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How to bypass cyber censorship and access blocked sites

How to bypass cyber censorship and access blocked sites

A court order has had hyperactive internet service providers blocking access to 'illegal' content. For those who have been inconvenienced by over-zealous ISPs, here are a few tips to access such blocked content.

India became acquainted, though maybe not willingly, with Ashok Kumar or India's John Doe a few months before. The unimaginative name, suitably so, has taken on painful significance for Internet users. It's on the back of an Ashok Kumar court order that Internet service providers (ISPs) have blocked torrent sites.

But also affected were legitimate video sharing sites such as Dailymotion and Vimeo. These are frequently used by creative professionals to share their commercial content.

Now, while we do not condone the use of torrent and video-sharing sites to share copyrighted content, there's a fair case to be made that it isn't the medium that should be punished. It is the very same medium that lets you download tonnes of copyright-free content fast and easy. So, for those who have been inconvenienced by over-zealous ISPs, here are a few tips to access such blocked content.

Proxy websites allow you to piggyback on their Internet connection (via your browser) to bypass your ISP's restrictions. Services such as Proxify, HideMyAss and need you to enter the URL of the site you want to access. The proxy service then creates a passageway or tunnel to access your content. Be warned that some websites may not render properly since proxies usually tend to clean up extra images and scripts from the websites they fetch for you.

A variation of the proxy approach is to use the Opera web browser, which via its Turbo mode (or via Opera Mini on your mobile) uses Opera servers to compress and fetch content from the web to your phone or desktop. There are also tonnes of proxy plugins for Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer that accomplish the very same task.


There is a fair case to be made that it isn't the medium that should be punished for downloads of copyrighted content since it is the very same medium that gives you faster access to open software and copyright-free content.

Domain Name Servers (DNS) are key to the Internet's functioning, translating names like to its associated IP address each time you make a request. Your ISP configures its DNS servers in your Internet settings each time you connect to the Net. So the easiest way for them to block sites is to remove the entries for, say, Vimeo in its DNS server. Fortunately, there are a number of free DNS services run by folks such as OpenDNS and Google and all you need to do is open up your network connection properties in the Control Panel and manually enter the IP address of the DNS server of your choice- for Google and for OpenDNS.

One of the most popular tools to subvert ISP bans is a nifty little utility called Tor. Download the software from and, once installed, the program will connect to the Tor network and give you unencumbered access to the World Wide Web.


If none of these work and all you have access to is Google, you can use its cacheing capabilities to open up blocked content. All you need to do is enter 'Cache:' followed by the website/URL you need to browse. What this does is that instead of taking you to the actual (blocked) website, it loads up the most recently cached version of the page from Google's cache servers. You could also use Google's Translate website ( to achieve the same result.


For those who depend on sites such as Vimeo and Pastebin for work, a pricier solution may be to invest in a virtual private network (VPN), which sets up a secure tunnel through your ISP's data connection through to a VPN service provider who has an unfettered Internet connection at the other end. Free alternatives do exist, such as sites like UltraVPN and CyberGhost, but these usually have download and/or speed limits in place. An alternative is to invest in a seedbox-dedicated highspeed Net-connected machines that can download torrents onto them directly and you can then transfer the downloaded files via a regular browser download.

Courtesy: Gadgets & Gizmos

Published on: Oct 17, 2012, 12:00 AM IST
Posted by: Gaytri Madhura, Oct 17, 2012, 12:00 AM IST