ISPs Blocking Websites? This Is What You Can Do

Last updated on March 11th, 2022 in VPN

isp blocking websites

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to access a specific website? You enter its address and press the search button, but your browser does nothing? Isn’t it unpleasant? One of the reasons you cannot access the desired website is that it has been blocked by your internet service provider. Are ISPs blocking websites? The short answer is yes. 

Why do some websites and services get blocked by ISPs? They do it for a variety of reasons. Some websites are blocked for legal reasons, while others are blocked due to internet censorship. The scale is determined by the type of IPS. Smaller providers would limit themselves to the most popular websites in order to avoid using much recourse. 

Giant providers will do everything in their power to prevent you from accessing the desired website. That is something to think about before deciding on a provider to meet your needs.

So, before you begin overcoming possible censorship, you must fully understand why you are unable to access the website.

Can ISPs Block Websites?

Most of us are taught that we need an internet connection from our ISP in order to have web access. But what if this were not true? What would happen then, when someone tells you they don’t know how connections work?  

ISP’s are responsible for connecting you to the internet. When someone tells me they can’t access something, it usually means that their ISP isn’t doing what is needed in order to provide them with an accessible connection. There are ways how to check if ISP is blocking website, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

The main thing you need to understand on why and when you could get an ISP ban is how your connection to an internet resource or website works per the image below:

can isp block websites

As you can see you are not directly accessing a website but getting through network filters from your internet service provider, therefore, they are the gatekeeper of your connections. This means that it depends on them also if you can load your favorite content or website performs properly.  

Also, important to understand that is that there is a difference between geo-blocked websites and ISPs blocking websites.  Check our full guide on how to bypass geo-blocks if that is your concern. 

How ISPs Block Websites?

Before we get to know how to remove ISP blocking, you should know that there are several ways to block websites.

Firewalls

Firewalls are the invisible borders that separate your internet connection from other networks. They help providers keep you safe by blocking access to any websites or content they deem inappropriate, like social media sites where kids spend too much time these days!  With a firewall in place, your IP address will be blocked against those Firewall-approved sources so it won’t matter what device (or devices)you’re using when accessing them – only one is allowed through at once. 

Firewalls are the easiest way to get an IP ban and an alternate response to the question can ISP block websites. 

DNS Filters

This is what happens in the background when you type a website’s name into your browser’s URL bar and press enter.:

  • The browser requests the IP address of the site from your ISP.
  • The ISP uses its DNS server (which functions as an Internet “phonebook”) to determine the IP address associated with the website’s name.
  • The IP address of the site is returned by the ISP, and your browser connects to it.

 

The Domain Naming System (DNS) prevents you from accessing content on a website through its IP address. For example, if your ISP wanted to block Instagram they would alter the DNS. 

So that when users type “www.” into their browser bar it would return an invalid link instead of giving them access or loading up with an explanation of why this has been done. This is usually due to either mistake made by technicians during configuration changes or malicious action taken against those who don’t understand how these systems work.

Deep Packet Inspection

DPI is a technique for analyzing your network in order to see your data requests. There is DPI software that allows you to check the websites you want to visit and see the names of the pages you want to visit. This information enables your service provider to configure firewalls or DNS filters to prevent access to the desired content.

wireshark

With DPI, your ISP could see the following:

  • You have not encrypted DNS queries  (the website address you connect to).
  • The HTTPS SNI (Server Name Indication), tells them the name of the website you want to visit. Even if you use HTTPS sites that encrypt your traffic, your ISP can still see which websites and web pages you visit. 
    Https encryption will help you secure data that you enter on those website pages, but not hide the addresses of the pages themselves. 

 

What is IP blocking?

With the block-IP service, ISP can prevent unwanted connections from certain IP addresses and even whole ranges of them. This gives total control over accesses that come in accordance with preferences at any given moment; giving an opportunity for filtering before they’re allowed through into network – one where not all users are accepted!

If you’re wondering how to check if ISP is blocking website you can always turn to IP blocking theory. It is fairly easy to test it – just change your IP. 

How to Check If ISP Is Blocking Any Websites?

There are a few ways to check if your ISP is blocking any websites. One way is to use a website blocker such as ProxMate which will show you if your ISP is blocking any websites. Another way is to use a VPN service such as HideIPVPN which will also allow you to bypass any website blocks that your ISP might be using. Finally, you can use the website IsItDownRightNow.com to check if any websites are currently down.

The most common message you will see on your browser page if you have an IP ban or ISP is blocking websites, are the following:

  • No Sources
  • Failed Playback
  • Check Your Internet Connection
  • Directory Unavailable
  • This Site Can’t Be Reached

It may look like this:

isp block

There’s a chance you’re being censored by your ISP. But it’s not a guarantee, so here’s what else you can do to see if your ISP is blocking sites:

  • Instead of using your network, use mobile data. If you have a different mobile plan and are able to access the sites you want, your ISP is blocking them.
  • If you have friends or family who live abroad or use a different ISP, ask them to confirm that the site you’re attempting to connect to is operational.
  • If none of those suggestions work for you, you’ll have to leave your house, go to the nearest place that has public WiFi (that isn’t owned by your ISP), connect to their network, and see if the site works. If it does, it means that your ISP is definitely blocking websites. 

Why Is My ISP Blocking a Website?

Now that we’ve established can ISP block websites let’s look into the why.

Your ISP may be blocking a website for a variety of reasons. They could be concerned about the content on the site, or they could be worried about how the site is affecting network performance. Whatever the reason, if you’re having trouble accessing a specific website, there are a few things you can do to try and get around the block.

There are some obvious reasons and others more subjective like the following:

  • They employ security systems that classify the websites as malicious. Or they believe certain domains are bad news.
  • They are compelled to do so by the government.
  • This is common in countries with oppressive regimes, such as China or most recently Russia
  • Country or state laws prohibit access to certain domains of websites like those for gambling or pornographic content. 
  • Website accessed uses a lot of resources and affects ISP’s bandwidth. If ISP has a bad network they would want to protect themselves by resorting to illegal actions like bandwidth throttling or restricting access to websites altogether. 

How to Remove ISP Blocking?

You can do these basic things without any outside help. They’re really simple, and you’ll get the hang of them quickly!

 

  • Try accessing the website with a ping command. If you are on Windows, type ‘ping[website name]’ in to bring up your prompt; if using macOS -you need only press “return” when it asks for input (it will appear as follows). The output tone of voice should be professional. 
  • If you have unlimited internet service, you can try opening the required website on your smartphone. 
  • Change DNS to bypass filters, these are the most popular ones:

    OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220.
    Google Public DNS: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.
    Cloudflare DNS: 1.1.1.1.

If you still don’t know how to remove ISP blocking or IP use these more advanced recommendations: 

Use VPN

With a VPN, you can bypass ISP blocking and enjoy unlimited bandwidth. Data is encrypted to keep it safe from prying eyes. It will hide your IP address by changing it, and this is the most important feature in this case – this is the feature that will allow you to bypass ISP blocking of websites. Your provider will see that you are online, but they will not have access to the information you enter.

Furthermore, the majority of VPNs have their own DNS servers. This will allow you to bypass firewalls as well as any DNS filters that may be present.

VPNs encrypt your traffic end-to-end, so DPI and bandwidth limiting won’t be an issue. As a result, your ISP will not be able to see what sites and web pages you visit.


Best VPN to unblock Websites?

HideIPVPN offers a VPN service with military-grade encryption, and high-speed servers with unlimited bandwidth.

Our service comes with shared IP addresses so that your activity can never be tied to one particular user, further protecting your privacy.

We also offer DNS leak protection, a Kill Switch, the latest VPN protocols, and a guaranteed no-log policy.

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Use Proxy

A proxy server operates similarly to a VPN in that it intercepts and passes your requests to websites while masking your IP address.

Proxies, on the other hand, do not provide the same level of security as VPNs. As a result, you’re vulnerable to DPI. They also don’t normally have DNS servers, thus DNS filtering will be an issue.

On the bright side, you’ll obtain faster speeds than using a VPN if you don’t use a free web proxy. Because those services are frequently congested and have bandwidth limits, poor speeds are the norm.

Proxies usually work via add-on so you can have a VPN Chrome extension or Firefox VPN extension which are addons from VPN providers that enable Proxy on your browser and protect you from WebRTC leaks. 

Can ISPs Ban Unblocking Tools?

You may have read articles or heard others remark that they are unable to do so.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but they are certainly capable of doing so. Of course, they’d have to actively monitor their usage, but it’s a possibility.

Normally, they’d detect VPN traffic (especially OpenVPN) using DPI and just ban the IP address you’re connecting to. Although we aren’t certain if DPI works for Tor traffic, there are other services that can identify it.

ISPs might simply collaborate with companies that provide IP address information (like MaxMind and IP2Location). They have databases full of VPN and proxy IP addresses (perhaps Tor as well, but those are already public), as well as scripts that automatically block them. 

We understand that all of these blocking issues may appear perplexing, especially if you are a regular user with little awareness of the technical side of the problem. However, you don’t need to go into these minutiae in order to maintain your online anonymity. The use of DNS modifications and VPNs is fairly simple. All you have to do is download an app to keep yourself safe.

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