We often think of the internet as a place of free expression and limitless information. However, what you may or may not find online depends on your geographical location.
Governments control the flow of information based on local laws and values. That includes social media platforms, news agencies, streaming services, and other websites.
Let’s take a look at the list of blocked websites in countries where internet freedom is under threat.
List of blocked websites in China
In China, the world wide web isn’t that wide. The country is known for blocking access to numerous domain names. Here are some of them!
|Hong Kong Free Press||HuffPost|
|NBC News||NY Times|
|Reuters||South China Morning Post|
|The Economist||The Epoch Times|
|The Guardian||The Wall Street Journal|
|TIME||Voice of America|
|Getty Images||GitHub||Google Calendar||Google Docs|
Keep in mind that these are only the top sites that don’t work in China. There are also many other domain names that citizens can’t access.
The country uses what is known as the Great Firewall to regulate domestic internet traffic. It’s a combination of legislative actions and technologies used to block numerous websites.
It’s also important to mention that the list above only involves mainland China. The majority of geo-blocks don’t apply to the territories of Hong Kong and Macau.
List of blocked websites in Iran
Iran implements a wide range of controls and filters to limit information access and suppress dissent. Below is the restricted websites list.
|ABC News||BBC||CBS News|
|CBS Sports||CNN||Deutsche Welle|
|Fox News||Medium||NBC News|
|Disqus||Firebase||Git Lab||Internet Archive|
|TensorFlow||The Pirate Bay||Visa Inc.||WordPress|
Iran has been accused of censoring the second-highest amount of internet traffic after China.
It’s not unusual for the government to even arrest and jail individuals for criticizing the regime on the internet. In addition, it closely monitors online activity and censors content.
However, the most common way Iran restricts internet access is by blocking websites.
Ever since the early 2000s, the country has been implementing SmartFilter to restrict access to sites with pornographic content. In 2006, it also started blocking various prominent English-language websites. By 2008, it had banned over 5 million sites.
Surprisingly, some sites that you’d expect to be blocked are still accessible. For example, Reddit, despite offering NSFW content, still works in Iran.
List of blocked websites in Russia
Russia is another country that heavily restricts access to various websites from other parts of the world. Here are some popular examples.
Since 2012, the government has maintained a centralized internet blacklist of domain names, IP addresses, and URLs.
It’s also worth mentioning Russia has collaborated with security officials behind the Chinese Great Firewall.
Internet censorship in the country has intensified since its attack on Ukraine in February 2022. According to some data, the Russian government has blocked about 138,000 websites.
List of blocked websites in Singapore
In the past, Singapore blocked adult-only websites and sites with homosexual content. Right now, authorities ban access to one website — Ashley Madison.
The government’s stance on the popular extramarital dating website is that it flagrantly disregards the country’s family values.
In addition, unlicensed gambling sites can’t be accessed with a Singaporean IP address. This includes:
- Sky Bet
- Paddy Power.
Other sites, like bet365, are available in the country.
Singapore previously passed a copyright law in 2014, banning sites that infringe intellectual property. This affected numerous torrenting platforms, such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents. Streaming websites like Solarmovie were blocked as well.
At the moment, you can access all major torrent and illegal streaming websites.
List of blocked websites in Australia
The only websites unavailable in Australia are unlicensed gambling ones. This includes:
- Paddy Power
- Sky Bet.
In the past, Australia has blocked access to torrenting platforms. At the moment, you can still visit them but downloading copyrighted material remains illegal.
List of blocked websites in North Korea
Online censorship in North Korea differs from the rest of the world. The citizens don’t have access to the global internet. Instead, they can only use Kwangmyong, which is operated by the government and limited to 5,000 sites.
Access to the global internet is a privilege reserved for the country’s elites. Even then, the authorities heavily monitor its use.
With all this in mind, it’s not surprising that the country is often described as the world’s worst internet black hole.
How to access blocked websites?
The easiest way to bypass a restricted websites list is to use a VPN to change your virtual location. But there are several other methods that work as well!
Let’s take a look at them:
Use a VPN
A VPN or Virtual Private Network routes your traffic through a server in another country. This makes it appear as if you’re at another location, meaning the geo-restriction no longer applies to you.
So, if you switch to a French IP, you’ll be able to access all websites French citizens can.
There are many options on the market, both free and paid. Free VPNs may work in some situations, but they’re generally slower and not as safe as premium ones.
Still, the process of changing your location is generally the same:
- Choose a VPN and purchase a subscription.
- Download the software and install it on your device.
- Choose a server location (preferably one where the site you want to visit isn’t blocked).
- Freely browse the internet.
For the best results, choose the closest country where your website works. Otherwise, you might experience slower speeds due to increased latency.
Use a proxy
Although proxies can also mask your real identity online, this method isn’t as secure as using a VPN. It doesn’t provide any type of encryption, meaning your data is susceptible to government surveillance.
However, you can use a proxy server in combination with a VPN for some extra security. These two tools can work together without interfering with each other.
The easiest way to hide your real location is to automatically set up a proxy on your PC. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Start menu and click Settings.
- Choose Network & Internet.
- Click Proxy at the bottom of the list.
- Toggle on Automatically detect settings.
- Toggle on Use setup script.
- Enter the Script address and click Save.
You can find proxy server addresses with a simple Google search. Again, choose a location where the website you want to access isn’t banned.
SmartDNS services allow you to change your default DNS configuration to addresses located in a specific country. That way, you’ll be able to access geo-restricted content.
But, like proxies, they don’t offer any advanced protection or encryption. They’re often bundled with VPNs for this reason.
To use SmartDNS, you’ll need to subscribe to a provider first. Then, you’ll have to configure it like this:
- Open the Start menu and find Control Panel.
- Choose Network and Internet.
- Click Network and Sharing Centre.
- Select Change adapter settings.
- Right-click the network you’re currently connected to and choose Properties.
- Double-click IPv4 and make sure IPv6 is unchecked.
- Toggle on Use the following DNS Server addresses.
- Paste the addresses you’ve received from your provider.
Note: You may have to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
Unfortunately, some countries restrict access to various sites. So, you may not always be able to find what you’re searching for online!
Still, with the right tools, you can browse anything anywhere — even if it’s from the list of blocked websites. VPN, proxy, and SmartDNS services are designed to bypass geo-blocks worldwide.