How to Bypass URL Filtering

URL filtering is typically used in workplaces, schools, and other institutions where free and unhindered access to the web needs to be restricted. The best url filter software (opens in a new tab) is efficient and simplifies this process.

However, there will be times when you need to access restricted URLs for one reason or another. The good news is that you can easily bypass URL filtering with some basic knowledge. In this article, we describe exactly how to do it and what you need to be aware of during the process.

How to Bypass URL Filtering: Preparation

Before you begin, make sure your computer has enough battery reserve and is connected to a stable internet connection. Be prepared to download software (if possible) and make sure what you’re doing isn’t illegal or against company policy.

We also suggest spending some time learning how to bypass URL filtering. If you have an hour or two to spare, it’s time to get started!

Step 1: Try using a VPN

If you can install and use a VPN, you should be able to easily bypass most URL filtering software and access websites from anywhere in the world. To get started, you’ll need to install a VPN, and there are plenty of free options out there. If your employer’s system administrator has blocked software installations, you’ll need to try another method.

If you manage to install a VPN, you can simply set the location to another country to access blocked content. This usually works because URL filtering is done at the country level and a VPN routes your traffic through an international server.

For example, if there is a blocked .com version of a website, you can set your VPN to Australia to access the Australian version instead.

Step 2: Use a proxy

Proxies have been around for years and have long been a school favorite for accessing blocked websites. They can also be very useful for bypassing URL filtering.

Like VPNs, proxies route your browsing through a different server. They’re usually app-specific and work by changing your IP address so it looks like you’re in a different region.

The downside is that proxies aren’t the safest way to bypass URL filtering. They don’t always use encryption, and free proxies can insert ads and collect user data. If you decide to use a proxy, be sure to use a reliable option.

Step 3: Access international versions with Google Translate

An innovative method to bypass URL restrictions is to use Google Translate. Simply put, you can make it work like a proxy server, routing your traffic to an international version of the website you want to see.

To get started, copy the URL you want to visit and paste it into the left window of the Google Translate tool. (You must use the translate.google.com version, not the one integrated with the Google search engine.)

Next, change the language in the right panel, press the Translate button and click the generated link to visit the filtered website. This method won’t work for all sites, but it’s worth a try if you’re having trouble.

Step 4: Install Tor Browser

If you’re having trouble getting a VPN or proxy to work, the Tor (opens in a new tab) browser might be your only option. It allows anonymous browsing through the Tor network, routing your traffic through numerous servers to bypass URL filtering.

To get started, install the Tor Browser. If possible, use it with a VPN for best results, although it’s not strictly necessary. Its installation is completely free and allows you to browse the deep web with standard sites.

The downside is that you won’t be able to use Tor if you fail to install new programs. It’s also slow, which can make it frustrating to use. However, it will work and if you can install it, it will almost certainly allow you to bypass URL filters.

Step 5: Consider using an SSH tunnel

Using an SSH tunnel allows you to bypass blocked URLs in the same way as VPNs. However, they can be expensive to set up, require more technical knowledge, and don’t offer any real advantages over VPNs in this context.

However, you may prefer to use an SSH tunnel if you are tech-savvy and already have an SSH server. To start, you will need to connect to it remotely. Configure tunneling to route your browsing traffic. This will allow you to access websites as if you were in the same physical location as your SSH server. By doing this, you can access international versions of filtered URLs.

Summary

Although businesses, schools, and other institutions usually implement URL filtering for a good reason, there are times when you’ll want or need to bypass it to access specific websites. In this article, we have described several ways to do this.

Using a VPN is often the easiest option, but it’s not the only one. Proxies are versatile and beginner-friendly tools, and you can even use Google Translate to bypass filtering. Using the Tor browser or SSH tunnel requires a little more technical knowledge, and they should be a last resort for most people. However, they are both effective.

To learn more, read our guide the best VPNs (opens in a new tab)the difference between a vpn and a proxy (opens in a new tab)and our list of best url filter software (opens in a new tab) on the market. You might also like to read about why your organization should use URL filtering (opens in a new tab).

The techniques used in this article should never be used for illegal purposes or to access illegal content. They all offer legitimate ways to bypass URL filtering, but it’s important to be careful how you use them.

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