IP bans are a security mechanism triggered when a server detects unusual traffic from your system (e.g., excessive requests or failed login attempts). You may also be blocked from a web service if your IP address is blacklisted.
Depending on the reason for the blacklisting, you’ll be able to bypass or permanently resolve the IP block with different methods.
- To bypass geo-restrictions, you must mask your IP address (use a proxy/VPN, connect to a different network, etc.).
- In case of false flags, you can appeal to the web service owner to remove the IP ban.
- To resolve suspicious traffic, monitor your network for faulty devices, programs like browser extensions, or malware.
- To unblock a blacklisted IP address, ask your ISP to assign a new IP address. Or, send a manual delisting request to the block list service provider.
Connect to Another Network
If you have access to another network connection (neighbor’s, school, office, etc.), connect your device to that network.
The requests from your device will now originate from the public IP address of that network (which isn’t banned). This is the easiest way to bypass the IP block.
Set Up a Proxy or VPN
Proxy servers and VPNs serve as intermediaries. Your network traffic is routed to the
ISP > Proxy/VPN server > Web Service.
This’ll let you bypass the IP block as the web server will think your traffic is originating from the proxy/VPN server’s IP.
The main difference between the two is that VPNs encrypt data packets at the OS level. So, if you want to protect the contents of your traffic from your ISP, use a VPN.
Otherwise, a proxy server will work fine as well.
Paid or private proxy servers and VPNs are usually good. But popular public proxies and VPNs are often used by spammers and the like. To prevent abuse, their IP addresses are usually blacklisted.
This can be done via something like the Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL). Or, the webmaster may do it manually (e.g., Tutanota blocks Shared IPs to prevent mass signups).
So, if you’re facing this IP block issue only when connected to the proxy/VPN, you have two options.
- Switch to a different proxy/VPN first.
- If that doesn’t work, disable the proxy/VPN and try accessing the web service with your own IP address.
Use TOR Browser
Sometimes, you need privacy but public proxies/VPNs don’t cut it. This is where The Onion Router (TOR) browser comes in.
TOR routes your data packets throughout its worldwide network. Once again, this makes it seem like the browser traffic is originating somewhere other than your network (meaning the ban no longer applies).
TOR is great for anonymity as it encrypts the data packets. But it’s also consequently slow, especially since it bounces the traffic across multiple nodes.
Monitor Your Network
Web services have various security policies in place regarding IP bans (e.g., temporarily block after X failed login attempts). In cases like this example, the ban is automatically lifted after a short period like 24-hrs.
But some of these policies can be triggered unintentionally. For instance, online price trackers can send a lot of recurring requests in a short amount of time to continuously monitor the prices.
This isn’t limited to extensions, either. It could be any other program on your device, or on another device on the network. I saw this problem on Disney+ once because an antivirus was sending an abnormally large number of requests.
If you’re the owner/admin of your network, you can test for this with a three-step process:
- Scan for malware on all devices in your network.
- Remove any programs that you suspect from all the devices.
- If required, kick all devices from the network. Only add 1 at first and ensure it’s secure. Check if the IP block is lifted after a while. Keep repeating this with the other devices until you find the culprit.
Appeal to Remove IP Block
If you believe your IP address was unfairly banned, you can appeal to have it unblocked. This means contacting the web service owner or the blacklist owner as appropriate.
You can also request your ISP to assign your network a new IP address citing the same reasoning.