So, you have a paper due in an hour, and the only way that you can possibly support your thesis is to get onto Facebook right now. But your school doesn’t allow you to get into blocked websites such as Facebook, along with a bunch of other ones that are crucial to your chances of ever securing not only a passing grade on your research paper, but a prosperous, healthy future. To learn how to get past blocked websites at school you’ll need to know a bit about the school Internet filter. If you want to be able to control your Internet access, these tips can help.
When running into blocked sites really slows your progress down, it might be time to find a way to bypass an Internet filter and school firewalls. These barriers are increasingly common and it will most likely only get worse because schools are looking for ways to control Internet access; Catherine Crump of the ACLU says, "The overwhelming majority of public elementary and secondary schools use filtering" because federal funding for Internet access requires that browsing be limited to what schools believe is relevant and appropriate. Many colleges have jumped into the game as well, creating a strong filter.
We're here to help. But let the record show that by demonstrating these tips, we don't condone violating school policy and will not come save your ass when you get in trouble for bypassing the school’s Internet content filter. As Crump points out, laws around this issue are unclear, so you have to consider the risks before you act. The tips in this article will teach you about sites like VTunnel and more to help you get on blocked websites at school.
What To Do:
- Try the IP address. Your tech guys are probably a step ahead of you on this one—or at least their firewalls and Internet content filtering software are—but it's worth a shot: Instead of typing in a URL like "Facebook.com," go to a site such as SelfSeo or HCIData to find the IP address of the site you want to visit. Type or paste that series of numbers (which is unique to the specific site) into the address bar on your browser. You might get lucky and be able to access blocked websites at school.
- Use a proxy site. When trying to get on blocked websites at school, using a proxy site such as VTunnel may be one of your best options. This approach helps you become "anonymous" when you're online by providing a server that acts as a sort of middleman, relaying your requests to blocked sites and protecting your anonymity to boot. You’ll know how to get on any website at school by using this approach. By using proxy sites like VTunnel, HideMyAss, or the many similar options, you can unblock school computers and surf at will. But be aware that schools (and workplaces) are increasingly catching on to the existence of proxy sites like VTunnel and are looking for other ways to control Internet access. Former military network security professional Fernando C. says part of his job was to review logs each day and search for keywords, including "proxy." The good news is, new proxy sites seem to pop up all the time, so even if you can’t access these examples to get into blocked sites at school, it's relatively easy to find other proxy sites. (The bad news, Fernando points out, is, "Everything you do is logged. There might not be enough manpower to go through everything with a fine toothed comb, but there is a record of every site you visit.")
- Get lost in translation. This technique may also help you learn how to get into blocked websites at school. Depending on the type of website you're trying to access, you might have luck using a website such as Google Translate to get past the school Internet filter. To figure out how to get on any website at school, simply enter the URL of the website you want to visit, choose to translate it from another language into English, and voila—you should be looking content in the face, and your administrators will just think you're fulfilling your foreign language requirement rather than getting past their Internet filtering software. Be warned, though, that if you're trying to access a site like Twitter or MySpace that requires you to sign in, you will more than likely be redirected to the original site, at which point your game will be finis.
- Use your home computer as an ally. Whether you're up against Internet monitoring software on a computer at school or an impenetrable firewall, one other way to go into blocked websites is to set up a program or proxy server on your home computer. Sites such as GoToMyPC.com sell programs that let you access your home computer remotely; if you're feeling more ambitious and/or cheap, Lifehacker and PeaceFire (which focuses on the Internet free-speech rights of students) give detailed instructions for installing open source programs on your home computer that do the same thing. Once these programs are installed, you should be able to bypass the school’s Internet content filter and go "home" from your school computer. This process, although time consuming, will help you get on any website at school.
- Make the call. Learning how to get through blocked websites might be as simple as using your mobile phone to get online, if Internet filtering software is the issue. But if you're up against a firewall or other server restrictions, you may need to use a phone-specific proxy server—like the more traditional proxy servers, mobile proxies are popping up all the time.
From foreign language to proxy sites such as VTunnel, these tips will help you get past blocked websites at school. Remember to follow school Internet policies. Getting past Internet filter software may not be easy, but these suggestions should provide a place to start. Good luck learning to bypass firewalls.
Scope out your school's policy. You may be wondering why your school blocks certain websites. Which sites do they block? Some of the common ones are Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and eBay. Although you most likely won’t be able to access these sites, there are arguments that some of them can be incorporated into the curriculum. Ask your school about its policy, and find out who you can meet with to try to change it. If you suspect that your free-speech rights are legitimately being trampled, contact the ACLU or FIRE.