How to Access Blocked Websites in 2018

Last updated on June 17, 2018 Views: 2054 Comments: 26

The best way to access blocked websites is by using a VPN. A VPN allows you to get a new IP address.

The major reason websites are blocked is because you are not in the country the website is in.

For example if you are in London you might want to access HBO Now, but you can only access HBO now from the USA.

However with a VPN you can connect to a USA computer so HBO Now thinks you are in the USA and thus unblock the website.

The best VPN we recommend to access blocked websites is ExpressVPN.

In this article

Understanding Why Websites are Blocked

We’ve all been there before, stuck at work or the office, or overseas in a new place, and running into blocked websites left and right. It’s incredibly frustrating, but a problem that’s all too common unfortunately.

Network Restrictions in line with Business Policies

Often times, schools and workplaces put network restrictions in place to keep employees focused and on task. That’s all fine and good if you never need to keep up with an eBay option, or check your Facebook, or even just engage in a little shameless time-killing. But we’re all human, and restricted networks, more often than not, are just a total pain.


Even more frustrating, many countries actually have nationwide bans on certain content, restricting your access to sites like Facebook and Google. In many countries, politically sensitive content is strictly off limits, and there’s even government surveillance in place that monitors your activity online.

The types of content restrictions that are actually dependent on your location are known as geo-restrictions. For instance, the internet censorship that China is famous for is known as geo-restricting, and it basically means that so long as you’re in that country, you won’t have access to that content.

Servers, Locations and IP Adress

It’s a creepy thing, to be online and trying to access a website, and get denied because your location doesn’t have access. It means that the server you’re requesting data from knows your rough location, and is limiting your access accordingly.

But how do they do that?

The answer is simple: with your IP address. This unique code is attached to the device you use to access the internet, either your router, smartphone, tablet or whichever WiFi-enabled device you’re utilizing.

When you try to access a website, the server sees your IP address, which gives them your rough geographic location (usually in proximity to the nearest major city), and gives you access to content accordingly.

It’s how the internet knows to provide you with content in English, or advertisements to certain local services. Programs such as Adsense that run in the background of webpages use your IP address to target advertisements to you based on your location, which is why you’ll often see obviously placed ads with a nearby city in the tagline.

Internet Filters

Getting around these content restrictions isn’t as tricky as it used to be. While proxy codes work sometimes, it’s definitely a case for trial and error, and requires you to dig into those computer settings to try them out.

The easiest way to get around content filters and access blocked websites is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’s a subscription service designed to not only give users access to blocked content, but also privacy while online.

Why Use a VPN to Unblock Websites – Functionality and Properties

When trying to understand how a VPN works, the easiest thing to visualize is a secret passage in a house. Where the house is like the internet in this analogy, the passageway is the VPN. You’re still on the internet, but you’re taking an alternate route and flying under the radar.

VPNs give you access to blocked content by providing you with access to their worldwide network of servers. When you download their software, you just choose a server location and connect.

From there, you’ll have access to any content that is available in the location you’ve selected. Your real IP address is blocked by the VPN, and to servers, it looks as if you’re actually accessing from the server location, rather than your actual location.

This has the added perk of protecting your anonymity. All of your content and internet activity is impossible to trace back to you, and you bypass content restrictions entirely.

Your privacy is also protected, since the VPN encrypts all of your traffic for you. Everything you do while connected to the VPN is fully protected and private from everything from hackers to government surveillance.

There are plenty of options out there for VPN, and trying to figure out which ones are ripoffs and which ones actually do what they’re supposed to can be kind of tricky, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key features you’ll want to look for in a VPN, and just what all of that tech jargon actually means.

  • Encryption: This is what keeps your data secure, and is essentially just a way of coding your data so that even if it is intercepted, it’s just illegible nonsense, and your personal information is secure. There are essentially two strengths of encryption, 128- and 256-bit, with the latter of the two being the strongest. You can generally count on 256-bit encryption to be unbeatable, so that’s the one to shoot for.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the rate of data transfer, and companies that want to restrict your bandwidth typically don’t have a large enough network to support their user volume. Unlimited bandwidth is pretty common, so don’t settle for less.
  • Multiple Connections: This refers to the number of devices you can connect to the VPN per account. It saves some major money if you can use it on more than one device, so look for a VPN that allows you to connect to both a home and mobile device, at minimum.
  • Compatibility: This one’s simple enough. Is their software compatible with your device? Check their list of operating systems to make sure your device is supported.
  • Network size: This matters because, like I said earlier, the more servers they have to choose from, the wider the distribution of bandwidth. You’ll be more likely to get a fast, reliable connection, and have a server in your area to hop on.

So these are the basic technical specifications you need to look for. Honestly, it’s a buyer’s market, so there’s just no reason you shouldn’t be able to hit the mark on all of these with the VPN you choose. It’s pretty competitive out there, so don’t settle for less than your money is worth.

As far as the other perks go, it’s generally nice if they also offer:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • live chat or phone support
  • easy-to-use software
  • a fast connection
  • a money-back guarantee
  • referral program for free service

Choose the Right VPN to Unblock Websites

If you’re not sure how a VPN checks out in these categories, here are the vpns we recommend to unblock websites based on real trials with these companies, with speed test results to give you an idea of what you can expect.

#1 ExpressVPN to Unblock Websites

So first in my little roundup here is ExpressVPN, and for a good reason. The thing is, a lot of times, you wind up compromising speed for security with VPNs. All of that top notch encryption can really bog down a connection, making it tricky to stream Netflix and download music (a deal breaker for me).

With ExpressVPN, you get unlimited bandwidth, two connections per account and an incredibly fast connection, despite the military-grade encryption that’s used. I’ve used this VPN a lot, and I’ve never had any trouble streaming Netflix, downloading music from iTunes, or anything else that tends to suck up bandwidth like a black hole.

What really sold me on these guys though was their customer service. They are just so damn fast. They always respond to emails in less than 20 minutes and of course their live chat support means you can get help instantly if you need it.

Besides unmatched speed, ExpressVPN have servers in prime locations for streaming entertainment. It does come at a slight cost as it’s pricier than most of the competition, but you do get your money’s worth thanks to the overall reliability and ease of use. So if you plan on using a VPN for Netflix and other online content, you can’t do much better than ExpressVPN.

Morevover, their software is easy to use, and they include a 30-day, money-back guarantee, so you can always snag a refund if it just doesn’t work out.


  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $9.99 per month
  • 15* months: $6.67 per month *Three months free

ExpressVPN is a fast, easy way to access blocked websites, no matter where you are.

Sign up with ExpressVPN here.

You can read our full ExpressVPN review for more information.

#2 NordVPN

NordVPN is a solid service that will get you access to any blocked streaming websites easily, including Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and YouTube.

While most VPN services promise to get rid of any logs of user data, you can actually trust NordVPN to empty their recycle bin. They don’t care if you want to stream blocked content, and they have lots of servers to choose from.

They’re not as fast as ExpressVPN, but they can still connect you to high quality streams with no lag. NordVPN is also the cheapest overall, and their 24-month deal is great value for money. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee trial so you can try the service without commitment to contract unless you are satisfied.


  • 1 month: $11.95
  • 12 months: $5.75 per month
  • 24 months: $3.29 per month

Sign up with NordVPN here.

More information on this service on NordVPN review.

#3 HideMyAss

HideMyAss has servers in almost 200 countries in the world so you can switch your IP to any local server to unblock content restricted outside that country.

HideMyAss also uses strong OpenVPN encryption to keep your personal details private and safe from hackers.

HideMyAss’ biggest plus is that it doesn’t slow down your internet speed when you use it, so you can get into movies and binge-watch TV shows from other countries without lags or buffering. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • 1 month: $11.52 per month
  • 12 months: $6.56 per month
  • 6 months: $8.33 per month

Sign up with HideMyAss here.

More information on this service on HideMyAss review.

#4 SaferVPN

SaferVPN is fast, simple, and easy to use. It offers servers in 30+ countries so you can access virtually anything which geo-restricted online.

SaferVPN is also very secure; it uses a 256-bit encryption and an OpenVPN protocol to ensure your network cannot be hacked and your identity is hidden.

The VPN is compatible with all devices and operating systems, such as Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux, and customer service is available 24/7.


  • 1 month: $4.99
  • 6 months: $3.49 per month
  • 12 months: $2.99 per month

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Sign up with SaferVPN here.

More details on SaferVPN review.

#5 PrivateVPN

With server locations in over 80 countries, PrivateVPN will get you access to anything blocked by online geo-restrictions.

As their moniker suggests, PrivateVPN is also big on privacy. It’s a major plus point in the current climate of online privacy worries.

Their service is intuitive to use and speedy enough for video streams, while it’s priced competitively compared to the rest on the list. Like ExpressVPN, they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

There isn’t much else that sets it apart from the rest, but it does the job effectively.


  • 1 month: $8.21 per month
  • 12 months*: $4.15 per month *One month free
  • 3 months: $5.63 per month

Sign up with PrivateVPN here.

Get more information on PrivateVPN review.

#6 IPVanish

The final VPN on our list, IPVanish is an expansive provider with servers located across the globe. They have over 850 locations to choose from in 60 countries, so you’ll never want for an IP address from the region of your choice. Not in the UK but want to catch up on Doctor Who? Use IPVanish to get a UK IP address and stream BBC iPlayer.

As with ExpressVPN, it’s more expensive than the norm, but it pays off in terms of both choice, and overall connection speeds. IPVanish also have a money-back guarantee, but it’s only good for the first seven days.

So last on the list, but definitely not least in terms of unblocking websites.


  • 1 month: $10.00 per month
  • 12 months: $6.49 per month
  • 3 months: $8.99 per month

Sign up with IPVanish here.

Get more details on this service on our IPVanish review.

Get a VPN to Access Blocked Websites

If you’re at work, school, or in a country with restricted access, chances are you’re not going to be able to access the content you want. These content restrictions block access to everything from political content to streaming services, and there’s not a lot of leniency there.

More often than not, even filter circumvention services are blocked, so before you get stuck high and dry, make sure you download a VPN service.

A VPN unblocks websites by hiding your IP address and giving you access to a network of remote servers. You can then access these servers and appear as though you’re in an entirely different place. It will protect your privacy, open up your access, and keep your activity from being traced back to you.

Remember it’s a buyer’s market. When you get a VPN, make sure you don’t compromise speed for security. Based on these latter features, we strongly recommend ExpressVPN as the best service to access blocked websites.

Article comments

Henriette Tuzzolino says:

I have just joined NordVPN but still can’t access the websites i want. Their help team said these were not supported. I checked other countries and couldn’t access tv on demand/ replay websites there either. Any advice?

ST Editor says:

Hi Henriette, I am sorry to hear that NordVPN isn’t working out for you. NordVPN does offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If you are within this time frame, you can go through the process of reclaiming your payment. Which websites are you trying to visit? Maybe we can help pinpoint the exact VPN that would best fit your personal needs. Thanks!

Henriette Tuzzolino says:

I only joined a couple of days ago so I might ask for my money back. I’m trying to access TVNZ on demand and THREEnow in New Zealand. Also tried tenplay in Australia without success. Would like to access replay sites in France and UK too if I could.

ST Editor says:

Hi Henriette, I would suggest either going with ExpressVPN or PrivateVPN. A lot of people prefer these brands for unblocking streamed content. Both also have money back guarantees in case it does not work out. Let me know if either one of these options works for you!

Jonathan says:

ExpressVPN has servers located in a stunning 94 countries around the globe. Those servers are reliable and super fast, which is why ExpressVPN is by far the best video VPN. A VPN for streaming needs to provide privacy. ExpressVPN is ideal because it provides encryption implemented to an incredibly secure level. The outcome is that ExpressVPN is a streaming VPN that is unrivaled. Subscribers use the VPN to unblock streaming video that is blocked in all regions. They are also permitted to watch content from torrent sites that might be blocked in their current location.
The only back drop is that, it is expensive in comparison to the other VPNs. And hence, won’t it discourage users from buying it? Even though it offers a 30 day money back guarantee, a user might first want to be sure that this is the VPN that suits their needs best.

Joyce says:

I was a bit reserved when I first heard of VPNs from your site last year. However so far I have no problems and I totally agree with you on Express VPNs top-notch customer service. It’s really great.

Elvin says:

Express VPN is a very good But it is slightly costly .so you can also use Nord VPN it is cost effective .VPN unblock sites as well as protect your privacy.It means that you can search anonymously by using VPN.

Paul says:

Hi, can you tell me if it’s safe to purchase a VPN subscription while in Saudi Arabia using a credit card issued by a local bank? Can I get around this by using PayPal (never used it before)?

ST Editor says:

Hi, and thank you for such a pertinent question! While VPNs are technically not illegal in Saudi Arabia, the government has been known to crack down hard on citizens who use this solution, regardless of the reason. We haven’t found specific reports of people being tracked by their card purchases, though we can’t confirm that this does or doesn’t happen. However, many VPNs offer alternative payment methods such as PayPal, which doesn’t require a local card, though it may leave a paper trail. If you’re still concerned, many VPN providers are now starting to accept payment in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which can give you better privacy and anonymity. Let us know how you chose to solve your problem for other users’ reference!

Peter says:

I think VPN should be used by each internet user because of the safety and security of important data. I also use VPN for doing the important data transfer.

Stephanie says:

Are VPNs just for streaming tv shows? I’m going to be traveling to the middle east and want to make sure I can get the news sites I read everyday while I’m abroad. Do you think that’s safe for me to do? Don’t want to have any problems while moving around.

ST Editor says:

Hi, and wishing you safe travels! VPNs are great for streaming your favorite shows and movies, but they do so much more! They can access sites like Netflix because they’re designed to route your traffic through local websites, so you can visit any page you’d like (as long as you’re connected through the proper servers) without worrying about restrictions Moreover, VPNs encrypt your browsing, so no one can see what you’re doing or which websites you’re visiting. Your journey should be safe if you stick with a VPN! 

Billy says:

I need to know which of these providers will allow me to torrent. I made the mistake of torrenting outside of VPN and my ISP started monitoring my connection. They ended up dropping me because of it. Didn’t matter that I don’t share.

Yes, I know it is my own fault for not being more careful but I am getting a new provider next week and I’ve read that VPN will be the best option.

Next question, how much will my speed drop over VPN while torrenting. Will I need any special setup to torrent?

ST Editor says:

We’re sorry to hear about your ISP troubles Billy, but happy you’re now being more careful! Out of the VPNs we list in the article, all of them permit torrenting, meaning you can safely connect and download files anonymously. In terms of download speeds, there are a few top choices, including ExpressVPN and PureVPN (which has actually been shown to improve download speeds in some cases), though they all offer reliable, if not blazing fast speeds. Finally, some VPNs may require that you connect through specific servers, or perform a manual configuration. However, every service can easily assist you with the process if it’s needed. Let us know how your downloading goes! 

Zoe says:

Every internet user will understand the feeling when Facebook is blocked for you! Whenever I’m at school or at my job, Facebook is completely detached from me. I understand that it’s for more productivity, but complete detachment is not what I like. Thanks to you, James, I’m now able to enjoy FB using HideMyAss. It’s a great VPN as a freemium service provider. Great content, loved it!

Smith says:

I think ExpressVPN is really effective to access a blocked website. Most of the people use ExpressVPN to unblock their favorite blocked website. All these methods are really interesting here. Thanks for sharing.-

Freval Naid says:

I am having problems accessing Korean website in the UK and I really need to access their website. Which VPN type would be the best suit for me? Express VPN? OR private VPN? I am confused 🙁

ST Editor says:

Hello, and we’re sorry to hear you’re having difficulties accessing the website! Luckily, the VPNs we listed on this page are all great recommendations to help you access restricted websites, no matter where they’re based. Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN thanks to its robust security features, as well as its spotless record accessing blocked websites. PrivateVPN also offers a great solution to access geo-restricted content, but you can safely choose any of the services we listed here and still get where you need to go. Let us know which VPN you choose!

LIZZY says:

Why are there restrictions on some websites ? Why can’t I just access them without using VPN ?

ST Editor says:

We feel your pain! Unfortunately, many websites and online streaming services feature content that is copyrighted or trademarked in one country, but not protected in others. Copyrights are not international generally, and the way people ensure that their services and websites are only being visited by local audiences is by limiting the locations users can access these properties from. This means that in some cases, such as for Netflix or the BBC’s iPlayer, the movies and shows are protected by US or UK law, but not necessarily by other countries, leaving them vulnerable to piracy. On the other hand, some countries may prevent citizens from accessing websites they consider inappropriate (as is the case with Saudi Arabia and the UAE) or dangerous (as many websites are by China and Russia). These laws are not always in users’ best interests, however, and in some cases can limit you from viewing content you should be able to access legally (if you’re a citizen of a country but are simply visiting elsewhere, for example). However, VPNs let you enter these websites by bypassing these outdated geo-restrictions, and gain access to any content you want, without having to worry. While it’s not an optimal system, VPNs are useful because governments have shown themselves to not always act in citizens’ best interests. It may not be as free as we like, but VPNs let us access the web as we should!

Dan Kelly says:

I have been using HideMyAssVPN to access restricted websites now and I love it. Can it be shared please?

ST Editor says:

Hello Dan, you can use it on 5 different devices – you are allowed up to 5 separate connections with one HMA! account. I strongly recommend you try their live chat option which is super quick and which replies to any technical question you may have.

Khan says:

While I was in school, I used IPVanish. It never disappoints. Has over 850 locations to choose from. Great article totally on point

Roger says:

If you are looking for the fastest VPN that is always able to unblock websites
without compromising privacy then go with NordVPN.

markhascole says:

WoW very nice article I totally agreed with this article that we can use VPN to access blocked sites.
Netflix is blocked in my region that why I recently bought ExpressVPN from ReviewsDir in discounted rates to access Netflix i am completely satisfied with Express VPN to access blocked sites.

dave says:

With LiquidVPN’s new software and built-in Smart Streaming technology it is quite easy to access georestricted content from a VPN server that is very close to your location. This means you get all the benefits of CDN technology.