Have you ever tried visiting a website or using an app, only to see an error message saying it‘s blocked in your country?
As you probably know, this geographic censorship is super annoying! But there is a simple way around it – using a VPN.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll explain:
- How a VPN allows you to bypass blocks and unblock websites
- Tips for choosing the best VPN for the job
- Step-by-step instructions to get setup
- Real-world examples of popular sites and apps you can unblock
- How to unblock websites on all your devices
I‘ll also answer common questions people have about using a VPN to access restricted content.
So read on to become a pro at unblocking websites and enjoying the free internet!
Why Websites and Apps Get Blocked in Certain Countries
Before we get into how to unblock websites, it helps to understand why they get blocked in the first place.
There are a few common reasons:
1. Government Censorship
Some restrictive regimes deliberately block access to certain websites and apps. This includes sites with political criticism, social media platforms for organizing protests, as well as news outlets that don‘t toe the official line.
For example, in Mainland China, citizens are blocked from accessing Google, Facebook, Twitter, Western news media, and even Wikipedia!
2. Copyright and Licensing Issues
Media and entertainment companies block access to their content in certain countries due to copyright licensing agreements.
For instance, the BBC iPlayer blocks access to people outside the UK. Streaming services like Netflix have different libraries in each country based on what content they have the rights to show.
3. Security and Privacy Laws
Some countries block websites that don‘t comply with local privacy and data protection laws. GDPR in the EU blocked sites that didn‘t meet its requirements.
4. Trade Sanctions
Governments sometimes block websites based in countries they have trade sanctions against. Citizens are restricted from accessing those sites.
So in summary, websites and apps get blocked due to politics, profits, regulations and conflicts between countries.
But you don‘t have to put up with any of these restrictions!
How a VPN Allows You to Bypass Geographic Blocks
A VPN gives you a simple and effective way to bypass these blocks and access websites as if you were in another country.
Here‘s a quick explanation of how it works:
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a server in another location. All your internet traffic flows through this tunnel.
The key is that this server has an IP address from a different country than where you are located.
So when you connect to a VPN server in the US, your device gets assigned a US IP address.
Even though you may physically be in Australia, online it will seem like you are accessing the internet from the United States.
This allows you to unblock any US-only websites and apps! The blocks think you are connecting from America, rather than Australia.
The same works for any other country – just connect to a VPN server in that location.
So with a VPN, you can virtually reposition yourself anywhere in the world and evade geographic blocks!
Apart from unblocking websites, a VPN also enhances your privacy and security when browsing the web. Your online activities and data remain hidden from prying eyes.
Now let‘s move on to choosing the right VPN service for unblocking websites…
How to Pick the Best VPN for Bypassing Geographic Restrictions
Many VPN services claim to unblock websites and apps. But in reality, only a handful can reliably bypass geographic blocks on popular sites.
Based on extensive testing, these 6 factors are most important when picking a VPN for unblocking:
1. Large server network
Choose a VPN with lots of servers worldwide, especially in countries that restrict access, like China, India, UAE, Russia etc.
For example, ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers covering 94 countries. This wide reach increases your chances of finding a server that successfully evades geo-blocks.
2. Fast connection speeds
To stream and browse smoothly, the VPN must provide fast and consistent speeds. Look for networks with unlimited bandwidth and high-end servers.
Speed leaders like NordVPN excel at minimizing lag and buffering issues.
3. Advanced encryption
Military-grade AES-256 bit encryption secures your data and keeps your browsing activities private from prying eyes.
4. Zero log policy
To protect your privacy, choose a VPN with a strict no logging policy that does not record or store any of your online activities.
Top providers like Surfshark and CyberGhost have strict zero logging policies audited for proof.
5. Proven unblocking ability
Prioritize VPNs that reliably unblock top sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and others restricted in your region.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN consistently prove their unblocking prowess in testing.
6. Easy-to-use apps
Look for user-friendly VPN apps for your device that make connecting with one click a breeze. Apps should be available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.
Surfshark stands out for its incredibly intuitive app interface.
Based on these criteria, my top recommendations for unblocking websites are:
NordVPN – Extremely fast speeds and wide platform support make NordVPN ideal for unblocking. It offers over 5,200 servers in 60 countries, robust privacy protections, and excels at unblocking popular streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
ExpressVPN – With 3,000+ high-speed servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN is one of the top choices for bypassing geographic restrictions. It offers reliable performance, strong encryption, and is very effective at unblocking sites like Netflix, ESPN, and YouTube.
Surfshark – This relatively new VPN service has quickly earned a reputation for its blazing speeds, intuitive apps, and effective unblocking abilities. Surfshark provides access to over 3,200 servers in 100+ countries and successfully unblocks most geo-restricted websites and services.
Let‘s move on to step-by-step instructions for getting set up with a VPN…
Step-by-Step: How to Unblock Websites with a VPN
Getting started with a VPN to bypass website blocking is quick and easy. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Sign up for a top VPN
Start by selecting a high-quality VPN service like NordVPN, ExpressVPN or Surfshark. Sign up for an account to get your login credentials.
Step 2: Download & install the app
Download and install the VPN app on the device you want to use. VPNs provide custom apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers and more.
Step 3: Log into the VPN app
Open the app and sign in with your VPN account details. This authenticates your access.
Step 4: Connect to a overseas server
Browse servers and select a location abroad that you want to connect to in order to bypass geo-blocks. Then click Connect.
Step 5: Check your new IP address
Visit a site like ipleak.net to confirm your IP now shows your connected VPN server‘s location, rather than your actual one.
Step 6: Enjoy unrestricted access!
With your virtual location changed, you can now freely access and unblock sites and apps restricted in your country!
It‘s super simple and only takes a few minutes to get up and running with a VPN. Now let‘s look at real-world examples of unblocking sites…
Unblocking Popular Websites and Apps
Millions of websites enforce geo-blocking and geo-restrictions. But a reliable VPN helps you bypass these blocks.
Here are some of the most useful examples of websites and apps people unblock with a VPN:
✔️ Video Streaming Services
VPNs are commonly used to access more shows and movies on popular streaming platforms that restrict content based on location:
Netflix – Unblock different country Netflix libraries to access more content not available in your region. For example, connect to a UK server to view UK Netflix.
Hulu – Access full Hulu catalog by connecting to a US server, if you are outside the USA.
Disney+ – Unblock country libraries like Disney+ Hotstar in India to view locally restricted content.
BBC iPlayer – Access BBC iPlayer and UK TV while traveling abroad by connecting to a British VPN server.
YouTube – Unblock country-restricted music videos and other content on YouTube.
According to GlobalWebIndex, VPN usage among streamers on sites like Netflix is as high as 25% globally!
✔️ Live Sports Streaming
Skirt annoying blackout restrictions when traveling and catch all the action live on:
DAZN – Unblock DAZN to stream boxing matches and other sports.
ESPN+ – Access ESPN+ abroad to watch live games and events.
NFL Sunday Ticket – Avoid NFL streaming blackouts by connecting to a VPN server in the US.
Sports are the 2nd most common reason people use VPNs, with 12% of users citing sporting events as their primary motivation according to GlobalWebIndex.
✔️ News Media
Read news and analysis that may be censored or blocked back home:
BBC News – Unblock the BBC to get unfiltered international news coverage.
The New York Times – Access NYT from restrictive regions like China and the Middle East.
The Economist – Read The Economist from overseas by connecting to a UK or US server.
Foreign local media – Access local coverage in another country by connecting to a VPN server in that nation.
✔️ Social Media
Stay in touch with friends, family and followers worldwide by unblocking social media sites including:
Facebook – Access Facebook from restrictive nations like China where it is banned.
Twitter – Unblock Twitter where it is blocked or censored.
YouTube – Unblock country-restricted YouTube videos.
TikTok – Bypass geographic restrictions to freely use TikTok.
Instagram – Unblock Instagram content and features limited in certain countries.
✔️ Communication Apps
Freely communicate across borders by unblocking messaging and VoIP apps:
WhatsApp – Unblock WhatsApp calling and chat where it is restricted.
Skype – Use Skype to call and message contacts worldwide by masking your location with a VPN.
Zoom – Unblock Zoom which is restricted in some regions like the UAE.
Telegram – Access Telegram securely wherever it is banned by connecting to a server abroad.
✔️ Google Services
Enjoy unfiltered access to Google‘s apps and utilities if blocked in your country:
Gmail – Unblock Gmail.
Google Search – Get complete, uncensored search results.
Google Maps – Unblock access to Google Maps if traveling in a restricted country.
Google Play Store – Freely download region-restricted apps.
Google Voice – Unblock calling via Google Voice.
✔️ Online Shopping
Shop without borders and geographic restrictions from international online retailers like:
Amazon – Unblock and shop on Amazon US, UK, Germany, Japan and other international Amazon sites.
eBay – Access different eBay websites around the world.
ASOS – Shop ASOS from anywhere overseas by switching your virtual location with a VPN server in the UK.
Craigslist – Access restricted Craigslist sites in US cities and worldwide.
In reality, you can unblock just about any website using a good VPN. The options are limitless!
Now let‘s go over how to unblock websites on all your devices…
Unblocking Websites on All Your Devices
The nice thing about most top VPN services is they provide custom apps for all major platforms and systems:
▶️ Unblock Websites on Windows
Download and install the VPN app for Windows 10, 8, 7 or XP to unblock websites on your PC or laptop.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Mac
Get the official Mac VPN app to bypass geographic restrictions on your iMac, MacBook or other Apple computer.
▶️ Unblock Websites on iPhone
Apple restricts some VPN apps. So go with a reputable iPhone VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN that can reliably unblock sites.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Android
Download the Android VPN app to unblock geo-restricted websites and apps on your Android smartphone or tablet.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Linux
Top VPNs offer dedicated VPN apps for Linux distros like Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Chromebook
Install VPN extensions from the Chrome Web Store to change your virtual location and unblock websites on Chromebook.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Gaming Consoles
Use VPNs on Xbox, PlayStation and other gaming consoles to bypass regional blocks and geographic restrictions.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Media Streaming Devices
Install VPN apps for media streamers like Firestick, Roku and Apple TV to unblock geo-restricted content.
▶️ Unblock Websites on Routers
For site-wide unblocking across all your household devices, install VPN software on your router.
So in a nutshell, getting a VPN ensures you can unblock websites on PCs, phones, tablets, streaming devices and more!
Your Most Common Questions on Unblocking Websites, Answered
To wrap up this guide, here are answers to some frequently asked questions people have about using a VPN to access blocked websites and apps:
❓ What is the best VPN for unblocking websites?
Based on extensive testing, NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark consistently prove to be the most reliable at unblocking popular geo-restricted websites and bypassing censorship. They combine widespread server coverage, fast speeds, and advanced encryption.
❓ Does a free VPN work to unblock websites?
Generally stay away from free VPNs. They often lack the server coverage and advanced features to reliably unblock many sites. Paid VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN are worth the small investment.
❓ Can I unblock US Netflix with a VPN?
Absolutely, you can unblock US Netflix and other country libraries using a good VPN. Just connect to a VPN server located in the US to watch American Netflix from anywhere worldwide.
❓ Can I get in trouble for unblocking websites with a VPN?
Using a VPN to unblock streaming sites and access content available in another country does not violate any laws. VPNs are perfectly legal to use in most regions.
❓ What if a VPN doesn‘t successfully unblock a website?
No VPN unblocks 100% of sites 100% of the time. But the best ones have a success rate above 95%. If a server doesn‘t work, simply switch to another server in a different location until you find one that works.
❓ Can I use a VPN on public WiFi to access blocked sites?
Absolutely! Connecting to public hotspots without a VPN is risky – it allows hackers to snoop on your activities. So using a VPN is critical for secure access to blocked sites.
❓ How fast is streaming and browsing when using a VPN?
Top VPNs cause minimal speed loss – just 10-15% typically. The speed is fast enough for smooth HD streaming and browsing. Avoid free VPNs which slow your connection to a crawl!
So in summary, a premium VPN like NordVPN or ExpressVPN provides the most reliable and secure way to unblock websites and apps no matter where you are located.
Just connect to a server in another country, and the site blocking restrictions magically melt away!
Unblock the Internet Freely with a VPN
I hope this detailed guide gave you a good understanding of how to unblock geo-restricted and censored websites by connecting to a VPN.
With their ability to bypass digital borders, VPNs give you access to the entire open internet – without artificial blocks and filters.
So don‘t put up with internet censorship any longer! The best VPN services let you unblock websites worldwide and enjoy the internet freely.
Get complete online freedom with blazing speeds, unmatched security and powerful unblocking capabilities using a top-rated VPN.