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How to Block VPNs and Proxies on Computers and Smartphones

Block common content filtering bypass methods like VPNs and Proxies on smartphones and computers.

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Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 4, 2024

Proxies and VPNs are commonly used to hide online activity from others or change the browsing location of a device. As an employer, parent, or individual securing internet-connected devices, you should understand that a proxy or VPN can bypass internet filtering services. This is why we strongly recommend a VPN blocker when trying to monitor websites visited on WiFi or block websites on devices that you manage.

For example, you might configure a DNS Filtering service on your home router or directly on your devices. This filtering service can block addictive content and protect those devices from malware, phishing, and other security threats.

A user might intentionally enable a VPN to bypass a filtering service or you might unknowingly browse an unprotected internet by enabling a VPN. 

As a result, we strongly recommend blocking VPNs and proxies if you intend to use a DNS Filtering service to prevent intentional or unintentional bypass.

Blocking Addictive Content, Security Threats, and Preventing Common Bypass Techniques like VPNs and Proxies

Many people want to get serious about getting their online activities under control and securing their internet usage. Cybersecurity threats continue to get more sophisticated as hackers target households with phishing scams and malware. One of the best ways to secure your devices from online threats is to use a DNS Filtering service that blocks security threats on the internet.

Furthermore, in a digital world where there are numerous addictive apps and websites, self-control is more challenging without the help of a content-blocking service. The best way to develop self-control is to restrict your access to the internet by blocking harmful and addictive content so you can be more intentional with your browsing habits. 

Restricting Access to the internet can be done through the use of our blocking layers. Each layer adds a level of protection and an extra measure to prevent intentional or unintentional bypass.

Blocking VPNs and proxies is a critical bypass-prevention layer in this blocking setup.

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How to Block VPNs on a Home Network

The foundational blocking layer involves configuring a DNS Filtering service on your home router and then using that service to block VPNs and proxies.

DNS Filtering services provide similar privacy and security features that are gained by using a VPN or Proxy. However, you can tune your DNS Filtering service to block categories of websites in addition to the privacy and security benefits that you get from using a VPN.

One category that you can block with a DNS Filtering service is Proxy & Filter Avoidance, which will block many websites and services commonly used to bypass content filtering services.

Many cybersecurity solutions use a technique called DNS Filtering . DNS Filtering prevents a computer from being able to connect to certain websites or services, usually those that are categorized (like adult content, video streaming, etc.). This is very useful on a home network, since any device that uses that network will have the filtering system working, without any other levels of protection.

1) Sign up and configure a DNS Filtering Service

Sign up for a DNS Filtering, like the one provided by Tech Lockdown , and customize the categories you want to block.

In this case, we'll select Adult content and Proxy & Filter Avoidance.

2) Login to your Router

You'll login to your router in order to change DNS to route internet traffic through the filtering service.

The router is the device that also handles Wifi. Sometimes the router and modem are combined into one device. In other cases, you might use a modem and router separately.

3) Point your router DNS to the filter

You'll update either the IPv4 or IPv6 DNS addresses to point to the filtering service. For example:

Ban Porn from your technology

Regain Control with Effective Content Blocking and Bypass Prevention

How to Block VPNs on a Computer

Although using a DNS Filtering service on a home router to block VPNs is a critical blocking layer, a Mac or Windows laptop computer used outside of the home won't benefit from the DNS Filtering service configured on your router.

As a result, we recommend configuring a few VPN blocking layers directly on your computer when using other networks.

Install a DNS Filtering Application on your computer

In order to benefit from the same DNS Filtering service you installed on your router when away from home, you can usually install a DNS Filtering application that will force the device to use your DNS Filtering service on any internet connection.

For example, the DNS Filtering service provided by Tech Lockdown also provides an application that you can install directly on your devices to stay connected to the filter when roaming away from home.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
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Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Block VPNs using the Hosts File on a Computer

A computer's hosts file allows you to change the way a computer interacts with the internet. You can use the hosts file to block websites . It's similar to a DNS Filter, but it works a bit differently so you can use this technique alongside a DNS Filtering blocking layer.

You can use the hosts file to interfere with the domains and IP addresses that VPN use. This solution isn't for everyone, however, if you're tech savvy, you can set this up on your computers.

Because there are so many VPNs, along with several IP addresses that they might use, this process is a bit tedious if you are doing it yourself. However, if you have a specific VPN provider website in mind, you can use the format below to add an entry to the Hosts file:

This will prevent the computer from accessing the website.

Read our hosts file tutorial for step-by-step instructions .

How to Block VPNs in a Computer Web Browser

You can configure web browsers to block VPNs and proxies. This layer works in tandem with the hosts file technique, DNS Filtering application, and DNS Filtering on your home router. This gives you more than four levels of bypass prevention!

However, there are many different solutions that can be used to prevent a VPN program from either being installed or configured correctly on the device.

A browser extension on Windows or Mac can be used to block VPN and proxy websites.

For example, with a browser extension like Cold Turkey, there is also a pre-populated category for Proxies that you can use.

Blocking extensions can be used to stop certain websites from being visited, prevent new extensions from being added, or certain programs from running.

While blocking applications can work to block some kinds of content, it is important to remember that there are a few limitations they have:

  1. They don't always perform content filtering - While they can block known websites, they may not be as effective as a DNS Filter when it comes to comprehensive blocking.
  2. The Device they are set up on can still contact the websites - Many times, the blocked website or program may still be accessed (or run), and is then made unavailable to the user. This means that if the Blocking Application is somehow disabled, the Device is now unprotected.
  3. Blocking Applications can be cumbersome - Many Blocking Applications may need to be specifically configured to certain types of devices, or have different settings per each device. If you only have one (or a small number) of devices, it may be practical to set up. But if you have multiple different types of devices, then they may not be the best option to set up and maintain.

Configuring a Managed Browser to Block Extensions

You can configure a managed Mac computer, which allows you to enforce browser settings that cannot be changed on the device.

You use a mobile device manager to configure a managed device and this is a core concept mentioned in the Tech Lockdown premium guides .

A user can easily install VPN or proxy browser extensions. Once enabled, the browser will point to that VPN and bypass content filtering entirely.

As a result, we recommend blocking specific browser extensions (or all unapproved browser extensions) using a managed browser on a managed Mac computer.

Once you block an extension in the managed browser, the user won't be able to install it from the browser extension store.

In addition to blocking browser extensions that aren't approved (or blocking specific extension IDs), you can configure a managed browser to remove the ability to set a proxy. 

Go Beyond Beyond Basic Blocking

Elevate your content blocking and bypass prevention.

How to Block VPNs on an iPhone

iPhones can be used to install a VPN application. These applications will require some settings to be changed on the device, such as the VPN configuration. These settings changes can work against any content restrictions set up.

The most effective way to block VPNs on an iPhone is to create a managed or supervised device. These allow you to set up very specific conditions and restrictions that the iPhone will follow.

Device Supervision

Configure a fully supervised device so that you can add extra restrictions. Supervised devices give you more control over an iOS device.

Supervised device capabilities:

  • Enforce device settings, like VPN and network settings
  • Prevent uninstalling apps
  • Disable erase content & settings
  • Block apps
  • Enforce Apple's built-in content filtering

You can use a program like Apple Configurator to set up a Supervised iPhone. This is done by using profile restrictions.

Profile restrictions allow you to refine the features on the iOS device.

Allow Installing apps

When selected, apps can only be installed using Apple Configurator, not the App Store on the device.

Allow removing Apps

When selected, apps cannot be uninstalled on the device. This is useful if you want to prevent uninstall of a filtering app.

Allow adding VPN configurations

Block access to VPN settings on the device. This can help prevent bypass of filtering.

Allow modifying account settings

Restrict access to account settings in general settings. 

Cellular settings & Hotspot

Optional but not recommended unless configuring a highly restrictive setup.

Device Management

Device Management is a step above device supervision. Some of the extra capabilities device management offers include:

  1. Remote Management - Make changes to your device configuration from another device.
  2. DNS Proxy - allow the iPhone to use a DNS Proxy (which is not possible with a normal or supervised iPhone).
  3. Enable Kiosk Mode - Reduce the capabilities of the iPhone to the bare essentials, such calling, texting, or maps. This can disable any web browsers or social media apps.

How to Block VPNs on an Android Smartphone

Android devices are relatively easy to configure with a VPN. 

How to Block VPNs on an Android with Parental Controls

Parental Controls on an Android Device can be used to prevent unauthorized apps (like VPNs) from being installed. This is done with the help of Family Link .

If you are setting up devices for yourself, then you can use a secondary account, add it to your family, and then have your own account set up like you would with a child's account. 

How to Block VPNs on an Android with a Managed Device

A Mobile Device Manager is required to properly set up a managed android device . However, compared to an iPhone device, Android devices are much easier to set up.

Some of the capabilities offered by setting up a managed android device include:

  1. Remote Management
  2. Prevent unauthorized App Install
  3. Remotely install Apps
  4. Enforce Content Filtering
  5. Prevent Apps from being Uninstalled
Manage Android and iOS Devices at Home
Manage Android and iOS Devices at Home
Go further with blocking content and preventing bypass on iPhone and Android smartphones.

Closing Thoughts

Blocking VPN applications can present a unique challenge for someone trying to exercise self-control over their online life. There are notable benefits to VPNs, however, there are specific cases, such enforcing content filtering, where VPNs are not ideal.

Every case is unique, but hopefully, this guide provides some good information about how to begin taking control of your digital presence.