These days, controlled access and Internet filtering is the new trend. More and more schools and organizations are implementing filters in their computer systems so that students and employees do not get access to certain sites. In countries like China, most social networking and blogging sites are blocked. There are many reasons governments and Internet Service Providers block certain websites in their countries and there are equal
reasons for people like me and you to look for means of accessing blocked websites.
People love freedom and need want privacy. It's not the business of our government, our ISPs, or advertisers what we do on the Internet. They can't come into our home and spy on us, so why can they control what we can can't see on the net?
Ok, maybe your boss and/or teacher have a point – Facebook is a huge time waster. But you can't follow all the rules, all the time right?
So, lets get down to business. How do we access blocked websites?
Lets start with something easy – web based proxies. This is a great way to access blocked websites because it's quick and simple. These can be paid or free, and are just a web page with a place to type your blocked URL. The proxy takes off your IP data and makes the site request for you, so any firewall that's blocking you from the site will think it's the proxy's IP making the request, not you. A simple case of hidden identity.
There are many web based proxies which also allow you to access blocked websites. You don't have to install anything, you can use them on your phone, tablet, and computer, and they're free or cheap. Paid services will have faster connection speeds, less advertising, and support. Many free proxies have been known to abuse IP data of their users, (ie to source their SPAM), so a paid service eliminates this risk as well. It'll probably cost you around 5-10 USD a month for a paid service.
SecuriTales is a great service to start with because they've got a free trial and a 30 day money back guarantee, so there's no risk of wasting your money on something you don't like that much. I use them and can vouch for the speed and reliability of their web based proxy. Oh yeah, and there's a 25% discount after you sign up for the trial, so you end up paying only $4.5 USD per month.
Check 'em out at www.securitales.com
VPN services and sites provide a higher level of security, faster connection speeds and a more reliable connection. Some sites like Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other free/paid media streaming/viewing sites block proxies because of their association with spam and pirated media.
You can sign up for a virtual private network service over the Internet, and though you might have to install some software, there's not hardware, and you can get started almost instantly. VPNs do a better job of hiding your real IP and replacing it with a virtual IP.
Basically, when making use of a VPN connection, a virtual tunnel is created which allows your data to be passed from your computer to the VPN server without your data being spied on or discovered. Moreover, the VPN server location will become your location – and you're free to choose where! You could get a Canadian or American IP, a British or European IP…there are even places that offer IP addresses in Japan and other countries in Asia. In most cases, the best way to access blocked websites is with an American/British IP.
If you're located in a country that censors the Internet, you might have to shop around a bit before you find a VPN service that can help you access blocked sites successfully because the governments of these countries may be blocking the main websites of these VPN providers, or even certain types of VPNs (usually PPTP or L2TP). OpenVPN works everywhere.
I have use a couple different VPN providers over the years, and I'll list my top three here.
Top three VPN providers to access blocked websites
Hide My Ass offers a very competitive ProVPN package. Thousands of IP addresses across 30+ countries means you have choice, and lots of it. You also pay less than other VPN services – just over $6 a month. They also have other free goodies available at their site. However, because of their immense popularity, they're often the first to get the axe in countries that censor the Internet, and they're blocked in Iran, Kuwait, China, and other Arabian countries.
12VPN has a huge range of VPN protocols available, so if you've got something that's not the norm, this is the VPN service for you. They're cheap, fast, reliable, and their customer support team is fast and friendly. You couldn't ask for much more in a VPN service. Some people are unimpressed by their site, but I think the simplicity is great. They also have alternate domains available for countries that blocked their main site. I'll provide one below. It's also easy to set up, so newbies, go for this one.
StrongVPN offers a wide range of VPNs, in a wide range of countries. They're one of the most popular VPN service providers in the world, and they've been in the business for a long time. There's live support, and they even have VPN packages based on your country location, so you can be sure to get fast and reliable connections. StrongVPN won't disappoint you.