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How to unblock websites from anywhere: 5 easy options

Stumbling across blocked websites is frustrating and easily avoidable. Websites like Google or Reddit are banned in China, Russia bans Facebook and Instagram, and many US websites are inaccessible from the EU due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.

Luckily, you can use more than one effective method to unblock websites. Information security software like NordVPN can substitute your original IP address with an alternative in a different geographical location to unblock sites. Alternatively, you can utilize web proxies or tweak system DNS settings to bypass geographical restrictions.

Remember that accessing blocked content in authoritarian countries like China and Iran can get you in legal trouble. On the other hand, maintaining streaming content access while traveling or unblocking websites at school is perfectly safe. This article will explain how to unblock websites from anywhere using five easy methods.

  1. Subscribe to a VPN with worldwide servers. NordVPN is an excellent choice, now 68% OFF!
  2. Download the app and install it on your device.
  3. Log in with your credentials.
  4. Connect to a server in a country with the desired content.
  5. Now you can access previously blocked websites!

Why you may not be able to access certain websites

Various institutions restrict website access for many reasons, but most of the time, there are easy workarounds. The situation is getting out of hand as China and Russia keep disconnecting from the World Wide Web, and accessing popular movies requires few expensive subscriptions. Here are three main website restriction reasons.

  • Copyright laws. You cannot access BBC iPlayer outside of the UK, and many popular Netflix titles are available only in the US. Content publishers must abide by copyright laws, distribution rights, and licensing agreements to share it in specific regions.
  • Governmental censorship. Authoritarian regimes deny access to websites they consider a threat to their political system. Such restrictions often block social networks, news sites, video games, and streaming services.
  • Network-level restrictions. Schools and worksites often restrict access to specific websites to reduce time wasting. However, sometimes it prevents accessing crucial information during free time or blocks work-related content.

How to unblock sites in 5 different ways

There are multiple ways to unblock sites, and while using a VPN is a recommended option, we will also discuss other methods:

  • Use a VPN
  • Use Web Proxies
  • Use TOR browser
  • Use browser extension
  • Change DNS settings

1. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the best way to unblock websites from anywhere. A VPN masks your original IP address and issues a new one from a different region, tricking websites into thinking you're browsing from there.

What's more, a VPN encrypts your online traffic and reroutes it through a secure server. You will get more open and secure Internet access and avoid online surveillance simultaneously. Below is a list of the three best VPNs to unblock any websites.

Security level: high.

Best VPNs that unblock websites

  1. NordVPN – best overall VPN to unblock websites
  2. Surfshark – outstanding geo-block evasion capabilities
  3. Atlas VPN – bypass geographical restrictions with a free version

2. Use web proxies

Proxies are similar to VPNs in that they mask the original IP address and issue an alternative. However, they do not apply additional encryption and aren't nearly as secure.

It's best to use proxies to unblock websites on a network level, like a university campus or public library. Proxies do not require any app, so you don't have to install anything, which is often problematic on a public-use computer.

Furthermore, there are dozens of functional free proxy services accessible through the web browser. But we must warn you that some free proxy services collect and sell user data and lack sufficient cybersecurity protocols to ensure online safety. It's best to use proxies whenever online privacy doesn't matter, like unblocking more streaming options.

Security level: medium.

3. Use Tor browser

Tor browser is one of the safest ways to browse the Internet privately. Here are easy-to-follow steps on how to use Tor:

  1. Go to the official Tor website.
  2. Choose your operating system.
  3. Download Tor and install it.
  4. Launch the browser, and that's it!

The Tor browser uses an Onion routing protocol that ensures online safety and privacy. Instead of sending the data directly from your device to the server, Tor reroutes it through multiple nodes, encrypting it simultaneously. Each node has a different IP address, and once it reaches the server, there's no way of tracing it back to the client.

Because Tor assigns a new IP address and modifies the data path, it efficiently bypasses geographical or network-level restrictions. Although it sometimes dramatically reduces the browsing speed, it provides outstanding cybersecurity features. Tor is an excellent way to bypass censorship in authoritarian countries, and if you really want to step up your game, combine it with NordVPN's Onion over VPN feature.

Security level: high.

4. Use a browser extension

A VPN app encrypts all data flow, and Tor can significantly reduce connection speed, but what if you require a simple and fast solution? You can use a VPN browser extension that will work only on a browser level.

Instead of encrypting all data, it only takes care of the website browser, limiting resource use. Furthermore, schools or libraries often block access to proxy sites, but that doesn't include a browser extension. Remember that all other information outside the web browser will flow through the ISP server, so this method is unsuitable for operations requiring anonymity.

Security level: medium.

5. Change DNS settings

This method will bypass some website blocks that rely on Domain Name System (DNS). When you browse the Internet, each website name has an assigned IP address in the DNS catalog. Governments or private institutions can block the website IP address in their DNS list, denying access.

You can instruct your system to use an alternative DNS server where the website is still accessible. Here's how to do it on Windows 11:

  1. Go to Settings -> Network & Internet.
  2. Select Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
  3. Choose 'DNS server assignment.'
  4. Modify the DNS address to and as an alternative.

Above is the official Google DNS server. However, you can use many alternative and secure DNS servers if you don't like dealing with this company. It's essential to remember that DNS modification will not reroute your traffic from the ISP, so they can monitor your online activities and notice you are browsing blocked websites. The ramifications depend on the country, so it's best to avoid this method anywhere with strict Internet access control.

Security level: low.

Can I unblock websites in school or workplace?

Yes, schools and worksites often have website blocks that are easy to overcome. Although some restrictions happen for a reason, many website blocks are often over-pushed, denying access during free time or even work-related material, like YouTube guides and tutorials.

The easiest way to overcome these restrictions is by using a VPN. However, installing new software can be problematic if you use a public computer, so rely on web proxies accessible through the browser. If access to proxy sites is blocked, try modifying the DNS server to restore it.

Sadly, there's no 100% foolproof method. Some businesses or universities have extremely tough restrictions blocking VPN traffic and alternative IPs. Furthermore, because you are connected to their specific network, it's easy to monitor your activities on it. It's best to browse the web cautiously on these networks to avoid unnecessary troubles.

Can I unblock websites on any devices?

Yes, our discussed methods work on various devices. Because using a VPN is the best way to access blocked websites, and our VPN recommendations work on all major operating systems, we'll walk you through how to unblock websites on any device using a VPN.

Unblock websites on your phone

  1. Subscribe to a VPN service. NordVPN has a great mobile-friendly app!
  2. Download it from Google Play Store or Apple Store.
  3. Install the app and log in with your credentials.
  4. Connect to a server in a country with desired content.
  5. Now you can access blocked websites!

Unblock websites on your PC

  1. Choose a reliable VPN service. We recommend NordVPN, now 68% OFF.
  2. Download the app and install it.
  3. Log in with your credentials.
  4. Connect to a server in a country with desired content.
  5. Now you have secure and unrestricted Internet access!

Unblock websites on all home devices

  1. Pick a trustworthy VPN. NordVPN is easy to set up on a router!
  2. Log in to your router.
  3. Go to advanced (or similarly called) router options.
  4. Enable the VPN connection.
  5. Follow specific instructions on setting up a VPN on your router model.
  6. Now each device connected to your home router benefits from VPN security!

That depends on the country that you are browsing from. Firstly, unblocking illegal websites like online black markets is illegal wherever you are. Unblocking websites to participate in criminal activities will get you in legal trouble.

Then there are country-specific blocks. For example, North Korea blocks all Western social media, and exposing locals to foreign websites can get you straight to jail. Browsing adult websites in Iran can have the same consequences, and although the Chinese government is more liberal towards tourists bypassing their website blocks, you can still get in legal trouble if you overdo it.

Accessing blocked websites in the US or EU using a high-security level method is perfectly legal unless you participate in criminal activities. Millions use VPNs to access US websites from the EU and unblock Netflix or Disney+ libraries. It's also best to go through national piracy laws if you use a VPN for p2p traffic.

Wrapping up

The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berner Lee and envisioned as an open and global space. Sadly, his project is at risk as authoritarian governments block numerous popular websites' access, and copyright laws restrict content availability.

Our tests revealed that the best way to unblock websites from anywhere is by using a VPN. NordVPN shows the best results at opening the Internet and maintaining high security and privacy levels. An alternative IP address grants access to foreign content, and encryption ensures your online activities are safe from unwanted attention.

However, be particularly mindful when browsing blocked websites in countries with tight Internet control. Lastly, if you participate in illegal online activities, getting caught is a question of time, whether using a VPN or not.


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