Easy Ways to Avoid Website Blocks at Work

Corporations take network security very seriously, as they should. It would be absurd for most businesses to enable unfettered internet access through a corporate network that also contained sensitive data and servers. In order to ensure that employees can’t stumble upon malicious sites, and to prevent potential intruders, security measures must be put in place. However, many businesses take it too far and restrict access to legitimate websites.

Here are some potential methods for sneaking around a corporate internet filter to access what you need while at work.

1. Use a VPN

A virtual private network is a great way of circumventing blocks because there’s a lot of incentive for businesses to use them. If your business allows remote working, they should already be using VPNs. However, there are often limits on what you’re allowed to do with a corporate VPN – the VPN server operator can restrict the ways in which their servers interact with the wider internet.

Some businesses allow their workers to use a VPN while on the corporate network, but many don’t. The network administrator will also be able to see that you are connecting to a VPN, so this isn’t a viable option for everyone.

2. Use a Proxy

If your business’ network uses a proxy by default, it’s possible that they also offer users the option of using different network profiles, depending on whether they want to use the network for personal or work-related tasks.

As with a VPN, if the business you work for controls the proxy service, they can set their own parameters on how it can be used. If you want to use a separate proxy service that you set up and pay for yourself, then your business might prevent you from doing so.

However, you can set up your own proxy service with relative ease, and, unlike with a VPN, it won’t necessarily be obvious to the network administrator that you are connecting to a proxy server. If you’d like to read more about the different types of proxies, check out this article by Smartproxy.

3. Try Using The IP Address Instead of The URL

Depending on the method your business uses for its network filtering, you might have unfettered access to the internet as long as you navigate via IP address rather than using the URL. As far as your web browser is concerned, either format is fine for accessing specific services. However, if the network is set up to only filter URLs, the filter will ignore IP addresses and green light them irrespective of the URL they point to.

When you ask your web browser to access a URL, the browser performs something called a DNS lookup. This process is similar to looking up the phone number for a business so you can call them. This is your web browser taking a website name and converting it into a string of numbers that defines its address.

The only difficulty with this method is working out the IP for websites you want to access. You can do this via the command prompt on any Windows account with admin privileges. Simply type ‘tracert domain.com’ and hit return – Windows will resolve the associated IP for you. Alternatively, there are a number of websites you can use, such as ‘ipinfo.info’; a quick Google should yield a number of results.

4. Use a Smart DNS

Historically, one of the most popular reasons for using VPNs and proxy servers has been to access region-locked content on online services like Netflix. Many of us still remember that golden age when you could freely access content usually reserved for other regions. However, most online services, Netflix in particular, now crack down hard on any users they suspect to be using a VPN or proxy.

A smart DNS enables you to get around any region locking by altering information about your location but leaves everything else untouched. A VPN will route all of your traffic through a different network, and by blocking IP ranges that are known to be associated with VPN providers, it is easy to prevent users from using most commercial VPNs to access a service.

Using a smart DNS won’t do anything to improve your privacy and your data won’t be encrypted. However, this is an effective way of accessing region-locked content on a work network that doesn’t allow you to use VPNs or proxies.

5. Use Google Translate

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but it is apparently one that organizations all over the world have found themselves powerless to stop. In order to utilize this trick, all you need to do is ask Google Translate to translate the website you want to access from any language into English. If the site is already in English, you can simply tell Translate to translate it into English anyway – it won’t care!

Of course, using this method won’t provide you with any privacy protections; nor will it enable you to access content that is locked by region rather than by specific blacklisting.

Where there’s a will, there’s away. One of the above methods should work for you, but make sure that you fully understand the implications of whatever method you choose. Thanks.