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How to Bypass VPN Blocks and Stay Anonymous Online: A Short Summary

ISPs, governments, websites, services, and workplaces all have plenty of reasons to block your VPN. They can do it in a number of ways and it’s up to you to keep your VPN going.

Apart from picking a solid VPN service, there are a few additional tricks to bypass VPN blocks:

  1. Switch servers to get a new IP (hopefully, one that’s not blacklisted).
  2. Use obfuscation when faced with governmental firewalls.
  3. Switch ports if you’re dealing with port blocking (port 443 is usually a safe bet).
  4. Get a dedicated IP to avoid IP blacklisting.
  5. Switch to mobile data to bypass Wi-Fi VPN bans.

With VPN blocking methods being as sophisticated as they are, we recommend using NordVPN to ensure your online freedom and security. NordVPN comes with top-tier security features, thousands of servers around the world, unparalleled geo-unblocking capabilities, and bulletproof obfuscation.

Learn more about bypassing various VPN blocks in our full guide bellow.

Get around censorship iconThe growing popularity of VPNs shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. They allow you to bypass online censorship, access geo-restricted content, and use the internet more safely.

However, governments, ISPs, and many online services don’t look too kindly on VPN traffic. In fact, they’ll do anything in their power to block it.

Fortunately, there are some tricks you can try to make your VPN undetectable. For this guide, we have used different ways to bypass VPN blocks and selected the three best VPNs for this job.

Keep reading to learn how to bypass VPN blocks and enjoy complete internet freedom.

Important note: We don’t encourage or condone illegal usage of VPNs. Please, check your local laws and regulations before using these services.

The Most Common Types of VPN Blocks

Infographic showing the most common types of VPN blocks

Online entities can block your VPN in a number of ways. Every block requires a different solution, so determining your block type is quite important.

Here are the most common types of VPN blocks paired with the respective bypass options.

IP blocks

Blocking your IP will prevent your devices from accessing certain content. When you connect to a VPN server, you are assigned a fake IP that may or may not be blocked by any given service.

Streaming services and gaming sites are notorious for IP blocking. They can ban a group of known VPN IPs and simply serve you with a proxy error. Censorship-heavy countries like Iran might do the same, but they usually rely on sophisticated firewalls.

The best possible solution here is to get a dedicated VPN address. These are far less likely to get flagged and blacklisted as long as you’re not doing anything suspicious. Alternatively, you can get a VPN with a large server network that refreshes its shared IPs regularly. If you’re looking for a provider that offers both dedicated IPs and thousands of shared IPs, we recommend giving NordVPN a try.

Port blocking

All VPN protocols use specific ports, which can be blocked in an attempt to render your VPN useless. Basically, anyone can block ports, including you within your firewall settings. This is usually done by ISPs to prevent malicious behavior, but websites and governments are no strangers to port blocking either.

Port 443 (used by OpenVPN TCP) is usually left unblocked, so you can always try to bypass port blocking with this protocol. WireGuard is another excellent option since it can use any TCP port (it can’t establish UDP connections, though).

Deep packet inspection (DPI)

Encrypting your traffic doesn’t change the fact that it’s sent via so-called packets.” DPI simply inspects the metadata of each individual packet and can flag VPN usage that way.

Fortunately, this is quite a sophisticated VPN-hunting method, which makes it unavailable to groups without a lot of resources. Traditionally, this is one of the favorite techniques used by the Chinese Great Firewall.

When it comes to potential countermeasures, obfuscation is your only tool here. Stealth VPNs can disguise your VPN traffic to look like regular browsing and pass challenging DPIs. One of these stealth VPNs that has a really good reputation is the aforementioned NordVPN.

How to Bypass VPN Blocks

Infographic showing how to bypass VPN blocks

The type of VPN block dictates the potential solutions. We tested 27 VPNs for this guide from our headquarters in the Netherlands as well as from Serbia. So, the tips we’re about to share have been thoroughly tested and should help you deal with 99% of known VPN blocks.

With that in mind, let’s see how to make your VPN undetectable.

1. Only use top-quality VPNs

The VPN market is overflowing with options, ranging from solid services to VPNs in name only. Picking a good VPN is essential if you want to stand a chance against modern VPN blocks.

Your VPN needs top-tier encryption, good VPN tunnels, a lot of servers, advanced security tools, and obfuscation. This reduces the list significantly. You’re already familiar with one of our favorite high-quality VPNs (NordVPN), but we’ll share our top three VPNs to overcome VPN blocks below.

2. Switch your VPN server

Getting around VPN blocks is sometimes as easy as switching a server. This is a good trick to try against IP blocks, since every VPN server comes with a different IP. If one IP is blacklisted, hopefully, the next one is not.

This trick is particularly effective with gaming sites and streaming services like Netflix. In general, switching servers is a good thing to do when you’re trying to beat geo-restrictions.

Simply connect to a different location or a different server in the same location (if your VPN app allows for that). Sometimes, reconnecting to the same location will also do the trick. You can use an IP tool to check your VPN’s IP at any given time.

3. Use obfuscation

Obfuscation (or stealth) disguises your VPN traffic. It’s the only way to deal with deep packet inspection. You should mainly use it to beat firewalls in censorship-heavy countries like China.

Different VPN providers have different ways of offering this option in their software. For NordVPN, for example, you can connect to their specialobfuscated servers” by choosing those from their server list. Surfshark, on the other hand, automatically uses their “Camouflage mode” the moment you connect using OpenVPN.

Note that, in some cases, obfuscation can slow down your connection significantly, so we don’t recommend using it unless you absolutely have to.

4. Choose a different port

This is an easy fix when some ports are being monitored or blocked. With most VPNs, you won’t have to change ports manually. You can simply choose a protocol that uses some of the available ports (usually OpenVPN or WireGuard). This can be done in the VPN’s settings.

Note that, if you’re using OpenVPN, you should pick a TCP connection since UDP utilizes port 1194, which is blocked quite easily. Contrary to some online guides, we don’t recommend using outdated protocols like PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP, no matter how attractive they may seem.

If you’re doing it manually, picking port 443 is usually a safe bet, since a huge chunk of the internet uses it. This makes it much more challenging to block without affecting non-VPN users as well.

5. Get a dedicated IP address

Using a dedicated IP should help you prevent IP blacklisting. It also prevents CAPTCHA pop-ups and doesn’t raise any suspicion while using financial apps. This is because a dedicated IP address is a fixed IP that is assigned only to you: it’s just like your own IP, but encrypted and not tied to your actual location.

The only drawback is that most VPN providers charge extra for a dedicated IP address, which is why some users might be wary. Regardless, it provides an excellent solution for VPN blocks.

However, dedicated IPs are not ideal for torrenting, since they are tied to your VPN account. In other words, if someone is downloading illegal content, it’s quite easy to trace that P2P activity back to them. If you’re an avid torrenter, shared IPs are a much better option.

6. Switch to mobile data

Switching your phone to using mobile data is an effective method to get around VPN bans in schools and workplaces. Since VPN blocks are set on Wi-Fi networks, you can bypass them by switching to mobile data. Note that this trick can’t help you with state-administered censorship or DPIs.

We also wouldn’t recommend this if your mobile plan doesn’t feature unlimited bandwidth. You’ll probably experience high data usage while doing this, which can lead to astronomical phone bills.

Best VPNs for Bypassing VPN Blocks

Best VPN iconDealing with VPN blocks is the ultimate test for any VPN service. There are plenty of free VPNs out there, but we recommend going premium for this particular purpose. Depending on your situation, you’ll need some advanced features that are usually not available in free limited versions.

With that in mind, here are our top three VPNs that can help you bypass VPN blocks and stay anonymous.

1. NordVPN: The best VPN for bypassing VPN blocks

Screenshot of NordVPN website homepage with added logo in the corner

Features:

  • Excellent security package
  • Obfuscated servers
  • 5,400+ servers in 60+ countries
  • Dedicated IPs available

NordVPN is the best VPN service out there, in our opinion. It supports all the relevant VPN tunnels, including a proprietary WireGuard-based protocol called NordLynx. It offers top-tier encryption, a reliable kill switch, dedicated IPs, and much more.

Apart from obfuscation, NordVPN also allows you to activate double encryption in high-risk locations. Some additional options include malware prevention and ad blocking, which are always useful online.

NordVPN operates more than 5,000 servers across the globe and even offers specialized servers for torrenting. It also works with all popular streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime.

The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which you can use as a free NordVPN trial.

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2. Surfshark: The fastest VPN with unlimited connections

Screenshot of Surfshark VPN provider website homepage

Features:

  • Incredible speeds
  • Solid security
  • Obfuscation
  • 3,200+ servers in 100 countries

Surfshark is the fastest VPN out there that also supports unlimited simultaneous connections. It offers solid VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard. It recently released the Nexus feature, which guarantees even better speeds and security.

Surfshark currently offers 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, which is an impressive server network. It also supports obfuscation and comes with geo-unblocking capabilities, too. Note that Surfshark has virtual servers in India, which is very important after its government adopted mandatory data retention regulations. We should also mention the CleanWeb feature, which eliminates annoying ads, malware, and trackers.

You can test Surfshark for free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, but even beyond that it offers some of the cheapest premium VPN subscriptions out there.

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3. ExpressVPN: Powerful and beginner-friendly

Screenshot of ExpressVPN provider website homepage

Features:

  • Good security setup
  • Automatic obfuscation
  • 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries

ExpressVPN is a beginner-friendly service with top-tier security and more than 3,000 servers all over the world. Its obfuscation is activated automatically when DPIs are detected. It only uses shared IPs, which is good for all your torrenting activities. It doesn’t have dedicated IPs, which hardly matters with obfuscation present.

ExpressVPN boasts the so-called “TrustedServer technology, which relies on diskless, RAM-only servers. All this makes it a great tool for bypassing all sorts of VPN blocks.

You can try ExpressVPN for free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Why Would Someone Block Your VPN?

Infographic showing why would someone block your VPN

Now that we’ve discussed the best solutions for VPN blocks, you might be wondering why someone would take the trouble to block VPNs in the first place. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons why companies, governments, and ISPs might want to block your VPN. The most common ones will be described below.

Online censorship

People under restrictive regimes use VPNs simply to bypass online censorship. Due to censorship in China, for example, users don’t have access to many popular platforms, including Google and YouTube. The Great China Firewall blocks VPNs, and selling these services could get you arrested in this country.

Some governments want to control what can be viewed online, and using a VPN can undermine that. That’s why they resort to anything from sophisticated blocking tactics to banning VPNs altogether.

Some VPN blocks primarily focus on blocking torrenting and other modes of illegal P2P filesharing. Downloading copyrighted movies, games, music, apps, or books denies the copyright holders their share of the profit. As such, it is illegal in many jurisdictions and considered online piracy. Your ISP will often throttle your speed if torrenting is detected, but you could also face civil and criminal charges under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act).

Its (potential) illegality aside, torrenting can leak your IP and leave you open to DDoS attacks and other security risks. P2P clients like uTorrent are far from safe, and using a VPN can mitigate these flaws. This, in turn, means that copyright holders want them blocked.

Streaming geo-restrictions

Streaming libraries on sites like Netflix, for example, differ depending on your country. The licensing restrictions prevent Netflix from equalizing its content across the board. This also goes for services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. Alternatively, some of these streaming platforms might be banned in your country altogether.

This is why people use VPNs to stream Netflix US and similar platforms in other parts of the world. In response, streaming services have developed VPN blocking methods that serve you with a proxy error instead of displaying any content.

For example, Netflix is doubling down on its VPN ban, and other streaming services are not far behind. If you want access to the best shows on Netflix, you’ll have to use a VPN that can bypass these blocks.

Fraud prevention

VPNs will mask your real IP address and other personal information. This makes it impossible for financial services to confirm your true identity. That’s why sites that deal with money usually want to block VPN usage.

Furthermore, most VPNs don’t offer dedicated IP addresses. This means that you’ll access your banking apps with a different IP every time, which is beyond suspicious. Your account might get blocked or suspended just for trying to use a VPN.

While a VPN does keep you safer on the internet, banning access to, for example, your bank account from various worldwide IP addresses is a way to promote safer online banking. Among other things, these rules can prevent money laundering and other illicit activities.

Workplace and school policies

Schools and workplaces will sometimes use firewalls to block certain websites. This usually includes social media platforms, porn sites, gambling outlets, and streaming services. Companies and schools can block specific URLs or implement a blanket ban for certain categories.

Using a VPN will help you bypass these bans, which is why schools and workplaces might want them blocked. The network administrators will use firewalls to flag and block any VPN traffic.

Blocking illegal activities

The main purpose of these blocks is to prevent illegal activities on certain apps and sites. For example, people might use VPNs to gamble illegally or cheat on gambling sites. Naturally, online casinos will try to block VPNs to prevent this type of behavior.

People will also use VPNs for gaming to get better prices or even cheat in a multiplayer environment. This is why platforms like Steam don’t want anything to do with VPNs and block them every chance they get.

Bypass VPN Blocks Today

There are several governments and ISPs all over the world that do not approve of the use of VPNs to access online content and try to prevent users from bypassing VPN blocks. However, apart from picking a reliable VPN, there are other methods you can use to access the online content you want, like getting a dedicated IP address or using a different port.

Free VPN services can be useful when you want to access certain websites online, but premium providers offer advanced security and privacy features that are essential if you want to bypass VPN blocks successfully. We recommend using VPN providers like NordVPN or Surfshark, as they offer effective tools that enable users to view a wide range of online content.

How to Bypass VPN Blocks and Stay Anonymous Online: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have more questions about dealing with VPN blocks, just click on one of the FAQs below to expand the answer.

Does Netflix block VPNs?

Unfortunately, yes. Netflix’s anti-VPN systems detect when multiple users log in with the same IP, which suggests VPN traffic. You can bypass this by getting a dedicated IP from a renowned provider like NordVPN. Alternatively, you can switch servers until you stumble upon a non-blacklisted IP or use obfuscation to hide your VPN traffic altogether.

How do I bypass a VPN block at school?

The easiest way to bypass VPN blocks at your school is to enable obfuscation. This will hide your VPN traffic and bypass your school’s firewall. Surfshark is an excellent tool for this, thanks to its so-called Camouflage mode. Since school firewalls aren’t that difficult, you could also try running OpenVPN TCP with your VPN.

Why is my VPN blocked?

You can experience VPN blocks for a number of reasons. A website or service could be blocking your assigned IP, your VPN traffic could’ve been flagged as malicious, or your government might be trying to censor your internet access. The port you’re using for your VPN connection could be blocked as well. Learn more about VPN blocks and their countermeasures in our VPN unblocking guide.

Can my ISP see that I'm using a VPN?

Yes! With encryption, your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online, but they still know that you’re using a VPN. This is not an immediate problem, unless your ISP tries to block your VPN. In that case, you can solve the problem by enabling obfuscation and masking your VPN traffic to look like regular browsing. You can find top-tier services with obfuscation on our list of the best VPNs for this year.

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