Updated: January 1st, 2018
Let me guess, you tried to access a website but it was blocked in your Chrome browser? Yup. It happens.
Don't worry - to unblock websites on Chrome right now, do the following:
- Start with setting up a VPN account
- Install VPN software onto the device(s) you want to access blocked websites on Chrome from
- Open VPN then connect to server location that will unblock the website you want to access
- Open up chrome and go to website that will now be unblocked
- Repeat steps 4+5, connecting to server locations that will unblock websites in Chrome accordingly
Time required to complete these steps: 5 minutes
How to unblock websites on Chrome in more detail:
Google's Chrome web browser is fast becoming the most popular browser of choice. With its impressive functionality and usability, more and more internet users are making Chrome their default browser across all their web devices.
However great as Chrome is, it is still at the mercy of websites that choose to block either their entire site or specific content therein. Many media streaming websites, for example YouTube and BBC iPlayer, are prime examples of online services that block their service from certain users wanting access.
More than a few times every week I arrive upon some blocked content in Chrome, and I finally reached breaking point this week and decided to figure out a solution for how to unblock websites on Chrome.
The solution I researched and decided upon is by far the most effective and secure method to accessing blocked websites in Chrome, so I wanted to write out this solution in a helpful guide, so people like yourself could apply it to your laptop, smartphone, or even smart TV.
Why are Websites Blocked on Chrome?
The first hurdle was figuring out exactly why so many websites and online services choose to block themselves in Chrome and other browsers.
Although there are a few reasons specific to each individual website's personal preference, by far the most prominent reason for blocking users employed by websites is due "regional access" parameters set by the site, to only let users access the site within certain geographical locations.
Why websites choose to place these geo-blocks on their content most commonly comes down to the content/media they are offering on their site. The content they offer users will have had licensing right agreements decided on between the website and the owner of each piece of content they want to offer users.
Such licensing agreements need to be set because the website will have to pay for every country they wish to offer each piece of content in, so you can see why that cost would add up -- and why subsequently most websites do not buy licensing rights to offer their websites content to every country in the world.
How are Websites Blocking Access on Chrome?
With the "why" out the way, the next important thing to understand is exactly how websites actually implement these geo-blocks on their site/service.
By understand the process of geo-blocking, you will truly see why the solution I lay out below is so effective and direct for how to unblock a website on Chrome.
So the way that geo-blocking as a process works, is essentially by acting as a gate-keeper on the website you are trying to access. This gatekeeper instantly checks your location by referencing your IP address, and based on your location -- and which locations they allow access from -- will deny or allow access to their site.
This means that your IP address is really the key to determining whether or not you will get access to blocked websites in Chrome and other web browsers.
Once I figured out that it was my IP address giving my location away to these websites, I knew the solution lied in somehow changing my IP address to make my location "appear" within the desired location that would give me access to blocked websites I want access to on Chrome every time.
After checking out a bunch of Chrome-specific add-ons and tools, I determined that the very best method was to use a Virtual Private Network. VPNs are by far the most effective and secure way of allowing you complete control over your IP address location, as well as giving you a super high level of privacy protection, which is a great bonus.
There are hundreds of VPN service providers out there, each offering a different level of service; each offering differing price plans to suit all budgets. So to save you precious time, I went ahead a reviewed as many of them as I could, personally narrowing down the five best VPNs for accessing blocked websites on Chrome -- settling on ExpressVPN.
Why a VPN knows How to Unblocks Websites in Chrome
The way a VPN works is through a variety of things called "protocols".
Relax, you don't need to know how these work in detail. It just helps to know what they are and why they help this solution to work.
Each protocol a VPN uses is intended to protect the privacy of your online data and activity. The following protocols are most commonly seen in VPN services:
A very old protocol, this is a longtime-trusted protocol that actually works on top of the GRE protocol. This is a very fast protocol and is super easy to setup on any operating system (so any of your devices that use Chrome). PPTP is not the most secure protocol and has been recorded as being compromised by the NSA.
This is the main open-source protocol around right now. It works on SSL encryption. It is very secure, is easy to personalise (should you want to configure it yourself) and has been known to get past firewalls with relative ease (i.e. "unblock" stuff online). The only real downfall of this protocol is that you cannot use it independently by itself (like you can with PPTP or L2TP), so you need a 'third party' software to run it.
L2TP sits kind of in between the latter two protocols mentioned here. It is "perhaps" compromised by the NSA and is not as great as OpenVPN at bypassing firewalls. It's also not the fastest of the available protocols (you want a fast one to keep your online activity quick when connected to the VPN).
These are essentially the most solid and secure way to protect your online data and activity when on the VPN from your internet provider and any third party entities that might be trying to monitor/track your behaviour. A NAT Firewall basically adds a nice extra layer of protection on your VPN connection.
How to Use a VPN to Access Blocked Websites on Chrome
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
To get ExpressVPN setup on your computer and unblock websites on Chrome, the first you want to do is go to the VPN website, choose your plan and confirm your account details. This will just take you a minute as the entire process is super straightforward:
As shown above, the homepage is really straight forward to navigate around. What's also great is the onsite live chat support they offer. In my experience this live chat is always available and fast.
There are three different pricing plans you can choose from with ExpressVPN -- but regardless of which plan you go with; you do get the 30 day money back guarantee. So if you're highly skeptical like me, then rest-assured that you have a full month to try out the software as intensively as you like, before committing to paying a penny for it.
You'll be prompted via email to confirm your account details with ExpressVPN, and then you'll be ready to move onto the next step of downloading and installing the VPN software onto whichever devices you plan to use Chrome on...
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
The confirmation email will automatically take you to the download area of the website, where you will see all the download links for each device you want to install the VPN software onto.
As you can see on the ExpressVPN download list, you can use the VPN on essentially any device you would ever use Chrome web browser on:
So go ahead and download the software onto your device then follow the simple installation instructions (standard steps that you follow with any software you install onto your laptop/desktop/smartphone/etc.
Once the VPN software is installed on your device(s), you are ready to launch it and get connected.
Step 3: Connect to Desired Server Location on VPN
When you open the software, you will see that the interface is very clean and clear. The only action you have to do is just choose the location you want to join the VPN on (this is choosing your server), which you should choose based on the blocked website you are wanting to access in Chrome.
The location you join will change your IP address to reflect that location. For example, here is what it looks like in the ExpressVPN Mac software when I choose to join a New York server location:
To show how clean it also is to connect to the VPN on your mobile device, here is the ExpressVPN Android app I use on my mobile smartphone, connecting to a London-based server location:
Once connected, you will have successfully altered your device's IP address, which will unblock websites in Chrome as long as you want.
To disconnect from the VPN you simply click the main disconnect button, or just quit the app and it will disconnect accordingly without any issue.
You can connect and disconnect to as many different server locations on the VPN as often as you want. You cannot over-use a VPN, which is great. Of course, when you disconnect from it - your device's IP address will return to its "correct" one.
Step 5: Access Blocked Websites on Chrome
So based on the site you are wanting access in Chrome, choose the according location to join on your VPN, and then refresh that website in your Chrome browser -- and it will now be fully accessible and unblocked!
Depending on the websites you access and the media therein, you will need to change your server location on the VPN. This is simply a case of disconnecting from the VPN then choosing the appropriate new server location, connecting, then refreshing that new website. Simple!
That's all you have to do to have access to blocked websites in Chrome on any device you are using. No longer will you have to accept defeat and never access blocked content.
If you want to check out the additional VPN service providers that I narrowed down as the best ones to use for this solution, then check out the 5 best VPNs below:
Other things to check when a website is blocked on Chrome:
There are two other major reasons that most people experience a website or online service being blocked in their Chrome browser. It still makes sense to grab a VPN for all round unblocking of your internet while protecting your privacy, but you should also ask yourself the following questions when answering the question of how to unblock a website on Chrome:
Is it just the HTTP(S) version of the website that Chrome is blocking?
You will have seen when you visit a website, if you look in the top bar in Chrome at the actual website address, that all sites begin with either "http" or "https".
These, do speak in very simple terms and not get unnecessarily technical with you, are protocols that allow your device to talk with servers and thus allow communication between them, which results in you actually managing to load up a website.
HTTP is the base version of this. It allows the communication to take place.
HTTPS is the extra-strong version of this. It places heavy encryption on the communication. This is why you "HTTPS" in green text when a website is successfully using it - to show that it is "trusted" from a security and privacy protection standpoint. (Yes - if you just looked at our one, Fried.com is using HTTPS 🙂 ).
So why does this matter for how to unblock a website on Google Chrome? Because Chrome does block websites that perhaps are using an unverified HTTPS protocol. This means you can try the following to attempt unblocking the website:
- Up in the websites address bar, click on the website address
- Where you see "HTTP", change this to "HTTPS" (change nothing else)
- Click "proceed anyway" when the warning message pops up.
Is the website on your Chrome "List of Restricted Sites"?
Although your personal device may not have any websites on your Chrome blocked sites list, since you most likely bought the device brand new.
However, if you perhaps purchased a second-hand device, or are using a laptop, tablet or smartphone that is not yours -- then the site you are trying to access may be on that device's Chrome restricted sites list.
To check your Chrome's restricted sites list, do the following steps:
- Go into your Chrome browser and click on the top right icon of the orange circle with the arrow pointing up.
- In here, click on "Settings".
- Go to the "advanced settings" therein.
- Go to Change proxy settings > Security > Sites.
- It is within this section that you will see the full list of websites that have been manually restricted from within Chrome.
- See if your website is indeed being restricted in here, then click "remove".
Alternative methods to unblock websites on Chrome
Although a VPN is the most effective method for this solution while also protecting your online data privacy -- there are alternative approaches that you can try out.
However, before we go into these alternatives, be aware that they do not allow any encryption at all on your device connection. This is why using a VPN is what we recommend above all others.
With that said, let's take a look at what other options are out there:
Use a SmartDNS
A SmartDNS service will give you the same IP address control that a VPN gives you, without also providing any of the privacy protection. So the process used here also involves connecting your device through a remote server before you communicate with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
One plus of using a SmartDNS over a VPN is the speed of connection you get. Since a SmartDNS does not encrypt your data - your connection is not as reduced as with a VPN (although this speed is very insignificant if you use a trusted VPN service provider).
Use a Proxy
Proxies these days are 99% browse-based and are the most primitive of the three options listed here.
A proxy also masks your device's IP address in the same way a VPN and SmartDNS service does. However, with most being free to use, they are rarely updated and most outright do not function correctly.
You can give some proxies a try (simply Google "proxy browser" and you'll get a bunch of options), however they are definitely the most unreliable answer to the question of how to unblock a website on Google Chrome.
Yes, you have to pay a couple dollars for a VPN or even a SmartDNS service, but what you save on cash; you pay for in effectiveness of the solution.
All in all, the great news is that you have multiple options and steps to go through that will 100% unblock websites in Chrome on any device you are having issues with.
By going through the steps laid out in this guide you will effectively achieve the fix you need and get access to that blocked website you're having trouble with.
Should you have any questions, comments or feedback at all -- just let me know in the comments section below. I'm always happy to hear from readers and help out whenever I can.