How To Bypass VPN Blockers in 2024: 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 2024.
We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) can be powerful tools to bypass various restrictions, but some sites are designed with VPN blockers to prevent this type of traffic. Luckily, there are many ways to get around VPN blockers, which is sometimes as simple as switching servers. 

You'll have the best luck successfully getting a VPN unblocked if you're using some of the best VPNs available, since they'll come equipped with higher quality servers and additional features, like dedicated servers.

In this article, we'll walk you through how VPN blockers work and how you can overcome them.

In this article
10 ways to bypass VPN blockers
5 best VPNs for getting around blockers
What are VPN blockers?
Why are VPNs blocked?
Why you should use a VPN
FAQ
Bottom line

10 ways to bypass VPN blockers

Dealing with VPN blockers can be annoying, but we've got 10 ways to help you get around them.

1. Choose a quality VPN provider

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, like:

  • Obfuscated servers
  • Proxy tunnels
  • Dedicated IP addresses

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

Best for Number of servers Affordability Device compatability
Number of servers 6,300+ 3,200+ Servers in 105 countries
Obfuscated servers?
Dedicated IPs?
Price $3.09–$15.99/mo $2.19–$17.95/mo $6.67–$12.95/mo
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN review

Get Surfshark

Read Surfshark review

Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN review

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 bypass VPN blockers because it gives you a different IP address. Many websites that block VPNs — especially streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu — do so by using VPN detection to spot IP addresses used by a VPN 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:

6. Change ports

If a network blocks VPNs using a firewall to block 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 blockers, 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 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: 8.8.4.4 and 8.8.8.8
  • CloudFlare: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
  • OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

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 they are: 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 they 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

 We've tested and researched a lot of VPNs and recommend these top five to help you bypass frustrating restrictions.

1. NordVPN

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 74% off 2-year plans + 3 months extra
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
  • Too many confusing plans

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 6,300+ servers across 111 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.

The NordVPN interface along with its list of specialty servers.

NordVPN at a glance

Price Starts at $3.09/mo (billed every two years)
Number of servers 6,300+ servers in 111 countries
VPN protocols NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec
Best features Dedicated IP, double VPN, obfuscated servers, split tunneling, SmartPlay
Learn more See NordVPN Plans
Read Our NordVPN Review

2. Surfshark

Unlimited Device Protection and Large Server Network
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Surfshark's website
VPN
Surfshark
83% off + 3 months free
  • All-in-one VPN app with 24/7 protection thanks to 3,200+ RAM-only servers in over 100 countries
  • Real-time malware defense, webcam protection, alternative ID creation, ad blocking, and more
  • One subscription covers unlimited devices for your entire household with access to 24/7 support
  • Headquarters in Nine Eyes Alliance

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 successfully unblocked Netflix Japan for us as well as Netflix Canada, Australia, and UK.

Surfshark at a glance

Price Starts at $2.19/mo (billed every two years)
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
Read Our Surfshark Review

3. ExpressVPN

Extensive Server Network Provides Protection Wherever You Go
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website
VPN
ExpressVPN
Save 49% (3 months free)
  • Hides intrusive display ads when browsing the web, improving page speed and easing data usage on mobile
  • Privacy and safety benefits of a VPN with best-in-class encryption and innovative server technology in 105 countries
  • Enjoy no activity logs, malicious sites and trackers protection, and more on up to 8 devices
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

A robust 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 uses its proprietary Lightway protocol, while NordVPN uses its NordLynx protocol.

ExpressVPN uses its proprietary Lightway protocol, while NordVPN uses its NordLynx protocol.


ExpressVPN at a glance

Price Starts at $6.67/mo (billed annually)
Number of servers Servers in 105 countries
VPN protocols Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2
Best features Split tunneling, IP masking, rotating IP
Learn more See ExpressVPN Plans
Read Our ExpressVPN Review

4. CyberGhost

Leading Protection, Even on Smart TVs and Gaming Consoles
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On CyberGhost's website
VPN
CyberGhost
Save 83%
  • High-speed global servers offering industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption and no data logs
  • Unlimited bandwidth, DNS and IP leak protection, and automatic kill switch available for up to 7 devices
  • Configurable with your router, smart TV, Amazon Fire TV stick, or gaming console
  • No split tunneling feature

CyberGhost VPN has a massive network of 11,700+ servers across 100 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 has a kill switch feature that should disconnect your internet if the VPN fails, but our tests found it doesn't always work properly.

CyberGhost at a glance

Price Starts at $2.19/mo (billed every two years)
Number of servers 11,700+ servers in 100 countries
VPN protocols OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard
Best features Dedicated IP, split tunneling, NoSpy servers
Learn more See CyberGhost Plans
Read Our CyberGhost Review

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Save 82% on a 2-year subscription + 2 months free
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Private Internet Access's website
VPN
Private Internet Access
  • More affordable than most other VPNs, including ExpressVPN and NordVPN
  • Fast internet speeds and strict no-logs policy
  • Unblocks Netflix and other streaming services
  • Antivirus and dedicated IP address cost extra

Private Internet Access features an extensive server network spanning 91 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 or with the service's speed overall. With PIA, you can get a refund within 30 days if you decide it’s not for you.

Private Internet Access comes with a kill switch feature that you can access in the Privacy section of its app.

Private Internet Access at a glance

Price Starts at $2.19/mo
Number of servers Servers in 91 countries + all 50 U.S. states
VPN protocols WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IPsec
Best features Multi-hop, dedicated IP, split tunneling
Learn more See PIA Plans
Read our PIA Review

3 main types of VPN blocks

VPN blocks come in many forms, but there are three main types — 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.

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:

Censorship

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 that using a VPN doesn't make torrenting copyrighted content legal.

Streaming location rules

Streaming services like Netflix offer different content in different countries. You can use a VPN to make it look like you're in a different location to gain access to more content. To stop this, some streaming services 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 could 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.

Why you should use a VPN

So if VPN blockers are ruining your day, why should you even bother using a VPN in the first place? The two main reasons VPNs are worth it are as follows:

  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.

FAQs


+

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 tested top VPN services list.

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

Leading Protection, Even on Smart TVs and Gaming Consoles
4.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On CyberGhost's website
VPN
CyberGhost
Save 83%
  • High-speed global servers offering industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption and no data logs
  • Unlimited bandwidth, DNS and IP leak protection, and automatic kill switch available for up to 7 devices
  • Configurable with your router, smart TV, Amazon Fire TV stick, or gaming console
  • No split tunneling feature

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.