What to do if Your VPN is Blocked
Has your VPN been blocked? This can be a result of actions or policies put in place by your internet service provider, workplace or university, or by firewalls on airplanes. Circumvention and encryption tools like VPN are used around globe to enable access to content and websites, but can you do anything about networks that block traffic relayed via VPNs?
The good news is that there are several strategies available to unblock your VPN. Even if the VPN you use can’t get through a firewall, we can tell you about some ‘stealth VPNs’ that can still get through!
Why are VPN’s blocked and who does it?
Computers enable us to do all sorts of things, but they can also be set up to exert more control over users and their online activities. Here are the most common areas where VPNs are limited:
- – The workplace. Employers may block unauthorized VPN services so that staff can’t be distracted by spending time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites. They want to know what staff are using the internet for, and what communications you are sending. There are tools that use a VPN that will unblock sites so you can access them at work, but this could breach your terms of employment, so be careful.
- – Schools. Most schools now have internet access, but there are good reasons for them to restrict what students, and especially younger students, do on the internet. It’s not uncommon for VPNs as well as social media and gaming websites to be blocked in schools.
- – Closed countries. Some countries, such as China, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, feel the need to limit what their citizens can read and participate in beyond their borders. The internet presents a problem because it provides free access to culture and information, and enables communication. Firewalls, such as the one dubbed ‘The Great Firewall of China’, are set up to block access, including VPNs that facilitate it.
- – Public Wi-Fi (in-flight, or in hotels), for example. You may have had trouble connecting to sites like Netflix, Spotify or Hulu, or speeds are massively slowed down. There’s a reason for this. In-flight services such as GoGo, and hotep pay-per-day services may block VPNs to steer you towards paying for in-flight or in-hotel movies.
Here’s the solution!
VPN traffic can’t be blocked unless it’s recognized as VPN traffic in the first place. There are ways to disguise VPN traffic so it usually can’t be blocked. VPN providers have invented ‘Stealth’ VPN technology to do this. This disguises or scrambles your VPN traffic. The result is that either it can’t be identified as VPN traffic, or it can be encrypted so it looks like regular TLS traffic (that stands for ‘transport layer security’).
There are two excellent ways to unblock your VPN service, no matter what network you’re on:
#1. Run Open VPN on port 443.
Standard SSL/TLS encrypted traffic often uses port 443. This is the encryption protocol when you access websites that require relay of sensitive data (such as financial details and account numbers). OpenVPN already uses the SSL encryption library so you can slip through most DPI firewalls by switching to port 443. To do this you need to switch the port or use a dedicated server location that already uses it. Your VPN tech support should be able to help you set it up.
#2. Use Obfuscation or StealthVPN.
VPN protocols may still have a data packet ‘header’, that allows a firewall to recognize VPN traffic even if you’re using port 443. With Stealth or Obfuscation technology, the packet header, which is like a fingerprint, can be smudged so it can’t be recognized. A bit of research should enable you to identify VPNs with stealth/obfuscation technology that you can access where you are.
Here are some VPNs with stealth/obfuscation technology: IPVanish, Proxy.sh, Torguard, VyprVPN and VPN.ac.
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