CyberNotes 
Web Browser Wednesday

Can't Access a Blocked Website Both schools and corporate workplaces are blocking websites apparently without knowing what all of the services do. No, I’m not talking about blocking sites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, or Meebo…what I’m referring to are things that can help make you more productive. Just last week I read that some schools were starting to block most Google services including Google Docs, News, and even Google Calendar!

If I was in school right now I would absolutely be loving Google Docs. I could write my papers on the computer, and not have to worry about carrying around some sort of method to store the files on. I really don’t see how that deserves to be blocked, nor do I understand why Google Calendar would be banned? It’s not like these services are bandwidth hungry like YouTube, and they surely don’t deserve to be matched up to the likes of MySpace.

So I thought today I would put together a list of ways to view blocked websites. Most of them are fairly easy and require very little work on your part. Here’s how you can access blocked pages:

–Using Proxies–

I don’t think there is any arguing that free proxies are among the most common solutions to view blocked sites, and searching Google for “MySpace proxies” returns over 1.5 million results. These work by sending the request for a website through a different computer, thereby thwarting any efforts to block a site.

These proxies are normally successful in browsing blocked sites, but they can often go pretty slow or be cluttered with ads. If you’re in desperate need of finding a proxy, you should head over to Proxy.org where you can find hundreds of proxies listed. My personal favorite proxy, however, is Hujiko because it’s super fast and only has one small banner ad located at the top.

–Using Translators–

nations flags - translation One of the new (and better) ways that I learned about while writing this article was using translators for viewing blocked websites. No, you won’t be viewing the sites in another language…instead you’ll be doing translations back into the native language. For instance, when viewing an English site you would have it “translated” back into English. It sounds pointless, but you’re essentially using the translator as a free proxy.

The easiest way to do this is to copy the URL below, and replace the “cybernetnews.com” at the end with the site you’re looking to visit:

http://google.com/translate?langpair=en|en&u=cybernetnews.com

It will load everything as expected, and you are still able to login to the sites and services just as you normally would. The best part is that Google doesn’t show any ads while using this!


–Using Mobile Browsers–

As crazy as it may sound, you can actually view blocked sites using services geared for web browsing on your mobile device. They are optimized for small screens, and don’t have any CSS applied to them, but there’s no doubt that they still work. The two most popular are probably Google and Phonifier, both of which produce similar results. Again, the sites aren’t gonna look very pretty, but they’ll work.

–Using IP Address Lookup–

youtube ip address Another thing you can do is lookup the IP address of the site you’re trying to access. When most websites are blocked, the admins only think about blacklisting the domains, and don’t take into account that the sites can still be accessed using their IP address.

To do this one you’ll want a service that will let you provide a host name, and have it lookup the IP address for you. Host2IP is a good example of that, and it’s extremely fast.

–Using the Anonymous Tor Network–

The Tor Network is similar to using proxies, except it distributes the load and is supposed to have slightly better performance. There are specialized versions of both Firefox and Opera that utilize Tor to access blocked sites, but I don’t think this would be one of my first resorts. It’s more for anonymity than anything else, but on the plus side portable versions of those browsers are available.

–OverView–

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to beat the system, so feel free to drop us a comment below with your thoughts and ideas!

There Are 14 Comments

  1. Online proxies wouldn’t be clever enough to work for such Javascript reliant applications such as Google Docs. 99% don’t even work with AJAX.

    Using translators doesn’t work for multiple reasons, mainly because they only proxify the text (not images or javascript etc.) and also because they don’t mask the domain so a lot of filters will still catch it.

    The IP address trick is good until they block the IP address, but to be honest most schools are too stupid to work this one out.

    As for Tor, it has the added advantage of working with all Javascript and AJAX calls (because the URLs are proxied when the browser parses the document rather than replaced in the HTML) and also it uses a different number of proxies, so it’s a lot harder to block.

    So if you have permission to run applications on your system, I’d say your best bet is Tor, but then you’re still carrying it around on a thumb drive so you’ve not gained too much.

  2. These are slow and relatively painful methods of bypassing a proxy. The only time I’d really use these methods is if I’m on a public computer and need information quickly.

    Here’s some options that I’d use to bypass the clowns at work. (I personally use option #1)

    1) SSH server + SOCKS 5 proxy + FoxyProxy extension for Firefox.
    2) Get an Air Card for your laptop, browse however you’d like.
    3) Get a new job that doesn’t suck.

    You could also try [http-tunnel.com] but a lot of times that will be blocked as well.

  3. Yep, my school has useful stuff like Google docs blocked off. Although Google notes isn’t blocked, so I just use that to “transfer” my files to school.
    One of my friends said that his school has just about everything blocked.

    Either way, there are some flaws with this:
    - some places block all proxies, such as my school and most other schools. I tried all the proxy sites that I know, and they are ALL blocked at school. My friend said the same thing happened to him.

    - some schools block those translators….such as my school

    I haven’t tried that mobile browser hack yet…I’ll need to try it out.

    Either way, tech admins at school read sites like this, so this is just fueling their fire to sites to block.
    :|

  4. Lewis wrote:
    So if you have permission to run applications on your system, I’d say your best bet is Tor, but then you’re still carrying it around on a thumb drive so you’ve not gained too much.

    Yeah, I’d probably say that is the best bet as well. Sometimes it’s pretty slow though.

    The How-To Geek wrote:
    3) Get a new job that doesn’t suck.

    It’s always good to have options. :)

    DKong wrote:
    some schools block those translators….such as my school

    That’s ridiculous! Schools block translators? That’s definitely not helping to promote cross-culture interaction.

    Daniel Goldman wrote:
    You could always use the [operamini.com] :)

    I could have sworn I included that!

  5. hahahah i love proxies at school is soo rebelious

  6. Ughh all the sites you have givin me are already blocked. My school has pretty much every site i need blocked. Im trying to do a drug report for health and all thi sites are blocked! How do they expect me to do my report if i dont have enough information? (it has to be 6 pages long) I need some help! this is ridiculous! :?

  7. do any of you people know how to unblock da websites?

  8. lb wrote:
    do any of you people know how to unblock da websites?

    If it is at work or school you would have to be an administrator to do that.

  9. does any one no the pass word for administrator

  10. Please do not forget that schools do have a legal responsibility in protecting the kids.

    Else, parents would sue the schools for $$$trillions in moral damage because the little kid did access the tax and revenue governement site.

    Cannot do a report on drugs ? Ask permission. You get an account, a password and freedom for a few weeks.

  11. About that drug thing, there is a very good reason my school blocked the ‘sites. We were doing a drug research project, and my friend literally found a website where you could order the drugs you were learning about. My computer has “default-blocks”. Chat sites, web-based proxies, porn sites, and tasteless/obscene material. Web-based proxies is the one that pisses me off the most. It’s so biased, any website that so much as mentions proxies is blocked. It’s a miracle this’ne isn’t. And Anonymous, the administrator password is different for every school/workplace/computer.

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