How to Get Around VPN Blocks Safely

Posted on May 3, 2024 by Chantelle Golombick

You’ve got your VPN all set up, ready to stream the latest episode of your favorite show, or maybe you just want some extra security when browsing public Wi-Fi. Instead of the usual login screen, you’re staring down a dreaded error message: “VPN detected” or “Access denied.” What do you do now?

Websites, schools, workplaces and even governments use VPN blocks to try to enforce restrictions. Here’s the good news: there are workarounds, including using a dedicated IP address with your VPN service. Read on to learn why you’re running into these blocks and, more importantly, how to bypass VPN blocks so you can access the internet privately.

Forget about VPN blocks and incessant security checks when you use a dedicated IP address. PIA VPN can set you up with a reliable, static IP address that you alone may use, all without compromising your privacy. As no-one else can use your dedicated IP address, it won’t get blocked, and you’ll be able to keep accessing the sites you need. 



Why Are VPNs Blocked?

Here are some of the most common reasons for VPN blocks:

Monitoring Internet Activity

VPN encryption makes it difficult to track online activity, making it almost impossible for third parties to see what websites people are visiting, what content they’re downloading, or what they’re communicating online. VPN blocking is used to make it easier to monitor internet activity.

Some people use VPNs to break companies’ terms of service – for example, torrenting copyrighted content or accessing region-specific content. Unsurprisingly, ISPs and major streaming platforms do all they can to enforce copyright and geographic content distribution laws. They may flag and block your IP address, or even suspend your account if they can detect you’re using a VPN.

School and Workplace Restrictions

There are two main reasons schools and workplaces might block VPN use: productivity and security concerns, and monitoring and control. Schools worry that students will use VPNs to access streaming platforms, gaming sites, or tools like ChatGPT during school hours. Workplaces might have similar concerns – they don’t want employees using VPNs to check personal social media or shop online instead of working.

These schools and workplaces use network monitoring software to track user activity. VPNs, with their encrypted traffic, can make it difficult or impossible for them to monitor what websites users are visiting or what information they are accessing. By blocking VPNs, they maintain control and visibility over network activity.

Financial and Security Concerns

Online banks and other high-security e-services might try to block VPN traffic to protect their systems and data – they want to know exactly who is trying to access their systems so they can keep their customers safe. To access your online bank with VPN protection, you’ll need one that’s compatible with online banking. If you’re traveling, you can improve your chances of avoiding blocks by using a dedicated IP VPN.

PIA offers dedicated IP addresses from Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, the US, and the UK. Because your IP address never changes, so it won’t set off as many security alarms and you can use it to access your online bank and transact securely. Get PIA VPN with the Dedicated IP feature today and see how it works with our 30-day money-back guarantee. 


Types of VPN Blocks

VPN blocks are becoming more sophisticated. Several advanced methods are used to identify and choke VPN traffic. The most common include:

  • IP blocks: Imagine your VPN is like a house with a unique address. Blockers can deny access to entire lists of addresses known to belong to VPN providers. This is like putting up a “no VPNs allowed” sign on a whole street. When numerous connections originate from the same IP address, it signals VPN or proxy use, making it easy for a platform to build and update a blocklist of banned IP addresses.
  • Deep packet inspection: On top of the blockers mentioned, some ISPs use a more advanced technique called Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). It’s kind of like sending a letter, but instead of just checking the address, DPI steams it open to peek at the contents. With DPI, ISPs can analyze what’s inside your internet traffic, not just where it’s going. This lets them spot hidden VPN use. 
  • Port blocking: Think of ports as doorways for internet traffic. VPNs often use specific ports to connect. System administrators can configure a firewall to block specific data ports commonly associated with VPNs, which prevents you from connecting to the site with a VPN.

7 Ways to Avoid VPN Blocks

Even though websites and streaming platforms have figured out ways to block VPNs, there are several easy ways to get around these blocks so you don’t have to surrender your online privacy and protection.

1. Switch VPN Servers

A simple but often effective strategy is to switch to a different server within your existing VPN service. This changes your IP address, so the VPN block may no longer apply to you. The more servers your VPN service offers, the better your chances of finding one that isn’t blocked. PIA VPN gives you access to servers in 91 countries, so you’ll always have plenty of options. 

A dedicated IP VPN gives you an IP address only you can use. Unlike the shared or dynamic IP addresses VPNs typically provide, your dedicated IP address is unlikely to appear on any IP blocklists unless you’re directly responsible. This helps you avoid VPN blocks and other issues associated with sharing an IP address with the faceless crowd.

2. Use a Dedicated IP VPN

One of the easiest ways to get around a VPN block is to use a dedicated IP VPN.

A dedicated IP VPN can give you an IP address only you can use. Unlike share IP addresses, your dedicated IP address is unlikely to appear on any IP blocklists unless you’re directly responsible for causing an issue. This helps you avoid VPN blocks and other issues associated with sharing an IP address.

You can add PIA VPN’s Dedicated IP feature to your subscription and access online banking, streaming sites, or remote networks securely and without any of the usual VPN-related hitches.


3. Try Another VPN Protocol or Port

VPN protocols dictate the encryption methods and other technical parameters used to establish a VPN connection. Some protocols, like OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec, are more difficult to detect than others, making them less prone to VPN blocks. Likewise, altering the ports through which your VPN operates can make your VPN use less predictable, and therefore more challenging to block.

4. Pair with a Proxy 

Using a proxy is an easy workaround for VPN blocks. Routing your VPN traffic through a proxy disguises its traffic signature and hides the fact you’re using a VPN. To get this right, you need to connect to a VPN first and then connect to a proxy.

PIA’s Multi-Hop feature is another great way to bypass VPN blocks. Multi-Hop routes your traffic through multiple VPN servers and then through a Shadowsocks server, disguising it as normal HTTPS traffic and evading VPN blocks.

5. Use Tor over VPN

Using the Tor browser on top of a VPN adds extra layers of security and anonymity which could help get you around VPN blocks. First, your VPN encrypts your traffic and reroutes it to a remote server to conceal your IP address and change your location. Then your traffic enters the Tor network which routes it through multiple nodes, changing your IP address each time before it’s sent out to the wider internet. 

This makes it nearly impossible for sites to pin you down and block your IP address. That means you can continue to access the platforms and content you love, whenever and wherever.

This method isn’t foolproof, and sophisticated VPN blockers or government censorship systems might still be able to detect your VPN use. Additionally, using Tor over VPN may slow down your internet connection because of the additional encryption and routing through the Tor network.

6. Switch DNS Settings

Changing your DNS settings can help you bypass VPN blocks. It changes the designated naming service used to route your internet traffic. This makes your internet traffic appear to come from a normal device rather than a VPN. It’s a pretty effective way to get around less sophisticated VPN blocks. Popular services like Google, Cloudflare, and OpenDNS all let you switch your DNS settings. Here are the DNS and alternate DNS numbers you can use:

  • Google: 8.8.4.4 and 8.8.8.8
  • CloudFlare: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
  • OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

7. Use Your Mobile Data

If the Wi-Fi network you’re on is blocking your VPN, simply switch to mobile data. That way you can avoid a network’s VPN blocks altogether. This may drain your data, but it’s a reliable short-term fix. 

Reclaim Your Online Freedom

While governments, organizations, and even schools might have reasons to block VPNs, these restrictions don’t have to limit your online freedom. With the right techniques, you can still enjoy the privacy and security benefits of a VPN. So, explore the workarounds we’ve covered, choose a powerful VPN provider, and reclaim your right to a secure and unrestricted internet experience.

FAQ

How do I unblock a blocked VPN?

If a website is blocking your VPN, try switching to different VPN servers, ports, and protocols in your VPN settings. If none of that works, you might need a different VPN service entirely. You could try a stealth VPN as it disguises your VPN traffic as regular web traffic, or a dedicated IP VPN as it gives you an exclusive IP address that you don’t have to share with others. PIA VPN’s Dedicated IP feature helps bypass most VPN blocks, as it reduces the likelihood of your IP address being associated with a VPN service and being blocked.

How do you bypass VPN blocks in Minecraft?

You can bypass VPN blocks in Minecraft using a stealth VPN service that obfuscates your VPN use. It disguises your VPN traffic as regular traffic, helping you slip past VPN detection tools. You can also try connecting with a dedicated IP address from PIA VPN as it’s far less likely than a shared, shared IP address to land up on an IP blocklist.

Which VPN bypasses VPN blocks?

PIA VPN is a good bet, with several nifty features that can help you bypass VPN blocks. The Dedicated IP feature, for one, reserves a unique IP address for your exclusive use. This way your IP address avoids getting a bad reputation and ending up on IP blocklists due to the bad behavior of others. PIA also lets you turn on VPN obfuscation to hide your VPN use, while our vast server network ensures you’ll never struggle to find the right VPN server for the job.

Can you access blocked websites with a VPN?

Yes, you can unblock websites with PIA VPN. A VPN encrypts your traffic and diverts it through a remote server before sending it to its final destination. This helps you bypass content firewalls at work or school. Other than that you’re connected to a VPN, your network admin won’t be able to see and restrict what you do online. You can also use a VPN to change your IP address to another location so you can securely access websites and content unavailable in your region. 

Is VPN blocking legal?

Whether websites and other digital platforms may engage in VPN blocking varies from country to country. In some places, the law is on the side of the individual and VPN use is legal, but VPN blocking isn’t. In other places, both practices are legal. Always check the laws in your location before using either a VPN or a VPN blocker just to be safe.

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