You’ve all experienced it; you want to visit some website. Maybe something naughty, but most probably some website you visit daily back home.  And poof: “this website is blocked”.

It’s called “internet positif”, a way for the Indonesian government to regulate the internet.

Using a (free) VPN is one way around it. The problem though is that these VPNs make your connection even slower then it already is.

There’s a better way to unblock websites in Indonesia

Let me first give you a little background info.

The internet consists of millions of connected computers. All of these computers are given a unique identifier, a so-called IP address that comes in the shape of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (for example 1.2.3.4)

When you are accessing your favourite website you are actually accessing one of those millions computers. Since it’s impossible to remember the IP addresses of all websites, the internet geniuses came up with “DNS”, the Domain Name System. This system translates a domain name (for example vimeo.com) into an IP address.

The internet censorship program in Indonesia is using DNS to prevent you from accessing websites. The ISP’s DNS server will return a wrong IP address for domains present in the government controlled blacklist. So instead of connecting to the computers of vimeo.com, you are connecting to a computer controlled by your ISP, that will in return show you the dreaded “this website is blocked” page.

It used to be possible to just use the Google Public DNS or OpenDNS servers, instead of the ones provided by your ISP.

Sadly. an increasing number of ISP’s have started to deploy techniques that make this little trick useless.. They started to hijack all DNS traffic. What this essentially means is that no matter which DNS servers you tell your computer to use, it’s ignored by the ISP and all DNS requests are forced to their own servers.

I could write a whole article about the moral side of these practices and the importance of privacy and a free, open and uncensored internet, but won’t go into that right now..

So how do I unblock those websites without using a VPN?

It’s simple. All you need to do is encrypt the DNS requests your computer makes. This way your ISP can’t recognise them as such and can’t hijack them.

The way to do this is use “DNS Crypt”.  It does require a bit of computer savviness to get this running. So if you are not too good with buttons, maybe have some friend do this for you.

Download the DNSCrypt software here:

More info is available on the official website.

If, at home, you happen to have a router with the DD-wrt or Tomato firmware, you can even install it there, so all your devices will automatically have unblocked internet access (read more here)

OMG, that’s too difficult!

If your head is spinning now and you can’t get DNS Crypt to work you can always resort back to the VPN method. Hola is a great (free) service you can use. If high speeds are important to you, I would suggest pulling out your card and paying for a premium VPN provider, VyprVPN for example is one of the best out there.

Don’t be surprised though if the websites of these services also get blocked by internet positif..