As Internet use becomes increasingly common at the workplace and in schools, so do attempts to limit access to certain websites. With bosses and principals trying to put a hamper on web surfing and increase productivity, they have resorted to installing firewalls and web filters that block many harmless websites, including Big Bruin. Lucky for you, there is a way to get around these blocks.
How to Get Around Website Blocks:
The easiest way to get around a website block is to use a proxy website, aka web proxy. Web proxies work by acting as a middle man of sorts between your computer and the website's server. Let's pretend Joe in Iowa wants to unblock Big Bruin at work. To do this, he visits a proxy, types in bigbruin.com, and clicks "Go". Normally this Internet request would be sent straight to his company's servers and then the web filter, which would block the site. But since Joe is using a proxy, the request gets sent through the servers of the proxy website. The proxy downloads the website to its servers, makes any necessary modifications, and then sends it back to Joe. By doing this, the block is bypassed.
Proxies work with most websites out there, including Myspace, Facebook, eBay, blogs, email, and of course, Big Bruin. Some websites like Digg may place restrictions on visitors using proxies. For instance, Digg will not allow proxy visitors to Digg stories, as this would make cheating the system very easy.
To get you started, here are a few proxy websites you can use.
» Internet Unblock
» Unblock Utopia
» Rock the Prox
» Canada Unblock
» The Unblock
Types of Web Proxies:
There are more than 4,000 proxy websites on the Internet. However, they are all pretty much the same. Most proxy sites operate using one of two free scripts: CGI Proxy and PHP Proxy. As their names indicate, they each use CGI and PHP respectively. CGI Proxy is the older of the two. It runs a bit slower than PHP Proxy, but is compatible with more websites. On the other side of things, PHP Proxy runs a little faster than its CGI counterpart, but doesn't support as many websites. Some people have observed that sites running PHP Proxy tend to be newer, while stable and established proxy websites run CGI Proxy exclusively. PHP Proxy proxy sites can be identified by the "/index.php?q=" found in proxified URLs, while CGI Proxy sites often have "/nph-proxy.pl/" after the domain on proxified pages.
Problems with Proxy Websites:
Just like everything in life, proxies aren't perfect. Some websites may contain visual flaws when viewed through a proxy, and there are a rare few that block access from proxies. Some content, such as Flash videos, cannot be viewed through most proxies. This includes YouTube and online arcades. Currently, unblocking YouTube videos is in its experimental stage in the proxy industry. One good site to try if you do want to unblock a website that uses Flash elements, including YouTube videos, is Ultimate Unblock.
Though the previously mentioned Joe in Iowa was successfully able to unblock Big Bruin, his network administrator soon found out about "those new proxy things" and blocked Joe's proxy. That's right. Just as a regular site like Big Bruin or MySpace can be blocked, so can proxies. Web filters are getting smarter and smarter all the time. Nearly all can scan through a website for proxy-related keywords to block potential proxies. Some even scan Google to find and block proxies! Where a proxy is blocked, however, a new one always sprouts. New proxies are always being launched. If you find one proxy is blocked, try others. Ones without the word "proxy" in their names work best. If you find every proxy you try is blocked, try Houstongreatbooks.org. Houstongreatbooks.org used to redirect website for a reading club in Houston, but was bought when it expired and turned into a proxy. It's cleverly disguised as a reading website and uses a .org domain name, which makes it harder to track down and block.
If you need more proxies, a list with a few more can be found here.
Though schools and workplaces may block many popular websites, Big Bruin included, proxy sites can be used to get around the blocks. Proxies essentially act as a "middle man" by letting Internet requests pass through their own servers. Though some network administrators try to block proxies, there are always at least a few that pass through the cracks.
Please drop by the Bigbruin.com Forum and feel free to post any comments or questions.