How to Unblock Websites at School (6 Methods)
Using the Internet to learn at school is definitely enjoyable. However, what’s not enjoyable is having to put up with annoying network restrictions that prevent you from accessing the websites you want. After all, maybe you want to watch a YouTube video or two after studying for half an hour, and not being able to do something as basic as that can harm your motivation.
Well, if you’re facing that problem – no worries. Here’s exactly how to unblock websites at school without much hassle.
Why Are Websites Blocked at School?
The reason you have to learn how to bypass blocked websites at school is because Internet filters and firewalls are used on the network. Basically, the school network administrator will either block certain ports to stop online traffic or they will blacklist certain websites (either by IP or domain name – or both).
Why are such restrictions enforced?
Most of the time, it’s because the school wants to keep its computers and data secure from outside threats. There’s also a chance the network admin might block access to various websites in order to keep students from “slacking off” during courses, or to prevent students from torrenting files.
While some of those reasons are pretty understandable, it still doesn’t make it okay that you can’t listen to your favorite tracks on YouTube or SoundCloud while studying, for instance.
Here’s How to Unblock Websites at School
According to our research, these are the best things you can try to bypass school network firewalls and filters:
1. Use a VPN
One of the best options you can use is a VPN – a service that hides your real IP address and encrypts your online connections. Since you’ll get a new IP address every time you connect to a VPN server, you’ll be able to bypass your school’s firewalls with ease.
What’s more, you’ll also get to bypass any potential geo-restrictions that might get in your way too.
Best of all – most decent VPN providers offer cross-platform compatible clients. So, you don’t need to worry about not being able to download the VPN client at school because of filters. You can just copy the installation file(s) on a USB stick, move them to the school computer, and then install the VPN.
2. Use HTTPS
This is one of the simplest ways to unblock websites at school. You see, most times, network admins just block access to popular websites on the HTTP port 80. However, they leave port 443 (the HTTPS port) unblocked.
So, you can use HTTPS to access the websites you want even if they’re blocked on your school’s network. Simply add an “s” at the end of “http” when entering an URL in the search bar (“https://google.com” instead of “http://google.com” for example). If you do that, you will force the connection to use the 443 HTTPS port. You don’t need to do that manually all the time, though – you can also use extensions or add-ons to force websites to load with HTTPS (like HTTPS Everywhere).
Of course, this solution only works with websites that offer secure connections.
3. Access the Website by Its IP Address
It is possible that the network admin only blacklisted websites by their URL addresses, and not their IP addresses. If that’s the case, you can try typing in a website’s IP address in the browser’s address bar.
Finding a website’s IP address isn’t very difficult, though you might have to try this at home and write down the IP addresses by hand before you get to school. Essentially, you just need to open your computer’s Command Prompt (it might go by other names depending on the operating system), and type “ping websitename.com.”
4. Configure Browser Network Proxies
If your school uses more than one proxy on their server, you could try to switch between them to get access to blocked websites. You just need to access your browser’s network/connection options, and disable the proxy or switch between available proxies. There’s a chance that a website that’s not available on one proxy might be available on the other one.
Naturally, you should keep in mind that this isn’t a method that’s 100% sure to succeed.
5. Use a Proxy Server
A proxy is a server that acts as an intermediary between your device and the web. Basically, you send connection requests to the proxy, and then it either returns the content you seek from the Internet, or analyzes its local cache to see if it can return the content you want without having to forward your request to the Internet.
In this situation, a proxy could come in handy because it also hides your IP address, which can help you bypass network firewalls.
Still, it’s worth nothing that proxies often tend to be overcrowded, so you should expect low speeds. Also, there’s always a chance your school’s network blocks access to proxy websites.
6. Use a Portable Browser
Like its name implies, a portable browser is something you can carry with you. You just need to install it on a USB stick. This way, you can browse the web without having to deal with too much interference from the computer school and network – especially if file transfers are blocked too.
Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition is a good example of that.
You can actually combine the portable browser with a proxy to unblock websites at school. Just make sure you write down the proxy server addresses and relevant port numbers on a piece of paper, in your notebook, or on your phone since you’ll need to manually configure it on the portable browser when you’re at school.
What’s the Best Option Then?
All in all, if you want to learn how to get past blocked websites at school fast and easy, a VPN would be your best bet. It’s easy to use, simple to set up, and gives you instant access to the content you want. Plus, since your traffic is encrypted, you won’t have to worry about the school network admin seeing what you’re doing on the Internet.
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How to Unblock Websites at School – The Bottom Line
Depending on your school’s policies, you might have to put up with relatively unfair network restrictions while you’re at school or even on campus. Certain websites might be blocked, preventing you from listening to your favorite music while you study, or watching some videos during breaks.
Luckily, there are some things you can try:
- Using a proxy.
- Tweaking browser network proxy settings.
- Using a VPN.
- Connecting to a website with its IP instead of its URL.
- Using HTTPS traffic to access websites.
- Using a portable browser.
Overall, we recommend using a VPN service since it’s the most efficient and convenient way to unblock websites at school.