How to Unblock Websites at School and Work

Bummed out you can’t freely browse the web at work or school?

I know the feeling – but don’t worry, I’m going to show you how to deal with this.

How Do These Firewalls Work, Exactly?

To keep things simple, the network admin will block a website’s domain and/or IP address with the firewall. 

The firewall’s rules will then automatically apply to your IP address – which your device gets when it connects to the network.

If you try to connect to a blocked website, the firewall will use its inbound and outbound traffic rules to restrict your access.

Why Do School and Workplaces Block Websites?

Usually, it’s because they want to make sure students and employees don’t “slack off.”

In a way, it’s understandable, but it’s hardly fair. 

Maybe you just work or study better if you listen to your favorite tunes on YouTube. Or maybe you want to chat with your friends on Facebook during your lunch break.

How to Unblock Websites at Work or School (4 Methods)

Alright, so here are your options:

1. Use a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an online service that secures your web traffic, and hides your IP address.

From the get-go, it’s clearly a good way to bypass firewalls. Once you connect to a VPN server, it replaces your real IP address with its own address.

So, firewall rules will no longer apply for your device.

Also, the VPN app and server establish an encrypted tunnel between them. Any traffic that passes through it can’t be spied on by anyone – not even the network admins.

So you get to unblock any website you want, and also keep all your browsing private.

The only complaint you could have about VPNs is the speed. Depending on how far you are from the VPN server, and what level of encryption you use, your online speeds might take a hit.

And we both know that speeds on workplace and school networks aren’t really that great to begin with.

Luckily, the slowdown shouldn’t be too noticeable. To improve your odds, you should try connecting to a server in your own country, or a country close to you. Also, try using speedy protocols like IKEv2, SoftEther, and L2TP/IPSec.

Picking the right VPN can be a bit tough, though, but don’t worry – I’m going to make things simple for you. Click here to see more about the most popular VPN services on the market right now.

2. Use a Proxy

A proxy is a server that acts as a middleman between you and the web. Basically, it receives your connection requests, and forwards them to the web on your behalf. When you connect to a proxy, it hides your real IP address, so you can bypass firewalls with ease.

A cool thing about proxies is that they have a local cache. They can actually save web pages in that cache. When you request a saved web page, the proxy can return it faster than it would have if it had to retrieve the content from the web.

The main problem with proxy servers is that they don’t offer the same level of encryption VPNs do. So, you can’t really relax knowing the network admin can’t monitor your activities.

Also, your school or workplace might have already blocked the most popular online proxies on their networks. That’s not 100% likely, though, so I say it’s worth giving it a try.

3. Connect with the Website’s IP Address

If you’re lucky enough, the network admin was sloppy, and they only blocked a website’s URL with the firewall, not its IP address.

If that’s the case, you can actually unblock the website by typing its IP address in the URL bar.

So, for Facebook, you wouldn’t type “”. Instead, you’d type “”.

To find a website’s IP address, you can try googling it, using this tool, or using the ping command.

For the ping command, just open the Command Prompt or Terminal, and type “ping [website name]”.

4. Use Tor

I’m saving this for last, and you’ll soon see why.

To start off, Tor is an anonymity network that hides your IP address, and also encrypts your traffic. A bit similar to a VPN, but works differently.

So to answer your question, yes, you can use Tor to bypass firewalls.

But here’s why it might not be such a good idea – even though Tor traffic is supposed to look like regular HTTPS traffic, it can stand out. It’s not exactly clear how, but there actually are services that can detect Tor traffic on school and work networks.

But why does that matter? You’re going to unblock the websites you want, so no problem.

Well not so fast. 

Here’s the problem – even though Tor is a pretty harmless service, it has a very bad rep thanks to the media. Most people associate Tor with child pornography, contract killers, drugs, and bomb threats.

I’m obviously not saying you’re going to browse content like that, but network admins might see things differently. And the last thing you want is to get in trouble with your teachers or boss because they think you’re using the school/company network to access illegal content.

All in all, you should only use Tor as a last resort, or if you know that you won’t get in trouble if the network admins see you’re using it.

Can’t You Also Use a Smart DNS?

Smart DNS services are pretty popular nowadays. So popular, in fact, that many VPN providers offer them as a secondary service.

While a Smart DNS can help you unblock websites, it can’t help you do that at work or school. I mean, it technically could help you, but only if you were dealing with geo-blocks.

Since your main issue here is a firewall, a Smart DNS can’t do much for you. It doesn’t hide your IP address, and it doesn’t encrypt your traffic. So, it can’t help you bypass firewalls.