Facebook blocked? Try this workaround

We get a lot of users in certain countries saying that they even though they are connected to proXPN, they still cannot access certain sites like Facebook, YouTube, etc. This problem stems from the fact that their ISP is very likely blocking these sites via  DNS cache poisoning techniques.

Simply put, DNS cache poisoning is where the ISP binds the wrong IP to the domain name of the blocked site on their (the ISP’s) DNS servers.

Editing your local hosts file can be an effective workaround to this problem.

To edit your hosts file, use a plain text editor – and we can’t stress this enough, so we’ll say it again – a plain text editor. Rich text editors like wordpad and word will render your hosts file unusable to your operating system. So for windows users, stick with notepad. For mac users, TextWrangler is a great, free plain text editor.

When editing your hosts file, the important thing to remember is, “IP address, tab key, domain name” – that is put the IP address on the line first, then hit the tab key, then put the domain name, like so: somedomain.com www.somedomain.com

Then save the file and flush your local DNS cache*

Note that for the above, there are two entries for the same domain – one with www. and one without.  This is because as far as DNS goes, these are not the same domain name (or “zone”, in geek-babblespeak).

Important points to remember

  • To find the genuine IP of a site that’s blocked, Zone Edit has a great tool.
  • If you’re on windows Vista or Windows 7, you’ll want to start notepad “As Administrator” – this will ensure that your changes are saved to the hosts file.
  • To locate the file on windows, be sure to have “View hidden files and folders” enabled, then navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc

* On windows, flush the DNS cache by opening a command prompt and typing: ipconfig /flushdns
* On mac, flush the DNS cache by opening a terminal window and typing: dscacheutil -flushcache

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