When you find that you can’t access your favorite sites, its because of a firewall. Firewalls, through techniques like packet filtering, proxy services, and stateful inspection can analyze, filter, and block the websites you visit. This is possible on pretty much any network today, including your workplace, school, and home (depending on who’s in control). Firewalls are great for security – they protect us from all that malware that we don’t really understand, but definitely don’t want on our computer. However, it’s also really annoying when someone else is in control and we can’t get access to our favorite (or necessary sites). There are a couple methods you can try to surf blocked sites when a firewall is in your way.
Open proxies are one of the more popular and widely used methods to surf blocked sites. This is because they’re free, and your Internet browser is built to use them. A proxy, though it can be used a method of firewalling your computer on the network, can also be used to bypass restrictions. A proxy is essentially a sever that’s used to make requests for you. So if your mom won’t let you have ice-cream for dinner, you get your friend to get some because his mom will. The problem with these is that more advanced firewalls are able to identify and block connections to these, but there are various levels of anonymity for proxy servers, and some will be able to get your where you want to be.
Web Based Proxies
There are small web pages that allow you access to proxy servers. Though pretty much the same as open proxies, you don’t have to go and find lists of open proxies and enter the information yourself. Just type your blocked URL into the area provided and your ready to go. The disadvantage here is that you can’t choose your country-location or any other features like with open proxies. These are great however, because they’re accessible from anywhere you can access the web.
Virtual Private Networks
VPNs are a much more reliable way to access the Internet and visit blocked sties from behind firewalls. Not only are they built to protect you from hacks and spying online, they’ll unblock you from any restrictions your facing. That’s because you use a special coded tunnel to filter you traffic outside of your current network, and into another. By ‘leaving’ your current network, you also leave their restrictions behind. VPNs need to be installed, so it may be difficult or impractical to get one installed on company computers (when you’re trying to bypass company restrictions), but for personal use they’re awesome.