The problem with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others is that most of them are blocked in office, school and corporate environments. Facebook is surely the most popular social networking site and not being able to access Facebook when its blocked is very frustrating.
Another annoyance is that you have all your friends, family members and colleagues on Facebook. When Facebook is blocked behind a firewall, you can neither open Facebook when its blocked in office nor chat with Facebook friends, which may be really disturbing for people who work all day in office and want to keep with with their Facebook friends from workplace.
In such cases, you have to look for workarounds to open Facebook when it is blocked. Here are some options you can use to unblock Facebook when its blocked.
Check your System’s Hosts File
The hosts file in your computer is the first thing you need to check; this is the most common way anyone can block any website on your computer.
If you’re using Windows operating system (Window XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8), go to C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\ , double click the hosts file and open it in a text editor. You should see something like this:
If you see facebook.com is listed at the end, delete that line and save the hosts file.
If you’re using MAC OSX, here is how to open the hosts file and check to see if it has been modified to restrict access to Facebook or other social sites.
Go to Applications > Utility > Terminal and type the following command in the terminal window
$ sudo nano /etc/hosts
This will open your osx hosts file in the same terminal window and you will see something like this:
If you see that facebook.com is listed at the bottom of the hosts file, delete that line completely and save the file (Command + o). Restart your system and you should be able to browse Facebook without any difficulty.
Access Facebook with a Secure Web Proxy
The easiest way to access Facebook when it is blocked is using a secure web proxy. Using proxy sites, you can unblock facebook and can use it at your convenience. Some of the proxy sites are not free and requires you to pay an amount before you can actually use them. But given below is a list of free proxy sites and addresses you can use to access Facebook when its blocked behind a firewall:
Securitales – There are a whole host of proxy sites out there but not all of them are specially optimized to open blocked sites. I checked a lot of proxy sites and all I can say is that Securitales is one of the best of the lot.
Securitales lets you securely access any website from anywhere, it helps you override network restrictions and lets you open any website when it is blocked or filtered by your network administrator. With Securitales, you can open Twitter from Iran, watch YouTube videos that are blocked in your country and browse Facebook when it is banned or filtered by your ISP (internet service provider).
However, if you do not want to spend money on a full featured proxy server, here is a list of free proxy sites and servers you can use to access Facebook, Twitter and other websites if they are blocked.
Note: Please be careful when using third party proxy sites or proxy servers. Some of the sites may be malicious.
The problem with proxy sites is that organizations keep an eye on the sites that are being accessed from the network and after some time, they may block the proxy site in the first place. Hence, it is a good idea to keep a huge list of proxy sites at your disposal and switch between them every once in awhile.
Note to readers – If you know of a good Facebook proxy for office or school, please post it in the comments section. We will add your suggestion to this list.
Create Your own proxy server with Google App engine
If you are a geek and have a web server of your own, it might be a good idea to create your own proxy server and use it to open Facebook in office, college, school or anywhere when you see that the website is not accessible. If you do not have a web server, you can use Google app engine to create your own proxy server. Watch the following video and follow this tutorial to setup your proxy server with Google app engine:
There are some advantages of using your own proxy server, rather than relying on third party proxy sites for accessing blocked sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and others. First, since your proxy server has a unique address, the chances of the proxy site being blocked is almost zero. These days, corporate companies, schools and organizations block proxy servers itself so creating your own is the best way to get around it.
Second, since you have your own proxy server at hand, you don’t have to find a proxy server, create an account or pay a monthly fee. It’s yours and you can use it anywhere!
Access Facebook.com Using IP Address
To open Facebook using an IP address has its advantages. Chances are that the administrator has blocked Facebook from the Windows host file. Following are the steps involved to open Facebook with an IP address:
1. Open the command prompt and type “Ping facebook.com”
2. You will see the IP address as shown in the above image. Just enter the IP address in the browser address bar and if you are lucky, Facebook may open.
Note: If you do not have administrative rights in the computer and you are unable to open command prompt for any reason, try to find the IP address of Facebook with this Online tool.
Access Facebook With Opera Mini Browser
If the above method doesn’t work you can use the web version of opera mini browser to open Facebook. Just open the Opera mini demo link in your browser and you can open Facebook homepage.
Opera mini is meant to surf the web from mobile phones and it is a great way to access blocked websites. You can access the mobile version of Facebook from http://m.facebook.com. [Related: Block Websites Using OpenDNS for Better Parental Control]
Try the mobile version of Facebook
Do you know that Facebook has a lighter mobile version of the site, which can be accessed from a regular web browser? Enter http://m.facebook.com/ in your web browser and you should see the mobile version of Facebook.
Now it is possible that your network administrator has blocked only www.facebook.com and the mobile version is not included in the list of blocked sites. If you’re lucky, you might be able to slip through it.
The best thing about Facebook’s mobile version is that it is lightweight and uses a different address. You can go through your Facebook news feed, read and reply to messages, chat with friends, like posts, status updates and post comments. It is unlikely that you will be able to browse the mobile version of Facebook when the main Facebook domain is blocked at your workplace. But it never hurts to try and check to see whether this one works or not.
Switch To OpenDns or Google Public DNS
Changing the DNS server that your computer is using to connect to a network is another way to check whether you can get on Facebook when it is blocked. I agree that DNS servers or mappings cannot help you access sites that have been blocked from the network. However, I have seen instances when changing the DNS server has worked wonders for me and allowed me to open a restricted site which was otherwise not accessible.
Please read the following tutorials to switch to OpenDns or Google Public DNS
Check your system’s task manager for suspicious programs
Once in awhile, peek into your system’s task manager to see all the processes that are currently running. Do you see any suspicious processes or services being executed? Do you see a program or a service running in Windows task manager which is not related to the operating system and neither related to any program installed in your system?
If the answer is “Yes”, try killing that service and check whether you can access blocked sites. Very rarely, some programs install malware in your system which might prevent access to specific websites on your computer.