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How To: Bypass Your Schools Web Filtering System

Update: This post was originally written in 2006. The resources in this post may or may not still work. More ideas and new proxies to bypass your web filter are in the comments.

These tips may not work depending on what software your school uses to filter certain websites but after a few years of trying to check my Gmail, blogs, and anything else I might want to see, I’ve found what I think are the best and easiest ways to bypass Websense, my schools web filtering software.


MadServe: 1 WebSense: 0
My school uses WebSense to filter websites. It works great and that’s the problem. Almost every proxy, blogspot blog, game site, social bookmarking site, and email site is blocked by WebSense. There is also a way for administrators to add the url of a site they want blocked. The software also keeps track of your browsing history. More then once I’ve found a proxy or site that wasn’t blocked by WebSense and the next day when I checked the site it was blocked. I don’t know why but I think this was because somehow WebSense records your browsing history and creates a list of questionable sites for the administrator to approve or ban. Their is however one proxy that was never blocked. It’s a CGI based proxy known as MadServe and it works like a charm to bypass Websense. The only site I’ve had problems accessing through MadServe is Gmail. Fortunately, WebSense for whatever reason never blocked https://mail.google.com but it did block http://mail.google.com. They both do the same thing so I was able to access my Gmail account without a proxy just by using the https url instead of the regular gmail domain. Bypassing Websense is a challenge because it is constantly changing and usually tightly monitored by a school administrator. If your school uses Barracuda web filter, Lightspeed Systems, iBoss Advanced or a similar program you will run into the same challenges.


Google Is Your Friend
Another way you can quickly view blocked sites is by using the Google cache system and trying alternate url’s like I did to get into my Gmail account. For example, sometimes the system would block http://www.domain.com but they wouldn’t block http://domain.com. WebSense would also prevent you from doing any image searches on most search engines which was a real pain especially if you needed to print out some pictures for the cover of your project that was due in 4th hour (yeah this happened to me but I still got a B so it’s ok). What you can do so you don’t have the problem I did is go to Google, click on Images, then click on Advanced Image Search. WebSense blocks regular image searches but if you do the same search in Google’s advanced image search for some reason it doesn’t block it.

If none of these tips work at your school well that sucks for you but it worked for me so I hope this helps. I just wish someone would have told me this when I was a sophomore.

This advice may or may not help you bypass Barracuda web filter or Lightspeed Systems. To browse the web anonymously and bypass Websense, Barracuda, St. Bernard, Lightspeed Systems, iBoss or any web other filter the key is to find an anonymous proxy and be creative.


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