The use of VPNs is growing worldwide, from people wishing to bypass online censorship to people looking for a safer and more private web browsing experience. Unfortunately, this popularity has also led to a rise in VPN blocking tactics from websites and services who wish to limit or block the use of these privacy tools.

There are a few reasons why a website or service would decide to block the use of a VPN. These range from stringent government censorship to copyright matters and even organisation policy. In other cases, the decision to block VPNs is purely based on the fear that criminals are using them to breach copyright terms or for illegal activities like downloading movies or games without permission. This is why services like Paypal will sometimes decide to block VPN users because they want to ensure that the money they receive for transactions comes from legitimate sources and not from criminals using a VPN to conceal their identity.

One of the most common ways to block VPNs is through port blocking. This is because VPNs rely on specific ports to facilitate their connection and when a site detects this it can block these connections. This is a fairly easy technique for services to employ and it can be countered by using newer encryption protocols that randomize the ports they connect through, making them less susceptible to detection.

Another way to block VPNs is through Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). DPI is a sophisticated form of censorship that looks at the encrypted metadata characterizing the traffic coming from and to your device. This can be used to detect VPNs by checking for specific patterns in the data that could indicate that a VPN is being used, such as if the same IP address is being used by thousands of people, which is a clear indication that a VPN is being used.

DPI can be countered by using a VPN service that offers dedicated residential IP addresses. This will stop your VPN from being blocked by sites that check for specific patterns in the data and will prevent them from detecting any indications of a VPN connection.

It is also worth remembering that in some countries the use of a VPN is actually against the law, such as in Oman where the government is keen to maintain control over the information its citizens can and cannot see. For this reason, the country blocks many popular VPN providers.

The good news is that the majority of popular VPNs are able to unblock platforms and services when they are initially blocked. This is because they are able to offer workarounds to these blocking techniques, often by simply switching servers or by turning off threat detection features. This is why it is always worth trying a few different approaches before giving up on a site that has been blocked by your chosen VPN. In addition, it is a good idea to try to find a solution that offers SmartDNS as this can be an effective way to get around VPN blocking for some services.