We can’t deny the fact that there are a ton of schools and colleges that regulate access to online content for students. They restrict access to specific websites so that students may not have access to them – and maybe so that students can focus on the core business – their studies. 

Maybe you should not blame your school or College. But it’s downright frustrating for people who love researching and browsing through restricted websites to carry out their online activities. 

Besides, students need to research, do their assignments and complete their projects. Restricting their access to some materials could be the beginning of the worst experience in their academic life journey. Honestly, why block a student from the specific sites that can help him or her with their research or streaming sites that could help them relieve stress after fixed classes? 

But then, we have some good news for you because what we have a solution for all these. In this post, we are going to walk you through the different types of VPN service providers best for unblocking restricted sites by your school. Let’s get started. 

Why schools block websites?

Universities and schools still limit the access to some information with the best intentions and students are always obliged to comply no matter what. 

But what you must know is that school firewalls may never be perfect always. After all, even the legitimate resources may still have traces of blacklisted addresses. As a result, students will have the challenge of accessing most sites, which is wrong. 

Social media sites, the second most popular search engine – YouTube, streaming sites such as Netflix and online shopping sites like eBay could end up in the list of blocked sites. Let’s not even talk about torrenting communities or even email servers. The pain is that a ton of these blocked sites have valuable information that students could use for their studies. 

Why use a VPN at school?

In most cases, these draconian rules will end up doing more harm than good to students. Additionally, schools should be at the forefront in fostering free access to information instead of restricting it. So, a VPN service is vital and will help you exercise your right to access to information, online privacy and security. 

Private Browsing

Did you know that your school gains access to your online activities every time you are on the internet? In short, the school can trace what you are doing when online.  

But with a VPN service, you can keep your online activities private. That means that neither the school nor ISP can access your online activities.

Improved Security

Schools have Wi-Fi that students can use to browse. Sadly, most of these Wi-Fi networks aren’t secure. This is because a password is open to the hackers who can attack or steal your data or even access your webcam and spy on you. 

In worst scenarios, these hackers could deliberately delete your vital academic documents such as term papers, your research notes. All this is to force you to pay a ransom if you want your critical documents. 

These dangers are not only limited to schools, but also public Wi-Fi network areas such as restaurants, parks or shopping malls. 

The good news, though, is that a VPN will encrypt your traffic to block intruders from accessing your data or information and causing damage. 

Access YouTube, streaming sites, gaming servers, and social media sites

It’s sad that popular search engines like YouTube, streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix, gaming sites and social platforms such as Facebook, in most cases, are blocked by the school. 

While it is true that sites such as Facebook, Netflix, Hulu and gaming centres could eat up students’ time, subscribing to specific sites such as Netflix, but not making good use of it could also be unfair. 

Fortunately, with the help of a VPN, you will be able to unblock most of these sites the school restricts.

Torrenting

Several schools restrict or limit the use of peer-to-peer sharing of files, imposing severe punishment for copyright violation. But you can use a VPN service to use torrents and your school will never know.

How to Choose a VPN for School and College?

It’s saddening that schools not only block restricted sites to stop students from accessing VPN tools but also blocks VPNs as well. 

That said, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your school will not block the VPN you want to use. After that, you need to familiarize yourself with different VPN features and have your preferences in mind before you can settle for one.

Just to let you know, your school can restrict VPNs using the following methods: 

  • Blocking OpenVPN: the 1194 port, which is also the most common port people use among VPNs
  • Executing Deep Packet Inspection

Port Blocking

Port blocking is a lot simpler and cheaper to execute. In this method, schools will block all ports and leave HTTPS port 443, which is suitable for encrypted traffic, as well as HTTP port 80, which is ideal for unencrypted traffic. If any other apps are using any other ports not mentioned, they will be blocked. 

When we talk about VPNs, it is essential to note that only SSTP protocol will work on a 443 port. That means that PPTP, OpenVPN, or IPSec/ L2TP is compatible with ports 80 and 443. 

Fortunately, and probably the good news is that SSTP offers way better security as compared to PPTP. The bad news, though, is that you will only use this on Windows and not any other Operating System. 

If your VPN allows port forwarding, then a workaround will be possible. That means that you can install OpenVPN using port 443. The bad news, though, is that all VPNs do not entirely support port forwarding. Besides, port forwarding will only be useful on desktops and not mobile devices.

That’s why you should choose a VPN with the following features:

  • Supports SSTP protocol using port 443
  • OpenVPN supports port forwarding to either port 80 or 443

Deep Packet Inspection

Deep Packet Inspection is a bit more advanced and expensive as well. It allows schools to ‘sense’ encryption tools, differentiate OpenVPN from the regular HTTPS traffic, then restrict the VPN traffic. 

If your school is that with the draconian rules, you’d want to settle on a VPN which can ensure your security and privacy is guaranteed – making it look like you’re browsing from a regular HTTPS traffic. In other words, be sure to check out for protection that will ensure you are safe from Deep Packet Inspection. 

Depending on what you intend to do with your VPN, you should also consider other factors such as server coverage, whether or not the VPN can unblock geo-restricted streaming sites or gaming servers. And if you want a walk through the different VPNs you can choose, have a look at the list below: 

Best VPN Services to Unblock School WiFi

1. NordVPN

You could be wondering why NordVPN tops the list, but here’s the reason: NordVPN has double data encryption capabilities, robust security as well as no logs. And because it is based in Panama, rest assured that your privacy is guaranteed. They have custom desktop applications has DNS leak protection and kill switch. 

One license will allow you to connect up to six devices simultaneously, and you are free to order for more goodies such as Dynamic IP, Dedicated and Shared Static. You can share P2P files, and you have the freedom to access and stream from geo-restricted streaming sites. 

NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can cancel your subscription before 30 days elapsed if you are not satisfied with their services. The monthly fee goes for $11.95 while you can save a few bucks if you go for the yearly plan, which costs $69

Pros for using NordVPN

  • Double VPN which will protect you from DPI
  • They have more than 1,000 servers in 61 countries
  • Suitable for peer-to-peer sharing of files, streaming and gaming
  • Fast speeds
  • DDoS protection
  • Kill Switch
  • Zero logs
  • You can connect up to six devices simultaneously

Cons of using NordVPN

  • Some servers could inconvenience you.

2. Hide.me

Hide.me boasts of extensive server coverage in all continents, no logs privacy policy and a useful application with a DNS leak protection as well as a kill switch. 

Hide.me more than 100 payment methods including Bitcoin, and offers superb speeds. You have the freedom to choose between their free plan, which comes with limited bandwidth, or their Plus plan, which goes for $4.99 every month. Besides, you will have 75GB data, up to 30 server locations as well as limitless bandwidth. 

If you have more features you’d want to explore such as port forwarding, then a Premium plan going for $9.99 will be great. It also offers SSTP protocol and makes good use of SoftEther, which is used to keep your privacy intact. 

Pros for using Hide.me

  • Port forwarding
  • VPN protection with SoftEther
  • Wallet-friendly
  • You can try out the free plan
  • Intuitive
  • SSTP
  • Zero logs
  • Superb speeds
  • Cross-platform

Cons for using Hide.me

  • Costly when you opt for the premium plans
  • Sometimes setting up simultaneous connection can be frustrating

3. Pure VPN

Pure VPN is a Hong Kong VPN service provider located that has been in existence for 11 years in the market. It has more than 750 servers in up to 180 locations. Pure VPN prides in most solutions every student may need. It offers a ton of protocols such as SSTP as well as several platforms. 

Additionally, Pure VPN comes with a kill switch, split tunnelling and NAT firewall. That means that you will get protection when your VPN unexpectedly drops or when there happen to be encrypted data leaks. Besides, you can choose which applications you want to maintain while using your VPN and which ones can use the unencrypted school channel. 

Its rates are comparable to other VPN service providers – going at $9.95 per month, but you can have a fair deal if you opt for a two-year plan going for $59 per month. 

Pros for using Pure VPN

  • SSTP protocol
  • It offers NAT firewall, split tunnelling, and kill switch
  • Solid security
  • You can share P2P files and access streaming servers
  • Cross-platform
  • Intuitive
  • Wide server coverage
  • 24/7 support
  • Superb speeds

Cons for using Pure VPN

  • Limited 7-day give back
  • There is no free trial
  • Does not support Netflix or BBC iPlayer

4. VyprVPN

Vypr VPN is among the top VPN service providers that manage up to 700 high-speed servers across the world. It supports no logs and can bypass a ton of firewall because of the excellent protections installed into its software. 

VyprVPN allows you to stream from geo-restricted streaming sites and access gaming servers. Besides, VyprVPN provides you with robust security perks such as proprietary Chameleon and NAT firewall that will not be affected by ISP-imposed throttling. 

You can test VyprVPN for three days before you decide to go for a package. The basic plan starts at $9.95 every month, or $45 yearly while the premium goes for $12.95 per month and $60 every year. 

Pros for using VyprVPn

  • You will get Chameleon protocol and DPI protection
  • NAT Firewall
  • A free trial for three days
  • Superb security specifications
  • You can connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • Excellent speeds suitable for gaming and streaming

Cons for using VyprVPN

  • It does not have a money-back guarantee
  • Expensive monthly plans

5. ​​​Strong VPN

Strong VPN has been in the market for over 20 years, and it has been providing its customers with excellent high-end privacy as well as security specs.  

Strong VPN comes with a variety of protocols with a complete OpenVPN tool you can use to overcome firewalls like those in China. So, it’s just what you need when you are in College. 

Strong VPN has more than 500 servers installed in up to 26 countries. It comes with high-speeds that you can use for torrenting, gaming or streaming. 

You can get Strong VPN at $10 per month, or go for the yearly package, which starts at $69.65. 

Pros for using Strong VPN

  • You can connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • Zero logs
  • Cross-platform
  • You can ask for a refund before seven days if you’re not pleased with the services you get
  • Kill switch
  • OpenVPN obfuscation
  • Suitable for unblocking blocked streaming sites
  • Excellent speeds

Cons for using Strong VPN 

  • Its set up can be hell at times
  • You can’t rely much on its software

6. TorGuard VPN

TorGuard VPN boasts of multiple servers in 51 countries, the ability to share peer-to-peer sharing of files, robust encryption, fast speeds as well as a ton of security specs. It has a custom SSL-based VPN which is super quick, and you can take advantage of its inbuilt proxy as well as the routed ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ security. 

You can connect up to five devices on TorGuard VPN, and its cool features will allow you to overcome college firewalls effectively. It has desktop features such as malware blocker, kill switch, as well as an ad blocker. Additionally, you can integrate it with mainstream BitTorrent apps. 

TorGuard has subscription plans. You can opt for their $10 per month subscription plan or go for its yearly plan of $60. 

Pros for using TorGuard VPN

  • Wide server coverage
  • Top-notch security specs
  • Stealth connection that will help you overcome firewalls
  • It comes with ad- and malware protection, MITM protection, kill switch
  • You can integrate it with BitTorrent application
  • You can connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • DDoS protection

Cons for using TorGuard VPN 

  • It is a US-based, not quality privacy policy.

7. ExpressVPN

Express VPN has several servers in 94 locations. It is suitable for torrenting, streaming, gaming as well as overcoming school firewalls. ExpressVPN does not keep logs, which means that your privacy is guaranteed. It allows Bitcoin as a payment method, and you can connect up to three devices simultaneously. 

Express VPN boasts of an excellent and 24/7 user-friendly customer support, so you can never get stuck and fail to find a solution to your problem. It is suitable to use for a couple of streaming sites and offers high-speeds excellent for gaming. 

You can either go for their monthly package, which costs $12.95 or yearly plan which costs $99.95. It also has a money-back guarantee, so you can ask for a refund if you are not satisfied with the services it offers.

Pros for using Express VPN 

  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Cross-platform
  • Intuitive client
  • Wide server coverage
  • Top-notch security specs
  • No logs
  • Malware protection
  • P2P
  • Free trial​
  • High speeds

Cons for using Express VPN 

  • Expensive

How to Access VPN Websites from School?

Many schools or colleges don’t allow access to VPN sites. In other words, you can’t install any VPN when connected to your school network. 

Use a mobile connection instead of your College’s network to access a VPN service, or use any of the public Wi-Fi connections nearby. 

Alternatively, you can create a hotspot from your phone and use the connection to access a VPN service. 

Conclusion

There are free VPN service providers, but we advise that you don’t use them because you will end up exposing your browsing activities to your school and VPN service provider, which they may sell to third party companies. 

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