How to Unblock Websites & Access Restricted Content (13 Easy Ways)

Written by Nica Latto |
Updated on April 05, 2024

Whether it’s school, work, or something else preventing you from accessing websites, there are ways to bypass blocked content. Access your favorite sites and content with our tips on how to unblock websites. Then try our blazing-fast VPN to help get around content blocks immediately.

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    There are several ways to try to get around content blocks online. We’ve compiled a list of 13 ways to bypass blocked websites. If you want to know why sites restrict content or the legality of getting around content blocks, skip down to our sections on why websites get blocked and whether it’s legal to unblock them.


    1. Unblock websites using a VPN


    Using a VPN is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to get around content blocks and unlock the URLs you want. A VPN (virtual private network) routes your internet traffic through a remote server, letting you choose your virtual location.


    When you connect to a website with a VPN, the website thinks that the virtual location shown by your VPN is your actual location, which means you can unblock content in different global regions. And that’s just one of the benefits of a VPN — VPNs also encrypt your connection, helping to secure the data and personal information like credit card details you enter when shopping online.

    Here’s how to unblock websites with a VPN on both desktop and mobile:


    1. First, download and install your VPN — get a free trial of AVG Secure VPN right here:


    Downloading and installing AVG Secure VPN.
    1. Now set up your VPN on Windows or get your VPN set up on Mac.

    2. Turn on the VPN and select a server location.

    3. You’re now browsing anonymously and securely from a virtual location!

    The AVG Secure VPN dashboard showing that a secure connection has been established.

    A VPN is one of the easiest, most comprehensive tools to bypass content blocks. But if you’re using a public computer at a library or need to unblock websites at school, a VPN may not be the best option, because you need to download it.


    Some content providers have also started blocking known VPN IP addresses, so your VPN might not work on the sites or services you want to use. When VPN providers realize one of their IPs has been blocked, they usually open new addresses to provide more options.

    • Not free (most reputable VPNs aren’t free)

    • Download required

    • Can be slow — but, there are ways to speed up your VPN connection

    As well as being one of the best ways to bypass content blockers, reliable VPNs like AVG Secure VPN offer a wide range of server locations, meaning you can customize your connection to access your favorite sites and services while away from home — all while masking your activity behind a virtual IP address for maximum privacy and anonymity.

    2. Unblock websites using Tor


    Tor is another option for getting around content blocks and bypassing geo-restrictions. Tor — or The Onion Router — routes your online traffic through many layers of encryption, hence its name. Tor lets you access the web anonymously and get around most content restrictions.


    While Tor offers strong online privacy, its downside is slow speeds. That’s because the Tor network and browser are an open-source project maintained by volunteers. Another downside is that you usually can’t install Tor on a school, work, or public computer.

    Here’s how to unblock websites using Tor:


    1. Go to the Tor website and install the Tor browser.

    2. Open Tor and configure it according to your preferences.

    3. Then, connect and enter the URL you want to access. 

    A screenshot of the Tor browser homepage.

    The Tor browser offers a powerful cloak of anonymity, helping users bypass content blocks and explore the uncharted corners of the internet. But it lacks the flexibility of a VPN, is blocked by many content services, and can slow down your browsing speed considerably, meaning it’s not the ideal choice for streaming.

    • Secure and encrypted

    • Free

    • Run by a non-profit, with no data mining

    • Lets you access the dark web

    • Works well to unblock many sites

    • Can’t bypass some specific blocks against Tor nodes, including Netflix

    • Slow speeds

    • Requires downloading

    • No customer service to help configure Tor properly

    3. Unblock websites using a web proxy

    web proxy works well for quickly unblocking content on public computers. And if you need a website unblocker for school — for Chromebooks, say, which run Android apps — and you can’t download a VPN or Tor, then try a web proxy. You’ll connect to a proxy server first, and then on to your desired website — hiding your actual location in the process.

    Learning how to unblock websites on a school computer or Chromebook is easy when you use a web proxy. To use a proxy server, go to a proxy website, enter the URL of the actual website you want to visit, and press a button to access it.


    The downside is that before visiting the site you want, you need to navigate to the web proxy first — every time, in every tab. It can be a little annoying and generally isn’t great for streaming content online.

    A simplified diagram illustrating how a web proxy works.

    And while web proxies are usually free, they don’t provide the same privacy and security protections as a VPN or Tor. But they are easy to access and use. Simply navigate to your web proxy site of choice, enter the site you want to access, select your server, and go.

    • No installation required

    • Works on public computers and school Chromebooks

    • Often free

    • Can bypass basic content blocks

    • May break some website functionality

    • Doesn’t safeguard private personal data

    • Not optimized for speed

    • Not guaranteed to unblock all sites

    • You have to open the web proxy every time you visit a new site

    4. Unblock websites using a browser extension


    A proxy extension is like a more convenient web proxy, and it’ll get you around content blocks on a school computer very quickly. A proxy extension sits right in your browser, so you won’t waste time constantly navigating to the proxy — it’s ready whenever you want to access blocked content.

    • Proxy extensions in the Chrome Web Store are vetted by Google for security

    • Usually encrypt your browser connection

    • Can choose your server location

    • Usually free

    • Won’t disrupt any of your other Chrome security extensions

    • Requires installation on your computer

    • May show ads

    • May not be optimized for streaming content

    If you can’t download a VPN or Tor (maybe your school or business forbids it), don’t want to use a proxy, but still need to unblock something quickly, there are some other quick methods to access blocked websites that could work.


    The following methods for unblocking sites may not be as reliable or user-friendly as the options outlined above, but they can be effective site unblockers in a pinch.

    5. Use a URL shortener


    If your school or work network is using a very basic blocking method, using a URL shortener might help. Services like TinyURL shorten a website’s URL, which will help you unblock websites without a proxy, VPN, or Tor. For example, if your school blocks Facebook but you need to use the social network for research or some other academic reason, creating a different (shortened) URL may help you access it.

    Here’s how it works:


    1. Go to a URL shortening site like is.gd, TinyURL, or Bitly.

    2. Enter the website you want to unblock into the URL field, then click the button to shorten it.

    3. Copy your new, shorter URL and paste it into your computer browser.

    A screenshot of the is.gd URL shortener for bypassing website blockers.

    If the alternative URL bypasses the content blocker’s filters, you'll be able to get to the site you want.

    • No downloading required                         

    • Free

    • Quick and easy

    • May or may not work to unblock sites

    • No security

    6. Try switching protocols


    If your school or work network uses a primitive blocking method that filters out a simple list of URLs, you might be able to get around it by switching from HTTPS to HTTP (or vice versa). For example, if https://www.somewebsite.com is blocked, http://www.somewebsite.com might still work.
    A graphic illustrating HTTPS to HTTP protocol switching.

    But it’s important to note that HTTP is an unsecured protocol and should be avoided whenever possible. And never enter any personal information or passwords into a site using just HTTP, because of potential security vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

    • No downloading required                         

    • Free

    • Quick and easy

    • May or may not work to unblock sites

    • No security; HTTP protocol is unsecured

    If all else fails, protocol switching may be worth a try. But as well as leaving you exposed to man-in-the-middle attacks, you can’t use it to access sites or content that are geo-blocked in your location.


    Use AVG Secure VPN to help unlock URLs, encrypt your connection, and switch your virtual location.

    7. Use web archive


    If you encounter restrictions accessing a live website, a potential workaround is to access the blocked content by visiting the Wayback Machine, an internet archive that stores copies of countless web pages. Just input the blocked URL into the archive's search bar and click "Browse History." Unless the Wayback Machine itself is blocked, you may discover an archived version of the content you're seeking.

    The internet archive search bar on Wayback Machine.

    Using an internet archive is a nifty way to access restricted content — even on school or work computers that won’t let you access proxies or download software. But of course, it has its limitations. The archived material may not be up to date, and you won’t be able to bypass geo-blocking or access streaming services.

    • No downloading required                         

    • Free

    • Quick and easy

    • May or may not work for all blocked content

    • May display outdated content

    • No security

    8. Use Google translate


    Another Google-based workaround is to use Google Translate to unblock websites. This method for accessing restricted sites might not show the page you want to view perfectly, but it may be enough to let you read the content you’re looking for.

    Here’s how to use Google Translate to unblock websites:


    1. Go to Google Translate.

    2. Choose any language for the from field and English for the to field.

    3. Paste your desired website or URL into the box.

    Copying a URL into Google Translate to bypass a website restriction.
    1. Click the link.

    2. You may now be able to view it as an unblocked website.

    3. Be aware that some elements on the page may break.

    Accessing a blocked website by running the URL through Google Translate.

    In this method, Google Translate accesses the website on your behalf and presents you with a cloned image of the site on its own URL. The advantage of this technique over some others is that Google Translate itself is unlikely to be restricted, and it’s possible to interact directly with the website clone — albeit with limited functionality.

    • No downloading required                         

    • Free

    • Quick and easy

    • May or may not work as a true website unblocker

    • May break some website functionality

    • No security

    9. Use a dynamic IP address


    Some websites block connections from certain groups of IP addresses due to spam or cybercrime concerns. If that includes your IP address, you won't be able to visit that website. A dynamic IP address — one that changes with each use — will let you bypass this restriction. It’s the same trick phone spoofers use to keep calling you from different phone numbers.


    Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, so simply restarting your router may get you a new one. Otherwise, connecting to a VPN or proxy server is the easiest way to get a dynamic IP address.

    • Increases your online privacy                 

    • If done manually, it’s free

    • May require a subscription

    • Can involve some technical know-how

    If you’re on Windows, you can also use Command Prompt to change your IP. Open Command Prompt by simultaneously pressing the Win + R keys, then type cmd and click OK. In the window that opens, type ipconfig /release (including spaces) and press Enter. Then type ipconfig /renew (including spaces) and press Enter, then close Command Prompt.

    10. Use Safari Configurations


    For Mac users, configuring a proxy directly within Safari is another option worth considering. While it requires slightly more effort during the initial setup compared to using browser plug-ins or extensions, it avoids the need to manually connect via a proxy service whenever you wish to unblock a specific website.

    Here’s how to configure Safari proxy settings:


    1. Launch Safari. 

    2. Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.

    3. Navigate to the Advanced tab.

    4. Click the Change Settings button.

     Changing settings in the Safari browser Advanced Preferences menu.
    1. Look at the proxy protocol options.

    2. Ensure that the right proxy is selected.

    3. Add the proxy service endpoint address.

    4. Finally, click OK followed by Apply.

    Selecting a desired proxy protocol in the Safari menu.

    Although configuring a proxy server directly through your Safari browser settings has some advantages over using a web proxy, their fundamental plusses and minuses as website unblockers are mostly the same. But avoiding the need to manually connect via a web proxy service isn’t just convenient — it bypasses access restrictions to web proxy sites themselves.

    • Easy to use                                         

    • No download

    • Avoids the need to visit web proxy sites
    • No security                                             

    • More complex initial setup

    • Only possible on macOS

    If you’re looking for an effective, reliable, and easy-to-set-up method to help unblock website restrictions, look no further than AVG Secure VPN. As well as securing your connection with ironclad encryption and masking your internet activity, it comes with over 50 global server locations to choose from, helping you optimize download speeds and access your favorite content.

    11. Use an HTML to PDF converter


    If you just want to read the contents of a particular webpage, and you don’t need to visit the actual site, you can use a PDF converter to convert the HTML source code into a readable PDF.

    HTML to PDF converter tools change the contents of any URL into a PDF document, including the text and pictures on the site. Then, you can either preview the PDF online, download it to read it later, or print it.

    • Free and easy                                            

    • No installation needed

    • Inefficient browsing method

    • No on-page interaction

    • You can’t visit the actual site                

    12. Use a private browser


    Another effective way to try to unblock sites and view blocked content is to use a web browser built for privacy and security. Not only will a private browser help prevent unwanted tracking while you browse, but it can also help you access blocked websites.

    One such browser is AVG Secure Browser, which includes built-in access to AVG Secure VPN — together, they can help you bypass website access restrictions, while also encrypting your connection and concealing your online activity.

    To start accessing blocked websites: 


    1. Download and install AVG Secure Browser.



    1. Open AVG Secure Browser.

    2. Click the green shield in the top-right corner.

    3. Open the Security & Privacy Center.

    A screenshot of the AVG Secure Browser Security & Privacy Center.

    From there, you can activate multiple privacy features — including AVG Secure VPN — to help hide your presence from blocked websites and access restricted content.

    • Requires extra installs to access all premium features

    • Requires browser installation

    Using a top-rated private browser like AVG Secure Browser isn’t just a great way to access additional built-in features like a VPN. Built from the ground up with privacy and security in mind, its advanced suite of anti-tracking and fingerprinting technology helps you hide your identity and bypass bans and blocks — all while enjoying a seamless browsing experience.

    13. Change your DNS server


    Changing your Domain Name System (DNS) server — either manually or via a smart DNS proxy server — also helps you access geo-blocked content, by tricking a website into thinking you’re in a different location.

    You can change your DNS server on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS (iPhone or iPad). Or, you can change the DNS server within your browser or via your router. The biggest difference between a smart DNS proxy and a VPN is that your IP address is still visible if you use a smart DNS proxy alone.

    • Free website unblocker                            

    • Doesn’t require installation

    • Doesn’t sacrifice speed

    • Works on all device types

    • Doesn’t hide your IP address or provide encryption

    • Setup can be intimidating

    What’s the best way to unblock websites?


    Now let’s review the main website unblocker methods described above and get a snapshot overview by rating them across a variety of factors including ease of use, speed, security, and more.


    Green dots mean the method scores highly in that category, while orange dots mean it’s less optimal, and a red dot indicates low performance or complete absence of a feature.


    As you can see, although each method has its drawbacks, VPNs score highest overall, especially in the categories that are critical for effective website unblocking. But if you need a no-download option to use on a public device, a web proxy service is probably your best bet.

    An illustration of the various strengths, weaknesses, and features of different methods for unblocking websites.

    Why do websites get blocked?


    Websites get blocked when they detect an IP address that isn’t supposed to access the restricted content. Your IP address identifies your device on the internet and reveals your physical location. That’s what lets websites find your IP and block (or allow) your device.

    If you use a VPN, it’s easy to hide your IP address so that it appears you’re coming from a different physical location, which can let you access blocked websites. But websites can also detect data stored in browser cookies. And if you’re trying to access a subscription site or paywalled content, the page will be blocked unless the site can verify that you’re logged in and have a subscription.

    Geo-restricted content


    Geo-blocking is common for streaming services — such as Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify — that have licensing agreements for the content they provide. Those agreements specify the films and TV shows they can deliver in each region they serve. That’s why many people traveling abroad use VPNs to unblock content that’s available in their home country.

    A graphic illustration showing that website access can be blocked in different countries.

    School and work restrictions


    It’s obvious why your school or workplace might not want you to access certain things such as adult content or unsafe websites. But if they’re preventing you from streaming music or accessing news sites, it’s probably because they’re worried about productivity and bandwidth consumption.

    A graphic showing school and workplace website blocking restrictions.



    Some countries censor online content within their borders because of cultural, religious, or political concerns — in other words, to limit the flow of information. China, with its Great Firewall, is probably the most notorious example, blocking lots of sites like Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). When countries censor the open web, their citizens often find ways to unblock banned websites.

     A graphic illustration showing that state censorship is a common reason for blocked websites.



    Internet service providers (ISPs) typically block websites for legitimate reasons — URLs known to contain or traffic illegal or pirated content are often blocked by most ISPs. If you live in a country with strict censorship laws, ISPs may be required to block websites according to local regulations too.

    A graphic illustration showing that ISPs themselves may not allow access to certain sites.

    Is it legal to unblock websites?


    The legality of unblocking websites varies depending on location. Many countries (even China, to some degree) allow VPNs. For more details about specific countries, research what local laws say about VPNs. If you’re torrenting copyrighted media, that’s almost always illegal, whether you’re using a VPN or not.


    Bypassing content restrictions to access specific shows on platforms like HBO Max or Netflix isn’t illegal — but it may be against their terms of use. Likewise, unblocking legitimate websites on an institutional device won’t get you in any trouble with the law, but could land you in hot water with your school or employer.



    Will any of these methods allow me to access blocked websites at school?


    Yes, some of the above methods to unblock websites will work at school. But due to restrictions imposed by the network administrator, it’s likely that you won’t be able to download a VPN or Tor. That means a proxy or one of the quick methods outlined above will be your best bet if you need to unblock sites and access materials for a school project.


    How about unblocking sites at work?


    If you have a fixed workstation or can download any software you want on a laptop, a VPN is perhaps your best option to unblock websites at work. If that’s not the case — if you have a hot-desking setup or your employer restricts what you can download on your laptop — then neither a VPN nor Tor will work. At that point, a web proxy or browser proxy is likely your best option.

    The easiest way to access blocked sites on any device

    A VPN is hard to beat if you want to access blocked websites and stay anonymous online. As well as helping to overcome content blocks and restrictions of all kinds, VPNs offer online privacy to help keep your browsing activity hidden from hackers, internet service providers, and even governments.


    AVG Secure VPN offers an array of virtual locations to choose from, with dedicated services to help you view and stream your favorite content on the go. AVG Secure VPN also protects your internet traffic with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, the same standard used by banks. So you’ll be both hidden and equipped to bypass content blocks to help access the sites you need. Try it free today.


    Is there a free VPN?

    It’s possible to get free VPNs, but their features won’t be as comprehensive as premium products. And unreputable VPNs might even monetize your browsing activity by selling it to data brokers or other third parties. You can try AVG Secure VPN for free with a 7-day trial.

    Can I unblock websites on my phone, too?

    Yes, you can unblock websites on your iPhone or Android using the most common methods for unblocking websites on a computer. But, fiddling around with a web proxy or Tor might not work well due to decreased speeds. 

    Setting up a VPN on mobile is one of the best ways to unblock sites on your phone. VPNs are easy to set up, easy to use, and protect you on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Whether you use Android or iOS, AVG has you covered with a top-of-the-line mobile VPN app. Give it a try today.

    How can I unblock a website on Chrome?

    Here’s how to unblock sites on Chrome: Open Settings and change or reset permissions while you’re on the website you want to visit — this will help you get around content blocks on Chrome immediately. Tor is a separate browser, but it also has an extension for Chrome. Both VPNs and web proxies work well on Chrome too.

    How do I unblock a website without a VPN?

    It is possible to unblock websites using alternative methods such as the Tor browser or proxies, but there are downsides to both. Using a VPN not only helps you access restricted content, but it also encrypts your data for airtight privacy and security.

    How do I unblock sites on my laptop?

    A VPN is among the best and most convenient tools for unblocking websites on a laptop. As well as helping you quickly and easily watch TV online and bypass other content blocks, you’ll also enjoy other benefits of a VPN, such as a choice of optimized server locations and encryption to help block your activity from being tracked.

    How do I unblock websites on a Chromebook?

    You can unblock websites on a Chromebook with a VPN, as long as the VPN has an Android-supported app. If you need a website unblocker to conduct research on a school Chromebook, try a web proxy server — though you may have to search for one that the IT department hasn’t restricted yet.

    Download AVG Secure VPN to help get around website blocks and stay private online.

    Download free trial

    Install AVG Secure VPN to help get around website blocks and stay private online.

    Install free trial

    Download AVG Secure VPN to help get around website blocks and stay private online.

    Download free trial

    Install AVG Secure VPN to help get around website blocks and stay private online.

    Install free trial