Network blocking refers to limiting access to certain websites by blocking their IP addresses or domain names. It is commonly done by schools, businesses, ISPs, and governments to control content viewed on their networks. However, overzealous blocking can also inadvertently restrict access to legitimate sites and useful web resources.
Being able to check if a website is intentionally blocked is therefore important for both troubleshooting connectivity issues and detecting censorship. This article provides easy methods to test if a site is being blocked by your particular network or internet provider.
Network Blocking: Briefly
Network blocking refers to the practice of restricting access to certain websites and online content by blocking requests to their domain names or IP addresses at the network level.
Websites may be blocked for several reasons:
- Security policies that limit access to sites hosting malware or other threats.
- Bandwidth restrictions where bandwidth-intensive sites like video streaming platforms are blocked.
- Legal requirements such as country-level censorship laws.
- Moral or ethical objections to sites with certain types of content.
The impact of network blocking includes:
- Limited access to information and web resources needed for work or education.
- Connectivity issues leading to frustration and loss of productivity.
- Lack of transparency around what sites are restricted.
- Privacy concerns around monitoring of sites visited.
Understanding what network blocking is and why it happens allows users to more effectively test for and handle blocked sites on their networks.
Preparing to Check for Network Blocking
Before testing if a website is blocked, it is helpful to ensure you have the right tools and foundational knowledge.
- Online blocking detection tools like Host-Tracker.
- Terminal/command line access (Windows Command Prompt, Linux terminal, MacOS Terminal)
- Network analyzer mobile apps (Fing, Network Analyzer, etc.)
Concepts to Understand
- How DNS (Domain Name System) converts websites’ domain names to IP addresses.
- The basic flow of routing HTTP requests from client to web server hosting site content.
- Common causes of failed requests like DNS issues, unavailable hosts, access rule blocks etc.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
- Only test sites you have authorization to access (no hacking/illegal entry)
- Do not attempt to circumvent blocking through bypass proxies, IP spoofing etc.
- Check whether your network has usage/access policies you should review
Equipping yourself with the proper tools, technical context, and responsible testing approach enables accurately checking for and handling blocked websites.
Methods to Check Network Blocking Site
There are several techniques that can be used to test if a website is being blocked, including online tools, command line utilities, and mobile apps.
Using Online Tools to Check for Blocking
The easiest way to check “how to check network blocking site” is to use an online censorship testing platform like Host-Tracker.
Host-Tracker scans website accessibility from 50+ locations worldwide to detect blocking at the ISP-level. Simply enter a URL and review the detailed connectivity report.
Checking for Blocking via Command Line
On Windows, Linux, or MacOS, you can use terminal commands like ping, traceroute, dnslookup (check domain owner online on host-tracker) and dig to check if a site is blocked from your network.
Analyze the command output for symptoms of blocking like failed pings, DNS errors, or request timeout warnings.
Using Mobile Network Apps to Check for Website Blocking
On iOS and Android devices, apps like Fing and Network Analyzer can identify blocked sites using integrated network (host-tracker provides port check) diagnostic tools.
Test site connectivity right from your mobile device to check for issues like DNS filtering, firewall rules or proxy blocks when attempting to access pages.
Running tests using diverse tools and testing points allows comprehensive checking to confirm if and where a site is being blocked.
Interpreting the Results
Analyzing Host Tracker test results requires checking accessibility reports for patterns indicating blocking.
Understanding Host Tracker Outputs
- Red nodes on the map signify locations unable to access the site.
- Green nodes represent locations with connectivity.
- “Not Reachable” error status suggests possible blocking.
Differentiating Between Blocking vs Outages
- Temporary outages affect all nodes globally.
- Blocking typically only affects some regions/ISPs.
- Compare access over time to differentiate network issues.
Troubleshooting Testing Issues
- Verify the site is up via tools like “http check” on Host Tracker.
- Retry after clearing DNS cache and with different browsers.
- Check results from multiple locations/connections.
- Use archived versions if site was recently reachable.
Cross-referencing the visual maps and error outputs in Host Tracker can help determine if inaccessible sites are actually blocked versus just down or disconnected.
Preventing False Positives
When testing if websites are being blocked, getting accurate results avoids misleading firewall policy complaints or site outage alerts.
Ensure Accurate Testing
Use at least three different up-to-date tools to check for blocking and correlate results: online censorship scanners, terminal-based network commands, mobile network diagnosis apps.
Update Tools Frequently
Configure apps to auto-update and upgrade network commands regularly via package managers. Outdated tools risk misleading reports.
Cross-Check With Different Methods
Compare results across diverse testing techniques like DNS lookups, ping tests, HTTP requests etc. One method alone cannot comprehensively diagnose blocks.
Leveraging multiple updated network testing mechanisms provides more confidence in detecting real website blocking versus transient network glitches or server hiccups incorrectly flagged as censorship.
This article outlines methods to check if websites are being blocked by networks, including using online tools like Host-Tracker to scan global accessibility, built-in command line utilities like ping and traceroute for local testing, and mobile apps to diagnose traffic directly from devices. Checking for blocking should be conducted through legal means per acceptable network policies, but revealing potential overblocking can constructively inform requests for increased access, as unimpeded Internet access is vital for work, education and life.