Relocating to a new country can feel like a breath of fresh air, the start of something new and exciting – well, unless you move to a country that restricts the Internet (like China, for example).
Sure, you’re still living your dream, but now you’re dealing with a minor (or maybe major) inconvenience.
You’ll have to find new streaming sites, online messaging platforms, email providers, and more. Really, just a lot of unnecessary hassle! Isn’t there a simpler way to solve that issue? Well, yes, there is. We’ll show you how to unblock any site you want in restrictive countries in this guide (and also answer your questions).
Here’s how to unblock sites in restrictive countries.
Using a VPN will help you bypass censorship – it’s an online tool that encrypts your traffic (makes it unreadable) and hides your IP address (stops sites, hackers, and government surveillance agencies from seeing it).
VPNs help you circumvent censorship by letting you communicate with the sites you want to visit through a new IP address (the VPNs’ IP). Basically, your connection looks like this:
You 🡪 ISP 🡪 VPN Server 🡪 Website
You no longer communicate directly with the site through your ISP’s network (the one that blocks the site), but through the VPN server. And the VPN server’s IP address doesn’t have firewall restrictions linked to it.
So, you can freely access any sites you want with the VPN.
How to unblock censored sites with a VPN?
Many people think that using a VPN is very difficult and requires technical know-how. But that’s not the case at all. VPNs are actually very user-friendly tools – here’s how you can use one to bypass government censorship:
- Sign up to a secure VPN (like ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN provider’s app.
- Open the app and connect to a VPN server.
- Access any site you want – you shouldn’t deal with any more firewall restrictions!
Do VPNs work in restrictive countries?
Yes, but only a few VPNs. Not all providers are able to offer consistent access to censored sites in countries like China. Oppressive governments go to great lengths to block VPN services so that people can’t use them.
Here’s how they do that:
- They block the IPs of the provider’s servers (the most common method).
- They use DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) to detect VPN traffic and block it.
- Finally, they force ISPs to close certain ports that are used by specific VPN protocols (so you can’t go online with them anymore).
Only a few VPNs are able to get around VPN blocks. Here’s how they do it:
They refresh their IPs.
IP blocks are the most common way to block VPNs. So VPN providers lease new IPs on a regular basis – VyprVPN, for example, has 300,000+ IPs which it can switch between.
Not all VPNs are able to do this, though – refreshing IPs on a regular basis isn’t exactly cheap.
They use obfuscation.
Obfuscation is a security feature that adds a layer of obfuscation to your VPN connection. That hides your VPN traffic, so ISPs and government surveillance agencies won’t know you’re using a VPN to go online. Instead of VPN data, they’ll just see regular Internet traffic.
Just keep in mind that obfuscation will make your VPN connections slower. VPN encryption already slows down your speeds, and adding another layer of encryption won’t help make them faster.
Can you download VPNs in restrictive countries?
Yes, you can, though it’s not always easy. Many restrictive governments block VPN provider sites. So you can’t connect to them to sign up and download the app. But top VPNs have mirrored links – sites that work in countries that censor the web. The links are random strings of letters, numbers, and symbols, so it’s difficult for governments to block them.
Before moving, we recommend reaching out to the VPN provider you like and asking them for a mirrored link for the country you’re moving to. Alternatively, sign up for a VPN and download its app before leaving the country. That way, you’ll have instant access to it in any country you move to.
Can’t you use Tor instead of a VPN?
Yes, you can use Tor – a free privacy network that hides your IP and encrypts your traffic multiple times. The tool was built with bypassing censorship in mind. But we can’t guarantee it will work 100% of the time. Restrictive countries can still block Tor pretty easily. Also, Tor isn’t 100% effective – it can leak your real IP, for example.
Besides that, Tor isn’t very fast – on average, we experience 90-95% slowdowns with Tor (VPNs only slow down our speeds by about 30-40%). If you were planning on unblocking streaming sites, Tor won’t be able to help you.
Can you unblock censored sites with a Proxy?
Yes, you can. A proxy is similar to a VPN – it routes your traffic through a different IP address to help you bypass censorship. But we don’t recommend proxies over VPNs in this case. Proxies have weaker or non-existent encryption. In this situation, it’d be better to have traffic encryption to stop ISPs from seeing what you’re doing.
Can you unblock censored sites with a Smart DNS?
No, a Smart DNS can’t bypass government censorship. It’s an online tool that unblocks geo-restricted content only. It can’t circumvent firewall blocks to unblock censored sites.
Because with a Smart DNS, you don’t communicate with the Internet through a new IP address. It only hides your DNS data. You should always use a VPN instead.
How do you bypass Government censorship in restrictive countries?
Do you also use a VPN, or do you use other circumvention tools? If you do, please tell us about them. And if you use a VPN, please tell us which one (and don’t forget to mention if it can bypass censorship 24/7).