A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the easiest way to anonymously surf and access geo-restricted content on the web. On the contrary, governments, websites and other institutions use VPN blocks to discourage the use of a private network. In this vulnerable digital world, where every second is posing a threat to your online existence, the need of a security tool like VPN is critically essential.
Netflix VPN block is quite famous as the leading streaming company has been shutting down VPN users and has imposed a ban on the use of VPN. Similarly, the war against VPN in China is another story of the same picture.
Before we dig deeper let's discuss what is a VPN block.
Understanding VPN Blocks
VPNs stand out as an avenger for privacy and give its users liberty to access the restricted side of the internet so blocking a VPN is not counted as “Unusual.” Numerous factors led to the blockage of a VPN service. Many ISPs and websites try to block VPN, and one of the prominent examples is of the streaming giant “Netflix.” It does this to prevent VPN users from watching geo-restricted content and maintaining the licensing deals with TV studios and movies.
VPN block has many forms, but some of the most common are mentioned below;
DPI (Deep Packet Inspection)
As it is quite evident from its name that it inspects data, but it is not as simple as it sounds. This technically-complex method analyzes encrypted data and searches for unique cryptography. If it’s a match, then the access can be blocked instantly. Since best VPNs use military grade encryption, thus It is by far the most difficult than other methods.
A VPN masks your actual IP and gives you a fake one, this way you access geo-restricted content and stay anonymous on the internet. Many websites compare the fake IP provided to you with the list of IPs they have of the VPN provider; if it’s a match, then they can block your access. Although this method requires in-depth research and high-end tools but is one of the standard VPN blocking ways.
VPNs often use specific ports to unblock content. These ports are often referred to as secret tunnels and hallways. These ports have their number, and all it takes to block your access is to know from which tunnel the traffic is coming from.
Who Blocks VPN Traffic and Internet?
The internet is a jungle where a journey of a thousand websites begins with a mere click.
“The internet has been a boon and a curse for a teenager” –JK ROWLING
Where the internet is aiding globalization, there are examples which censor the internet in many parts of the world. This restriction comes in many shapes and sizes some of the typical examples include;
Unrestricted internet access gives liberty to the internet user. It also provides access to understand the cultures and customs of different countries. However, many countries like China, Iran, UAE (and other middle eastern countries) want to control what their citizens should read, discuss and share for which they restrict their citizens to a specific internet circle via complex firewalls. VPNs in these countries are considered as a blessing in disguise, but VPNs has their own hurdles. As many countries block VPN service using state-of-the-art firewall techniques. “The Great Wall of China” (not to be confused with the wonders of the world) is an evident example of it.
Workplaces often prevent employees from visiting content that might offend their fellow coworkers. These websites are referred to as NSFW (Not Safe For Work). You boss might feel that most of these websites are nothing but a source to distract you from assigned duty. Such restrictions are often justified but are annoying.
School and Colleges Restrictions
Schools and colleges usually block access to a lot of web content. Schools blocking the VPN is justified as pupils are minors and they do not know how dangerous the internet can be. In colleges, however, it is ironic as many of the attendees are adults. Since these college-goers know how to unblock website using a VPN, thus college administrations hire tech-experts to block VPN and restrict their students over the internet.
Websites That Block VPN
It is getting increasingly common for streaming websites to block VPN. Mainly because fastest VPNs give its users the ultimate liberty to watch content without being restricted to borders. Streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer had to take countermeasures because they have a geo-restriction agreement with TV shows and movies. Another reason for this blockage is because copyright holders want to maximize their profit and VPN is the main hurdle in their path.
How to Avoid VPN Blocks
There is no doubt that the online world has risks crippling, with increasing level of government surveillance and hacking use of a VPN is inevitable. ISP and government are on a constant fight with VPNs. Thus many trusted VPN providers have shifted their headquarters to countries which hardly put their nose in users privacy or those which are not the part of 14 eyes treaty.
If unluckily you are in a country where VPN is blocked, and it is frustrating you to limit your access on the web then here is how you can avoid a VPN block.
How to Get Around a VPN Block
Change VPN Traffic Port
Changing the VPN traffic port might help to avoid a VPN block. If your ISP has put a block on your standard port for VPN connection, then this will come in handy. Try connecting TCP port 80 or TCP port 443 for an undetectable VPN connection.
Create an SSH Tunnel
SSH stands for Secure Shell Tunneling, it gives your data an added shell of protection inside the encryption you are using which makes it insanely harder for VPN blocks to detect.
Use SSL/TLS Tunnel
SSL stands for Secure Socket Tunneling; this gives your VPN an added layer of encryption which results in masking your VPN connection. This way you will not be marked as if you are using a VPN service and will avoid you from a VPN block.
By Changing Your VPN Settings
Changing your VPN setting a little can tighten your security, and can make your VPN harder to block. Tweaking the encryption protocols is the best to start off with. Using AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN protocol is so common that VPN blocking algorithms are targeting it the most. Switching to a different protocol is helpful if you are ready to compromise on other factors such as speed and reliability.
- OpenVPN – it is one of the most used VPN protocols. If detectability is not a concern, then you should go with this VPN protocol.
- LT2P/IPSec – LT2P stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol which itself doesn’t provide any encryption which is why it is combined with IPSec which stands for Internet Protocol Security. Before you opt for this VPN protocol, let us remind you that it is not as fast as OpenVPN, but just for the sake of detectability, you can rely on it over OpenVPN.
- SSL/TLS – SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. These less common VPN protocols are rarely targeted and are a good choice if you want your VPN to stay undetectable.
- SSH – it is a rarely offered VPN protocol which stands for Secure Shell Tunneling. This protocol is capable of breaking through most firewalls and blockades.
Switching the port which your VPN uses for traffic can yield VPN undetectability. Only selective VPNs allow port switching. Following is a list of ports that are lesser known and are perfect for undetectability of your VPN.
Alternatives for VPN Blocks
Tor (also known as The Onion Browser) is a perfect alternative to a VPN. Since it is an open-source browser, it helps people surf the web anonymously. A Tor-VPN combination can also provide excellent results while remaining to be undetected.
Also known as a SOCKS5 proxy, it is designed to give users restriction-free access over the web. SOCKS5 is widely used in censorship-heavy countries like China. Shadowsocks adds a layer of authentication which ensures that only the user intended is accessing the proxy. SOCKS5 is a useful and reliable way to encrypt and send traffic. Since it is one of the most effective alternatives, it is harder to set up.
It was created to bypass VPN blocks in Turkey. This software easily creates new nodes for tor. As it is effortless to block tor’s nodes, so if an old node gets blocked somehow Lahana will create a new one.
VPN blocks are quite easy to overcome with a little lateral thinking. Where sophisticated deep packet inspections methods are employed to stop VPN activity countermeasures such as complex tunneling, and VPN alternatives are used effectively.
We are still in the very beginning of the Internet. Let’s use it wisely.
– Jimmy Wales (Co-Founder of Wikipedia)