Some institutions have employed this mechanism to ensure learners stay focused, whereas others have only resorted to the option to ensure a balanced bandwidth.
While this has been productive, it has also meant that learners can’t access platforms such as YouTube for research purposes.
Seeing as most of the educational sites and platforms get blacklisted, one has to find a workaround. That’s where virtual private networks (VPN) come in.
These vitally important tools make it appear like you’re accessing the internet from a location outside the school.
Ergo, they help you skirt blocks and get access to the restricted sites. They also encrypt your traffic, making your Mac, pc, or phone safe when using the school public Wi-Fi. What’s more, you get the added benefit of private browsing that’s secure from the snooping eyes of the school administration.
We’ve prepared a list of the top 5 VPNs that you can use to unblock the school Wi-Fi and why we think they are the best. In case you are in hurry here’s the list:
How to Choose the best VPN for School
Choosing the best VPN for unblocking school Wi-Fi can be challenging now that all VPN providers claim to have the best tool. Besides, you have to identify one that is not blocked by the school and, most importantly, can circumvent the school’s firewalls.
To know which VPN can skirt the school’s firewall, you first need to know the VPN features that make a VPN good.
Typically, schools block VPNs using two approaches:
The first and commonly used method is by blocking OpenVPN. The second method requires employing Deep packet inspection: a similar approach like that of the Great Firewall of China.
Most education institutions use this method because it is simple to adopt. It entails blocking all the ports apart from HTTPS port 443 and HTTP port 80. The former is used for encrypted traffic while the latter if for unencrypted traffic. In VPNs, only the STTP protocol works on port 443, leaving out protocols like OpenVPN and IPSec/L2TP.
STTP works just fine and even has better security than PPTP, however, it doesn’t work outside the Windows OS. It is possible to get around this hitch by using a VPN that supports port forwarding i.e. it’ll allow you to set up OpenVPN via port 443. Unfortunately, not all the VPNs in the market allow port forwarding, and even so, port forwarding can only work on desktop computers.
Deep Packet Inspection
This method is more advanced and complex hence expensive. As such, not most institutions have the resources to adopt it. DPI helps school firewalls sniff out encryption tools and mark out OpenVPN traffic from regular HTTPS traffic. This helps the system to only block VPN traffic.
If your institution employs DPI, you’ll need a VPN that can mask VPN traffic and make it seem like regular HTTPS traffic. That way, it won’t be detected or blocked.
You also need to keep in mind what you intend to accomplish using the VPN. This will help you determine what more features you need the VPN to have. For instance, if you’re interested in streaming your favourite TV show during breaks, you’ll need a VPN with unblocking capabilities.
Best school VPNs in Australia
Devices supported: 6
Number of Servers: 5100
Server location: 59
Cost: $3.49/month (3 & 2 year plan), $6.99/month (1 year plan), $11.95 (monthly plan)
NordVPN is easily the best VPN when it comes to offering extra security, so it’s no surprise it tops our list. It has an excellent VPN network of over 5100 servers. You can be sure of break-necking speeds and a stable, reliable connection.
Thanks to its powerful unblocking capabilities, NordVPN has got you covered if you love streaming shows and movies. It has an intuitive interface that is friendly to both beginners and tech-savvy users.
NordVPN uses 256-bit encryption, which can be upgraded using Double VPN, which essentially means double encryption. Double encryption involves routing your traffic through two different servers, making it untraceable thus more secure. Compounded by the fact that NordVPN maintains a zero-logs policy, you can enjoy unrestricted access to all websites knowing your internet activity is anonymous.
Since it is also based outside the 5, 9 & 14 Eyes Alliance, there are zero risks of your data being intercepted and traced to you. There’s also DNS leak protection and a kill switch to terminate your connection when it goes down. You can torrent in peace without worrying about browser security flaws giving away your activity.
NordVPN’s customer support team is available 24/7 to handle any issues that you may encounter. The VPN is compatible with almost all systems and has client apps for most of the platforms. You can give it a try with the 30-day money-back guarantee provided.
Devices supported: 10
Number of Servers: 1400+
Server location: 75+
Cost: $6.49/month (1 year plan), $8.99/month (3 month plan), $10.00/month (monthly plan)
IPVanish is your best bet if you spend most of your free time at school downloading & sharing tutorials or educational files. Its servers support torrenting as well as P2P sharing and have excellent download speeds. The VPN allows up to up to 10 devices to connect simultaneously so you can share it with your schoolmates.
As you’d expect, it has native apps for all the major platforms and comes with set up guides for other devices. However, some users have had issues with the Windows app. Nonetheless, it works just well.
IPVanish offers protection against deep packet inspection, thus ensuring your connection is not compromised. Your privacy is assured as the VPN doesn’t keep any user log.
You can choose from the various protocols provided i.e. OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IPSec, L2TP, and IKEv2 VPN. Other features present include a working kill switch and solid encryption. The VPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it before subscribing to long-term plans.
Devices supported: 5
Number of Servers: 600+
Server location: 70+
Cost: $2.50/month (2 year plan), $3.75/month (1 year plan), $12.95/month (monthly plan)
Want to experience a fast and reliable internet connection even when you’re on school Wi-Fi? Then look no further than VyprVPN. The VPN provider operates the whole network, which explains its fast performance. It has a global server coverage so you can always switch to any server of choice.
Like IPVanish, it comes with a guide instruction for the platforms and devices that lack clients. The VPN has a user-friendly interface, and you won’t have any trouble navigating through. It uses its proprietary protocol Chameleon that protects against throttling and deep packet inspection.
This is further complemented by the VyprDNS and several other security protocols. Besides scrambling OpenVPN packet metadata, it features AES 256-bit encryption and keeps no logs of the user’s traffic.
We like that VyprVPN has a 3-day free trial for risk-free testing. Since the company has a no-refund policy, its best to ensure the VPN is everything you’re after before signing up. It is a little bit expensive if you go with the monthly plan. The yearly plan, however, is very budget-friendly, and it comes with the perks of Chameleon technology.
Devices supported: Unlimited
Number of Servers: 1700+
Server location: 63
Cost: $2.89/month (2 year plan), $7.99/month (1 year plan), $15.99/month (monthly plan)
Surfshark is another alternative that delivers excellent performance at a bargain. First, it offers unlimited simultaneous connections so you can have it on all your devices. Its server coverage of over 1700 servers in 63 countries is just enough to move you around the world as you unblock streaming platform or download files.
The split tunneling feature allows you to access other sites (where you don’t require the VPN connection) without turning off the VPN. This is useful, especially when you want to submit assignments or access your school portal while streaming.
Security-wise, it uses 256-bit encryption to ensure your traffic is secure. It also maintains a zero logs policy. Surfshark comes with a DNS leak protection and a kill switch, which gives you the anonymity and privacy you want. Surfshark is also equipped with the CleanWeb tool, which eliminates any cyber threats such as malware, adware, and phishing.
You can always switch to the Camouflage Mode, which makes your VPN traffic appear like regular traffic. The only flipside to this mode is that it doesn’t have encryption, so you won’t be safe when torrenting. The VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee to help you know what you’re settling for when signing up.
Don’t be limited when your school decides to block your favorite educational websites or platforms. Subscribe to any of the VPNs above and start enjoying unrestricted internet. Since all of them support multiple simultaneous connections, you can cover all your devices at once. Take advantage of the money-back guarantees and free trials provided to test and find your perfect choice.