How to Make Your VPN Undetectable in 2022 (Easy Guide)
A VPN is an essential tool for accessing the internet freely and anonymously, which is why many places block VPNs to restrict your access to certain online content.
However, there are ways to make your VPN undetectable so you can get around these blocks. The long method is to manually configure your device’s connection settings, but the easiest way to set up an undetectable VPN is to use a premium VPN service.
I tested all the leading VPNs and I highly recommend ExpressVPN’s feature-packed app. Its VPN apps are preconfigured for you with all 3000+ servers having built-in obfuscation, IP and DNS leak protection, and military-grade encryption. You won’t need to set anything up to get around firewalls, bans, and other restrictions. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — so if you’re not happy with it, you can easily get a refund.
Note: My team and I don’t condone any illegal behavior. Using a VPN to perform illicit activities (like sharing copyrighted content or breaching your local laws) is an offense. Make sure you’re aware of local laws surrounding VPNs before you connect.
Quick Guide: 3 Easy Steps to Make Your VPN Undetectable in 2022
- Get a premium VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN as its entire network of obfuscated servers will disguise your VPN traffic as regular internet traffic.
- Connect to a server. ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers in 94+ countries to choose from.
- That’s it! You can now use the internet privately and without restrictions.
13 Ways to Use a VPN Without Being Detected in 2022
The best VPNs have powerful security features to keep you hidden and get around blocks, including server obfuscation, data leak protection, multiple tunneling protocols, military-grade encryption, and IP address refreshing. These features work together to ensure your VPN connection can’t be detected.
After running extensive tests, my team and I found ExpressVPN is the best VPN for connecting to the internet undetected. It uses obfuscation on all servers, making every VPN connection appear as regular user traffic. Plus, its proprietary Lightway protocol keeps speeds fast while maintaining high-level security and privacy.
I ran multiple leak tests to ensure ExpressVPN could hide my true IP address, as well as prevent WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. It passed every test, letting me browse the web securely and anonymously while bypassing VPN blocks.
2. Try a Different Server
Getting around a VPN block can be as simple as switching to a different server.
Platforms like Netflix and Disney+ blacklist IP addresses and servers when they detect a VPN connection. However, it’s unlikely that all of a VPN’s servers are blacklisted. Choosing a different server gives you a new IP address, so you can access Netflix US with a VPN, as well as any other region-locked service. Most premium VPNs regularly refresh their IP addresses to avoid detection and blacklisting.
To make your connections quick and easy, I recommend choosing a VPN with a large network like ExpressVPN, which has over 3000 servers worldwide to choose from if you experience a block.
3. Switch Tunneling Protocol
Most often, your VPN will automatically choose the best option for your connection. However, if you find you’re blocked, try switching protocols to see if that fixes the issue. There are multiple tunneling protocols to choose from when connecting to a VPN.
OpenVPN — Best for Security on Desktop and Mobile
The gold standard of protocols, with a long-established history, fast connection speeds, and no known security vulnerabilities. However, OpenVPN’s popularity makes it the most frequently-targeted protocol and most likely to be detected and blocked.
WireGuard — Best for Streaming, Gaming, and Torrenting on Desktop and Mobile
A newer protocol, WireGuard, is exceptionally fast and secure. It’s also open-source and very lightweight (just 4,000 lines of code) so vulnerabilities are easily found and fixed.
Lightway — Fast and Secure Protocol (Rivals OpenVPN and WireGuard)
Lightway is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol and the automatic setting for the service’s connections. It’s ideal for secure online activity, streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more.
IKEv2/IPSec — Best for Speed on Mobile Devices
KEv2/IPSec provides stable connections for network changes or unreliable internet. However, it only uses port 500, making it very easy to block and not ideal for bypassing firewalls and other restrictions.
SSTP — Good at Bypassing Firewalls Using Port 443
SSTP is easy to set up on Windows devices and has strong encryption to get around censorship. However, SSTP could be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks so it’s not ideal for sensitive data transfers.
L2PT/IPSec — Double Encapsulation for Extra Security
L2TP/IPSec has support for most platforms and is compatible with high-level encryption, but it could face man-in-the-middle attacks and is much slower than other protocols.
4. Change Encryption Level
Some VPNs let you change your encryption level, which can help get around blocks if your internet speeds are slower and your connection times out. All the best VPNs in 2022 use AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256-bit, the same kind of encryption used by the US military to protect secret information. AES hasn’t been cracked to date, making it one of the most secure encryption methods available.
However, there’s a downside to this connection — data takes longer to encrypt and decrypt using AES 256-bit and causes slowdown. If your standard internet speeds are already slow, high-level encryption can slow speeds down so much that your connection times out. This can make it impossible to connect to sites and services when your VPN is active.
Fortunately, some VPNs let you change your encryption level to boost speeds and ensure a stable connection. A service like PIA lets you lower your encryption to improve your speeds, changing OpenVPN encryption from AES 256-bit to AES 128-bit. While there is a minor security tradeoff to doing this since AES-256 is more resistant to brute force attacks, it can help make sure your internet speeds are fast enough for a secure connection.
5. Use Obfuscated Servers
Server obfuscation is a high-level feature designed to make your VPN connection invisible. Usually, when you connect to a VPN it keeps your online activity anonymous, but the connection contains signatures and metadata that identify it as a VPN connection.
Obfuscation hides these cryptographic signatures so no one can see that you’re using a VPN. In other words, obfuscation makes your VPN connection look like regular internet traffic.
Obfuscated servers also scan for open ports to use for a connection, rather than using the same port every time. This reduces the chance that you’ll face a connection block, as it’s unlikely that sites and services monitor every port for VPN connections.
ExpressVPN provides obfuscation on every server, meaning your online activity and VPN traffic is hidden at all times. This makes it a top choice for China, Russia, Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other countries with strict internet censorship.
Other options are Private Internet Access’s Shadowsock protocol that disguises VPN metadata (although it doesn’t work in China).
In addition, PrivateVPN has a Stealth VPN feature you can activate when you need to break through tough firewalls.
6. Get a Dedicated or Static IP Address
Some VPNs offer dedicated or static IP addresses that aren’t shared with other VPN users. These IP addresses can be added to your account for an extra monthly fee and are useful if you’re concerned about VPN blocks.
When you connect to a VPN, you’re assigned an IP address that is shared with other users connected to the same server. This makes it easier for sites like Netflix to block IP addresses, as multiple connections from a single IP address are an indicator of a VPN or proxy.
A dedicated IP address is only available to you — no other users can connect to it. This means that even though you’re connecting through a VPN, sites that usually block VPNs (like streaming services) associate that IP with a single user.
CyberGhost offers a dedicated IP address as a subscription add-on, which takes a couple of minutes to set up. You can even add the service through the desktop app, making it even more convenient.
7. Reconfigure Your Port
Ports are often monitored to stop VPN connections, so changing the port you use can help make your VPN undetectable and access online services. Some VPNs will scan ports and choose different options to avoid detection, but you can also switch ports manually. There are a couple of ports that are typically not blocked, as these allow traffic to travel securely to sites:
- Port 443 — This port allows unencrypted traffic to reach a site securely. For example, when online banking or shopping, you’ll be directed to an HTTPs version of the site as this keeps your personal details private. As such, most websites won’t block this port.
- Port 80 — This port secures all HTTPs sites and is used for encrypted traffic, so it’s rarely blocked.
If you can’t manually change your port, some Windows VPNs still support the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), which uses port 443 by default. Of the VPNs I tested, IPVanish is the only service that has the SSTP option for easy port 443 access.
While changing ports can work, it’s not a guaranteed way to bypass blocks. If a site or service wants to stop VPN activity, it’s likely they’ll also use other methods — like DPI — alongside port blocking.
8. Change Your DNS Settings
If you have some technical knowledge, you can try changing your DNS settings to get around ISP blocking. This way, you’ll no longer route your encrypted connection through your ISP’s DNS servers and can avoid being blocked on this level.
I recommend using popular DNS servers like Google (22.214.171.124 or 126.96.36.199) or CloudFlare (188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206) — these servers have excellent uptime and won’t block your VPN connection. Manually changing your DNS settings is also useful if you want to reach a website blocked by your ISP, as this should be enough to allow access to the site. However, you won’t get the protection of an encrypted VPN connection, so you should only visit sites that won’t compromise your data security.
Changing your DNS won’t help if the VPN block is due to DPI. However, you could choose a VPN with server obfuscation and DNS leak protection like ExpressVPN. This ensures that not only is your VPN activity hidden through obfuscation, but you won’t experience any DNS leaks that cause your ISP to block your connection.
9. Use Your Mobile Data
Switching to mobile data can be useful when using a VPN at school or work — anywhere that imposes online restrictions for a private WiFi network. As these restrictions only apply to the organization’s network, connecting to the internet through mobile data allows you to avoid these blocks.
However, it’s important to remember that mobile data comes with its own restrictions, especially if you have strict data limits. Streaming, downloading, and online gaming will use up data very quickly. Plus, using mobile data by itself won’t let you access content in other locations, avoid DPI, or help you bypass censorship.
Provided you have a high cap or unlimited data, you can use mobile data with a VPN to securely access the internet. Most VPNs have mobile apps, so you can easily download a service like ExpressVPN to your smartphone or tablet for on-the-go privacy and anonymity.
10. Set Up a Manual VPN Connection
There are a few reasons to set up a manual VPN connection — perhaps your VPN’s app isn’t available for download where you live, or you can’t add the app to your device. Importantly, setting up a manual connection instead of the plug-and-play app may help make your VPN undetectable.
This may seem a little intimidating but fortunately, the setup process is straightforward:
- Check your VPN’s website for a list of server locations. This list will include the tunneling protocols they use, most often OpenVPN, WireGuard, or IPSec.
- Input your chosen server details into your setup app. This could be a third-party application or in-built support — your VPN should detail which platforms support different tunneling protocols.
- Enter your VPN account details, usually your username and password. You should be able to click “Connect” or “Activate” depending on your app, and establish your VPN connection.
The issue with manually setting up a VPN connection is you don’t get the full benefits of using the VPN’s dedicated app. There’s no kill switch or dedicated leak protection, and you can’t quickly switch between servers — you have to manually set up each connection. For this reason, it should be a last resort to unblock your VPN.
If you find it’s necessary, I recommend using ExpressVPN as it has detailed guides for manual setup available on its website.
11. Use a SOCKS5 Proxy
A SOCKS5 proxy uses the Secure Socket 5 protocol to send data through a proxy server. By using remote servers, the SOCKS5 proxy is good at bypassing blocks by masking your true IP address — much like a VPN does. Plus, SOCKS5 adds a layer of authentication that allows only the intended user to access the proxy. This makes it a good choice for fast and secure P2P file-sharing.
While the SOCKS5 proxy uses authentication, it doesn’t provide any connection encryption like a VPN would. It can also be a costly option to set up and operate.
Fortunately, there are several VPNs that support SOCKS5 so you don’t have to configure it yourself. I recommend you use PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy and Shadowsocks, as they’re built specifically to bypass tough restrictions like China’s firewall and are included with every subscription plan.
12. Use the Tor Browser (AKA The Onion Router)
Tor (also known as The Onion Router) is a browser that lets you browse the web anonymously. After connecting through an entry point, Tor sends your data through 3 different servers or “nodes” before it reaches your intended destination.
Your data is wrapped in several layers of encryption, with a layer removed as it passes through each server until the end point is identified. This makes it extremely difficult to trace the online activity back to you, and makes it easier to access blocked content.
Tor is designed more for anonymity than privacy and since exit nodes are under heavy surveillance, it’s possible for anyone watching to intercept your unencrypted data. It’s also worth noting that the Tor browser is blocked in many countries, like China, Russia, and Iran, meaning it isn’t always accessible without the help of a VPN.
Ideally, it’s best to connect to a high-quality VPN before launching Tor in order to fully encrypt your data (even at exit points). This method is known as “Tor Over VPN.” Connecting to Tor with a service like ExpressVPN ensures you get the fastest speeds, as Tor is known for slowing internet connections — it’s no good for streaming or P2P file-sharing.
13. Change Your SSH and SSL/TLS Tunnel
SSH and SSL/TLS are 2 kinds of tunnels that both use encryption to secure your data and allow you to bypass content blocks. Through encryption, these tunnels can help mask your connection to avoid VPN-specific blocks. Here’s a little more detail about how they work individually:
Using local port forwarding, SSH wraps your VPN connection in a layer of encryption to let it slip through blocks undetected. It’s used by many different applications, including file-sharing through FTP, so it’s rarely blocked.
However, it’s much slower than a standard ISP or VPN connection so it’s not a good choice for streaming or downloading content.
These tunnels are used for encrypted data, representing the “S” you see on the end of “HTTPS” for secure websites. As these tunnels are essential for the proper function of secure sites, they’re hardly ever blocked. As such, they’re a good way to disguise your VPN connection and allow you to access blocked content.
There are some premium VPNs like ExpressVPN that support SSL/TLS tunnels, but you also have the option of manually configuring a tunnel if you have some technical knowledge.
The Best VPNs to Remain Undetected Online (Tested in July 2022)
- Global network of 3000+ servers in 94+ countries
- Military-grade encryption, leak protection, kill switch, and audited zero-logs policy
- Supports proprietary Lightway protocol, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec
- 24/7 live chat, online knowledge base, and FAQs
- 30-day money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN has impressive security and privacy features, including the use of server obfuscation across its entire global network. It has military-grade encryption and IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection on every connection, ensuring your true location and personal data are securely hidden.
I ran multiple leak tests on various servers and my data didn’t leak a single time — the built-in IPv6 protection secured it completely for online anonymity. I was particularly impressed that obfuscation is configured into every server. It’s unusual for a VPN to offer this high-level feature on all servers, as obfuscation often slows connections significantly.
That said, I found ExpressVPN maintains blazing-fast speeds on all connections — even when servers were 15,000km away.
I recommend connecting to the proprietary Lightway protocol. Designed for both speed and security, Lightway ensures your data is anonymous while mitigating speed loss usually caused by high-level encryption.
I found it easy to stream, torrent, play online games, and browse the web without any buffering or lag. My team and I tested ExpressVPN with multiple services and found we could access Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, DAZN and more easily. This is because ExpressVPN regularly refreshes its IP addresses to prevent blacklisting by popular sites.
If Lightway isn’t available on a particular server or you need to use a different protocol to bypass a block, it’s easy to change protocols within the app. This is useful if you want to use a TCP connection for the Tor browser or IKEv2 for mobile devices.
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN and it’s priced as such, although its latest offer has a huge 49% discount on the 1-year plan — you can sign up for just $6.67 a month and even get 3 months for free.
If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund. As a new subscriber, you’re protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try every ExpressVPN feature risk-free. When I tested the process, it took only minutes to get my refund approved over 24/7 live chat. Best of all, I had my money back in just 5 days.
ExpressVPN works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, routers, and more.
ExpressVPN unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Peacock TV, YouTube TV, Kodi, ESPN, DAZN, and more.
July 2022 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- Network of 7900+ servers in 91+ countries, plus optimized servers
- Military-grade encryption, leak protection, kill switch, and zero-logs policy
- Supports WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols
- 24/7 customer support through live chat and email
- 45-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost has a range of optimized servers for specialized activities, including its NoSpy servers for secure browsing, as well as streaming, torrenting, and online gaming. The NoSpy servers are especially unique as they’re owned and operated solely by the company, reducing the risk of third-party interference.
In fact, all the optimized servers are tested regularly by company staff and provide undetectable connections for your online activities. I tested the optimized streaming servers with Netflix and Disney+, and I could access both platforms every time.
CyberGhost uses military-grade encryption, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch to keep your data secure, even if the VPN connection is interrupted. The company also uses RAM-based servers that cannot physically store data, so your activity is never logged. In addition, you can get a dedicated IP address for an extra monthly fee, reducing the chance of VPN blocks (useful if you don’t want your accounts to be flagged for suspicious activity or unknown login locations).
Unfortunately, CyberGhost doesn’t have server obfuscation features to bypass methods like DPI — so it can’t always get around tough restrictions, like China’s Great Firewall.
While CyberGhost does have a 1-month plan, you’ll get better value for money on its 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year plans. The 3-year-subscription is the cheapest at only $2.29 a month. At the moment, you can even save up to 84% when you sign up for CyberGhost. There’s a 45-day money-back guarantee on all plans except for the 1-month plan, which only offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
You can try CyberGhost’s optimized servers risk-free and get a refund if you don’t like it. To test this, I contacted the 24/7 live chat and an agent processed my refund in a couple of minutes. I had my money back in less than a week.
CyberGhost works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, routers, and more.
CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Peacock TV, YouTube TV, Kodi, ESPN, and more.
July 2022 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.29 per month + get extra 3 months free with the 3-year plan (save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- Huge global network of 35000+ servers in 80+ countries
- Military-grade encryption, leak protection, kill switch, and zero-logs policy
- Supports WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IPsec protocols
- 24/7 customer support with live chat, FAQs, and knowledge base
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access (PIA) has an enormous network of over 35000 servers worldwide, making it easy to bypass blocks. Many of PIA’s servers are spread across the US so it’s a top choice for accessing US content. Sites like Netflix US, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video were easily accessible in my tests and my connection speeds were fast enough for buffer-free streaming.
PIA uses OpenVPN and WireGuard for most of its apps, with IPSec available on iOS. These protocols are known for speed and security, even though OpenVPN is heavily targeted by VPN blockers. Fortunately, PIA provides several OpenVPN port options, making it less likely for sites to detect your connection.
To further hide your VPN usage, PIA offers dedicated IP addresses for an extra monthly fee. As this IP address is solely for your use, it doesn’t trigger VPN detection in the same way shared IP addresses can.
I also tested PIA’s Shadowsocks proxy, a multi-hop feature that routes your connection through a proxy server before sending it to your desired server destination. Shadowsocks adds a layer of encryption for additional security and obfuscates the server to avoid DPI detection. However, it does significantly slow down your speeds — my own speeds dropped from 115Mbps to 45Mbps.
That said, PIA has some of the lowest prices you’ll find for a premium VPN service — especially if you sign up for the 2-year plan (it’s only $2.19 per month).
If you’d like to test PIA’s huge server network for yourself, you can try the service risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. When I requested a refund, the 24/7 live chat agent asked me to troubleshoot any issues. I repeated my refund request and the agent promptly processed it, with the money back in my account in 4 days.
PIA works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, routers, and more.
PIA unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Sky Go, Peacock TV, YouTube TV, Kodi, ESPN, and more.
July 2022 Update! For a limited time only, save 82% with the 2-year plan + get an additional 2 months free! Hurry and check out the deal here!
- Compact network of 200+ servers in 63+ countries
- AES-256-bit encryption, data leak protection, kill switch, and no-logs policy
- Supports OpenVPN, L2TP, IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2 protocols
- 24/7 live chat, email ticketing, FAQs, and knowledge base
- 30-day money-back guarantee
PrivateVPN offers several methods for making its VPN connections undetectable. Its Stealth VPN feature works to obfuscate its servers, making it invisible to DPI and other advanced detection — it even works in China. PrivateVPN also offers dedicated IP addresses for an additional monthly fee. This is a great way to get an exclusive IP address exclusively, reducing the likelihood that it’ll be blacklisted as a VPN connection.
While PrivateVPN has a small server network, I was impressed by its fast speeds. Even when I connected to servers thousands of kilometers away, my speeds were fast enough for lag-free streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Plus, I could visit Netflix US, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video without seeing any error messages.
However, I sometimes had trouble establishing a connection to PrivateVPN’s servers. With a little patience and persistence I could eventually connect after a few minutes.
PrivateVPN is the cheapest premium VPN on this list, making it easy to get an undetectable service if you’re on a budget. Its monthly subscription price starts at just $2.00 for a 3-year plan, so you can get high-level VPN anonymity at a low monthly cost.
To see if it’s the right service for you, I recommend you test PrivateVPN’s undetectable connections for yourself. You can try it without risking your money as PrivateVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee — I had my money back in 5 business days after confirming my refund request over live chat.
PrivateVPN works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, routers, and more.
PrivateVPN unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Sky Go, Peacock TV, YouTube TV, Kodi, ESPN, and more.
July 2022 Update! PrivateVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2 per month with the 3-year plan (you can save up to 85%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it’s gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 2000+ servers in 75+ countries for quick, easy connections
- Best-in-class encryption, leak protection, kill switch, and zero-logs policy
- Supports WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols
- 24/7 customer support — live chat, knowledge base, and online FAQs
- 30-day money-back guarantee
IPVanish has a free SOCKS5 proxy with every subscription, so you can bypass restrictions quickly and easily. This proxy is particularly good at getting around tough restrictions by masking your IP address. As it doesn’t have the encryption of a VPN connection, SOCKS5 allows for much faster downloads.
Apart from its free SOCKS5 proxy, IPVanish offers a “Scramble” feature that obfuscates OpenVPN traffic. I found this useful for getting around OpenVPN-specific blocks, as I didn’t have to change ports or worry about DPI. IPVanish effectively secured my data and masked my VPN connection so I could access sites and services freely.
Unfortunately, IPVanish couldn’t unblock every site. While its servers worked with Netflix US, Disney+, and Hulu, it was unsuccessful with HBO Max, DAZN and Peacock TV.
You can choose between a monthly, quarterly and yearly plan. The 1-year plan lets you save 69% off the full price and it comes down to $3.33 per month.
All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out IPVanish for yourself. It’s completely risk-free — when I tested the refund policy, I was surprised how easy it was. I didn’t even need to speak to a customer support representative. I simply clicked the Cancel Subscription button on my IPVanish dashboard and I had my money back in less than an hour.
IPVanish works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Xbox, routers, and more.
IPVanish unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Sky Go, YouTube TV, Kodi, ESPN, and more.
Why Do VPNs Get Blocked?
1. Country-Specific Regulations
Places like China, Russia, and Turkey block citizens from visiting sites that don’t support the country’s culture, making it difficult to access information from the rest of the world. Usually, this is under the guise of safety and morality, and includes popular sites like YouTube, social media, gambling sites, and adult content.
Due to these restrictions, residents and tourists in these countries regularly use VPN connections to anonymously access sites. However, it’s important to remember that using a VPN doesn’t make it legal to visit restricted or illegal sites. You could face a government fine or have certain accounts banned if you’re found using a VPN.
2. Copyright and Licensing Agreements
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer block VPNs and proxies due to copyright agreements. These services purchase licenses that allow them to broadcast content in specific locations — but not in all countries.
For example, you may have noticed your Netflix account doesn’t have the same content as other regions. To uphold copyright regulations, Netflix even blocks VPNs to make sure you don’t watch shows from other countries (although there are some VPNs that can access sites like Netflix US).
3. Enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block VPNs to prevent the torrenting of copyrighted content. If an ISP detects illegal torrenting, it can restrict your internet speeds or even send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act infringement notice.
My team and I don’t condone torrenting copyrighted material, which is still illegal even under the protection of a VPN. Make sure you’re aware of local laws and regulations before torrenting.
4. School and Workplace Restrictions
Firewalls at school or work stop people from accessing distracting or inappropriate content, including social media, streaming sites, online casinos, and adult content.
These organizations also prohibit VPN usage (since a VPN can help you access this content). Network administrators may want to monitor your browsing habits, which becomes impossible if the connection is encrypted by a VPN.
The only way to keep online activity private while connected to these networks is to use a VPN with obfuscated servers like ExpressVPN. Server obfuscation makes a VPN connection look like regular traffic, keeping your browsing anonymous.
3 Types of VPN Blocks
1. IP Address Blocks
When you connect to a VPN, your true IP address is replaced with one from the VPN’s server. These addresses are shared amongst all users connected to that server. Unfortunately, shared IP addresses make it easier for services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video to identify it as a VPN connection.
It’s also one of the main methods used by China’s Great Firewall. If you connect to your VPN and try to visit a site with a shared IP address, you may find that you’re blocked from accessing the site’s content.
You should use a VPN that regularly refreshes its IP addresses like ExpressVPN, as this reduces the chance of the IP being flagged. Alternatively, choose a service with a huge server network — PIA has over 3000 servers in its network, making it less likely you’ll be assigned a flagged IP address.
2. Port Blocking
All internet traffic is sent through ports, which are virtual communication points that help computers and servers identify and sort the traffic they receive. Different kinds of information are commonly sent through specific ports.
For example, HTTPS typically uses port 443, and OpenVPN traffic uses port 1194. This means firewalls can actively monitor port 1194 (and other ports that typically communicate VPN traffic) and block any encrypted connections.
Fortunately, getting around this VPN block is as simple as reconfiguring your port and selecting a different option.
3. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
DPI is an advanced method of VPN detection that examines the type of traffic you’re sending, rather than the source of the traffic (like your IP address).
All data sent and received online is broken down into smaller units called “packets” that consist of 2 parts, the “header” and the “payload.” Standard packet inspection just looks at the header, which includes information like your IP address (or the VPN’s IP address).
DPI looks at the payload and searches for unique signatures used by protocols like OpenVPN that make your traffic identifiable as VPN traffic. This means sites and services using DPI can tell that your traffic is encrypted and block it.
This kind of inspection is very difficult to bypass and is one of the main methods used by China’s Great Firewall to block encrypted VPN connections. China also uses QoS (Quality of Service) filtering to slow down restricted connections until they time out. However, a service like ExpressVPN uses server obfuscation to hide your VPN connection, making it appear as regular internet traffic even when DPI is used.
FAQs About Undetectable VPNs
Is it legal to bypass VPN blocks?
It depends on what kind of restriction you want to get around. Using a VPN to access your local Netflix content while traveling isn’t illegal, but goes against your account’s Terms of Service, which could result in a ban (although it’s unlikely). Connecting to a VPN to bypass government restrictions or censorship is illegal, and the penalties for this can be severe.
In most countries and cases, it’s legal to use an undetectable VPN to encrypt your connection and protect your personal data. However, my team and I don’t condone using a VPN for illegal activities. Make sure you’re aware of your local laws and regulations before connecting to a VPN service.
Can a VPN bypass blocks on my phone?
Yes, any of the best undetectable VPNs can bypass blocks on your phone or other mobile device. These VPNs all have mobile apps that you can download to your phone, offering the same high-level encryption and security features as the desktop versions — including military-grade encryption, server obfuscation, and dedicated IP addresses.
It’s important to note that some mobile VPN apps have a limited selection of connection protocols, which can hinder your ability to bypass blocks. For this reason, I recommend you choose a service with multiple protocols like ExpressVPN — it supports Lightway, OpenVPN, and more, giving you a range of options if one is blocked.
Can I get around blocks with a free VPN?
While there are some reliable free VPNs out there, even these won’t get around all blocks. You need advanced features like multiple tunneling protocols, regular IP address refreshes, a variety of server connections, obfuscation, and more.
Without these key features, a free VPN is easily detected and blocked — it’s why hardly any free VPNs can unblock Netflix and other streaming services.
Shady free VPNs may promise to unblock popular sites but don’t even have basic features like a kill switch or a zero-logs policy, which puts your data security at risk.
I recommend that you only use a premium VPN to get around blocks, as this ensures your online privacy and security while bypassing restrictions. If you’re not sure about subscribing to a service, you can try CyberGhost free for 45 days thanks to its money-back guarantee. It’s like a free trial — once you’re done, you can cancel your subscription and get a full refund.
Will my ISP find out that I’m using a VPN?
It depends. A quality VPN like ExpressVPN uses obfuscation to make encrypted traffic look standard, hiding the signature from your ISP and preventing it from being blocked.
A low-quality VPN won’t be able to properly mask the unique cryptographic signature that tells your ISP it’s a VPN connection. However, even if your ISP can see that you’re using an encrypted connection, it can’t automatically tell you’re using a VPN.
Most ISP services don’t keep a log of IP addresses associated with VPNs, so it’s unlikely that it will know you’re using a VPN server connection.
Could Netflix ban me for using a VPN?
Netflix is very unlikely to ban you for using a VPN, although it may stop you from connecting to the site while your VPN is active. Even the best VPN services on the market can’t always access Netflix due to its detection technology.
Using a VPN to stream content only available in other locations goes against Netflix’s Terms and Conditions:
You also agree not to: circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service.
While Netflix lists account termination as a possible consequence for this prohibited behavior, there have been no reports of Netflix banning accounts for using a VPN to date.
Can a firewall block a VPN?
Yes. Schools, workplaces, and countries can configure local and nationwide firewalls to detect and block VPN connections. However, if you find you’re facing a firewall block, it’s easy to fix when you use an undetectable VPN. You can also try to reconfigure your port or change your VPN’s tunneling protocol.
Browse the Web Freely With an Undetectable VPN
You can even browse the internet anonymously with ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a money-back guarantee. This means you can test the service for 30 days and if you’re not completely satisfied, simply ask for a refund. I tested the refund policy myself by asking a customer support agent over 24/7 live chat and my request was approved promptly. The money returned to my account in just 5 days.