VPN Blocking: how to bypass VPN blocks to browse freely and safely

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VPN blocking has become more common in the last few years. So you need to be prepared to deal with it properly.

Although they are not perfect, VPNs give people more power over their web browsing. Some benefits they can provide to internet users are data privacy and freedom of information.

That’s why sometimes websites, ISPs, and governments don’t want you to use those tools, therefore, imposing all kinds of VPN Bans.

But what happens, in fact, when your VPN gets blocked? How can you bypass VPN blocks to browse safely and freely?

In this article, I will be discussing the problems with VPN blocking, how it works, and what you can do to get around it.

Table of Contents

Best VPNs for bypassing blocks

If your current VPN gets blocked frequently, you should consider changing to a better one. Only the most potent VPN providers can deal with all kinds of blocks steadily and reliably.

Three great options that offer cutting-edge technology are NordVPN, Surfshark, and VyprVPN.

nordvpn brand logo

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.

Surfshark VPN color logo

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.

vypr vpn review: devices screens with vypr clients

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.


What is VPN Blocking in practice?

VPN blocking is a security measure used to block devices communicating through VPN protocols. Simply put, it’s a way of preventing people from using a VPN to access the internet.

Internet service providers, companies, and governments use to block VPN connections to have closer control over their network access and usage.

For example, they may use it to stop you from reaching specific online services, websites, applications, and relevant content. That means you won’t be able to access those online resources if you are connected to a VPN server.

At scale, VPN blocking has a significant impact both on citizens and consumers alike. For instance, that may lead to a situation where you’ll have to give up on your security to be allowed in.

In recent years, the VPN industry has evolved around online privacy and freedom of information. On the other hand, restrictive organizations have been developing new ways to block those tools and regain power over users’ browsing activities.

However, there will always be some ways to bypass VPN blocking, whether they want it or not.

Why are VPNs blocked?

But why are VPNs blocked by corporations and governments? VPN blocking can happen for several reasons. As with most technologies, it can be used for legitimate and acceptable reasons on one side, or for reprehensible and harmful goals on the other.

For example, it can come from companies or governments simply trying to protect their networks from online threats. However, most of the time, that happens because VPNs can give access to otherwise restricted websites, services, and content they don’t want people to use.

Big organizations have resources and sophisticated ways to block traffic coming from VPN servers. Sometimes those hard-to-bypass blocks can be more than frustrating and unfair.

The problem is that many corporations and countries discourage and even forbid VPNs to the detriment of their clients and citizens’ rights.

The most common VPN blocking cases are justified by:

School and workplace policy

VPNs are often blocked by schools and workplaces due to internal policies. Those institutions don’t want people to access certain websites through their networks.

You probably won’t be able to use Facebook and watch Youtube while at school or work due to these types of restrictions, even if you need it for your typical activities.

Administrators can block VPNs, for example, because they want to monitor the activities of their employees, supposedly to prevent data leaks or inappropriate network usage. Or maybe they want to control the services and the content that students can access from the school network.

The fact is VPNs make all those restrictions very hard to achieve for them.

Content copyrights & licensing agreements

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are well-known for geo-blocking content. Those services try to ensure that third-party content can be accessed exclusively in countries where they have the proper rights to stream it.

That means you won’t be able to access the content you already paid for if you are traveling abroad. Or, if you’re in the US and want to watch a program only available to subscribers in France, that won’t be an option.

VPNs have had great success in circumventing those blocks for many years now. VPN clients (software) allow you to connect to servers in different regions, thus, changing your apparent location.

That’s why streaming services have been blocking VPNs since 2016 to protect their agreements. But the internet community has been fighting back. This is an ongoing battle that is expected to last for a long time.

Legal concerns & crime prevention

The use of VPNs has been increasing in popularity, especially for privacy and security reasons. However, with the rise of online scams, cyber-attacks, and hacking, more countries and corporations are taking steps to block VPN usage.

Although these tools can also be used for criminal purposes, that’s a typical case where the solution is worse than the problem itself.

Commercial practices

From a business perspective, blocking VPN traffic means keeping control over internet usage.

One case is ISP VPN blocking, which usually occurs due to an internet service provider increasing revenue. That would sound fine if it was just a matter of companies rightfully managing their business and proprietary networks. But in most cases, those blocking measures lead to controversial and unethical practices.

VPN bans are means, for example, by which internet providers prevent their users from accessing services and content that may demand higher network traffic, such as torrenting.

ISPs can even use VPN blocks to induce consumer behavior and privilege some web services (their own or from commercial partners) to the detriment of others. By monitoring their user’s online activities, they might deploy internet throttling to choke the connections of users accessing competitors’ sites.

VPNs give users the level of privacy needed to use their internet to its full extent, without restrictions of any kind.

Political reasons and censorship

VPNs are a fundamental tactic to bypass censorship online. For that reason, politicians with tyrannical inclinations are approving laws to prohibit VPN use in many regions.

To support those harsh laws, authoritarian governments block VPNs while restricting access to information and censoring content deemed immoral, illegal, or undesirable.

In that scenario, VPN blocking becomes a form of internet censorship, along with other internet control means. Where dictatorships, and surveillance democracies alike, control what citizens are allowed or forbidden to access, VPNs are essential to protect fundamental rights.

The internet is extensively controlled in countries like Russia, the UAE, and China, where the Great Firewall blocks VPNs. Those environments are hazardous for dissidents and journalists.

As you might have noticed by now, there are strong motivations to bypass those blocks. Although there might be understandable reasons to block VPNs, that is not always the case. VPNs are critical to protecting our rights without compromising our security and privacy online.

To find proper ways to get around VPN restrictions, first, we need to know how they work.

How does VPN blocking work?

There are many different methods to block VPNs. In general, VPN blocking uses available data to find traces of routing devices or tunneling protocols associated with VPN communication.

The common ground is that network administrators will probably use those techniques within a firewall. That can be software or hardware configured to screen VPN traffic before it is allowed in the network.

Depending on the data set used to detect VPN usage, these are the most common types of VPN blocking.

Port blocking

When it comes to blocking VPN traffic, the evident approach is to control the entrance gates. Port blocking means denying access, by default, to traffic using the network Ports typically associated with VPN protocols.

For example, Ports 1194 and 443 are usually correlated to OpenVPN protocol, one of the industry standards.

IP blocking

VPN IP blocking is often done by filtering out known IP addresses assigned to specific VPN servers or entire IP ranges associated with popular VPN providers.

IP address blocking is one of the most popular methods of controlling access on the internet. So, there’s no surprise that the same IP blocking technique VPNs help to avoid is used against VPN servers as well.

Deep Packet Inspection

While both techniques mentioned above rely on previously known data to block traffic, Deep packet inspection (DPI) is a more advanced filtering method.

DPI consists of monitoring network traffic and examining its data packets. Suppose the contents of those packets show any fingerprints of VPN usage. In that case, the system blocks the device trying to establish communication.

Any piece of information associated with VPN protocols can trigger a network block.

How to bypass VPN blocking without changing your VPN provider?

If you are looking for ways to bypass VPN blocking, you can try a dozen of methods. Basically, you’ll have to go through your device’s settings and VPN options.

To successfully overcome a VPN block put on your way, you must use a trial and error approach. What you’ll be able to do depends directly on the settings available for you to play with.

Know that VPN blocking can often be a challenge for internet users when using free and low-quality VPNs. If that’s your case, it’s improbable any of these methods will work.

You can still try them, of course. But I recommend your jump to the next section, where you’ll find what to look for and how to choose a proper VPN provider. I’m sure that will save you a lot of time and disappointment.

The options your VPN provider has to offer will determine if you’ll have an easy and quick way to solve the problem or a hard time finding a workaround.

Switching to another VPN server

The easiest way to get around a block is by switching VPN servers. The server in which you’ve established your current VPN connection may be in the block list.

To change your VPN server, you must first see if your VPN provider offers servers dedicated or recommended to the specific task your trying to accomplish. It should be easily accessible through the app interface.

Then, look for options based on the region you need your connection to come from. After finding the most suitable servers, switch to each one until you find a working server.

Using obfuscated servers

Even better than just switching between random servers is to use an obfuscated one if your VPN offers it. Those VPN servers are designed to hide the fact that a person is using a VPN service.

That’s why they are a more reliable and safer bet when it comes to bypass blocks. Some VPNs rely on other obfuscation techniques, such as scrambling protocols and stealth modes. They’ll do it as well as obfuscated servers.

Picking other tunneling protocol

VPNs usually come with an array of supported tunneling protocols. Although they are often not equally available throughout the entire network, that’s another option for you to tweak up.

If the block is based on the most common protocols like OpenVPN and L2TP, you have a great chance of getting around it by changing the protocol.

It’s worth mentioning that the alternatives available may compromise on security and performance, though. So you’d better use it with caution.

Using another encryption algorithm

VPNs encrypt your traffic by default. Your provider may offer the possibility of changing the encryption algorithm adopted by its software. That would be another way to go.

Similar to VPN protocols, cryptographic configurations might only be available for some servers or locations. Not all encryption standards offer the same level of security, and many come with known flaws.

Changing network Port

Suppose a web service is actually filtering out the network Port (communication endpoint) your VPN uses. In that case, you can try to avoid it by making your VPN use another Port.

But bear in mind that it’s not always easy to do for average VPN users, as it may require some manual configuration to work.

Getting a dedicated/static IP address

As the primary banning technique is IP blocking, a possible solution is to use a unique IP address. You can get an exclusive new one from your provider if it offers that optional addon.

By avoiding IP addresses shared with other users, you have a fresh start. That means your IP won’t have a previous bad reputation or blocking history.

It might work for sure, but again, it also has its drawbacks. You’ll probably pay for a static IP that may end up also associated with your device if your provider lacks the proper features.

Other ways to unblock content

Subscribing to a better VPN service

That’s by far the most reliable way to bypass VPN blocks without compromising on privacy and security.

Let’s be realistic. You won’t beat sophisticated network technology with low-end free or cheap services. Maintaining a robust VPN network is an expensive business. Moreover, it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game, where VPN providers have to keep struggling to stay one step ahead of the VPN blockers.

You’ll find the features you should look for in a VPN service in the section below, along with some recommendations of premium VPN providers for the job.

Switching on mobile data

If you’re getting banned by your ISP, you can always rely on your mobile carrier to avoid it. I know it sounds obvious, but many people don’t realize the block comes from their home internet connection.

It’s not a definitive solution, but it can be an easy win if all you need is a quick workaround. Should you need a significant amount of data traffic, it can be costly. Besides, your carrier might be used to block VPNs as well.

Using a proxy server

People can bypass VPN blocking by using proxy servers as a middle-man. A proxy is a computer that connects to the internet on behalf of the user’s device.

It won’t give you the same level of security as a VPN server, which is a big drawback to consider. Anyway, they are an alternative method that will help you to bypass blocks, especially the most advanced SOCKS5 proxy (Shadowsocks).

Browsing through Tor

Using The Onion Router (Tor) browser is another way to stay anonymous and trick VPN blocking systems. That is an easy-to-use browser that can be downloaded from the Tor Project website for free.

It was designed to help people maintain their privacy on the web. But there are some drawbacks to consider. Unlike good VPNs, Tor isn’t suited for some online activities, such as Streaming and Torrenting.

How to choose a proper VPN provider and get around VPN bans?

The best way to deal with VPN blocking measures is to use a premium VPN service. Most free VPNs can be easily blocked. Blocking methods are more effective against those VPNs due to their poor quality and lack of advanced features.

Only top-notch VPN providers can allow you to browse the web safely while preventing organizations from controlling your internet access.

As VPN blocking is getting more sophisticated, you have to rely on a broader arsenal to fight this ongoing battle. That’s why it is vital to have a complete and high-end VPN service on your side.

There are key features you should look for when choosing a reliable VPN provider to avoid VPN blocks.

Huge server network

Top VPN services have massive server networks. The bigger the server network, the better. Anything from several hundred to a few thousand VPN servers will be enough.

As organizations continuously block VPN servers, you want to have the highest possible number of servers and IP addresses at your disposal. The best VPNs on the market will offer thousands of servers to ensure users can always work around VPN blocks.

Obfuscation features

Some blocking systems are more sophisticated in detecting VPN usage than the average. Suppose you’re facing one of those nemeses. In that case, you must use an advanced VPN to scramble or obfuscate your traffic.

Obfuscated servers, for example, are designed and configured to disguise themselves as regular devices. They make traffic data unreadable to blocking systems. As a result, VPN users can trick restrictive organizations and authoritarian governments, thus, bypassing any network filters and firewalls.

There are many VPNs on the market, but just a few rely on advanced obfuscation features. The most widely known are NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers, Surfshark’s Camouflage and NoBorders Modes, and VyprVPN’s specialized obfuscation protocol a.k.a Chameleon.

Dedicated or static IP addresses

Even with numerous VPN servers at hand, sometimes you might need a still be blocked. Because those tools often use shared IP addresses, they can be blocked by some websites and networks based on these known IP numbers.

A dedicated IP address is not shared with any other customer, so it’s less likely to be blocklisted. For that reason, a dedicated IP is a great alternative to get around blocking software while using a VPN.

VPN setup flexibility

When it comes to keeping your VPN undetectable, what really makes the difference is the array of features and options you can manage. You should look for VPN providers that offer multiple customization options in terms of VPN setup.

A good VPN provider will give you access to different protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and L2TP, for example. You might also want to tweak between network Ports and encryption algorithms to see which ones can successfully workaround specific VPN bans.

BONUS TIP | Try Top VPN Providers for Free​

To be sure of your VPN choice, you can take advantage of the trial periods offered by most providers. They are usually available as money-back guarantees that range from a few up to 45 days.

It’s a common practice in this industry. You won’t have problems getting a full refund if you find the service doesn’t suit your needs.

This approach will allow you to test any service and see if it can deal with the blocks you particularly want to avoid. If it passes the test, then you’ll be confident to adopt it for the long run.

Best VPNs for bypassing blocks

If your current VPN gets blocked frequently, you should consider changing to a better one. Only the most potent VPN providers can deal with all kinds of blocks steadily and reliably.

Three great options that offer cutting-edge technology are NordVPN, Surfshark, and VyprVPN.

nordvpn brand logo

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.

Surfshark VPN color logo

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.

vypr vpn review: devices screens with vypr clients

Users' Rating 🛈

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store data available online.

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