By­pass­ing blocks on other de­vices

While it’s eas­i­est to by­pass blocks on a PC, you also have op­tions on other de­vices as well.

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On mo­biles, you ac­tu­ally have ac­cess to all the same tools as on PC. You can mod­ify your net­work DNS set­tings just like on a desk­top. You can down­load your VPN provider’s app. You can use prox­ies in your browser, as well. On An­droid, you even can in­stall and app called Or­fox to ac­cess the Tor net­work.

Other de­vices like smart TVs and con­soles can be trick­ier. Your best op­tion may be to not to try to mod­ify the de­vice at all — the best tool you have in this case is your router. With a few sim­ple mod­i­fi­ca­tions, you can make it so that ev­ery de­vice on your net­work will use Google DNS au­to­mat­i­cally. That way a sin­gle mod­i­fi­ca­tion cov­ers ev­ery de­vice.

CHANG­ING YOUR ROUTER’S DNS

Con­fig­ur­ing DNS ser­vices on your router has a ma­jor ad­van­tage — it in­stantly cov­ers all your de­vices. Any de­vice that con­nects to your router with auto-configuration (aka DHCP) switched on will have the ben­e­fit of us­ing your router’s DNS configuration.

Now, nor­mally your router will use the DNS server ad­dress pro­vided to it by your ISP when you con­nect to the in­ter­net. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can change your router’s DNS so that the DNS server ad­dress it uses and hands out to your de­vices is one you spec­ify.

Un­for­tu­nately, the ex­act way of do­ing this varies from router to router. Gen­er­ally, you’re look­ing for the DHCP set­tings or DNS set­tings. On most ASUS routers, click on ‘LAN > DHCP Server’ and look for the DNS server field. On D-Link, click on ‘Setup > Man­ual In­ter­net Con­nec­tion Setup’ and change only the DNS server fields un­der ‘Dy­namic IP’. On DrayTek, you’ll find it un­der ‘LAN > Gen­eral Setup’. On Linksys routers, they’re usu­ally found un­der ‘Con­nec­tiv­ity > Lo­cal Net­work’, un­der DHCP server. On Net­gear, click on Ba­sic Set­tings, then ‘Use these DNS servers’. On TP-Link, click on DHCP in the left hand panel, then on DHCP Set­tings.

In the DNS fields, en­ter the num­bers 8.8.8.8 (pri­mary) and 8.8.4.4 (sec­ondary) if you’re go­ing to be us­ing Google’s DNS servers. Then save the set­tings.

Now when a de­vice con­nects to the net­work, it will be as­signed those DNS server ad­dresses, by­pass­ing your ISP’s DNS and its site blocks.

US­ING A VPN ON YOUR ROUTER

It’s also pos­si­ble to set up a router so that all traf­fic from your net­work is routed over a VPN. That means even your smart de­vices like tele­vi­sion sets can use the VPN ser­vice to by­pass geoblocks.

This is not for the faint of heart, how­ever, and you need a special kind of router to do it. Your router must sup­port VPN ser­vices. Most ASUS routers do, as do most DrayTeks.

But the ma­jor­ity of other con­sumer routers do not. On many such routers, how­ever, you can in­stall a third-party firmware like dd-wrt ( dd-wrt.com). If you want to in­stall DD-WRT, visit the site and see if your router model is sup­ported, and then fol­low the in­stal­la­tion in­struc­tions for that router model very care­fully.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s no uni­ver­sal guide we can pro­vide for set­ting up a VPN on a router. Ev­ery VPN ser­vice provider has a dif­fer­ent configuration. Your best bet is to visit the web­site of your VPN ser­vice provider and look for the guide for set­ting it up on your router. Most of the ma­jor providers have guides for DD-WRT.

Even then, you do have lim­i­ta­tions. It’s not easy to switch be­tween VPN lo­ca­tions, for ex­am­ple — you have to man­u­ally log into your router and change the VPN server ad­dress. On the other hand, it does al­low de­vices that nor­mally couldn’t use the VPN to use it.

SHAR­ING YOUR PC’s VPN

There’s also an­other way to ex­tend a VPN ser­vice to de­vices that might not have VPN clients, such as smart TVs and con­soles. If you have a VPN set up on your PC, it’s pos­si­ble to share it with those de­vices.

You will need a Win­dows PC that sup­ports Wi-Fi. If that’s the case, you can ac­tu­ally cre­ate a hotspot on your PC that the de­vice can con­nect to. Then you share the VPN con­nec­tion with them.

Fol­low these steps:

First, we turn your PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot. On your Win­dows PC, open Notepad. Type the fol­low­ing two lines into Notepad, re­plac­ing <SSID> with the name you want your vir­tual hotspot to have (eg. VPN) and <Pass­word> with the pass­word you want to use: netsh wlan set host­ed­net­work mode=al­low ssid=<SSID> key=<Pass­word> keyUsage=per­sis­tent netsh wlan start host­ed­net­work Save the file as ‘vir­tu­al­hotspot.bat’. Make sure it has the .bat ex­ten­sion, rather than .txt. Now, in File Ex­plorer, right click on vir­tu­al­hotspot.bat, and se­lect ‘Run as ad­min­is­tra­tor’. You may get a prompt ask­ing if you want to al­low it (say yes). Once you’ve done that, you should be good — you’ve cre­ated a vir­tual hotspot on your PC. Now to share your VPN con­nec­tion. When you in­stalled the VPN app from your provider, it should have cre­ated a new net­work­ing adapter driver on your PC. We’re go­ing to share that. Right click on the Start but­ton and se­lect Net­work Con­nec­tions. Then se­lect ‘Change Adapter Op­tions’. You should see your reg­u­lar wire­less and wired con­nec­tions. You should also see the new hotspot you’ve cre­ated in steps 1–4. And fi­nally, there should be a TAP driver, cre­ated by the VPN ap­pli­ca­tion. Find that, right click on it and se­lect Prop­er­ties. In the Prop­er­ties win­dow, click on the Shar­ing tab. Check the box to Al­low other users to con­nect through this com­puter’s in­ter­net con­nec­tion. Un­der ‘Home net­work­ing con­nec­tion’, se­lect the net­work de­vice that cor­re­sponds to the vir­tual Wi-Fi de­vice you’ve just cre­ated. Most likely, it will be Wire­less Net­work Con­nec­tion 2 or Lo­cal Area Con­nec­tion 2. Click OK. You’ve now shared your VPN con­nec­tion with all de­vices that con­nect to the Wi-Fi hotspot you cre­ated in steps 1–4. All that’s left to do now is con­nect to it. On your smart de­vice, go to the Wi-Fi set­tings. Find the net­work name that you gave your Wi-Fi hotspot in Step 2 and con­nect to it. Now, any data sent to and from the de­vice should go through the VPN, by­pass­ing geoblocks just like your PC does. If your de­vice has a browser, you can check that it’s work­ing just by go­ing to www.iplo­ca­tion.net and see­ing where it says you are.

That should be it: you’ve now shared your PC’s VPN con­nec­tion, and its abil­ity to work around cen­sor­ship and geoblocks, with any de­vice that con­nects to the vir­tual hotspot. Note that when your PC re­boots, this vir­tual hotspot will dis­ap­pear, but you can start it up again by right click­ing on the vir­tu­al­hotspot.bat file and se­lect­ing ‘Run as ad­min­is­tra­tor’.

And that should be ev­ery­thing — ev­ery de­vice in your home should now be able to dodge geoblocks, avoid site cen­sor­ship and gen­er­ally ac­cess all that the in­ter­net has to of­fer. En­joy!

DD-WRT is a third-party router firmware that sup­port VPNs.

DHCP and DNS set­tings on an ASUS router.

A Linksys router’s DHCP set­tings.

Find your VPN driver.

You need to cre­ate a text file with two lines.

En­able Shar­ing for your VPN adapter.

Save it as a .bat file.

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