Tag Archives: how to

access blocked website

How to Access blocked websites on Ubuntu

Earlier, I wrote an article about – how to block a website on Ubuntu and now I feel that I should also share some tips about unblocking a website on Ubuntu (or other GNU/Linux based operating system such as Linux Mint), just for the sake of free speech and liberty. It will also help you in bypassing Internet censorship etc if there are any, based on your geographical location.

Although the post has been written for Ubuntu users but some the tips may work well on other operating system too. I’ve tested these techniques on Ubuntu 10.04/12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) but it should work well with older and newer versions such as 14.04 LTS.

access blocked website

4 ways to unblock websites in Ubuntu

1. Using OpenDNS or Google DNS

OpenDNS can also be used in blocking a website but it is good for unblocking a website if your ISP is blocking access to your favorite sites. OpenDNS servers are far better DNS servers than your ISP DNS servers. They provide 100% uptime with extra security, so it will also boost your web surfing pleasure. But in some cases the latency may be high as compared to your ISP DNS server, so first test it well before completely switching to it.

Setup Open DNS in Ubuntu 12.04/14.04
Go to Network settings – > Configure -> IPv4 Settings -> Automatic DHCP Address Only and enter these IP address in Name servers field, separated by comma.

208.67.222.222,208.67.220.220

[ More detailed instruction about opendns set up on Ubuntu ]

Google DNS IP

8.8.8.8,8.8.4.4

2. Using Proxy Server

Proxy surfing is one of the most popular technique to unblock the websites which are blocked in a particular country. The website are banned based on the I.P address so the proxy surfing can easily bypass the IP filtering mechanism as it acts on the behalf of client (eg. Your Computer). There are many ways to use a proxy server – from Network settings (system level proxy) or browser settings (if you want to use proxy server for specific browser) but first you need access to proxy server. There are free proxy servers available that you can use but I won’t recommend that for anything related to sensitive data (e.g your email, password etc). Most of such free options are not reliable and secure enough in most cases.

Update! ZenMate is offering quite reliable service for free and you can install their extension (available for Chrome, Firefox etc). Check out ZenMate to find out more.

Tor

Tor is a free software and open network, the best way to access the Internet using virtual tunnel and thus form an anonymous network that will allow you to surf anonymously over the web – without any restriction. The Tor program isn’t only good for unblocking sites but also for privacy and security reasons, it will also prevent you from Internet Surveillance commonly i.e traffic analysis. It is available for all major platform.

Download Tor (If you’re not sure then go with bundled option)

3. By Editing Hosts File

This method is very simple and works if the site is blocked by counter method or if you know the IP address of the website (you want to unblock). Simply open /etc/hosts file and remove the entry for your favorite websites and flush the DNS cache to propagate the changes.

gksu gedit /etc/hosts

In other case if you know the IP address of target website, which blocked using some other mechanism such as ISP level or something else then add an entry (/etc/hosts) for that website along with the correct IP address. The second method seems to be logically correct – if a domain name is resolved at host level then the lookup process is terminated, so host level dns entry should bypass other DNS filtering e.g at ISP level. Therefore it is expected to work (but I have not tested yet, I’ll let you know if it works), give it a try it may work. But it may not work if the website’s IP address changes frequently – because in that case it would be difficult to update the etc/hosts file manually to reflect the new value of IP address.

Adding a DNS entry in etc/hosts file –

TARGET_IP_ADDRESS                     TARGET_WEBSITE_DOMAIN_NAME

Then execute the following command – (to flush DNS cache)

sudo apt-get install nscd
sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart

4. Use VPN

If you want to explore web without any restrictions then using VPN would be more easier and simple way to achieve that. Your Internet speed should be decent, plus you should be willing to spend some money on a decent VPN service.

I would recommend Private Internet Access, as I’m using this and I’m pretty happy with the service. It’s one of the most trusted VPN provider, they respect user’s privacy more than anyone else. (they’re anonymous VPN provider and they don’t log any connection)

Signup For Private Internet Access (costs $39.95 per Year or you can choose monthly plan if you wish)

If you need any help in setting up private internet access on Ubuntu, you should read this article on setting up VPN in Ubuntu.

Update! – Added 4th point (VPN section) above.
Image Credit : binsurf 
Reference(s) and Recommended Reading(s)

upgrading to ubuntu 11.10

How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu 11.10 final version is out now. You can either install the Ubuntu 11.10 (oneiric ocelot) on a separate partition without affecting the current version 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) / 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) / whatever version you’re using right now, or just upgrade the current one to its latest stable version i.e Ubuntu 11.10.

If you’re using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long Term Support) on a production machine (for example as a VPS server), then it may not be necessary to use the latest version (and there may be some unknown critical bugs), so upgrade is not required (in fact it’s not recommended unless you know what you’re doing). On the other hand if you’re a desktop user then you may want to try some new and exciting features of Ubuntu 11.10 – specially Gnome Shell, for Next Generation Desktop Experience.

upgrading to ubuntu 11.10

Upgrading (ubuntu 11.04/10.10/10.04/..) to Ubuntu 11.10 in few simple steps

step 1 

Attention! => Before any Upgrade create a backup of all the important Files

When you’ve created a backup copy for your important data (it will save you from any failure, so don’t forget to create a backup first), you can start upgrade process. You must be connected to internet because during upgrade process a lot of packages will be fetched from Internet.

step 2

Open terminal (press Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the following command(s) to start the update manager (you can also start Update Manager from Apps list).

update-manager -d

Then click on Check Button to check for updates, it may take few minutes to fetch the latest details about the distribution/packages.

update-manager

step 3

In update manager window, you will get a notice like ‘New Ubuntu release ‘11.10’ is available‘. Click on Upgrade (button near that), then again confirm it in a new window and wait for the upgrade process to complete. Now, restart the system and enjoy the new version of Ubuntu!

JDK

how to install jdk on Ubuntu 11.10

Java is one of the most popular programming language and its popularity has undergone an exponential growth (probably because it’s well suitable in distributed environment – you can use Java to develop cool web application with a lot of complex features as well as in developing sophisticated desktop applications, and it’s platform independent – ‘write once and run everywhere‘) in fast few years.

Similarly Ubuntu (latest version : Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1) has become the most popular Linux distro – for desktop environment. That’s why, Ubuntu is now considered as a great platform for developing Java applications.

Anyway, if you are an Ubuntu user and going to start learning Java or a java programmer/developer – want to start coding on Ubuntu, this post is about installing Java Development Kit (JDK) on Ubuntu 11.10 (although it is expected to work on other Debian based Linux distro too). On the other hand if you’re an Ubuntu user, interested only in running java applications then you don’t need to install jdk (it has lot of components which is not required for executing a java program/software) – instead you just need to install jre on Ubuntu 11.10 i.e java runtime environment (includes Java Virtual Machine, for executing java bytecode/class).

Java - jdk for Ubuntu 11.10

Installing Java Development Kit (JDK) on Ubuntu

There’re many JDK available thesedays. One of the most popular – open source jdk is openjdk. OpenJDK is well compatible with Ubuntu/Linux and it is available in official repository – so you can install it a click.

install openjdk on Ubuntu 11.10

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) and execute the command(s) –

sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk

OR you can install sunjdk

Update1 : The sun jdk isn’t included with the official repository, so you first need to add a PPA for that; Thanks to Casier :).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-plugin

That’s All..have fun in programming in Java, with Ubuntu!

vlc-player-snapshot on Ubuntu 11.10

How to install VLC Player on Ubuntu 11.10

VLC Player is one of the most popular open source (released under GPL) and free media player (encoder). Ubuntu 11.10 (code name : oneiric ocelot)- has banshee installed as the default media player. So if you want to play a video file then you need to install VLC – all in one media player. it has lot of advanced features. VLC has been the part of videoLAN project. VLC is good not only in playing files from your hard disk but also from your DVD/CD, network streams, capture cards. One of the best thing about vlc is that – it’s cross-platform and available not only for Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, OpenSuse but also for Mac OS X , Windows (vlc for android is under development – soon, you will be able to enjoy vlc on android too).

vlc isn’t installed by default on Ubuntu 11.10, but it’s available in official package repository so it’s very easy to install it. You can use Ubuntu Software Center (it’s one of the most popular Application in software center – rated as 5 star (out of 5)) or terminal, But in order to play any mp3 files or a video file such as avi, flv etc you would have to install some restricted plugins/codecs. libdvdcss library is required if you want to play encrypted DVD’s (most proprietary dvd uses CSS(content scramble system)). The latest version for Ubuntu/Linux is vlc vs 1.1.11.

vlc-player-snapshot on Ubuntu 11.10

Installing VLC Media Player on Ubuntu 11.10

Open Terminal and execute the following command(s)-

sudo apt-get install vlc

Now, you’re recommended to install ubuntu restricted extras and other libraries/codecs/plugins to start playing media files (audio/video..)

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Then, install libdvdcss2 for playing encrypted DVD’s

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

[ If you’re getting any dependencies problem then run sudo apt-get -f install  ]

Now you’re ready to enjoy music/movies with VLC player – just right click on media and select ‘open with vlc media player’. That’s All.

ubuntu-11-10-live-usb

How to install Ubuntu 11.10 : From USB Drive or CD

Ubuntu 11.10 (code named as Oneiric Ocelot) beta 1 has released and final (stable version of 11.10) released a week ago. If you’re a absolute beginner – i.e you’ve very little (negligible) or no experience with Linux distributions then this post might help you in getting started with Ubuntu as it contains step by step instruction for installing Ubuntu 11.10 on your Desktop/Laptop/Netbook.

The instructions given in this post assume that you want to install ubuntu as a dual boot with Windows 7 (or XP/Vista or whatever you’ve already installed), which is recommended for absolute beginners as if any problem occurs with Ubuntu (or you are not feeling comfortable with Ubuntu, although that’s not probably going to happen) then still you would be able to access Windows, but if you want something else like – removing windows and install Ubuntu or erase whole disk and install Ubuntu on a new computer – then most of the steps would be same – few things will change that I’ve pointed out (Jump to steps).

Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1 has released with a lot of surprises/changes, new features and some improvements in the unity desktop. One of the biggest change is that Ubuntu 11.10 uses Gnome 3, unity also uses Gnome 3 so it means you can install gnome shell on ubuntu 11.10 – in few steps without breaking the unity i.e it will support Gnome 3 without any problem. (although there may be some bugs right now as it’s beta release).

Installing Ubuntu 11.10 – step by step guide

Ubuntu 11.10 can be installed in many ways – one of the easiest method is using wubi installer, but it doesn’t provide much control options so we would go with advanced installation..and one more thing – it’s not as difficult as it appears to be, just follow the instructions – if you’ve any doubt then drop a comment.

Preparing for installation : First of All – backup your important data

Before going to start the installation procedure – you are strongly recommended to backup your data (using a backup disk or online backup program), although you aren’t going to loose any if you’ve multiple partition on your drive and want to go for custom installation procedure, but you’re supposed to have a backup of all your critical data before starting any experiments.

Step 1. Download Ubuntu 11.10 ISO file

First, Download Ubuntu 11.10 ISO , select the archive file (ISO) depending on your computer architecture – such as Intelx86 or AMD64. If you are not sure then go for first one. When the download is complete move on to next step.

Step 2. Create a bootable media (USB/CD)

Then create a bootable USB stick/drive or a CD/DVD from the ISO file you’ve just downloaded. If you want to create a bootable CD/DVD – then it’s pretty easy- you just need to burn the ISO image to the cd.

On Windows

If you are using windows now then use the free program called – universal USB installer. To make your pendrive bootable – use  Universal-USB-Installer (Download and run it – then locate the ISO file, choose your USB drive as a target and your will be done in a minute). In Windows 7 you can burn ISO files directly in few simple steps – Insert cd in to the tray, right click on the ISO file and select burn this ISO.. and finally you will get a bootable cd.

On Ubuntu

There is a program called – ‘Start Up Disk creator’ is installed by default on Ubuntu. So just run the program – browse the ISO and select your pendrive/cd as the target startup disk. That’s All.

In the and of step 2 you will get a bootable media – which is also called as Live CD/USB Installer (this is also very useful for removing viruses from Windows or recovering data from corrupted OS, as you don’t need to enter any password (exception : BIOS password) when your boot your computer using this live cd/usb), Now we will boot the computer from this bootable disk and finally we will install it permanently into the hard drive.

step 3. Insert the USB disk (or CD) and restart

Now restart your computer (and enter your supervisor BIOS passsword, if you have set any password – you system may not boot from CD if you enter user BIOS password). Your computer should boot automatically from the bootable media, and the Ubuntu will be loaded in RAM (if any option comes then select ‘try Ubuntu without installing if you want to take a look before installing it on your hard drive’).

ubuntu-11-10-live-usb

Then click on the install Ubuntu 11.10 icon on the desktop to begin.

installing-ubuntu-welcome

Step 4. Select Installation Type

Now select the check boxes such as ‘Download Updates’ and ‘install third party software’, but you must be connected with Internet (it’s recommended – if wireless network doesn’t seem to work use wired connection). Although there is no hurry – you can always install them later, so it’s optional.

preparing for installation

then click on continue – then a new window will appear – where you need to select installation type.

select installation type

You may get different options depending on your computer configuration. The above snapshot has been taken while installing Ubuntu 11.10 on a computer with Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows 7 pre-installed as dual boot (Now it’s time for triple boot, it’s cool! Hmm). Most of the option seems self explanatory –

  • Install Ubuntu alongside with them : it will install Ubuntu 11.10 alongside with existing operating systems such as Windows 7.
  • Erase Entire Disk and Install Ubuntu : it’s going to erase your whole hard drive and everything will be deleted (your files as well as other operating systems), useful only if your hard-drive doesn’t have any important files or you just bought a new computer and want to keep only one OS – i.e Ubuntu.
  • Something Else : Create, Allocate and choose the partition to which you want to install Ubuntu, using advanced partition manager. At first look it may seems little difficult but it’s better as it give you more options/control.

We will go with the third option – select Something else and continue.

Step 5. Create a new Ext4 Partition and Install Ubuntu 11.10

In the end of step 4, you will get the partition manager window for creating/deleting partitions.

Partition Manager

Then select the free space available for creating partition (if you don’t have any free space then try deleting any empty NTFS drive or the partition whose files has been backed up completely).

Now select the partition which says – ‘free space’ and click on ‘New Partition Table’.

creating ext4 partition

Now, there are so many field in new partition window –

  • New Partition Size : The size of the partition (in megabytes) where you are going to install ubuntu 11.10.Recommended minimum size is 15 GB, if you want to use it for daily purpose, although 5GB (or may be less) is critically required. I’ve left it default as I want to use all that selected free space partition (around 51GB).
  • Location for the New Partition : beginning (if you want it to appear on the top in grub menu (when the system starts) – default OS ) or end (if you want the Ubuntu 11.10 to appear at the end in OS list at GRUB). Don’t worry you can change the default OS later. Let’s choose Beginning.
  • File System (use as) – select Ext4 journaling file system , the latest and recommended files system for Ubuntu 11.10.
  • Mount Point – select / (forward slash), it’s used to mount additional file systems, forward slash means – mounting is done with reference to root.

Then click OK to apply.

select-drive-to-install

Next, click on Install Now button to begin installation procedure.

Step 6. Enter some basic info and Create a user

While installation procedure is going on – you will be prompted to enter some basic information such as

Your Physical Location – it will be used to set your local time and other settings. Select it on world Map.

your-location

Keyboard Layout – Leave it default if you aren’t sure or select the one you want to use.

keyboard-layout

Then Enter some basic details about the user –

  • Your Name : of course your Name (Mr(s). X)
  • Computer’s Name : x’s computer
  • username : Your username – e.g mrx
  • password : Your password (strong – something like this (think twice it’s very easy to remember and it’s very strong!) – U11#kkd_MS!)
  • Require my password to login : better leave this option selected if you want authorized access (unless you aren’t using BIOS password) to your computer, else you can also choose the other option – login automatically.

create-user

Step 7. Restart your computer

Now the installation procedure will complete within few minutes.

installing-ubuntu 11.10

Now when you see a window saying installation is complete – restart your computer and remove the installation media and select Ubuntu 11.10 at the boot menu, and login to ubuntu.

ubuntu 11.10 Desktop screenshot
Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop

That’s All..Now it’s time for installing some basic applications – 10 things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.10, for performing some common tasks.

Update1 : Added a video explaining how to install Ubuntu 11.10, although steps aren’t exactly same as described above but it might help you.