Monday, March 6, 2017

5 Ways to Bypass Blocked Sites Without Using Proxies or VPNs

By  Philip Bates  

Picture the scene. You’re at work or school, and in your downtime, you want to peruse a website. Maybe you want to check your social media feeds or need to watch YouTube for research purposes… but it’s blocked.
You could turn to a proxy service or try a VPN — except the former are often blocked too, and the latter requires a bit more effort than you might like if you are just trying to sneak a glance at a censored site now and again.The Internet Isn't Really Free - Who Is Censoring It & Why The Internet Isn't Really Free - Who Is Censoring It & WhyIn any free, democratic society, citizens take pride in the fact that they have free access to information. This is true in many countries, where citizens have won hard-fought battles for independence. It is something...READ MORE
Fortunately, you still have options.

1. Try the Short Link Versions

This is a hugely popular method because it works in most cases. However, that also means administrators are getting wise to it. Still, it should definitely be your first port of call.
Shortened URLs became prominent due to Twitter: back when addresses counted towards the character limit, using short links was a way of condensing a tweet. It’s incredibly easy to do. You just copy a URL into a service like Bitly, TinyURL, or and it’ll give you something like Are Tweets Only 140 Characters Long? Why Are Tweets Only 140 Characters Long?What's the story behind Twitter's famous 140-character limit on tweets?READ MORE
Insert it into the address bar, and you should be redirected to where you want to go, bypassing any blocks that might be in place — fingers crossed.

2. Try HTTPS

Though it acts against the very purpose it exists, the HTTPS often goes unnoticed in a URL. The “s” means it’s a secure connection, verified using SSL certificates. It results in that padlock appearing in the address bar, and means peace of mind when visiting sites that require any sensitive information. Think Amazon, PayPal, or, these days, Facebook.What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per DefaultSecurity concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody's mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by...READ MORE
Aside from being a great security measure, it also comes in handy when trying to access blocked sites. This is because quite a few schools block the more common port 80, which is the endpoint for HTTP traffic — leaving the secure connection, port 443, open for exploitation.

It’s not always going to work, but it’s certainly worth a try! Some sites, including Facebook, YouTube, and email providers, automatically redirect to the HTTPS option, so in turn remove the extra effort on your part, or have reminded administrators to block the port.

3. Translation Services

You’re probably pretty familiar with services like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator: their standard offering is changing one language into another, so you can convert any sentence from English to Japanese, Urdu, Gaelic, et al. and back again. In school, you could’ve used it to find out what your French teacher meant when she said “merde” under her breath.Travelling With Google Translate? 4 Tips To Improve Your Experience Travelling With Google Translate? 4 Tips To Improve Your ExperienceIf you plan on travelling to a foreign country anytime soon, Google Translate can really help you, but it has its limitations. Here's how to best make use of this wonderful app.READ MORE
It also translates whole websites… whether you actually need them translating or not. And that’s why it’s helpful here too.

Whatever the site, simply type the URL into the text box and click on the link in the translation output. You’ll be redirected to it, but chances are that the blocks used otherwise will miss the page as it’ll appear under a different address, namely something like, followed by various seemingly-random digits.
It’s not perfect. It’ll struggle with video streaming and social media sites, for example, and responsive pages won’t be as smooth as they’re intended to be. Just check out the warped elements on the usually-beautiful MakeUseOf homepage.Create a Responsive Site In Minutes With Create a Responsive Site In Minutes With Striking.lyHaving a responsive site is a must now for anyone who wants to cater to a wider audience, no matter what device they're happening to be on at the time. Responsive themes detect the device...READ MORE
Still, if it’s an article you need to read for research reasons, it’s ideal.
Similarly, you could search for the page you want to read then click on its cached version, which, again, should show up under a different URL that won’t be blocked. Simple. Effective.Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains] Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains]Whenever you have an issue with a website, one of the first suggestions you will hear from IT support is "try to clear your browser cache" along with "and delete your cookies". So what is...READ MORE

4. Convert to PDF

You’ll generally need to sign up for this one; however, it’s worth it, not just for reading censored pages but also creating content that’s easy to share and a pleasure to read.
There are plenty of services available online which’ll convert websites into PDFs: you just have to choose whether you want to pay for it or not. Take Five Filters’ PDF Newspaper for instance, a free PHP app which transforms articles into, effectively, a personal publication. You can read output from all your favorite sites in printable A4 or A5 sheets that are more aesthetically pleasing than RSS feeds.7 Best Tools to Print to PDF 7 Best Tools to Print to PDFNot a single version of Windows comes with a native print-to-PDF solution. So what’s the best alternative? We checked 8 of the most popular options to find out.READ MORE
I use it to keep physical copies of online articles I’m particularly proud of, filed away in a portfolio. You could use it to bypass blocks because Five Filters does the work of scouring a webpage for you.
It goes without saying that it’s useless for YouTube and Twitter, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Of course, you’ll need to know the exact addresses for articles, as you can’t peruse a site.

5. Tether to Your Phone

You want to view a blocked site. You’re clearly a rebel who doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but your own. In which case, you won’t have any grievances with using your phone when you possibly shouldn’t.
The idea here is that you use the internet via tethering your smartphone, so yes, you’ll need a quality data plan to do this. It’s not worth it if you just want to read something from a censored site, but if you want to watch YouTube and nothing else is working, this should work… though it’s likely to be slow.Tethering: How To Use Mobile Internet On Your PC Tethering: How To Use Mobile Internet On Your PCWant to share your phone's data connection with your computer? Here's exactly how to do it, how fast you can expect it to be, and how it will affect your battery life.READ MORE
Go to Settings. From there, the method will vary slightly depending on your operating system. On iOS, just turn on Personal Hotspot and note the password. It’ll give you the option of connecting through Wi-Fi, USB (if you were really prepared!), or Bluetooth. From there, just follow the instructions in that section. On Android, in Wireless & Networks, tap More > Tethering & portable hotspot > Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot > Set up Wi-Fi Hotspot and make note of the password.
This should really only be in emergencies, however, as you risk substantial bills if you go over your data usage limits. And be aware that your organization’s IT department might have blocked connection to new Wi-Fi networks.

Bypass the Blocks?

Not everyone has the know-how to effectively use VPNs or proxy sites, but using these techniques, you should be more than capable of bypassing any blocks you encounter without jumping through too many hoops.6 Reasons You Should Be Using an Anonymising Proxy Server 6 Reasons You Should Be Using an Anonymising Proxy ServerOnline privacy is important, but you don't have to remain exposed. You can use an anonymizing proxy server to remain hidden from prying eyes, granting you a little more security in your online affairs.READ MORE
How else do you get around censors? Do you just rely on VPNs or do you prefer easier alternatives?
Image Credits: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock Soucre:

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