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!