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Bypassing School and Work Internet Filters

Updated on June 3, 2010

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any issues that following these directions may cause. You must always follow the rules and guidelines established in your school or work terms of use for technology services. Bypassing filters is probable grounds for termination of employment or suspension and or expulsion from an educational institution. With that in mind, please use these guidelines carefully.

During the course of browsing the internet at work, or especially at school, many people find that their favorite sites could be blocked. This could range from YouTube to any internet site at all (an old teacher of mine blocked the internet every time we had class. This worked well to keep students on task, but when I finished all my work, I had nothing to do.). Many students and employees wonder why these sites have been blocked, and spend countless valuable hours attempting to unblock them. This article is designed to allow you to access any site and bypass the school or corporate filters. This also opens you up to a whole new area of trouble, so use this information wisely.

Using an Internet Proxy

  • Setup time required: 2 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Ease of Use: Moderate
  • Detectability: High
  • Background: The first method is the simplest, yet the least safe route to take to unblock sites. An old school administrator told me that the second most searched for term on the school network was "proxy." It's no doubt that a proxy can help you bypass that pesky filter. Proxies work by taking your request for a site, such as youtube.com, and passing it to its server. The proxy then returns your results in an embedded page, sometimes with encrypted data, that prevents the filter from blocking the content. One issue is that many filters block the proxy sites themselves, which prevents you from even starting your filter bypassing. If they aren't blocked, proxies will work for the most part, but they contain a major flaw: they are still websites, which you are visiting, and logging under your account. This means that any admin who checks your usage will see that you accessed "proxy.com" multiple, if not hundreds of times. So if you have an overbearing network admin, I wouldn't rely heavily on the proxy sites. Another issue with these sites is that they are riddled with advertisements, which significantly reduces browsing speed.
  • Use: If you are still set on using a proxy, there is a large list at www.proxy.org where you simply type the website url into the search box.

Changing Website Formats
  • Setup time required: None
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ease of Use: Easy
  • Detectability: High
  • Background: This option is definitely not going to work for the majority of users. However, if you have tried other options, then it can't hurt to attempt this. This method works by tricking the internet filter into thinking you're accessing a whitelisted site instead of a blacklisted one. It works by changing the address you type into the search bar to one that isn't on the block list. This method defeats some simpler filters, but any filter worth buying is going to be able to block it. 
  • Use: To use this method, try typing a different version of the website you are accessing into the search bar. For example, instead of youtube.com, type youtube.ca (the Canadian version of YouTube). To further obscure the site's url, use some of the methods mentioned here such as using a hex or ip representation. (That site is much beyond the technical know-how of this article's audience, but an interesting read.)
Using a Stand-Alone Encryption Program
  • Setup time required: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ease of Use: Moderate
  • Detectability: Almost Undetectable
  • Background: This method works by using a stand-alone program to encrypt all of the data that passes in and out of your computer, thus making it impossible for the filtering software to block your browsing or for network admins to see what sites you are visiting. These programs preferably are run from a thumb drive (to leave no trace) and connect to a host of remote servers to encrypt your data. One of the most secure programs is called "TOR" and another, which I have found to be excellent is called "Ultrasurf."
  • Use: These programs are similar, yet they work in different ways. If you have plenty of space on your thumb drive, and don't mind launching your browser from there each time, Tor is a good choice. Essentially, the program downloads everything it needs, including a portable version of Firefox and saves it to your thumb drive. Then, you can launch the program, which will take a considerable amount of time to connect, and browse the web. You will notice an immediate reduction in speed. Sometimes, I have found Tor to be so slow it is almost unusable. But, your data will be as secure as it can be. A second option, which I have found to be much faster, is called Ultrasurf. This program is also portable (meaning it runs from your thumb drive), but works with Internet Explorer, which is already installed. For that reason, it is much faster and a smaller download. To use it, simply double click the .exe file called "u96.exe" or something similar, from your thumb drive. This method is much faster and more light weight. 
  • Resources: You can download TOR here and Ultrasurf here.
If you need to access a restricted site, then one of the options on this page will certainly be able to do so. Remember that there can always be other means of tracking your browsing behavior, and that some employers have installed programs that take images of your computer every few minutes. Don't risk your job or possible expulsion to view YouTube.

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      Igor 6 years ago

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      ABHISHEK KUMAR 7 years ago from DELHI, INDIA

      thanks for these solutions... i vl apply each n every1 then vl surely inform u about d outcome...lets hope for d best...

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