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Virtual private network (VPN) blocking refers to methods that prevent the use of VPN tunnels to communicate with other people, machines, or websites. A VPN encrypts data that travels between two parties and gives users a different Internet Protocol (IP) address. This provides users with privacy and security. 

However, for reasons discussed below, governments and organizations sometimes want to prevent the use of VPNs. This leaves some users figuring out ways to unblock VPN connections so they can enjoy secure, discreet connections.

Why Do VPNs Get Blocked?

Government Censorship

Governments sometimes do not want their citizens to access certain websites, so they block these sites. With a VPN, it looks like your IP address is outside the country, making your access look legitimate. To counteract this, some governments block VPNs.

Copyright

People sometimes copy a movie and upload it to a website that allows users to download content, such as a torrent. People who download or upload the content may try to hide their identity with a VPN, so copyright holders may try to block VPNs to prevent illicit dissemination.

Streaming Location Restrictions

If you have ever been to Mexico and tried to use Netflix, you may quickly see that the movies available there are different than those you can access in the United States. For this reason, people often use VPNs to get a United States IP address. When Netflix sees a U.S. IP address, it shows the same content you would get if you were physically in the States.

School and Workplace Restrictions

Sometimes employers or school administrators do not want employees or students accessing certain sites while at work or school, so they ban the use of VPNs on the business’s or school’s network.

Types of VPN Blocking

IP Blocking

With IP blocking, a company or person will collect a list of IP addresses connected with VPN services. All of these IP addresses will then be blocked on the network.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

Deep packet inspection (DPI) checks the data packets moving through the traffic going to and from a device. In this way, an organization or government may be able to figure out if you are using a VPN and stop your activity.

Port Blocking

It is possible for a firewall to block certain ports, specifically ones that VPNs use. If your data travels through one of the blocked ports, the firewall will not allow it to pass through, preventing you from communicating using your VPN.

How To Avoid VPN Blocks

Server Switching

You can often bypass a VPN block by switching servers or going to a different VPN provider. The organization blocking your access may have focused on only the more popular VPNs when choosing what to block, so you may be able to gain access using a less popular service.

Obfuscated Servers

An obfuscated server is able to hide the fact that a user is using a VPN. This makes an obfuscated server a good option if the list of banned servers is relatively comprehensive.

Dedicated IP Addresses

With a dedicated IP address from a VPN provider, the address you use is far less likely to get blocked by an organization. Because it is only used by you, it is highly unlikely to pop up on a list of VPN IP addresses.

Change Ports

When a network is blocking VPNs using a firewall that bans the use of certain ports, you can change the port you are using so your transmissions can still pass through. This requires discretion because if your methods are uncovered, admins may block each port you use to access VPNs, one by one.

Change Security Protocols

When a network is blocking VPNs using a firewall that bans the use of certain ports, you can change the port you are using so your transmissions can still pass through. This requires discretion because if your methods are uncovered, admins may block each port you use to access VPNs, one by one.

L2TP/IPsec

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a method used to transmit internet traffic between users and machines, but it lacks adequate security. To resolve this issue, L2TP is sometimes used alongside Internet Protocol security (IPsec). IPsec encrypts the data packets being sent through the internet, making them extremely difficult to read, even by VPN blockers.

IKEv2

Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) is a VPN protocol designed to work with IPsec. IKEv2 makes the encryption keys. This makes your VPN connection harder to block because the data cannot be deciphered without the secret key.  

SSTP

Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is made to send and receive Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) traffic. PPP is a protocol designed to send data packet-based traffic through the internet. SSTP uses a secure sockets layer/transport layer security (SSL/TLS) channel to send PPP traffic. SSL/TLS gives you security through the use of encryption while also checking how well the signal is going through.

PPTP

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is used to overcome a free VPN blocker because it can transmit a lot of data quickly. This makes it easier to watch videos or listen to high-quality audio for PPTP users.

WireGuard

WireGuard protects data using encryption algorithms to help users bypass blockers. It can be used on a variety of different types of devices, including macOS, iOS, Android, BSD, and Windows.

Switch to Mobile Data

If you are on a network that is blocking VPNs, you can simply get off the network and use mobile data instead. This way, you do not have to interface with the blocking network at all. To do this, you will need a mobile internet service provider (ISP), which comes with a phone or mobile hotspot plan.

How Fortinet Can Help Bypass VPN Blockers

You can use FortiGate to bypass VPN blockers by setting up your own dedicated network using ports allowed by the network you are using to connect. In this way, there is no chance of your IP address showing up on a banned list, the port will be accepted, and the IP address you are using will be a dedicated one. You also get the power to control who can access which applications, which adds another layer of security to your network.

Additionally, one of the VPN flaws associated with public, free VPNs is they often have their IP addresses already banned. However, with Fortinet Crypto VPNs, you get your own VPN without having to worry about its IP address being blocked.

FAQs

What is a VPN blocker?

Virtual private network (VPN) blocking refers to methods preventing the use of VPN tunnels to communicate with other people, machines, or websites.

Why do VPNs get blocked?

VPNs typically get blocked due to government censorship, copyright concerns, streaming location restrictions, or school and workplace restrictions.

What are the different types of VPN blocking?

Types of VPN blocking include Internet Protocol (IP) blocking, deep packet inspection (DPI), and port blocking.

How do you avoid VPN blocks?

To avoid VPN blocks, you can change ports or security protocols. You can also switch to mobile data so you do not have to interface with the network that is blocking your use.