/ government simply doesn’t want you to access it for any reason.

These blocks are usually implemented by ISPs at the DNS level. In such a case, if you try to request for the website from your browser, the ISP will send a null IP address and block the connection.

Can't reach this page error

This method is not very effective as you can easily bypass it. Some websites also offer mirror sites that are not affected by most website blocks.

Port Blocking

This is an effective blocking method that is easier to implement, and it can be done using firewalls or even routers. When you send or receive internet traffic, it must pass through specific ports and use a specific transport protocol. Thus, port blocking involves blocking the port number and the associated transport protocol.

Most VPNs prefer to use the OpenVPN protocol since it yields balanced performance, excellent security, and fast speeds. By default, OpenVPN uses UDP with port 1194. Unfortunately, internet censors, ISPs, and even network admins know this, and they can easily set their firewalls to monitor and block UDP with port 1194.

They can also extend this blocking courtesy to other VPN protocols and the ports used for connections. In a nutshell, port blocking ensures that there’s no flow of internet traffic on a certain interface, and this will prevent the use of VPNs and most applications that rely on ports.

IP Address Blocking

This is the most used blocking technique. When in place, it blocks connections from a pool of specific IP addresses or a range of IP addresses. This is the method preferred by streaming services and other online services.

Most VPNs use shared IP addresses to ensure privacy. This makes it is easy for censors to know the range of IP addresses used by VPNs, and the blocking technique works effectively for VPNs that don’t regularly update their pool of IP addresses or those with a small server network.

Moreover, they can blacklist a pool of IP addresses offered by a specific server. Blacklisted IP addresses cannot be used to access most services over the internet. This is why most VPNs can’t give you access to streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

We believe you are accessing dazn using a VPN alert

To access such sites, you will need a streaming VPN that frequently refreshes it’s IP addresses and performs DNS-relocation on its servers.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

The Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is an advanced blocking technique that is hard to bypass for most VPNs. Unlike the other blocking methods, DPI, as the name suggests, scrutinizes packets of data in your internet traffic. If it detects that your data is encrypted with a VPN protocol, it blocks the connection.

DPI is the blocking technique used by highly restrictive governments such as China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. It is usually combined with other techniques to ensure maximum efficiency, but some VPNs still manage to bypass the restrictions by making the traffic undetectable.

How to Make Your VPN Undetectable

To bypass the VPN blocking techniques, you must make your VPN connection undetectable. Below are advanced solutions you can use to bypass all or some of the VPN blocks. Since you might not know the blocking technique in place, it is recommended to try each until you get the one that works for you.

Obfuscation/VPN Scrambling

Obfuscation is the best technique you can use to bypass DPI and port blocks. Some VPNs offer this feature in either the client app or via their servers. Depending on the VPN provider, obfuscation or VPN scrambling can be branded various names, with Stealth VPN being the most common one.

When you use a VPN, censors can detect the VPN traffic or the OpenVPN signature due to the encryptions involved. With obfuscation, your VPN traffic is encrypted again using SSL/SSH. This conceals the initial encryption as the traffic now looks like regular HTTPS encryption, and the VPN then hides the OpenVPN signature.

Obfuscation also changes the port number to TCP 443 for HTTPS traffic. This is a commonly used internet port, so it is rarely blocked. Other available ports can also be used other than UDP 1194, which is easier to block.

SSL/TLS or SSH Tunneling

SSL and SSH tunneling are methods that provide encryptions that conceal your VPN encryption, and they are the techniques used for Obfuscation. If your VPN provider doesn’t have VPN obfuscation out of the box, you can set it manually on your own. Most providers can also help you set it.

For best results, you will need to contact your VPN provider. These types of tunnels need to be configured on your device as well as on your VPN provider’s servers.

SSL/TSL is used in securing connections such as online banking or shopping, and it is the same encryption used by HTTPS traffic. If you route VPN traffic through the SSL/TSL tunnel, it will look like regular HTTPS traffic, and it will be hard for censors to block your VPN traffic.

OpenVPN also uses a modified SSL for encryption that gives it a unique cryptography signature, so its easily detected. By encrypting OpenVPN traffic with SSL/TSL, you conceal its unique signature.

SSH tunneling is also somewhat similar to SSL/TSL tunneling. SSH creates a tunnel to another device, and you can use it to transfer your data securely. Mainly, SSH lets you issue commands to the Shell accounts, mainly on UNIX systems. This is done remotely.

By using SSH, you can bypass blocks since your VPN traffic is redirected to another remote device. Preferably, one that’s out of the reach of censors.

Changing Ports

Changing ports is the best way to beat port blocking. As mentioned earlier, most censors can configure their equipment to block most VPN connections based on the transport protocol and port number. To make sure you beat port blocking, you will need to switch to ports that are never/rarely blocked – TCP port 80 and TCP port 443.

Blocking these ports will literally break the internet since there will be no flow of traffic. TCP port 80 is used for the unencrypted HTTP traffic. If you use this port with your VPN, your VPN traffic will be detected, but it won’t be blocked. If you don’t want your VPN connection to be detected, use TCP port 443.

TCP port 443 is used for the encrypted/secure HTTPS traffic. This port is used to secure online connections such as banking and e-commerce. Your VPN traffic won’t be detected when using this port since it looks like regular HTTPS traffic. This port is also associated with obfuscation that uses SSL/TSL encryption.

The OpenVPN protocol includes the TCP port 443 as a fallback. Some VPN providers also allow you to change ports if they are available. If changing ports is not allowed, you can switch between OpenVPN UDP and OpenVPN TCP. Most VPNs offer the two protocols.

More Ways to Bypass VPN Blocks

If you are not comfortable with the above advanced solutions, you can try these other simple solutions.

Dedicated IP Addresses

A dedicated IP address is a unique IP address your VPN provider assigns to you, and you don’t share it with anyone else. When using a dedicated IP, you can bypass some blocks that blacklist shared (and so common) IP addresses.

Dedicated IP addresses are more tailored towards functionalities such as online banking, remote access, and port forwarding. However, they are also very effective at bypassing geo-restrictions and streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, and even Disney.  You can also bypass security warnings and CAPTCHAs.

However, because a dedicated IP address is unique to you, you will lose the ‘greater privacy.’ This is because with shared IP addresses, users enjoy the herd privacy and anonymity, and it’s harder for trackers to associate shared IP addresses with a particular user’s online activities.

If you’d like to go with this method, most providers offer dedicated IP addresses at a small fee. Some other provides offer dynamic dedicated IP address for free through their dedicated IP address servers. Note that in the case of the latter, the IP address is assigned randomly, and it can also be assigned to another user when you are not using it.

Change Your VPN Provider/Switch Servers

Not all VPNs are built the same. Some have superior features, while others are just ‘vanilla’. To bypass blocks and make your VPN connection undetectable, you need a VPN that puts the extra effort to ensure that you can bypass VPN blocks. Such a VPN should have obfuscation functionalities, a large server network, and the ability to bypass streaming geo-restrictions.

Some VPNs may offer one functionality, while others may offer all. If your current VPN provider doesn’t offer features for bypassing blocks, it is time you made a change. You can test various VPN providers by making use of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Some are also generous enough to offer a free trial.

Other than changing your VPN providers, you can try to switch servers. If your connected VPN server cannot unblock or bypass restrictions, you can switch to another server in the same location. Server switching works best if your VPN provider has an extensive server network.

If you are experiencing blocking issues with the VPN you are using, you can skip to our recommended VPNs for bypassing VPN blocks. (Jump link)

Change Your VPN Protocols

Windows settings: VPN protocol

VPN protocols determine the type of connection you will get. Some protocols offer balanced performance between speed and security, while others either favor speed or security. The OpenVPN protocol is typically preferred as it offers an excellent balance between speed, security, and reliability.

However, most censors usually monitor and block VPN traffic associated with the OpenVPN protocol due to its unique signature. To bypass the blocks, you will need to change to OpenVPN TCP port 443. You can also switch to other secure protocols such as IKev2/IPSec, WireGuard, and even SoftEther.

If your VPN provider offers a proprietary protocol, go for it. Most proprietary protocols, Such as Chameleon by VyprVPN, are modified to bypass blockers, and some are even known to bypass the Great Firewall of China. You can also use SSTP for bypassing blocks where other protocols have failed. SSTP uses port 443, which is the same for encrypted HTTPS traffic.

DIY VPN

A DIY VPN is something reserved for tech-savvy individuals, but this shouldn’t worry you. Creating your VPN can be an easy task, cheap, and you can configure it in a way that suits your needs. You will get better privacy as you can delete your server anytime, and you will also get a dedicated IP address.

In most cases, you will need a Virtual Private Server (VPS) and some configurations to get your VPN up and running. With a VPS based in a different country, you will also have the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.

The Best Undetectable VPN for Bypassing Blocks

Most VPNs aren’t suitable for bypassing blocks as the VPN don’t provide the features and functionalities that can evade VPN blocks. To help you out, we have reviewed two of the best VPNs at bypassing government censorships and geo-restrictions.

1. Surfshark VPN
Surfshark Logo

Surfshark is a top-notch VPN that lets you browse privately and securely over the internet. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, and it is compatible with almost all computing devices. Surfshark servers offer unlimited bandwidth with the fastest speeds, and you can use the VPN for bandwidth-intensive tasks such as torrenting and streaming.

Surfshark offers two features that you can use to make your VPN connection undetectable: Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode. Camouflage Mode is a name Surfshark uses for obfuscation. The mode is activated automatically when you are using the OpenVPN protocol.

The NoBorders Mode is Surfshark’s solution for bypassing internet censorship in restrictive countries such as China. With these two modes, your VPN traffic and connection are virtually undetectable. You can bypass the majority of blocks and enjoy non-restricted internet.

Surfshark lets you test whether it fits your requirements by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can take advantage to evaluate it risk-free.

Pros
Cons
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Excellent security and privacy
  • Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode
  • Unlimited bandwidth with fast speeds
  • Supports P2P traffic
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No dedicated IP address

2. NordVPN
Nord VPN Logo

NordVPN is another great alternative that you can use to bypass blocks. The uses heavy encryptions to ensure impeccable privacy and security, and it also offers excellent speeds for your daily activities, including streaming. NordVPN has a large server network with unlimited bandwidth and server switches.

To facilitate undetectable connections, NordVPN provides obfuscated servers. These servers use SSL/SSH tunneling and other techniques to hide your VPN traffic. To use them, you will need to select the OpenVPN protocol first.

NordVPN also offers Onion over VPN though several specialized servers. This functionality lets you connect to the Tor network, which is also a great way of bypassing restrictions. However, this mode can only be used for light browsing as it significantly slows down your network.

Apart from these, you can also bypass blocks by using NordVPN’s dedicated IP address. NordVPN offers five locations for dedicated IP addresses. They include France, Germany, Netherlands, United States, and the United Kingdom. NordVPN also offers the IKEv2/IPsec and NordLynx protocol.

Pros
Cons
  • Impeccable security and privacy
  • Highest speeds with unlimited bandwidth
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Dedicated IP address
  • Onion over VPN
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee
  • No dedicated IP address

 

 

Alternative Ways to Avoid VPN Blocks

Using a VPN such as Surfshark or NordVPN should work for most users, but it’s also good to have some alternatives. There are several alternative ways you can bypass censorship, protect your online privacy, bypass geo-restrictions, and increase your online security.

Tor Browser
Tor Browser logo

The Onion Router (Tor) is known for its anonymity. The network comprises many volunteer nodes/relays and other private relays for bypassing censorship.

When your traffic enters the network, it is bounced randomly through the relays until it exits the network. While it is bounced through the network, each node encrypts the traffic in a multi-layered manner, hence the name onion. In a nutshell, when the traffic exits the network, no one can trace it back to you.

Even the receiver sees the traffic as originating from the exit node and not from you. Tor is mainly used to block trackers, avoid surveillance, and fingerprinting. This makes it a good tool for anonymity and bypassing blocks. But due to the relays involved, Tor is usually slow, so it is not suitable for unblocking streaming services and other speed-intensive tasks.

You can also use Tor with a VPN. The easiest way to do this is by connecting Onion over VPN, for example with Nord VPN’s dedicated servers.

Shadowsocks
Shadowsocks logo

Shadowsocks is a tool you can use to bypass censorship, especially where a VPN cannot. This tool is commonly used in China against the Great Firewall. It offers obfuscation, and it is based on the SOCKS5 proxy.

You can use Shadowsocks to hide VPN traffic as it makes it look like regular HTTPS traffic. SOCKS5 is a combination of SOCKS and a proxy. SOCKS offers authentication for users, while the proxy offers remote servers that bypass blocks. You may need some technical assistance to set up Shadowsocks to work with your VPN.

Some VPN providers offer support for SOCKS5.

Psiphon
Psiphon logo

Psiphon is a nifty tool that you can use to bypass restrictions where a VPN cannot. This tool uses an amalgamation of SSH, VPN, and other obfuscation techniques. When using Psiphon to bypass blocks, the tool uses all the specified technologies to get what works best. It is not easily blocked as it can also make traffic look like HTTPS.

 

 

Ultrasurf
Ultrasurf logo

This is another anti-censorship tool that you can use to circumvent various restrictions, even the Great Firewall of China. Ultrasurf uses proxy servers for bypassing restrictions. The tool tunnels your browser’s traffic to its server in an HTTPS manner. Ultrasurf also changes your IP address each time you launch the tool.

Its proprietary technology uses some form of SSL/TSL obfuscation. The technique it uses may sometimes confuse your antivirus software to think that it’s a virus. If you are going to use Ultrasurf, ensure you whitelist it on your antivirus. The best thing about Ultrasurf is that it doesn’t modify your system. If you delete it, it leaves no trace of its use.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is a combination of DNS and proxy servers. The DNS services your requests while the proxy servers help in bypassing geo-restrictions. Due to this, a Smart DNS is suitable for unblocking and gaining access to online streaming services such as Netflix.

Unlike a VPN, a Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt your data or change your IP address. This means that it doesn’t provide privacy and security, but the same also translates to excellent speeds. Smart DNS doesn’t affect your regular speeds, and it can be used to access streaming services on devices that don’t support VPN such as Smart TVs.

Switch to a Mobile Connection

Mobile data can help you bypass blocks such as the ones in organizations and other institutions. Since your data traffic doesn’t go through the network admin, you can access anything on the internet via either your smartphone or your laptop. This is a better solution if you want to avoid the consequences of unblocking restrictions.

However, switching to mobile data will not help you bypass government censorship. This is because your traffic will pass through your ISP, which will, in turn, block it. You will also incur data charges depending on your internet usage.

Tip: Prepare Beforehand

When traveling to countries with strict censorships, ensure that you have already downloaded and installed your VPN and any other necessary tools. This is because you won’t be able to download them once you are in a country that blocks VPNs, as it also blocks VPN websites and most mirrors.

If you forget to do so by any chance, you can always email the VPN provider or providers of the other tools. They will send a download link by email. Alternatively, you can access the other mirror websites such as .onion websites if Tor is allowed in the country.

Wrap Up

You can easily make your VPN undetectable and bypass annoying VPN blocks and other restrictions. Various solutions work with specific blocks, while other solutions can bypass a majority of the blocks. For the best results, use a VPN that offers obfuscation and also manages to bypass streaming services. Most such VPNs will also come with extra features such as Smart DNS to complement the inbuilt functionalities and boost your search for online freedom and privacy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does the ISP know when you are using a VPN?

Yes, your VPN can tell that you are using a VPN. However, they can’t tell what you are doing on the internet as your VPN is usually encrypted and unreadable.

Is it illegal to use a VPN?

No, VPNs aren’t illegal, even in countries with high censorship levels such as China. You can use a VPN to bypass blocks without breaking any law. However, the stance on VPNs varies from country to country. Some countries discourage the use of VPNs for non-expats and non-tourists, so make sure you check the local regulations.

Can police track VPN?

The police can’t track what you are doing when connected to a VPN. However, they can get a court order to access the VPN servers you are using. To prevent them from tracking you, always go for a publicly-audited no-log VPN.

Senior Researcher
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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