How to access blocked websites: the best solutions to proceed. It can often happen that you cannot access some websites: the connection simply times out, or an error message is displayed. The network administrator can block the consultation of certain websites at the router level or, by appropriately setting the OpenDNS service, anyone can check and stop the visit of specific sites from devices connected to the local network: OpenDNS. How to protect yourself while browsing.
To open blocked sites bypassing any restrictions, the best and most obvious approach is to use Tor ( The Onion Router ). The Tor network is based on an onion routing protocol which takes care of passing data not directly between clients and servers (as happens typically) but through a series of nodes that act as routers and build a virtual circuit encrypted at layers.
The idea is to prevent verifying the user’s identity who initiated the communication (including his real public IP) and, simultaneously, make any data exchanged with the destination server unreadable. Tor is mainly used to browse the web, and Tor Browser is the primary tool (a browser built on the source code of Mozilla Firefox).
However, you can use the Tor network (albeit with high latency) for e-mail, instant messaging, or any other service. OnionShare is an example of an application built on top of the Tor network that uses the latter to allow users to exchange files securely: Using Tor Browser, the web server hosting the requested site will no longer “see” the actual public IP assigned to the user’s modem router but the IP of the exit node of the Tor network, i.e., the address of the last node through which the data packets directed to the destination server transit.
Tor is therefore confirmed as the best tool to overcome censorship, regardless of where the restriction is applied and open blocked sites. Using Tor, not even your chosen Internet provider can monitor the sites you visit or analyze data packets in transit (including those sent and received from HTTP sites that don’t use encryption): Surf anonymously without even your provider being able to monitor the sites you visit.
The Tor network is frequently the subject of “special attention” by governments and spy agencies. For this reason, the developer community taking care of the evolution of Tor has recently announced the third version of the network: Tor Browser; the web will become more secure with an upcoming update. However, there is also the flip side: some sites have decided to block access via Tor.
How To Open Blocked Sites, Even When You Can’t Use Tor
Tor maintains a list of services and sites blocking application user access. According to an academic study published last year, many websites, especially among the 1,000 most “trafficked” worldwide, would block access via Tor. The reasons are the most disparate: often, there is the desire to deny connections of the same user from multiple IPs and to prevent the use of a bond that would make the IP address logging activities useless for security purposes (impossible to trace the identity of the Tor user…).
Often blocking a single Tor IP is part of a broader policy (such as those of Cloudflare and Akamai) which – on a global scale – notes the IPs from which suspicious, irregular, or, in any case, spam campaigns occur. In these cases, errors of various kinds are displayed (generally referring explicitly to the use of the Tor network), often with a 403 code, or the connection attempt times out.
- To open blocked sites, when this is not possible with Tor Browser, without even closing the application, you can use a web proxy like Proxysite
- Alternatively, you can go to this page, note one of the Tor nodes that recently joined the network ( First seen column ), open the Tor Browser configuration file, and force one of those IPs as an exit node (see the final part of the article Surfing on Tor with a foreign or Italian IP ).
- Without using Tor Browser to open blocked sites, you can use the excellent ProtonVPN, also available in a completely free version: see ProtonVPN: how to surf anonymously and Android VPN: what it is and how to activate it.
- If the goal is not to preserve one’s identity but to open a blocked site, one can try to replace the DNS servers in use by choosing, for example, those of Google: DNS Google. Here’s how they work and why they are helpful.
- As in the previous case, if the intent was to open a blocked site, Google Translate can be used by typing the URL of interest in the left box. The page will be translated into the indicated language by clicking on the URL in the right-hand box. By selecting Original in the View item (top right), you will return to viewing the page in the original language.
- You can manually set up a proxy server in your favorite browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera,…). A good list of public proxy servers is published at this address.
The Anonymity column shows the level of anonymity offered by the proxy server. However, we advise against relying too much on this information. We suggest configuring the proxy server only on a browser other than the one used for work and personal purposes. It is not excluded that the proxy server can carry out traffic monitoring and analysis activities by collecting, for example, information on the traffic in transit over the HTTP protocol.
For those webmasters who want to block access to their site via the Tor network dynamically, we suggest developing a simple script (PHP, for example) that checks the existence of the IP with which the client appears within the generated table list requesting the following page: https://check.torproject.org/cgi-bin/TorBulkExitList.py?ip=$YOUR_IP. Instead of $YOUR_IP, the IP address of the web server must be indicated: Tor will return the list of exit nodes that can conceivably be used to log into that machine.
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