March 16, 2023

Why IP Blocking Is a Threat to Free Proxy Lists Everywhere

In the internet age, access to information and the ability to communicate freely are more important than ever.

But the spread of censorship and online surveillance has made it increasingly difficult for individuals to exercise their rights to privacy and free expression.

One of the most common methods to restrict access to information is IP blocking, which involves preventing users from accessing specific websites or online services based on their IP address.

While IP blocking may be used for legitimate reasons, such as preventing spam or protecting against cyber-attacks, it also poses a significant threat to the availability and effectiveness of free proxy lists.

What Are Free Proxy Lists?

Before we can discuss the impact of IP blocking on free proxy lists, it is important to understand what these lists are and why they are important.

When a user connects to a website or online service through a proxy server, the server acts as a middleman, forwarding the user’s requests and responses between the user and the website.

Proxy servers can be used for various purposes, including enhancing security and privacy, accessing geo-restricted content, and bypassing internet censorship.

A free proxy list is a collection of publicly available proxy servers that anyone can use to connect to the internet anonymously or access restricted content.

Why Is IP Blocking Used?

Hackers and spammers may use proxy servers to carry out cyber-attacks or send spam emails, making it difficult for law enforcement to track their activities.

To combat these threats, many organizations and online services use IP blocking to prevent users from accessing their websites or services through proxy servers.

Some websites and online services restrict access to their content based on geographical location. By blocking access to proxy servers, these websites can ensure that only users from approved locations can access their content.

IP blocking works by identifying the IP addresses associated with proxy servers and blocking them from accessing the website or service.

Methods of IP Blocking

There are several methods that organizations can use to block access to proxy servers:


Sometimes organizations block access to proxy servers using “blacklisting.” This means they add the IP addresses of known proxy servers to a list of blocked websites.

When someone tries to use the internet through a blacklisted IP address, they can’t get access. This helps keep bad guys from getting into the network.


Blocking access from IP addresses located in certain countries or regions is a common approach used by websites and online services to prevent access from known proxy server locations.

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu use this method to prevent users from accessing their content from outside approved regions.

However, this method sometimes unintentionally prevents legitimate users from accessing the website or service.


Some websites and online services use CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart) to prevent access from automated programs, including those used by proxy servers.

CAPTCHAs require users to complete a visual or auditory puzzle to prove they are human and not a computer program.

How IP Blocking Affects Free Proxy Lists

Some people use free proxy lists to access websites without revealing their IP addresses. However, some websites block IP addresses that are associated with free proxies.

While they do it for legitimate reasons, it also significantly impacts the availability and effectiveness of free proxy lists.

Specifically, IP blocking can lead to:

1. Limitations on Access to Proxy Servers

When a proxy server’s IP address is blocked, users cannot connect to it and use it for browsing the internet. They may be forced to use alternative servers not included in the proxy list.

This can significantly reduce the number of available proxy servers for public use, limiting the number of websites users can access through these proxies.

2. Reduced Effectiveness of Free Proxy Lists

When websites block access from proxy server IP addresses, they effectively render those servers useless for accessing the website or service.

This means that users who rely on those servers may be unable to access certain websites or services, even if they are included in the proxy list.

This can also result in slower browsing speeds, longer wait times, and reduced overall performance.

3. Negative Impact on User Privacy and Security

When users are unable to connect to proxy servers through IP blocking, they may be forced to use alternative servers that are less secure or offer fewer privacy protections.

This can leave users vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other online threats.

4. Implications for Internet Freedom and Censorship

The use of IP blocking poses significant risks to internet freedom. By restricting access to information and online services, IP blocking can limit users’ ability to express themselves freely and access important information.

This can have a chilling effect on free speech and the exchange of ideas online, leading to a less open and democratic internet.

Governments and organizations may use IP blocking to prevent users from accessing websites or online services that are critical of the government or promote alternative viewpoints.

Examples of IP Blocking Used for Censorship in Different Countries

Many governments worldwide restrict access to online content for different reasons, including –

  • protecting children from obscene materials,
  • preventing copyright infringement and confusingly named domains, and
  • safeguarding national security.

Different countries employ different methods of internet censorship, such as DNS tampering, IP blocking, and keyword filtering.

For instance, Great Britain censors child pornography, France blocks hate speech, while the US seizes domain names and blocks access to content due to copyright infringement.

Some countries, like Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, and Turkey, use DNS-based censorship, with only South Korea displaying a warning page. On the other hand, China and Saudi Arabia use IP-based censorship.

The Chinese government uses a sophisticated system of IP blocking known as the Great Firewall to control access to information and online services within the country.

The Great Firewall blocks access to a wide range of websites and online services, including social media platforms, search engines, and news websites.

In 2012, Russia enacted the Restriction Bill into federal law, granting the government the power to block any inappropriate content. They block those related to political opposition, independent media, and LGBT rights.

Organizations like the Open Net Initiative (ONI), Freedom House, and Reporters Without Borders monitor internet censorship trends across countries.

ONI categorizes internet censorship based on its level of occurrence, although this may not be comprehensive enough since some countries’ censorship blocks communication that was previously accessible.

Other countries with similarly stringent internet censorship laws include India, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba.

Ways to Bypass IP Blocking (Alternative Solutions of Free Proxy Lists)

There are various reasons why someone might want to bypass an IP ban, such as accessing a blocked website or regaining access to a forum or chat room.

Fortunately, there are several techniques to circumvent IP blocking:


Virtual private networks (VPNs) are popular for bypassing IP blocking. It encrypts all your internet traffic and routes it through a server in another location.

This means that the website you’re trying to access will see the VPN’s IP address instead of your own, making it difficult for organizations to detect and block their IP address.


Another approach to bypass IP blocking is to use a proxy server. Acting as an intermediary between your device and the internet, the proxy server routes all your internet traffic through its IP address.

These servers operate similarly to those in proxy lists but are not shared among many users.


The Tor network is another tool for bypassing IP blocking. Tor encrypts user traffic and routes it through a network of volunteer-run servers, making it difficult for organizations to trace users’ IP addresses.

SSH tunneling and P2P anonymizers are other methods that can be used to bypass IP blocking.

It’s important to note that some websites may block not only your IP address but also your Media Access Control (MAC) address. In this case, switching out your MAC address can help you bypass the block.

Risks and Limitations of Using Bypass Methods

Using a proxy server or VPN to bypass IP blocking can be beneficial regarding privacy and security, but there are also associated problems.

Some proxy servers, such as Kickass proxies and mirror sites do not encrypt users’ IP addresses and web request data, which may lead to data breaches.

When privacy is not a significant concern, web-based proxies can be more advantageous than VPNs for devices where users can’t modify software settings.

Nevertheless, users should avoid disclosing personally identifiable information and login credentials like usernames and passwords when using web-based proxies.

Unlike VPNs that support all devices, including computers, mobile phones, televisions, and modems, proxies cannot cover the user’s entire system. Instead, they only reroute traffic from one system.

Low-quality VPNs do not offer high security, and hackers can use proxy servers to access sensitive information such as credit card numbers and passwords.

VPNs and proxies can also slow web browsing speeds and may be ineffective for bypassing more sophisticated IP blocking techniques. The use of Tor can be very slow making it impractical to use.


IP blocking poses a significant threat to the availability and effectiveness of free proxy site lists.

By limiting access to proxy servers and reducing the effectiveness of these lists, IP blocking can make it more difficult for users to access the information and online services they need.

Individuals and organizations must work together to promote open and democratic access to information online.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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