Accessing Blocked Websites
If you are a student, employee, or part of the military, you've probably experienced the frustration of not being able to access certain websites or even your webmail. Fortunately there are some things you can do to access these blocked sites. Here's how...
Accessing Blocked Websites At School Or Work
Peacefire.org is an authoritative resource for getting around all types of blocking software. This website started up in 1996 and was originally designed to help teens fight censorship issues. It is somewhat of an activism site but it still has great, up-to-date tools and information that you can use to access websites or email that is blocked by your workplace, school, government, etc.
Peacefire lays out several different techniques that you can try to bypass your institution's website blocking or filtering. The methods include using a third party circumventing (proxy) site, establishing your own proxy site, as well as disabling the computer's blocking software. You can also sign up for a free newsletter that gives you a list of new proxy sites, because as I'm sure you can imagine, these unblocking sites are quickly discovered and blocked.
If you want to get started using proxy websites, you can get a list of fresh proxies here. These are all free but you'll have to deal with some extra advertising.
Web Based Proxy and Remote Access Software
Another option you have in order to bypass blocking or filtering software is by installing web based proxy sharing software. This type of software lets you log into your own PC from any other computer that has an Internet connection. This is different from the circumventing proxies mentioned above because it allows you to surf via your home PC where the others allow you to surf using their website. The software is downloaded onto your home computer where you will set up a password. To access your PC you go to the host website, log in and do whatever you like from there. In addition to having full Internet access, you will also be able to view any other files you have stored on your home PC. It's almost like sitting right in front of your home computer.
You can get this kind of software from LogMeIn.com which has a free basic version, or GoToMyPC which offers a free 30-day trial. These have less of a chance of being blocked because businesses like to use them so that employees can access their work stuff from home which in turn equals more productivity for the business. Some employers even pay for subscriptions. See also Remote Access to Your Computer for more details.
Proxy Avoidance Software
Free software such as Crossloop or Lozdoge are similar to the above remote access tools, except the server is hosted directly by your PC so there is no third party website involved like those mentioned above. After installing the software you will be able to connect to your home computer from any other computer via a web-browser and have complete access to the internet.
Internet Access via Mobile Phones
You may also be able to use your cell phone to get where you want to go. Some mobile providers give you the option to use your cell phone as a high-speed modem. Usually it's laptop users who do this while on the road to get an Internet connection, but there's no reason you can't unplug your network cable and do this with a desktop.
Typically, all you have to do is install some software, plug your phone into the USB port of the computer, and initiate a dialup connection. Your mobile provider will tell you what to enter for the username and password, and you'll probably need a data plan if you don't have it already.
Some Words of Caution
These techniques for accessing blocked websites may seem like an excellent idea but before you decide to give it a try, you should consider potential risks involved. Using proxy sites may jeopardize your security. Remember that a proxy is just a relay, so anything that you send out or receive can be intercepted. Be careful not to send important information, such as credit cards or sensitive messages when using a circumventing site, just to be on the safe side.
It might also be a good idea to gauge your school or workplace's tolerance on this matter and make sure they don't have any explicit policies against it. If they went to the trouble of blocking certain sites, it stands to reason that they might not be happy if you find a way to circumvent. Is surfing the net at work or school worth the risk of getting in trouble -- even fired or expelled?
There is also the issue of productivity. If you do spend hours each day surreptitiously surfing the web when you should be working, you're probably not giving your employer what you should. Getting fired because you aren't getting your job done, or flunking out of school because you're too involved with your friends on My Space probably isn't worth it. Okay, enough sermonizing... just be sure you understand the risks when you attempt to access blocked websites at school or work.
Do you have other tips for accessing blocked websites? Post a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Jun 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Accessing Blocked Websites (Posted: 20 Jun 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved