Reasons why VPNs are blocked
Governments, institutions, and corporates restrict the use of VPNs for different reasons. For instance, governments would consider internet censorship mostly for political gains and to protect the citizens from “harmful information.” Corporates use VPN blockers to protect their copyrights. Streaming websites such as BBC and Netflix are well known to use VPN blocks to prevent people from bypassing geo-restrictions set on their content.
Workplaces will employ VPN blocks to optimize concentration at the workplaces and to ensure compliance with the workplace safety guidelines. In this context, such censorship mechanisms would be reasonable.
Whereas certain types of internet censorship are necessary for security purposes, some restrictions, especially in schools are extremely punitive. College campuses are all about broadening horizons thus such restrictions are highly unjustified.
Is your school using VPN block to limit students’ access to sites containing relevant research information? Well below is a detailed guide to help you get around school blocks.
How to bypass school VPN blocks
Before we go into details on how to evade school VPN blocks, you first need to comprehend the various types of VPN blocks that are commonly used.
1. Port blocking
Data access on the internet involves a series of ports. The default port used by OpenVPN is port 1194. Other VPN protocols use different ports, but network administrators can easily block such ports by use of firewalls.
2. IP blocking
VPN servers have unique IP addresses that share information regarding your location and device with the site you are accessing. Therefore one can easily tell the location of your server by analyzing the details of your IP address. So, some organizations block the popular VPN services IP addresses from accessing their website.
3. Deep packet inspection
As known as DPI, deep packet inspection is also a reliable method commonly used to block VPN services. Each data packet is thoroughly examined to determine the content contained in it. Some advanced DPI techniques can also detect encrypted data using VPN protocols. Judgment on whether or not to allow a packet to pass through the inspection point is based on the content contained in the message.
Some organizations go an extra mile to prevent access to VPN websites. This means that you cannot visit the site to sign up for the services.
Once you have determined the tactic used to block your VPN, it becomes easier to bypass the block. The most effective ways to dodge restrictions set on VPN for schools include use if mobile data, changing VPN ports and using advanced VPN services that can bypass the set blocks.
Use of mobile data
This technique is quite effective for bypassing workplace, schools and colleges’ VPN blocks but not government blocks. Rather than using the local network, which is censored not to allow VPN services, use your cellular data connection. It is one of the easiest and cost-effective approaches although mobile data charges will apply.
Changing your VPN port
Given the many VPN ports that can be utilized to access the internet, network administrators can only manage to close the popular ports. You can, therefore, set your VPN to access the internet using lesser-known ports. Some helpful pots you should consider include port 41185, 80 and 443.
Changing VPN servers/service provider
Similar to VPN ports, schools cannot keep track of all IP addresses used by various VPN services. For this reason, you can leverage low-profile VPN services to bypass the blocks. Ideally, opt for VPN service providers that utilize the whack-a-mole technique to avoid getting blocked. The whack-a-mole technique is a common approach where VPN providers schedule to recycle the IP address to prevent getting blocked.
Use custom VPNs
This technique is very useful but requires a lot of technical skills. Custom VPNs provides you with a unique server IP address. The good thing about this is that not many network administrators are aware of the IP address thus there are minimal chances of you getting blocked.
A similar approach would be to use dedicated IP addresses. A dedicated IP address is unique to a single, and your school network administrator is less likely to focus on it.
Another equally important factor to consider when attempting to bypass VPN for schools is using the best VPNs in the market. You will benefit from a variety of features that enable them to unblock most websites and bypass restrictions set on your school’s firewall.