Have you ever tried accessing a website at work only to find that it’s blocked? Many businesses limit internet access by restricting certain websites or platforms on the work network. While the company may have its reasons for doing this, employees often look for ways to bypass these restrictions to get some last-minute shopping done or check in with friends on Facebook before an event. So, how can you access blocked sites at work?
In this article, we’ll be exploring what blocked sites are and why they exist. We’ll also look at how to gain access to blocked websites by using a residential proxy, smart DNS, and other ingenious methods.
We’ll be covering the following topics related to blocked websites in this article:
- Why are certain websites blocked?
- How to bypass restrictions and access websites
Why Are Certain Websites Blocked?
There are a few reasons why blocked sites exist. Many online businesses and services use geo-restrictions to ensure that only users from certain countries can access the content. This is apparent in many streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+.
Some governments also ban certain websites and platforms for various reasons. China is a prime example where Twitter is completely blocked within the country. Other governments that implement such bans include Turkey, which blocked social media access in 2016 to mediate protests. Another example is Sri Lanka, which blocked Facebook temporarily in 2019 after terrorist attacks to stop the spread of fake news.
Some countries might even have laws in place that prohibit access to certain types of content. An example of this is the UK’s ban on porn and adult content, where users first have to verify their age before gaining access. Another example is Germany’s dislike and banning of YouTube.
However, businesses impose these restrictions to keep employees focused on their job and to limit the possibility of security breaches such as downloading harmful malware onto the business network or creating potential vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
How Do Businesses Block Websites?
Working together with the ISP and IT team, businesses can easily set up and monitor website restrictions. Businesses can use a few methods to block websites. Some of these include:
- Blocking certain keywords such as XXX, or murder
- Monitor web access
- Only allowing certain types of websites extensions, such as .org or .gov
- Block specific websites, such as Facebook
How To Bypass Restrictions And Access Websites
Before we get into the methods to overcome blocked websites, it’s important to know that if your company has certain policies in place that restrict website access, bypassing these restrictions can lead to disciplinary action or even dismissal. Now, let’s take a look at five different ways that employees can gain access to blocked sites even though they’re restricted at work.
Use Residential Proxies Or VPN
Using residential proxies or VPN is one of the easiest (and safest) ways to gain access to blocked content. This can be any content, whether it’s geo-restricted or just blocked on your work network. Residential proxies and VPN both provide you with a different IP address, which means the work network won’t pick up what websites you’re accessing. Both of these tools also add more security to your connection and provide more anonymity to your searches and online activity.
Use A Smart DNS Service
Some websites and services have started banning VPNs. As such, a new tool has arisen called a Smart DNS service. Smart DNS providers offer you a fast way to access blocked websites as they only reroute information about your location and not all your website traffic, such as proxies and VPNs. However, this also makes their privacy benefits much less.
Use The Sites IP Address
Rather than searching for the site or using the URL, you can gain access to blocked websites by using the IP address. This is especially effective if your workplace has placed restrictions on certain keywords or domain names only. There are even websites that provide the IPs of hundreds of other sites, so you can easily find the IP to use at work.
Use Tor Browser
Tor is currently one of the most private browsers available. They do not track your history and also send any search across many different nodes on the internet, making it impossible to tell where the search originated from. It was specifically developed to help users in countries that restrict information to bypass these restrictions.
Use Google Translate
This is another little ingenious way of viewing restricted websites at work. Many businesses don’t block Google Translate as it is an educational resource tool. However, you can use Google translate on a URL to access a new Google Translate version of it even if it has been blocked.
Blocked websites at work can be a major frustration. While businesses have their own reasons for restricting access to certain websites, many are wondering if this really increases employee productivity. However, in spite of these contradictions, many businesses continue to block certain websites and platforms. As such, employees have to find creative ways to overcome these restrictions, such as using proxies or DNS services.