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Can my ISP block my VPN? (And can you stop them)

Can my ISP block my VPN? (And can you stop them)

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VPNs are great tools to have on your devices. Not only does it allow you to access geo-restricted content on the web, but it secures your data and stops bandwidth throttling. But it also prevents your ISP from spying on your web traffic.

However, this may lead you to wonder if your ISP can block your VPN connection if it wants to? That is, if they have a problem with you using the VPN in the first place.

Unfortunately, they can block your VPN. We’ll go into detail below on how ISPs can do this as well as give tips on how to stop this. But first, let’s take a look at why ISPs want to block VPNs in the first place.

Why would my ISP want to block my VPN?

ISPs can block VPN connections for the following reasons:

  • They don’t like the fact that you use a VPN to encrypt your data and browse the web privately. After all, that data you encrypt is something they can easily sell to advertisers for a profit.
  • They may not like the fact that you are bypassing the bandwidth limitation and using a lot of data.
  • They may be worried that you are downloading illegal torrents.
  • Likewise, they may be worried that you are using your VPN to do illegal things online, which is a common misconception.
  • Your country’s government forces ISPs to block VPNS.
  • Or the government forces your ISP to censor specific websites. Therefore, they block VPNs to ensure that you are not using a VPN to access those websites.
  • Your ISP just doesn’t like VPNs.

It is very difficult to say for sure why your ISP is blocking your VPN. To give them the benefit of the doubt, it might just be a misunderstanding. If you suspect this is the case, you can contact your Internet Service Provider to resolve the issue.

But now about how ISPs block your VPN and how you can stop it. There are four main ways your ISP can block your VPN connection.

Your ISP is blocking the IP address of the VPN server

This is how your ISP will most likely block your VPN. Some people think that ISPs can’t do this, but unfortunately this is not true. There is nothing stopping ISPs from doing this, as your ISP will always see the destination of your VPN connection – the VPN server.

They will simply use a firewall to block that IP address, which means you can’t connect to the server anymore. But you may be wondering how your ISP knows that you are connected to a VPN server.

They usually see your IP address and DNS resolution (website name) when they check your connection destination. If they can only see the IP address, they will assume that you are using a VPN server, especially if your traffic is encrypted.

They can also use an IP lookup tool (such as WhatIsMyIPAddress) to find out who the IP address belongs to. If they do and see a data center instead of a local ISP, it becomes clear to them that you are using a VPN server.

The solution: The easiest solution is to connect to another VPN server. This will give you a new IP address that has not been blocked by the firewall.

If your ISP blocks all the IP addresses you connect to, you won’t be able to use the VPN anymore. But your ISP is unlikely to bother keeping up with all the servers you connect to.

They are blocking the port that the VPN connection is using

Your ISP can also know which port the VPN is using, as well as the IP address of the server. If they consider it a non-essential port, they can block it and block your VPN access.

The solution: The best thing to do is to use port 443 to connect to your VPN. It’s an HTTPS port, so technically your ISP can’t block it. If they do, they will cut off all your access to the web which is unrealistic.

However, not all VPN protocols can use port 443. But VPN protocols that can be really secure. These include OpenVPN, SoftEther, and SSTP. SSTP uses port 443 by default anyway, while OpenVPN requires this port to be chosen. Its default port is 1994.

They use DPI to detect OpenVPN traffic and drop your connection

DPI stands for Deep Packet Inspection, and it is a method of network analysis that allows your ISP to take an in-depth look at your web traffic. But if you use OpenVPN (as most VPN users do), your connection becomes a DPI target.

This is because the OpenVPN encryption has a distinct signature that DPI can capture. If your ISP is going to use a packet snooler like Wireshark, they can detect that OpenVPN has your connection protocol instead of TCP or UDP. Once they notice your VPN connection, they can block it with a firewall or simply drop the connection to the VPN.

The solution: Really, the only solution is jamming. This is a VPN feature that hides OpenVPN traffic and disguises it as normal internet traffic. It does this by removing VPN-related data from the OpenVPN package and assigning port 443 to it.

You can also try using other protocols, but keep in mind that your ISP can still tell if you’re using a VPN based on the port assigned to your packet.

You are using PPTP and they see your GRE packages

While it is still popular due to its incredibly high speeds, PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), its low security is due to the fact that its encryption can be easily broken. This thus makes it a solid duck for any ISP. Unfortunately, it’s their non-standard GRE packages that make it so easy for ISPs to identify and drop or block your connection.

The solution: Unfortunately, the only solution is to stop using PPTP. Any other protocol will work fine because it is more secure than PPTP. We recommend using VPNs such as IKEv2, OpenVPN, SSTP, or WireGuardยฎ instead.

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