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Top 10 Blocked Websites and How to Unblock Them

Using mobile while traveling

Whether someone is traveling around the world or they're on the Internet at work, they may run into some blocked websites. Some countries censor Internet access and make it difficult to go to websites that are critical of their government, and workplaces want to limit access to sites that they deem time-consuming or not relevant.

How to Unblock These Websites

People running into blocked websites have a few different options, some of which are more feasible than others. For workplace bans, one way to address the issue is by avoiding the business network entirely. Nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, which can be used to access the internet without a block. Wi-Fi tethering allows workers to access this unfiltered connection through their personal devices, such as a laptop or a tablet. Take care to make the connection a private one by not publicly broadcasting the SSID of the network. Otherwise, the workplace will know that someone is using their own network for purposes that aren't related to work.

Another way to address workplace website blocks is by making friends with the IT department. Since the IT team are the ones choosing the websites to block and maintaining those restrictions, getting on their good side is one way to find out whether there are other business networks that have better access to the Internet.

A virtual private network, or VPN, is another way to unblock blocked websites. A VPN service works by routing Internet traffic through their own servers and encrypting all of the user activity so businesses and governments don't know what the user is looking at. These services have many features that protect the user's privacy, such as not storing activity logs and stopping the Internet connection if the VPN drops so it doesn't expose private activity to third-parties. While this type of service may sound intimidating to use for someone who's not tech-savvy, it actually is a relatively straightforward process that's helped by companies creating user-friendly apps to guide them through the process.

Some people choose to avoid traveling to countries that don't offer Internet freedom to their citizens, as a way of boycotting the actions of those governments. However, someone who has to travel frequently for work in those countries may not have the luxury of that option. For vacations, tourism dollars often benefit the local economy the most, so that's taking away a needed income source from people who may end up suffering for it.

Blocked websites are frustrating to deal with whether a person is at work or on vacation. Getting around those blocks is not only possible but made incredibly easy with the help of a trusted VPN service. Even if someone isn't running into blocked websites, VPNs help improve the safety and privacy of an Internet user. It just makes sense to add one to typical Internet usage.

Here are some of the most commonly blocked websites and how people can get around them.

  1. Reddit: This popular social media site has many niche communities, called sub-reddits, that cover countless topics. It's one of the most visited sites on the Internet and often gets blocked at workplaces. Some countries, such as China, also limit access to this site so that people in the country can't access speech that's critical of it.
  2. Facebook: Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites, and many workplaces are invested in blocking access to it so people can't get distracted at work. In China, Facebook is blocked completely, as the country has its own version that is used predominantly within that country. That can make it difficult for visitors to find certain local resources if they're used to check on Facebook and similar sites.
  3. Twitter: Twitter is another site that often falls under workplace bans. Sometimes people get lucky and only Facebook gets blocked, but this short-form social network doesn't always get that lucky. One disadvantage of losing access to Twitter at work is that this site is often great for receiving up-to-the-minute news on developing events far faster than other sites.
  4. Netflix: Netflix blocks come in two forms: workplace bans and geoblocked content. Unless a business is very easy going, it probably doesn't want its employees to be streaming Netflix on the clock and on its bandwidth. This popular video streaming service also has licensing restrictions on some of its content, meaning that it has to geoblock videos in certain locations.
  5. Youtube: Youtube runs into the same issues that Netflix does. Geoblocking primarily occurs on the accounts of larger companies rather than the smaller creators, so that's less of a concern. However, it does become more frustrating when someone is trying to access official movie trailers, live streams, music videos and other content.
  6. Spotify: This streaming audio service may be blocked in workplaces that don't allow music to be played at workstations, and it can run into geoblocking due to licensing issues. In some restrictive Internet countries, the service may be inaccessible.
  7. Instagram: Instagram sometimes gets around workplace bans since it's a newer social network and one that comes off as more of a photo gallery than a place to have discussions. However, that doesn't mean it avoids them entirely.
  8. Hulu: Workplace bans and geoblocked content keep this streaming video site from being fully accessible at all times. When someone wants to relax during vacation by catching up on their favorite shows on Hulu, this situation can get frustrating.
  9. CNN: News sites such as CNN are commonly blocked in countries that don't want citizens getting any information from international news sources. Some workplaces also ban news sites since they can be time-consuming and may not be relevant to someone's job duties.
  10. Wikipedia: This informational website has a lot to offer to the world, but some governments don't agree. Wikipedia may be blocked in those countries or have a limited information version that doesn't have pages on topics that are critical of the government or its history.