Many schools have taken it upon themselves to set restrictions on internet content, in an effort to keep their students (and faculty) focused and on-task. However, in addition to restricting entertainment content, these content blocks often wind up keeping students from accessing web content needed for research and school-related topics. By using a VPN, students and faculty alike can circumvent these blocks and get the information they need. It creates an environment where the computer that you are on doesn’t think that you are located there and therefore allows you to access the blocked websites.
(WARNING: Some school campuses will block access to the VPN provider page for you to subscribe. After talking to university students across the country, we found out that many universities are actively blocking access to VPN sites when using the campus Wi-Fi connection. Click here to get the workaround to access the VPN service page.)
For the most reliable VPN to access restricted content at school, we recommend ExpressVPN. Read on for our full review for Best School VPN services 2018.
If you are looking to take a VPN for a test drive without putting down your credit card, we recommend CyberGhost. Their “try before you buy” model gives you seven day absolutely FREE with no restrictions or limits.
Why Are Websites Blocked at School?
With the best of intentions, many school boards have called upon their IT departments to set up numerous content blocks on their networks, restricting access to even the most innocent of domains.
As a result, everything from social media to shopping websites often ends up blocked.
This doesn’t just have the effect of restricting access to entertainment websites, but even to content that students may need to access for school projects and research.
But if you use a VPN, you can not only get around these irritating content blocks, but keep your browsing totally private, so your activity cannot be tracked or monitored, even by the IT guys.
Why do You Need a VPN for School?
Students are subject to their school’s “Acceptable Use” restrictions when surfing the internet on campus. Schools impose a variety of restrictions that can inhibit users from doing things like visiting social media sites, streaming TV shows and movies, torrenting, and even checking email. While draconian in nature, schools do this in an effort to keep students focused on their education, as well as network safety and bandwidth considerations.
But schools are supposed to be environments where knowledge is shared freely and not censored. As well, these resources are essential for any student. Now restrictions can be circumvented with the use of a VPN. Still on the fence? Here are three reasons to get a VPN for school:
1) Maintain a safe connection to public Wi-Fi. While in school, you are most likely using the school’s Wi-Fi. And while it is password protected, other people using the Wi-Fi can easily and maliciously hack your computer and cause irrevocable damage, like deleting term papers and notes, as well as holding your computer “ransom” for an outstanding fee most students cannot afford. Also, if you bring your laptop to a café to do school work, you can be easily hacked. A VPN not only protects but encrypts your traffic so those with ill-intentions cannot find you.
2) Unblock streaming and video game sites. Many schools ban these sites because they can eat up bandwidth and throttle the entire network. When you log into your VPN, you can bypass these restrictions and watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites, as well as play games.
3) Use torrenting sites. Most schools warn students of the danger of P2P sharing, and many universities even have rules against its use; levying harsh punishments regarding copyright infringement. With a VPN, you can choose a different server and the school will never know that you are using a torrenting site.
As mentioned above, you will most likely be blocked from the VPN page if you are on school campus. Here is what you should do:
THE WORKAROUND TO UNBLOCK THE VPN SERVICE PAGE ON SCHOOL CAMPUS
Solution #1: Head on over to your favorite café or even a friend’s place, and use their non-campus internet connection to download a VPN.
Solution #2: If you can’t get off of campus, that’s okay. What you can do is turn your phone into a mobile hotspot! In just a few short steps, your device becomes a secure Wi-Fi network, which you can connect your computer to instead of the campus’ internet connection.
Just keep in mind that any data you use as a mobile hotspot will be deducted from the total amount of data in your plan.
Also, do not disable the password feature, or else anyone can hop on your makeshift Wi-Fi network.
- Check to make sure the mobile hotspot feature is activated in Settings.
- Click on ‘Wireless and Networks’ and choose ‘More Networks.’
- Choose the ‘Mobile Hotspot’ option. (Here’s a tip: because this feature uses a lot of power, keep your phone plugged into a charger.)
- Wait a few seconds and you will see a notification message regarding your new Wi-Fi connection.
- Now you can connect, visit the VPN site of your choice, and download the VPN. Your university will never be the wiser!
If you aren’t sure how to do it on your phone, this is a great site that offers “how to make a hotspot” simulations of all the latest phones.
And don’t forget to turn your mobile hotspot off when you are done.
Let us know in the comments below if this has helped you!
Our Recommended List of VPNs for School for 2018
ExpressVPN has been tested on campuses and succeeded at torrenting and unblocking Netflix, accessing Hulu, and streaming BBC iPlayer. Students can also access social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat safely, as this service offers the highest level of security in the field, which means your personal information is completely safe while using your school’s public WiFi. They’re also anti-data logging and ensure the anonymity of your connection on their end as well, thus protecting your browsing information completely from anyone who wants to go poking around.
Express VPN is quite fast. Download and upload speed differences were negligible when using Express vs. a regular connection. They have servers in 78 countries.
One of the few criticisms of Express is that each subscription comes with ‘only’ three simultaneous connections, one for desktop and one for a mobile device. This is less than NordVPN and PureVPN offer, but it should be noted that Express supports all operating systems and is a top choice as iPhone and iOS VPN, apps for Android VPN, Windows VPN, and Mac VPN.
They also offer a great money-back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with the service, you have 30 days to ask for a refund. If you decided to stick with them, though, and want to save, Express VPN has a really good referral program. For every person you refer who signs up, you get one month free, which is nothing to scoff at.
ExpressVPN is without a doubt our preferred VPN for many applications, and we also recommend it for bypassing content blocks at school. Sign up with ExpressVPN here.
Exclusive Limited Time Deal: 12 Months + 3 Months FREE for a yearly subscription.
For more details on this VPN service, you can visit our ExpressVPN review.
If your main objective is to get around content blocks, few do a better job of beating the system than CyberGhost VPN.
Its encryption is airtight, so nobody can see what you’re up to. That coupled with the speed of its connection makes it a tough competition to beat.
If you’re still not sure how VPNs work, this is a good company to go with. It has a great customer service team, with representatives available 24/7 to answer your questions via live chat or email.
They’re incredibly fast at responding to users’ questions too, with average email response times in less than 30 minutes.
And now CyberGhost has a special deal! CyberGhost has an amazing 7-day free trial. Their “try before you buy” deal can’t be beat – not only do you get all the premium features of a paid account (most free VPNs impose limits), but you don’t have to put down a credit card. It is 100% committment free! If you aren’t sure if you need a VPN, CyberGhost is the best option!
They also have a great worldwide network of servers, so even if you’re studying abroad, you can use their service.
If you’ve ever tried to check Facebook on your phone at a school campus before, you know that those server blocks usually apply to WiFi-enabled devices as well. Luckily for you, CyberGhost VPN is compatible with every device you can think of. You can even use it on more than one at a time.
Plus, CyberGhost VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you decide it’s not for you, you get a month to get your refund, no hard feelings. And keep in mind that in terms of price, CyberGhost has the best value for your money at only $3.5/month with their 2-year subscription plan and such great features.
So whether you’re a teacher or a student, CyberGhost VPN is the way to go for getting around those annoying content blocks, and keeping nosy snoopers out of your web activity.
Exclusive Offer - Get 71% off for a 2 year subscription plan.
More features on this VPN can be found on our Cyberghost review.
NordVPN is a great way to get around annoying content blocks, especially if you use multiple devices, as it offers users a total of six simultaneous connections without any additional charges. All five connections are uncapped with unlimited bandwidth, which is pretty rare.
When tested, NordVPN showed a slight speed drop-off compared to a normal connection without a VPN, though it’s still fast enough for streaming. They have servers in over 60 countries worldwide, which is about standard for the industry.
NordVPN does not data-log its users, going so far as to ensure the anonymity of your connection on their end as well, making it entirely untraceable. If law enforcement demands information, the company can’t give them data they don’t have.
Note that the company has a referral program that users should take advantage of. If you get a friend to sign up, you’ll get a 20% discount on your service. In addition, you can enjoy one of the cheapest monthly cost in the market of $3.29/month with their 2-year plan with their 2-year special of 72% discount and a 30-day money back guarantee.
One of the few downsides with NordVPN is that it isn’t compatible with Linux, though you can use it with more standard operating systems such as Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Another issue is their refund policy.
We highly recommend you sign up with NordVPN today for a fast, secure and easy-to-use VPN system.
Exclusive Offer - Get 72% off for a 2 year subscription plan.
Have a look at our NordVPN review for more details.
One of our preferred VPN for school is PureVPN based on some good features, such as a kill switch. If the VPN gets disconnected, it automatically closes your internet connection so that your data will always be safe. There’s also split tunneling, which lets you decide which apps will use the VPN and which can use the regular connection. This is very useful for school since you can set your Facebook and other social media apps to run through the VPN, and have your browser running through the normal connection for better speed, for example.
Most VPN services slow download speeds by an average of 6 percent. Conversely, when tested, PureVPN actually increased download speeds when connected to some of their servers, of which they offer 750+ in an industry-leading 140+ countries (!) It should be noted though that when it comes to upload speeds, PureVPN did slow down the regular internet connection by almost 5 percent.
Pure offers 5 simultaneous connections under the same plan, and unlimited bandwidth. If you’re unhappy with the service, PureVPN offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, which means you have a week to test it out and see if you like it.
Overall, given unlimited bandwidth, data safety, and download speeds, PureVPN is also a VPN we recommend to get past content blocks at school.
Exclusive Offer - Get 70% off for a 2 year subscription plan.
More details on PureVPN features and costs will soon be found on our PureVPN review.
What is the Best VPN for School
There is nothing more irritating than being on a school campus and facing endless, seemingly random content blocks.
Even something as simple as checking your e-mail can be impossible thanks to the rigidity of the content filters.
No matter what kind of device you’re using, if a school uses content blocks on your network, you won’t get through them without a VPN.
By using a service like ExpressVPN, you can count on features like:
- 24/7 customer support
- Intuitive interface
- High speed
- User anonymity
Use a VPN like ExpressVPN at your school and watch content blocks melt away at your fingertips!