In this day and age, almost everyone uses some form of social media whether it be Twitter, or Facebookーin this article, we’ll be focusing on the latter. Since its inception back in 2004, the good ol’ blue and white platform has allowed millions and millions of individuals to connect with one another at the click of a button. Convenient and easy to use, it is undoubtedly one of the most visited websites in the world. For those of you who like statistics, Facebook has over 1.57 billion users across the globeーand that amount is only increasing with ever year. Packed full of features, you can join groups, sell items, post photos and videos, the list goes on. Not only is there instant messagingーwhich comes in handy when you’re trying to reach a friend quickly, but you can also find almost everyone, assuming that they use Facebook, simply by typing their name into the search bar on the top of the site. Goodbye phonebooks, hello technology!
Originally founded on February 4, 2004 by a college student named Mark Zuckerberg (who has since become one of the most influential individuals in the world) and a few of his friends, Facebook actually had its starts as “Facemash”ーa program that was often compared to the site, Hot or Not. Seemingly an instant hit, Facemash attracted hundreds of visitors during its first few hours online. Later expanding on the project, he began writing new code for what would eventually become Facebook. Taking off almost immediately after its launch, the site attracted a number of big-name investors within the first few months. By 2007, Facebook had an estimated value of approximately $15 millionーnot too shabby for something that was originally intended to be a fun project by a college student. As of 2011, it was the second-most accessed website in all of the United States, second only behind the big G.
As amazing as it is however, Facebook has one draw backーit can be a terrible distraction. If you’re a student, then you’re probably familiar with how excellent the site is for procrastination; everything on there is just so much more interesting than what you’re supposed to be doing. Considering this, it’s no surprise that many schools have blocked or “banned” their students from accessing Facebook; they want their pupils to be focused on the tasks at hand after all. But what if you really had to access the site? Is there a way to do so without getting yourself in trouble? The short answer to that is, yes. If you want to know howーwhich I’m assuming you do, since you’re hereーjust read on!
Fun Facebook Facts – Did You Know?
- There are over 1.15 billion active users on the site daily
- The most common age demographic is Ages 25 to 34, at 30%
- Five new accounts are created on Facebook every second
- 300 million photos are uploaded onto the site every day
- The average user spends approximately 20 minutes on Facebook
- Over 500,000 comments are posted every minute
How do Schools Block Facebook?
Schools are able to place certain websites, Facebook in our case, on a “blacklist” using an Internet filter. As long as the filter is in place, students are unable to access the website. An ongoing process, blacklisting allows for the institutes to control what their users are capable of accessing on the internet as a whole. By putting Facebook on a blacklist, schools are effectively able to limit the amount of “obscene material” viewed by their studentsーwhich is in fact, mandated by the CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act).
Alternatively, a school can also utilize the use of Whitelists. Working the filters in the opposite way, they are considerably more prohibitive than blacklists in that users are only able to access websites that have been “whitelisted” by the institute. While it may serve as an effective way to keep students away from websites that have been deemed “harmful”, the sword is two sidedーit can also lead them to miss out on potentially useful resources.
However there is good newsーsuch lists can easily be bypassed by the use of a proxy.
What is a Proxy?
Since your computer has been blocked from accessing the server of a website, you’ll need to use a “middleman”, which essentially is a proxy. With it, users do not send direct requests to the site’s server itself (which is usually required for you to access a website); instead, your computer sends the request to the proxy, which then sends them to the site’s server for you. Giving the blocking software the impression that the user is simply visiting the proxy website, when in fact, they are visiting the blocked website, Facebook, you are able to overcome the bypass.
There are generally two typesーweb proxies, and proxy servers. Let’s take a brief look at each of them.
A little more user-friendly compared to the second option, web proxies are easy to use in that all you have to do is type in the URL of the site (e.g. Facebook.com) that you’d like to access, from their page. Press the go button, and you’re ready to browse!
In contrast, using a proxy server can be a little more complicated; they require set up. Unlike the former option, they can only be accessed using its port number and IP addressーwhich you must configure your browser to for proper accessing of the website.
On this page, we’ll be going over eight different ways on how you can bypass your school’s block on Facebook. Some methods may be more straight forward than others; some may require downloads, others may not but one thing’s for sureー there is always a way to browse Facebook, even if it is blocked.
How to Unblock Facebook – Method #1: Access Facebook via its IP
The funny thing is, many of the filtering mechanisms mentioned above, only work to block Facebook in full url. To put it simpler, they are configured so that one cannot access http://facebook.com. Although this method depends on the specific type of filtering that your school uses, it’s easy and worth a try.
Step 1: To do so, first you’ll have to retrieve the IP address of Facebook, which can be found using the site various sites such as get-site-ip.com and ipinfo.info.
Step 2: Once you’ve got the IP address, the next step is simply to paste it into the address bar of your web browser. Easy peasy!
How to Unblock Facebook Method #2: Use a Secure Web Proxy
As mentioned previously, proxy servers are excellent at allowing you to access blocked websites by acting as a traffic middlemanーyou don’t even need to download anything at all! While many require paid subscriptions, there are several free options out there, just give it a google. (e.g. Proxify, Shadow, kProxy, etc).
Step 1: Visit the site of the Web Proxy
Step 2: Enter the URL for Facebook (e.g. http://www.facebook.com) on the main screen
Step 3: Press go and be free to surf Facebook!
How to Unblock Facebook Method #3: Use a VPN
What is a VPN?
A VPNーaka Virtual Private Networkーallows you to browse the internet, all while keeping your identity and browsing details private. By concealing your IP address and encrypting all of your data, nobody (e.g. the blocking system that your school has in place) will know where you’re accessing the site from nor what you are doing; to put it in other words, you’re basically connecting from an entirely different location, through a VPN. While this may sound similar to a proxy, there is a major differenceーVPNs encrypt all of your data, giving you a much safer browsing experience; not only do they route all of your traffic through their servers, but they also replace your ISP. When security or privacy is a concern, VPNs are almost always used.
Although they are powerful tools, there is a downsideーmany VPNs out there are not free. In fact, many companies charge a fee for these services (although some may offer a free trial). While you may be tempted to go with a free VPN (yes, they do exist), do keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for these companies to handle data insecurely by using outdated encryption or even sell your data to third parties! It goes without saying, be sure to do your research! Some of our favourites include: Surf Easy VPN, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN.
Step 1: Sign Up with your VPN service of choice
Step 2: Download and setup the necessary client software on your computer/laptop/mobile device
Step 3: Choose a location to connect from (the choices will be different for each VPN). If you want to maximize internet speed, you may wish to select a region that is physically closest to you although it is not necessary.
Step 4: Connect via the software. After doing so, you can open Facebook on your device.
Step 5: Easily surf Facebook now that you have unblocked access!
How to Unblock Facebook Method #4: Use Google Translate
As funny as it may sound, Google Translate can actually be a powerful tool when it comes to accessing blocked websitesーit’s a great workaround! As you’re probably aware, the site allows for you to translate a page into another language. If you’ve ever used Google Translate, you’ll have absolutely no problem accessing Facebook through this method.
Step 1: Head on over to Google Translate (translate.google.com) in your desired web brwoser
Step 2: From “Detect Language” on the left, select any language apart from English. For example, you can select “Albanian”
Step 3: Select “English” to be your destination language
Step 4: In the source field, type in the Facebook URL (e.g. http://www.facebook.com) and click the blue Translate button on the top right.
Step 5: You will now have full access to Facebook! You can thank Google for that one.
How to Unblock Facebook Method #5: Use a URL Shortener
In some instances, a blocked website can be accessed through a shortened URL. You’re probably familiar with such services (e.g. TinyURL or Bitly); these shorteners essentially shorten the URL of a website so that you have less to copy and paste. What you may not be aware of, is that aside from making the URL easier to ctrl c/v, it may also serve as a means of accessing Facebook. Here’s another super easy option for you guys.
Step 1: Go to your URL Shortener of choice
Step 2: Enter Facebook’s URL (e.g. http://www.facebook.com) into the source field and press enter
Step 3: Following that, you will be given a shortened link. Next, copy and paste that link to the address bar your preferred web browser.
Step 4: You’re done!
How to Unblock Facebook Method #6: Use Google Cache
As if Google wasn’t useful enough, they have another potential way for you to access Facebook. Every time their spiders index a website, they store a snapshot or a “cache” as a backup. By using said backups, you can easily access the social media site, given that you’re okay with viewing an older version of said page.
To use this method, simply click on the small downward arrow next to the URL of the page on Google, and press “Cached”.
How to Unblock Facebook Method #7: Use a Mobile Hot-Spot
Assuming that you have data on your phone, you can easily access Facebook by creating and tethering to a mobile hot spot. To do so, simply create a hot spot on your device (e.g. methods vary depending on your smartphone). After setting up a wireless password for said hot spot, you’ll want to connect to it via Wi-Fi from your computerーand that’s it! With this, you’re bypassing the block completely by using your mobile data, just remember to be careful with your data limitsーyou don’t want to be hit with over usage charges.
How to Unblock Facebook Method #8: Use the Mobile Version of Facebook
Like most websites out there, you can browse Facebook on your phone via its mobile page. When you open the site on your smartphone, you are always directed to m.facebook.com, which is its mobile site. Depending on whether or not your school has blocked this version of the site, you may be able to access Facebook simply by changing its URL by one letter!