The unimaginable growth of the internet in terms of volume of information shared and the speed of sharing information continue to perplex millions of people today. The freedom of opinion and expression is a basic right in many countries, but no one imagined the internet would allow people to send and receive information at such astonishing speeds. The drafters of those laws never thought of a global village where communication will be across the borders in ways that can be edited, copied and manipulated almost at lightning speed.
As consequence, the internet now opens up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities that allows billions of people to share human knowledge in all places. While that maybe the brighter side the side of the internet, the downside is scary. The web is interconnection of both good and bad actors. The bad actor are out there to harm others through information shared, and therefore, not everybody is willing to open up to this new world without borders. For this and other absurd reasons given by governments, some form of restriction is applied on the internet.
What is Internet Censorship?
Internet censorship is simply controlling what can be viewed or shared on the internet. While the definition maybe straightforward, the implications cause problems and disagreement because people hate being told what to do and when to do it. There are different types of internet restriction existing in the world today, ranging from simple restriction by parents and schools to national wide censorship by the government.
Well, some restrictions are voluntary such as applying spam filtering to improve one’s experience over the Internet, while others restriction are involuntary and involve controlling what other people can or cannot access on internet.
A study of internet censorship in the world shows that a majority of countries employ filtering polices that limit access to certain websites, blogs or web services that are dubbed hostile and likely to challenge the status quot by imparting new ideas. Countries also block access to internet or intentionally sabotage access to the internet during certain period, such as election time or during public protests.
The most popular methods of internet censorship applied in the world today are Blocking URL’s through the DNS servers, keyword filtering to remove ‘inappropriate’ words or phrases and blocking standard ports for proxy servers.
How can I bypass web restrictions in Europe?
Regardless of the type of restriction existing in your country, internet censorship is inappropriate and a violation of basic right to information. Surprisingly, even European countries who are the main advocates of a free world apply internet censorship. Countries such as Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Moldova to a large extent control what their citizens can or cannot access on the internet. Apart from these countries, people in Ukraine, Spain, Sweden, France, Finland and Norway are facing geo-restricted content issues at least – if not heavy censorship problems. In this article we have combine a few tips to help you bypass internet censorship in Europe.
Use a non-censoring Proxy server
Proxy servers act as an intermediary between your PC and the web. Usually, all requests through the proxy server are cached, implying that subsequent request are delivered directly from the cache. This can be quite helpful when bypassing web restrictions in Europe. To the watching eyes, your pc is seen to be only connecting to the Proxy server and not to the restricted website.
Unfortunately, proxy servers listening on standard ports (80, 1080, and 8080) are easily blocked. In such a case, you need a server listening on uncommon port such as 8000 for Junkbuster proxy server or 6588 for AnalogX proxy server. Here is a list of available uncommon proxy servers that will help you overcome Europe censorship problem. Alternatively, set up your own proxy server or use one among tested ones.
Use a DNS server
DNS severs resolve domain names to IP addresses, or in other words, match domain names to the correct IP address. A censoring DNS server cannot resolve DNS names, which means such websites cannot be accessed. Some ISP providers configure DNS requests to blocked sites to direct traffic to their own advertising pages.
If internet censorship is at DNS level, change the DNS server to circumvent the restrictions. To do that on windows operating system, go to control panel, click on the Network and Internet Icon and specify an alternative non-censoring DNS server on the internet protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4) window. For Linux edit the /etc/resolv.conf’ file. Alternatively, set up you own DNS sever using BIND or simply subscribe to third party DNS services to quickly cross all of the hurdles.
Using Virtual Private Network
Connecting to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best way to avoid internet restrictions anywhere, and this stands true for Europe as well. VPNs are designed to conceal your identity and more importantly allow you unlimited internet access. A VPN achieves this by masking your real IP address with another IP address, located in a different country or area. To the web police, traffic will be originating from the virtual IP rather than your computer. For example, subscribing to a VPN having a server in New Jersey implies that network traffic from your computer will be routed through New Jersey – you’re going to be appear as if you were in New Jersey, instead of your actually location.
Communications on VPNs are highly encrypted and totally obscured from the government or the censoring authority. Normally, governments do not interfere with VPNs because they are widely used for commercial purposes, because of the tight online security provided. There are VPNs available for free on the internet but a good VPN will cost you money. Alternatively, you can set up your own VPN. You can either go with free VPNs or setup one at your own, but subscribing to premium VPNs is going to add maximum performance and security.
Using Tor Network
The onion router (Tor) is a powerful anonymous browsing tool available in the market. Tor helps you bypass internet restrictions and stay anonymous by bouncing communication across several Tor servers, which are likely to be located in uncensored areas or countries. Anyone following up, will see traffic form several nodes on the Tor network rather than from the user’s PC. This makes is difficult for authorities to apply internet restrictions.
All communications on the Tor network proxy are highly encrypted. Additionally, the Tor network will operate even in countries where other methods such as VPN, and Web proxies have failed. On the downside, Tor network is painfully slow. We wouldn’t recommend using Tor network for daily browsing unless you have to bypass the Great Firewall of China or bear with internet speeds close to 2G.
Which Method Should I Choose?
All the methods described above may suit you one at a time, depending on where you live and the type of internet restrictions existing in your country. However, a Virtual Private Network will be good for you all the time. VPN accounts offer the perfect mix of privacy, online security and interrupted browsing experience.
VPN uses a strong virtual tunneling technology to give an end-to-end encryption to communications on the network. Additionally, subscribing to a VPN enables you to unblock Netflix, Hulu and all other Geo restricted websites and video streaming channels.
Top/Featured Image: By Bandvela / Pixabay (http://pixabay.com/en/europe-flag-russia-countries-257893/)