In offices, schools and even in some countries like China, it’s common to see access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter being blocked by system admins. Most of the times, this is supposed to both increase productivity and protect you from the general negativity of the Internet. While we agree with the productivity part (chatting with your friends on Facebook at work won’t get you promoted anytime soon), we also think that people have to right to surf whatever site they want during break. In this guide, we’re giving you an overview of the different ways in which you can bypass a typical school or office firewall. To get a better insight into how firewalls work, you can take this networking course. You might have to learn how to reconfigure your and network in general to get around a firewall that an IT department is overseeing.
We’ll take you through some of the easy ways in which you can bypass a firewall.
Using Free Software
You can use software products like Tor, JonDo and Ultrasurf to bypass a firewall. These software products are all similar in that they are designed to protect your identity through industry standard encryption techniques. A nifty side-effect of protecting your identity is that your IP address is also masked, which lets you bypass a firewall. Don’t worry, they are perfectly legal to use, so you won’t get into trouble if you use them. We can’t promise you’ll be safe if your boss catches you surfing the net, however.
To use Tor, you have to download the Tor bundle for your browser (Chrome or Firefox). Just Google it and download it on the store. After updating and patching it as necessary (this is done automatically), Tor will run in tandem with your browser. All you have to do is open the program before you open your browser, wait for it to load and then open your browser. The other two software items, JonDo and Ultrasurf, listed here work similarly.
Now, of course, you might not have permission to install anything on your computer at work. To get around that, we recommend you install (or copy paste) your browser folder as well as the Tor folder on a flash drive. Just plug in that flash drive at work or school and you’re all set to surf the net.
Another software product you might want to consider is CyberGhost VPN. While the advanced version of the software, with added functionality, costs you money, the basic version is free. It is categorized as VPN software (Virtual Private Network) –it encrypts all your communication. You can learn more about VPNs – even setting up your own – with this course.
Using Your Home Computer
If you have internet access on your home computer, you can leave it on and connect your work (or school) computer to it via Remote Access. Remote Access allows you to operate a computer from a remote location via another computer. For all intents and purposes, it’ll be like you’re using your home computer. Of course, firewall restrictions won’t apply anymore!
Setting up Remote Access is easy. Click on Start, then Accessories and then on Remote Desktop Connection. You will be asked for your IP address. If you don’t know your IP address, you can open “cmd” from Run in the start menu. In the black screen, type “ipconfig” and press enter. You should find your IP address in the information that pops up.
However, please note that setting up Remote Access will make your home computer accessible to other people from work or school (if you share computers). You can get around this by using a PHP Proxy service instead of Remote Access. Setting up a PHP Proxy isn’t difficult, but you need a little background knowledge on networking to learn how. You can sign up for this networking course to learn how a network operates. We also cover network security in detail, so you’ll know how to protect your network at home from hackers.
Using Your Cell Phone as a Modem
In the old days of the internet, we used to surf the net through the phone line. In the age of cellphones, we can use the cellular network to surf the net. This will, incidentally, bypass all those pesky firewalls as you’ll be using a different network entirely. Most modern cellphones can be turned into modems or Wi-Fi hotspots when connected to a computer. You can then surf the net through your phone. The speed is the same, don’t worry.
A major drawback of using your cell phone to surf the net is that it could end up being very expensive- some carriers charge by the amount of data you download. Another drawback is that this method can be easy to trace. If you have a competent IT department at work, you might need to be extra sneaky if you try this method.
Using Proxy Sites
This is a hassle free method to bypass a firewall. The only problem is that you won’t be able to watch videos or use other heavy duty websites. There are some proxies that claim to support video streaming, but the experience is often painful.
So what are proxy sites exactly? They let you connect to them and let you browse the net through their servers. This means that all you have to do is connect to their website and use their server to access another blocked website.
Most of the popular websites will probably be blocked at work or school. However, luckily for you, there are a lot of proxy services out there, with new ones being introduced all the time. It might take a little searching, but you should be able to find one that is both unlocked and works well.
The easiest way to bypass a firewall is, perhaps, using software like Tor or CyberGhost VPN. You can surf the net normally with them, just like you would at home. If none of these methods work for you, you may need to reconfigure the network – which is better done on your home network. To learn how to do that, you can take this course that shows you how to set up a smart network at home.