How to access the blocked Twitter in Turkey

Turkey's courts have ordered that the social messaging service Twitter to be blocked in the country after Turkish prime minister Erdogan vowed to wipe the service out.

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The official reason for the ban is that Twitter had ignored requests to remove contents in the past, and that Turkey was protecting its citizens from further victimization.

Anyway, Twitter is banned in Turkey at the time of writing.

After the ban hit, users from Turkey who could not access the social messaging site anymore used Google DNS to bypass the ban.

A DNS-level ban is relatively weak in comparison to other blocking methods. The main reason for that is that users can bypass it easily by changing the DNS provider their system uses.

dns server

The default DNS provider is usually the user's Internet Service Provider, but it is possible to change DNS servers with just a couple of clicks.

DNS is being used to look up IP addresses of domain names. So, if you type in twitter.com and hit enter in your browser, it is used to look up Twitter's IP address and establish a connection to the service.

According to The Verge and other news outlets, Google DNS and Twitter's main IP addresses are now all banned and cannot be used anymore.

If Twitter's IP addresses are really banned in Turkey, switching to another DNS provider won't allow access to the site anymore.

Alternatives

So what can you do instead if you are in Turkey and want to access Twitter or other sites that may be banned?

Note: I'm not in Turkey and cannot therefor test the validity of the methods listed below. They are known to work in many circumstances where countries block access to specific websites though. If you are from Turkey, be so kind and test them on your end to let everyone know what works and what does not.

Since DNS is out of the question, we have the following options instead:

  1. Try the Opera web browser with Off-Road Mode enabled, or Google Chrome with data compression enabled. The two features direct all web traffic through a proxy server that compresses the data. What this means is that you are not connecting directly to Twitter anymore, but through Opera's or Google's server instead.
  2. Use the anonymity client Tor, and make sure that Turkey is not the exit node of the program.
  3. Use a virtual private network service such as Hotspot Shield . Alternatives are Private Tunnel, OkayFreedom VPN, CyberGhost VPN, JustFreeVPN, proXPN, itshidden VPN, SecurityKISS, or VPNBook. Like a proxy server, a VPN sits between your computer and the Internet. All requests you make made through the VPN.
  4. Set up your own web proxy server that is hosted outside Turkey. This requires some technical expertise and hosting space.
  5. You could also try other web proxies.

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Responses to How to access the blocked Twitter in Turkey

  1. kiki March 23, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    This is old. WHen i was in turkey i cheanged my dns because they banned porn. All turkey knows that. Other ways: use this extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/data-compression-proxy/ajfiodhbiellfpcjjedhmmmpeeaebmep or use any other DNS ....

  2. bastik March 23, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Related to Tor and excluding Turkey (which is reasonable since you don't want to exit there) it appears that at the time, there are 9 exits in Turkey and 5 of them a running right now. 1 out of the 5 got the bad exit flag which means that it won't be used as an exit (unless you changed the config). Most of them (the 9 known and the 5 running) are very slow. One provides slight more than 1MB/s of bandwidth which gives it an exit probability of 2.66e-4 (0.000266%) [https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2.66e-4] at the moment.

    The information are from another project hosted at the torproject.org called globe:
    https://globe.torproject.org/#/search/query=&filtersrunning=true&filterscountry=tr&filtersflag=Exit

    Since Tor is not blocked right now in Turkey, there should be no need to use (Tor-)Bridges, but it might be nice to learn about them, before you require them. In the same breath you can learn about Pluggable Transports which are trying to evade DPI based censorship.

    Luckily there are plenty of ways to work around this censorship event.

  3. dgncn March 23, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    I am in Turkey. Cyberghost is giving free 1 year vpn to Turkish users for now and vpn works for me. I am sure many vpns and some extensions works like Zenmate. Martin thanks to you for great posts.

  4. AngryExpat March 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    +1. DNS change won't work any more.

    Seed4.me works like a charm. I simply switched to VPN (https://seed4.me/invitations) - that's it! ^___^

  5. naanyone March 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Opera's Off-Road mode is not working

  6. CyberGhost VPN March 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Hey!
    Thanks a lot for recommending our VPN! We also had a campaign where we donated 20.000 Free CyberGhost Premium Keys (first there was 10.000 keys, then we supplemented it with another 10.000 keys) for Turkish people so they can have again access to the free internet and Twitter. All the keys are now in good hands, in Turkey. Here is more about the campaign: http://blog.cyberghostvpn.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2594&action=edit.
    Cheers!

  7. Unblocking Twitter March 25, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    You can also use a web based proxy service, this service offers a free trial and the URL is secure (https://)
    https://www.proxy-center.com You can read a guide written about it here: http://unblock-proxy.co/access-and-unblock-twitter-in-turkey Good luck!

  8. Ajay Kumar March 26, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    You can also try eshield vpn access twitter from Turkey. They also claim to provide free vpn service. Here is the website http://eshieldvpn.com/

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