Unblocking Instagram: Why it happens and how to fix it

What is it about Instagram that is so objectionable, and why do institutions such as schools and workplaces feel the need to limit its use? Blocking Instagram is often an annoyance, not a necessity. However, if it is superfluous, is it feasible to circumvent it and unblock Instagram? Yes—via the use of a VPN.

Instagram is blocked in what way?

To understand how to circumvent it, you must first understand how a block is constructed. Two techniques are available: whitelisting and blacklisting. Both approaches isolate certain websites and determine which you are permitted to visit and which you are not.

Some may, for example, ban hazardous websites that represent a threat to the organization’s security. This is referred to as blacklisting—a website is prohibited from being used. When you attempt to visit it, you will either get an error notice or a blank page.

Similarly, whitelisting determines which websites you are permitted to visit. Thus, rather than prohibiting access to certain websites, it permits access to specific websites. Thus, a school may “whitelist” its own website while “blacklisting” Instagram.

How are white- and black-listing policies enforced? PrivacyAngel reports that

The network administrator at your school has access to the router that broadcasts the WiFi network you use on campus. He or she keeps a blacklist of any websites that the school does not want pupils to visit and saves them on the router.

Because the router sees every traffic that passes through it, it may compare it to the blacklist before allowing it to pass. When it identifies a prohibited URL, IP address, or phrase, it immediately terminates the request.”

While PrivacyAngel makes particular reference to an Instagram ban at his or her school, the same logic applies to any restriction, anywhere.

By using a VPN, you can circumvent the block.

Therefore, if Instagram is banned, how can you circumvent this restriction using a VPN? Instagram blocks your access to their servers by detecting your IP address. They will block you once they detect your presence on their network. However, what if they were unable to notice your connection?

VPNs work by connecting you to one of their servers located around the globe. Once linked, it will appear in that location rather than on the server that has the block. For example, suppose you’re in a workplace where Instagram is blocked. You may use a VPN to connect to a server in Europe and voilà. If they are no longer able to detect your connection, you may scroll freely.

Step-by-step

You understand how a VPN works, but how can you install it on your own? TechRadar provides a straightforward, step-by-step tutorial on setting up a VPN:

  1. Choose a reliable VPN — You may already be a subscriber to a VPN service, in which case you should be fine: any reputable provider should have no problem unblocking Instagram. Otherwise, you’ll need to choose and sign up for a VPN. Choose something reputable: a free or untrustworthy VPN may keep and/or sell your data, which may get you in hot water.
  2. Download and install the VPN software — If you want to use your phone, ensure that you also download the app.
  3. Open the VPN application — This will guide you through the initial setup process, which includes giving you any necessary rights and signing you in.
  4. Connect — An apparent “connect” button should appear. When you tap it, it will connect you to a secure server to get you started. You may also alter it if you want it to appear in a different location.
  5. Enjoy Instagram — Now that the service has been unblocked, you may use Instagram normally.

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