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It’s not that you want to access a bad website or do something illegal. It’s just that the institution that hosts your current server has ridiculous restrictions on web browsing activity. And sometimes you really need to visit a particular website…even if it’s frowned upon by “The Man”. If you find yourself in a situation like this, there are a few ways to circumvent those annoying fire walls. Just be careful. School and business institutions have amazing I.T. departments who can do things like watch your every move through your desktop. So although the following methods have a good success rate, you still want to exercise caution.

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Use the IP Address

Instead of using your website’s specific domain name, use its IP address. An IP address is a computer’s unique identifier as it is connected to the Internet. By using the IP address, you will be able to evade most restriction software on your server. To find the IP address of your website of interest, use IP address tools like Netcraft and WhoIs Domain Tools.

Go Mobile

Mobile is still a fairly new technology and so on some occasions, the firewalls placed to keep you away from websites will not work on their mobile counterparts. Just check your mobile device and see if you can visit the blocked website that way. You can also visit the mobile site through your browser by typing “m.” before the website’s domain. For example, if you wanted to visit the mobile version of Facebook, just type m.facebook.com into your web browser’s search bar.

The Web Proxy or VPN

Think of a web proxy as a middle man. Instead of you having to go visit a website, it will visit it for you, while changing your IP address in the process. How does this help? Well, by changing your IP address, it essentially hides your identity from sites you visit on the web. Most web proxies also encode the URLs that you visit. This helps make your search history untraceable. If you’re looking for some great web proxies, look into HideMyAss!, Proxify, and Anonymouse. These three proxies have fantastic track records and are the ones most used.  More great VPN/proxies can be found here.

Shorten that URL

Have you heard of URL shorteners? They are these amazing tools that turn really long, drawn out URLs into very short and more manageable ones. For example, if you were to have the URL websearch.google.com/123456789, a URL shortener would convert it to something like http://tinyurl.com/60we. Sometimes, these shortened URLs can bypass the security software that would normally block the site. Some good URL shorteners are TinyURL and Bitly.

Translate Your Words

If your website has a version in another language, usually those foreign language versions won’t be blocked. So, if you were to find the foreign language version of its content, you could visit the site and then use a browser translation tool to revert everything back to your language. Some great tools are Google Translator and Babelfish by AltaVista.

These are just a few of the way to bypass a server’s security software. Most of them are time tested and user approved. However, as technology continues to advance, many I.T. professionals work very hard to stay ahead of the game. Therefore always make sure that the risk is worth the reward…or punishment.

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