How To Bypass VPN Blocks in 2023: 10 Easy Ways to Get the Content You Want

Accessing your favorite sites with a VPN can be a pain. Here are 10 ways you can bypass VPN blocks in 2023.
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Are you frustrated by virtual private network (VPN) blocks preventing you from accessing your favorite websites or content? You're not alone. Many internet users face this issue, especially those concerned about their online privacy or those who encounter government censorship in countries like China or Russia.

The good news is there are effective ways to bypass VPN blocks and regain unrestricted access to the internet. In this article, we'll walk you through what a VPN block is, how you can overcome it, and introduce you to the top VPN services that consistently unblock websites.

In this article
Why you should use a VPN
10 ways to bypass VPN blocks
5 best VPNs for getting around content blocks
Why are VPNs blocked?
3 main types of VPN blocks
FAQs about how to bypass VPN blocks
Bottom line

Why you should use a VPN

A VPN is like a secret tunnel on the internet. It does two important things:

  1. Enhances your privacy: Think of a VPN as an invisible blanket that wraps around your online activities. It keeps your data private so your internet service provider (ISP) can’t track your browsing history and no one can spy on your email activity while you use public Wi-Fi.
  2. Changes your location: It's like having a teleportation device for your internet connection. You can appear as if you're in a different place, which helps you access content on streaming platforms that might be blocked in your actual location.

A VPN is like your online guardian, ensuring your privacy and giving you the freedom to explore the web as if you were somewhere else.

10 ways to bypass VPN blocks

Dealing with VPN blocks can be annoying, especially when you're trying to do things online. But don't worry, we've got 10 ways to help you get around these obstacles.

1. Choose a quality VPN

Not all VPNs are created equal. When trying to select a VPN that can effectively bypass blocks, it's crucial to consider specific features and qualities.

Let's take a closer look at three recommended VPNs that excel in these areas:


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On ExpressVPN's website

  • Premium VPN offering strong security and ultra-fast speeds
  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

ExpressVPN was created in 2009 and is based in the British Virgin Islands, away from intelligence-sharing agencies. ExpressVPN employs AES 256-bit encryption and offers various VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and its unique Lightway protocol, known for its fast and secure connections.

ExpressVPN also provides unlimited data and never caps your downloads, which means it is super fast — even while you’re torrenting or streaming content on Netflix and BBC iPlayer.


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On NordVPN's website

  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

NordVPN is a reliable VPN provider. It got its start in 2012 and is headquartered in Panama. NordVPN operates independently, free from surveillance alliances like the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes.

NordVPN doesn't limit your internet speed or data usage. It has 5,700+ ultra-fast servers in 60 countries and a strict no-logs policy. NordVPN also uses strong AES-256 encryption and supports secure protocols like NordLynx, IKEv2/IPsec, and OpenVPN.


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On Surfshark's website

  • VPN technology offering stability and speed
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • Headquarters in Nine Eyes Alliance

Founded in 2018, Surfshark operates out of the Netherlands. With 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, you’ll definitely have a lot of options and good speed when trying to get around geo-restrictions.

Surfshark offers obfuscation to hide your data and VPN usage. Additionally, it supports strong security protocols like WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.

Are free VPNs good at unblocking websites?

We don’t recommend a free VPN for unblocking sites, since many of them practice shady data collection and some may even house malware.

2. Switch VPN servers

If you encounter a VPN block, try changing the server you're connected to.

Sometimes, a different server location can help you get past geo-blocks. This is because each VPN server has a different IP address, and websites — especially streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu — use VPN detection to spot those IP addresses and block them.

3. Change your VPN protocol

Experiment with different VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, or L2TP/IPsec. Some protocols are less likely to be blocked than others, and some protocols may even improve your internet speed.

4. Use obfuscated servers

Many VPNs offer obfuscated servers that disguise VPN traffic as regular internet traffic. Also called stealth VPN, enabling this feature can help you bypass VPN blocks.

Some VPNs refer to obfuscated servers by different names. Surfshark uses the term NoBorders, while Proton VPN refers to it as Stealth.

5. Get a dedicated IP address

It’s not a bad idea to look at a VPN with a dedicated IP address. Using one can make it harder for websites to detect and block your VPN connection.

VPNs that offer dedicated IPs include Surfshark, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access.

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On Surfshark's website

  • VPN technology offering stability and speed
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • Headquarters in Nine Eyes Alliance

6. Change ports

If a network uses a firewall to prevent VPNs by blocking specific ports, you can switch to a different port for your VPN traffic to get through.

However, it's important to be cautious, because if your port-switching tactics become known, administrators might start blocking each new port you use to access VPNs, one after the other.

Expert tip: Try port 443 or port 80

If you want to try changing ports, use port 443 if you need to access a blocked site where you may input sensitive information, like your Social Security number or credit card number. Alternatively, you can try port 80, if you aren’t visiting a secure site.

7. Change your DNS settings

Changing your DNS settings can help you bypass VPN blocks, but it's not the safest option as it can pose security risks. Instead, consider using a VPN with private DNS servers to avoid inconsistencies between DNS and IP addresses, which makes it harder for websites to block your connections.

Services like Private Internet Access (PIA) allow you to configure DNS settings within the VPN app, although manual device configuration is also possible (but complex). Keep in mind that changing your DNS settings may not help you bypass DPI blocks.

If you decide to go this route, some reliable DNS servers include:

  • Google: and
  • CloudFlare: and
  • OpenDNS: and

8. Send your VPN traffic through a proxy tunnel

To get around VPN blocks, you can use extra layers of security, called SSL/TLS or SSH proxy tunnels. These make it easier for your VPN to dodge network barriers.

  • SSL/TLS tunnel: Hides your VPN use, making it tough for anyone to spot and stop you.
  • SSH tunnel: Links two devices (like your laptop and PC) through a special connection. It can help you avoid a network's VPN blocks by sending your traffic through a different device. But it might make your internet slower, which isn't great for gaming or streaming.
  • Shadowsocks/SOCKS5: Works like a secret path through a proxy server, and it's so good that it can even get through the strict Great Firewall of China. However, it doesn't encrypt your VPN traffic and goes through two proxies, which isn't the safest.

Some VPNs, like PIA and Surfshark, have a feature that mixes your traffic through a VPN server and a SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks proxy. It can help you avoid VPN blocks, but know upfront that it might make your internet slower.

9. Swap to mobile data

If you find that a network is stopping you from using a VPN, there's a simple solution: switch to using your mobile data. This means you won't have to deal with the network that's blocking VPNs. To do this, you'll need a mobile internet plan from a service provider, which usually comes with your phone or a mobile hotspot device.

10. Try different tools

If your VPN still can't get you past those stubborn content blocks, don't worry. There are a couple of other tricks you can try:

Proxy servers

  • What it is: Proxy servers are like intermediaries between you and the internet. When you use one, websites see the proxy server's IP address instead of yours. It's like sending a friend to check something out for you.
  • Why it can work: Some websites might not block proxy servers, so you can access the content you want through them.

Tor Browser

  • What it is: The Tor Browser is like a super-private web browser. It bounces your internet connection through a series of volunteer-operated servers around the world. It's like taking a very secret and winding road on the internet.
  • Why it can work: Tor is an open-source project designed to help people browse the web anonymously. It can often get around content blocks because it hides your true location and identity.

If your VPN isn't doing the trick, give proxy servers or the Tor Browser a shot. They might be just the ticket to unlocking the content you've been wanting to access.

5 best VPNs for getting around content blocks

Are you tired of those pesky content blocks restricting your access to the internet? We've got your back! Here's a list of the top five best VPN services that are experts at helping you get around these frustrating restrictions.

Let's take a look at what makes them stand out:

1. ExpressVPN

A reliable VPN service, ExpressVPN is known to unblock almost all streaming services. It also comes with cybersecurity features, like Threat Manager, included. Threat Manager blocks ads and trackers that collect your data.

While ExpressVPN is more expensive than most VPNs, its strong security and consistent ability to unblock content make it a good value choice. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give it a try and request a refund if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

ExpressVPN at a glance

Price Starts at $6.67/mo
Number of servers Unknown number of servers in 94 countries
VPN protocols Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2
Best features Split tunneling, IP masking, rotating IP
Learn more See ExpressVPN Plans

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is very good at unblocking your favorite content. It's compatible with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and DAZN for any kind of streaming you could want.

NordVPN has 5796 servers across 60 countries. It relies on the OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and NordLynx protocols and uses the AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with a 4096-bit DH key to ensure your data stays safe. NordVPN also has a strict no-logs policy and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a reliable choice for protecting your online privacy.

NordVPN at a glance

Price Starts at $2.99/mo
Number of servers 5,700+ servers in 60 countries
VPN protocols NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec
Best features Dedicated IP, double VPN, obfuscated servers, split tunneling, SmartPlay
Learn more See NordVPN Plans

3. Surfshark

Surfshark boasts 3,200 servers in 100 countries and uses AES-256-GCM, which is faster than just regular AES-256. This encryption paired with the IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and WireGuard protocols guarantees strong security.

Surfshark’s large network includes streaming-optimized servers for Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, and Disney+. We verified with our own testing that it passes the Netflix check, streaming smoothly with no issues. It also includes a kill switch for added protection. Surfshark doesn't log your activity and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a versatile and reliable choice for safeguarding your online activities.

Surfshark at a glance

Price Starts at $1.99/mo
Number of servers 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
VPN protocols WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN
Best features IP rotator, dedicated IP, dynamic multi-hop, Camouflage mode, bypasser
Learn more See Surfshark Plans

4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN has a massive network of 9,100+ servers across 91+ countries, including dedicated options like NoSpy servers. It supports secure protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard, plus uses AES-256 encryption.

CyberGhost is ideal for streaming, with optimized servers for platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Note that while it did pass our Netflix and speed tests, we experienced some hiccups. It does offer a generous 45-day money-back guarantee for added peace of mind.

CyberGhost at a glance

Price Starts at $2.03/mo
Number of servers 9,100+ servers in 91+ countries
VPN protocols OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard
Best features Dedicated IP, split tunneling, NoSpy servers
Learn more See CyberGhost Plans

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Private Internet Access (PIA) features an extensive server network spanning 84 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Additionally, PIA's AES-256-bit encryption and support for WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols guarantee strong protection.

You can stream Netflix U.S., Hulu, Amazon Prime U.S., Crunchyroll, Eurosport, HBO Max, YouTube TV, and Disney+. During our testing, we had zero issues connecting to different Netflix content libraries, as well as its speed overall. With PIA, you can get a refund within 30 days if you decide it’s not for you.

Private Internet Access at a glance

Price Starts at $2.03/mo
Number of servers Unknown number of servers in 84 countries + all 50 states
VPN protocols WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IPsec
Best features Multi-hop, dedicated IP, split tunneling
Learn more See PIA Plans

Why are VPNs blocked?

As awesome as VPNs are for internet freedom, not everyone is so keen on them. In fact, the liberty that VPNs provide goes directly against some entities' M.O., whose agendas or rules want to prevent VPN use. VPN blocking is when someone or something tries to stop or restrict you from using a VPN.

There are a few reasons why this happens:


In some countries, governments don't want their citizens to access certain websites. VPNs can help you bypass censorship restrictions, so some governments block VPNs to stop this.

Countries where VPNs are restricted include:

  • China
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Russia
  • United Arab Emirates

Copyright protection

People might use VPNs to hide while sharing copyrighted movies or files. To prevent this, copyright owners may try to block VPNs.

Always remember, if you’re torrenting copyrighted content, using a VPN to secure your connection doesn’t make it legal.

Streaming location rules

Streaming services like Netflix offer different content in different countries. People use VPNs to make it look like they're in a different place to get more content. To stop this, streaming services might block VPNs.

School or workplace rules

Sometimes, schools or workplaces don't want students or employees to access certain websites. So, they might block VPNs on their networks.

However, some VPNs have better luck getting past school firewalls, so it’s important to do your research if you find yourself in this situation.

Fraud prevention

Banks and other financial institutions need to know your identity. Imagine if someone concealed their identity so well that they were able to access your account information and completely hijack it? This cybercrime is called an account takeover (ATO).

With a VPN, this is much easier to do. This is the opposite of the security that banks need to have in place to secure your sensitive data and finances. If you need to use a VPN but can’t access your banking site, try adding your bank to your split tunneling whitelist.

Always exercise caution when it comes to using a VPN. Depending on who or what you are trying to get around, you could face potential bans or legal trouble. Be smart, assess your risk, and browse responsibly.

3 main types of VPN blocks

VPN blocks come in many forms, but there are three main types to watch out for: IP blocks, deep packet inspection, and port blocks. Here’s how they work:

IP blocks

Imagine you have a list of phone numbers, and you want to block calls from certain numbers. IP blocking is like creating a list of internet addresses (IP addresses) associated with VPNs and telling your computer or network not to allow any communication with those addresses.

How IP blocks work:

  • Gather a list: People or organizations make a list of IP addresses used by VPN services.
  • Block IP addresses: They tell their systems to reject any connection requests coming from those IP addresses. It's like refusing calls from specific phone numbers.

Deep packet inspection (DPI)

Another VPN block is through deep packet inspection, or DPI. Think of the internet as a highway with lots of cars (data packets) traveling on it. DPI is like inspecting these cars to see if they have a secret code (VPN encryption). If they do, someone might stop these cars and not let them pass.

How DPI works:

  • Inspecting data: Organizations or governments check the data traveling on the internet to see if it's using VPN encryption.
  • Stopping VPN traffic: If they find data using a VPN, they might block it or slow it down, just like stopping certain cars on the highway.

Port blocks

Port blocks can be an alternative VPN block. Imagine the internet as a collection of different doors (ports) to various rooms (services). Port blocking is like locking some of these doors. If your data tries to use one of the locked doors that VPNs often use, it won't be allowed to enter.

How port blocks work:

  • Locking doors: Network security systems can lock specific internet "doors" (ports) that VPNs commonly use.
  • Preventing VPN use: If your data tries to use one of these locked doors, it's like trying to open a locked room — it won't work, and your VPN won't function properly.

FAQs about how to bypass VPN blocks


Is there an undetectable VPN?

Is there an undetectable VPN?

No VPN on its own is undetectable through and through. There is always risk involved in using a VPN. You can, however, use additional tips and tricks to make yourself as close to undetectable as possible:

  • Switch VPN servers
  • Change your VPN protocol
  • Use obfuscated servers or a stealth VPN
  • Get a dedicated IP address
  • Change ports
  • Change your DNS settings
  • Send your VPN traffic through a proxy
  • Swap to mobile data
  • Try a proxy server or the Tor Browser


Can schools block VPNs?

Yes. It’s common for school systems to block VPNs to protect the safety of children — VPN blocks can keep students from accessing mature content like pornography, graphic violence, and more. Many schools, depending on the location, may have laws to adhere to when it comes to student protection.


Why is Netflix blocking my VPN?

Netflix is known to have a strict VPN policy. Specifically, its policy says, “Watching Netflix while using a VPN isn't allowed on an ad-supported plan. Live events on Netflix can't be watched while using a VPN.” If you’re looking to learn how to watch Netflix with a VPN, check out our guide.

Bottom line

All in all, a good VPN should encompass a range of essential features to effectively bypass content blocks while prioritizing your online security and privacy. A good VPN should:

  • Have a vast server network
  • Include different protocols to switch between
  • Have obfuscated servers
  • Offer a dedicated IP address
  • Allow you to change ports
  • Allow you to change your DNS settings
  • Include options to send your VPN traffic through a proxy tunnel
  • Give you the ability to switch over to mobile data

We've recommended our top five VPNs for bypassing VPN blocks — ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, and PIA. These not only excel at overcoming content restrictions but also offer leak protection. If you find these VPNs don’t meet your needs, however, remember you can use proxies or the Tor Browser — or try alternatives from our best VPNs list.

With these tools and strategies at your disposal, you can enjoy a more open, secure, and unrestricted online experience. Enjoy!

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On NordVPN's website

  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Author Details
Cheyenne Lightfoot is a freelance content writer specializing in the intersection between identity and access management and user privacy. As an account executive, she has helped small-to-medium-sized businesses prevent data breaches, safeguard sensitive information, and achieve compliance with passwordless multi-factor authentication software.