Can VPNs Bypass Firewalls?
From the perspective of online privacy and security, firewalls undoubtedly play a crucial role. They keep your valuable information private and safe from various forms of cyber attacks. That said, firewalls can also be an irritating inconvenience.
Most of us have experienced issues with this at school or work. If you’ve tried opening your favorite social media service or looking something up only to be faced with an error message, you’ve experienced the cold block of a firewall.
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to get rid of this issue. We will provide you with the necessary tips on using a VPN to bypass annoying firewalls and obtain unrestricted access to the Internet. Additionally, we’ll cover other useful topics and go over some alternatives you can use to get around a firewall.
Can You Use a VPN to Bypass Your Firewall?
Yes, you can use a VPN service to bypass your firewall. The easiest way to understand this is to think of a VPN tunneling through a firewall instead of bypassing it. A VPN employs a tunneling protocol that masks your data. This hides the traffic you’re transferring over the network and helps you avoid the firewall.
So, how does a VPN tunnel work? Well, the tunnel serves as a virtual, private network operating within a larger network. That is to say, it’s a fundamental aspect of how every VPN works. Most trusted VPN services typically support several tunneling protocols in their apps. The most commonly used protocol is OpenVPN, followed by WireGuard, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, and others.
Additionally, when you connect to a VPN’s server, you replace your IP with the VPN’s IP address. This tricks the firewall, anyone observing your connection, and even the ISP, into thinking that you’re accessing the Internet from an entirely different location. Moreover, all of your traffic is hidden in the VPN’s tunnel.
To expand this a bit, you might be wondering, does using a VPN hide search history? Unfortunately, a VPN doesn’t hide your history, as browsers generally store search history locally.
And, while a VPN protects your network and hides your traffic, it doesn’t have control over how other apps function. Knowing this, if you want to browse without leaving any search history, access the Internet in Incognito mode or use a privacy-friendly browser.
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How Do Firewalls Work?
A firewall is a network security system that controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined parameters. In simpler words, it creates a barrier between a specific internal network and other networks.
For example, a school or office might set up a firewall to block social media platforms, gambling sites, or any other website they think might cause unproductivity. Another popular example are streaming sites that set geo-location firewalls to block viewers from specific regions and avoid copyright issues.
Moreover, this can be applied on a much bigger scale. For instance, some governments set nationwide firewalls to maintain censorship and control. The Great Firewall of China is the best-known and scariest example of the extent this practice can reach.
Why Use a VPN to Bypass Your Firewall?
There are many reasons why you should use a VPN over other methods to bypass your firewall. To be concise, these boil down to effectiveness, convenience, privacy, and security. With that in mind, in order to give you a better picture of all of this, let’s go deeper into each of these aspects.
When it comes to the first facet, VPNs are very effective as they encompass your entire network. So, with one click, your device gets unlimited access to any site of your choosing. And, you can often pick between many servers and optimize additional features based on your preferences. This is the basic explanation, but if you want to go further into details, we recommend reading our detailed VPNs Explained page.
In line with the previous reason, using a VPN to bypass a firewall is the most convenient way to perform this task. A VPN service as a piece of software is very practical and user-friendly. You don’t have to be an expert to bypass the firewall. At the same time, if you have greater knowledge, you can tailor it to your liking.
Now, onto perhaps the most significant reason why using a VPN to bypass firewalls is the best course of action. Other methods of bypassing firewalls we’ll get to later might work, but they lack the additional privacy and security mechanisms that VPNs can deliver.
Whether you’re simply looking to get in some private browsing at work or want to get free Internet access in a location with heavy censorship, a VPN ensures your privacy is uncompromised. Plus, the information you transmit is heavily encrypted. So, even if someone intercepts it, they won’t be able to decrypt it and see anything.
How to Bypass a Firewall Using a VPN
So, with all of the above information in mind, how do you put all of this knowledge into practice and use the VPN to hide Internet traffic? As a matter of fact, the process is pretty straightforward. Here’s how to bypass a firewall with a VPN:
- Subscribe With a VPN of Your Choice
Pick a VPN service with a proven ability to bypass firewalls. Go to the service’s page and select one of the available subscription plans. We advise you to avoid signing up with a free VPN.
- Download the App
Download the appropriate app for the device you plan on using. Once you’ve installed the VPN app, open it and configure the settings if you want to customize your connection.
- Connect to the Server
Moving on to the next step, select a server you want to connect to. Ideally, pick a server in a neighboring country or nearby location, as this will ensure a fast and stable connection.
- Bypass the Firewall!
After a few seconds, the VPN will establish the connection to a server of your choosing. Following this, you should be able to bypass the firewall and start browsing the Internet without any restrictions.
How Do I Get Around a Firewall Other Than With a VPN?
Using a VPN is arguably the best way to get around a firewall. That said, it’s not the only one. There are numerous alternatives you can try if you don’t want to pay for a VPN subscription or can’t use a VPN in your location. Here are a few practical ways to get around a firewall without using a VPN:
- Use a Proxy – this method is similar to using a VPN to bypass firewalls, mainly in the sense that you’re using additional software that acts as an intermediary and tricks the firewall.
- Use Your Phone as a Hotspot – one creative way to get around a firewall is to utilize your phone. If your carrier supports tethering, you can share your mobile device’s data and use your phone as a hotspot. This is a simple, efficient, and hassle-free way to bypass any firewall.
- Use Google Translate – another inventive way to go around a firewall is to employ Google Translate. This nifty tool loads the contents of the page on the server, translates it, and sends the result to you. It practically does the same task as a proxy server.
- Use Ultrasurf – Ultrasurf is a freeway product dedicated to circumventing Internet censorship that’s been around for two decades. It employs encryption protocols for privacy and uses an HTTP server to bypass firewalls and Internet censorship in general.
Which VPN can bypass any firewall?
There are a handful of trustworthy and capable VPNs that can bypass any firewall that stands in their way. Some of the best VPN services you can use to bypass firewalls are NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.
Do firewalls work with VPNs?
Yes, you can use a firewall while using a VPN at the same time. In fact, organizations and environments that require complex and impenetrable networks generally deploy these two simultaneously. A VPN encrypts your information and protects your privacy, while the firewall blocks any undesirable traffic.
How do hackers get past firewalls?
Cybercriminals can get past firewalls in several different ways. For example, they can exploit a DNS leak or employ an encrypted injection attack. Often, hackers get past a firewall by exploiting the user as the network’s weakest link. They do so through social engineering or manipulating people into doing things.
Considering this, a VPN can help you stay safe from malicious hackers who are out for your data. As it hides your IP and encrypts your traffic, it serves as a superb hacking deterrent. So, if you want to protect your device from hackers, using a VPN is a great way to go about it.
Can a VPN Bypass a Firewall – Final Thoughts
Running into a firewall might be discouraging and annoying, but in reality, it shouldn’t present any significant problem. With sufficient knowledge, you won’t have any trouble bypassing firewalls on any network, whether it’s at school, work, or any other environment.
And, as we’ve discussed in great detail above, a VPN does go through a firewall without much issue and is the option to go with. With a VPN service, you get both performance and protection. Of course, for this to be true, you should pick a solid VPN that can reliably go around firewalls whenever you need it to.
Lastly, if you want to explore alternative methods, the tools we’ve outlined above can be very useful for bypassing firewalls. All that’s left now is to pick the tool for the job and make firewall blocks a thing of the past!
Cybersecurity and VPN researcher