In a perfect world, we’d be able to access anything from anywhere.
BUT if you’ve travelled or worked overseas, you’ll notice the internet doesn’t look the same from all angles.
Some countries ban certain websites. And some websites can only be accessed from certain countries… Or can they?
Today, we’ll teach you how to unblock any website. The easiest way is to use a virtual private network (VPN).
Whether you’re a digital nomad trying to access the news, a traveller with social media, or just hoping to stream foreign Netflix – a VPN can help you.
In this article we’ll cover:
Let’s dive in.
The best 3 VPNs to unblock websites
VPNs have exploded in popularity as a business and personal tool.
Today, there are hundreds of VPN services to choose from. BUT, not all brands are made equal.
We’ve tested dozens and found that these 3 VPNs consistently came out on top:
- NordVPN – Our top pick for fastest and most secure VPN
Powerful yet well-priced, a big spread of 5,600+ servers, a strict no-logs policy, and double the protection.
- Surfshark – Best affordable VPN
Starting price of $2.49 per month for their two-year plan, and you can add an unlimited number of devices!
- ExpressVPN – Best premium VPN
Stable and reliable VPN with a strong reputation and 3000+ servers worldwide.
We suggest you start by looking into these.
How can a VPN help to unblock websites?
VPNs are very easy to use.
How easy? You actually only need to download them and log in. But if you’re curious how they work, here’s a nice video explaining it.
This video is from Surfshark, but the same general principles apply to most VPNs.
In short, VPNs are awesome because they mask your actual IP address and redirect your connection to the web through a remote server.
Most VPNs have many servers across the world (e.g. NordVPN has 5600+ to choose from!) By connecting to one of these servers in another country, you can then bypass censorship and geo-blocking.
Exhibit A – Steve the freelancer
Steve is on a work trip, and wants to access LinkedIn and his favourite news sites back in Germany. Unfortunately, the country he’s in has blocked these services.
BUT, by connecting to a VPN server in Germany, Steve can trick his devices into thinking he’s in Germany.
He can now access the internet as though he was back home. These websites are now unblocked.
You’re welcome, Steve.
Now, your turn.
How to change location with VPN and unblock websites
Changing your location with a VPN is easy. Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Sign up with a good VPN and download it on your devices.
Step 2: Install the VPN, launch it and enter your VPN username and password.
Step 3: Follow any prompts to get it set up. You’ll then usually see a map or list of server locations around the world that you can connect to.
Step 4: Choose a country you want to connect to. Make sure the location is able to access the site that you want to unblock. Connect.
Step 5: Your device will now think it’s based in that country. You should now be able to access the blocked site.
Which countries might be blocking websites?
Some countries are much stricter on internet censorship, usually for political or cultural reasons.
Some block access to foreign news or whilst others ban social media sites like Facebook.
We’ve listed just a few destinations below. If you’re planning to travel to one of these countries, consider downloading a VPN before you go.
Blocks social media sites, major apps and web services including Google.
Blocks LinkedIn and Telegram. Non-approved VPN users/providers may be fined.
Frequently blocks / restricts access to certain websites and online services.
Blocks access to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. YouTube and Wikipedia also blacked-out sporadically. They’ve also clamped down on VPN.
Ranks low on measures of Internet freedom but mostly blocks domestic political content instead of foreign sites.
A lot of content is state controlled and censored.
- Saudi Arabia
Blocks a rotating list of websites, including WhatsApp and Skype.
Blocks political dissidence and “immoral” content, occasionally social media sites too.
Bear in mind that some countries impose penalties for using VPNs that are off their ‘official’ approved-VPN list.
Given the speed that tech and policies change, we’d recommend you do some research into your specific destination.
Unblock websites: which sites and services can I access?
Now that you’re able to unblock sites – the world is your oyster.
Here are some of the common websites banned in some parts of the world:
- Facebook & Facebook Messenger
- Gmail & Google Apps
- New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
Here are some websites / services with geo-restrictions:
- Amazon Prime Video
- BBC & BBC iPlayer
Do VPNs do anything else?
They sure do! A VPN is a really useful tool for online security.
By securing your connection, VPNs help keep you anonymous and secure. This is especially important if you often use public Wi-Fi (the hunting grounds of cybercriminals!)
VPNs can also help you stay safe while torrenting, avoid data throttling by your ISP and even help you get cheaper prices on flights!
Are there other ways to unblock websites?
Aside from a VPN, there are a few other ways you might be able to unblock websites and banned web pages:
- URL Shorteners
Since some networks will block websites based on a blacklist of URLs, you might be able to bypass it by changing the URL with a link shortener (like bit.ly).
This secure web browser encrypts your data and changes your IP address via onion routing.
Works in a similar way to a VPN but less secure.
However, it’s generally much more secure and reliable to use a reputable VPN service.
Conclusion: Access the internet freely!
You should now be able to unblock websites from anywhere in the world.
We can only hope that internet freedoms improve worldwide for the better. Until then, we’ll be relying on VPNs.