How to Unblock Snapchat on School or Work Wi-Fi
Image and video sharing app Snapchat has become wildly popular with users who enjoy using the app’s (mostly) comical filters to entertain friends and family with videos and photos.
While the app is popular with users of all ages, it isn’t so popular with employers and schools, both of which sometimes block the app from use for users who are connected to the internet via their in-house networks.
While it is reasonable to expect students to study in class or employees to perform their assigned tasks while clocked in, is it really so out of line to allow use the entertaining app when on a break or while eating lunch?
In this article, I’ll share ways for Snapchat users to reroute their internet connection using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows users to hide their Snapchat activities from the prying eyes of employers or school officials.
Snapchat is a popular image and video messaging app for the iOS and Android mobile platforms, first released in September 2010. The main feature of the app is that the photos, videos and messages sent and received by the app are only available for a short period of time before they’re gone.
Over the last few years, Snapchat has added numerous features to the app, including augmented reality features, such as the ability to add stickers, animated objects and AR masks to the subject’s face and surrounding area.
The app has evolved from a person-to-person messaging platform to one that allows users to view “stories” of chronological content, and “discover” ad-supported short-form entertainment.
The new features have only increased the popularity of the app among its target demographic: millennials. As of May 2017, the service boasted 166 million daily active users. As of May 2015, the app’s users were sending 2 billion videos per day. By 2016, Snapchat had hit 10 billion daily video views.
Why Do Schools and Employers Block Snapchat?
Employers and schools have the extremely odd and totally unfounded idea that the folks using their networks to access the internet should only use that resource for the work at hand, be it researching numbers for the next big business deal or researching numbers for the next big science project.
Sadly, this unenlightened attitude leads these institutions to block access to social media, such as Snapchat and Facebook, for folks on their networks. Network administrators can easily block access to any website or service with just a few keystrokes and a click or two of their mouse.
Luckily, there is a great way to unblock access to Snapchat, and it can be done with just a few taps on your iOS or Android device.
How to Unblock Snapchat at School or Work
Normally, you could simply use your cellular data connection on your mobile device to access Snapchat, easily avoiding any issues with your school’s or employer’s internet roadblocks.
However, many schools and office buildings were built before digital cellular connections were a thing, and can act similar to a Faraday Cage, blocking cellular signals, making it difficult to get a good cell signal. Plus, some tablets and other devices don’t have a cellular connection, only Wi-Fi.
Such issues require a different solution. That’s where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy. As you may know, a VPN is one of my favorite tools for opening up access to any type of geographically-blocked content. That same feature of a VPN also makes it the perfect tool for accessing Snapchat in locations where it’s normally blocked.
A VPN coats your internet connection with a layer of encryption, hiding your online activities from the prying eyes of others. (Yes, even the network administrator of your employer or school.)
Which VPN Provider Works the Best?
While the task at hand is unblocking Snapchat when you’re at work or school, you should also keep other uses for a VPN in mind when considering which VPN service is right for you. Why? Because once you have access to a VPN, you’re going to find out that it’s a great tool for protecting your internet connection and keeping all of your online antics undercover.
In addition to unblocking social networks like Snapchat, you’ll also want to consider connection speed, what types of customer support they offer, what device platforms they support and how much all of it is going to cost you.
#1 - ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is a simple-to-use, speedy, safe and well-supported VPN (full review available here).
ExpressVPN provides speedy, encrypted connections, which regularly measured in at nearly 84% of my unprotected ISP-supplied connections.
This means you’ll have no issues efficiently sending or viewing any Snapchat-based video content - or any other video content, for that matter. (Your mileage may vary, depending on how fast your school- or employer-supplied internet connection usually measures in at.)
Although Snapchat is only available on the iOS and Android device platforms, a VPN’s multi-platform support is still an important consideration.
ExpressVPN offers support for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One and PS4. The provider also offers browser extensions for the Chrome, Firefox and Safari platforms.
Flexibility like that means you can protect your internet connection and unblock websites, streaming services and gaming servers, no matter which device you’re using.
When it comes to experiencing issues with your VPN connections, I wish you nothing but the best. However, the odds are in favor of you possibly needing to ask a few questions of your VPN provider’s customer support crew from time to time.
ExpressVPN provides 3 methods of support to its customers, all through the ExpressVPN website. Support options include live support text chat, a trouble ticket submission form and a searchable knowledge base.
I’ve always had good luck with this provider’s customer support agents. They’ve always responded quickly, providing knowledgeable answers to my questions. When I’ve felt like doing a little digging on my own, their easy-to-search knowledge base was an excellent resource.
Global Server Coverage
If you’re a Snapchat fan, chances are better than good that you watch a lot of streaming video and listen to a lot of streaming music. Some of the content providers restrict viewing of and listening to said content to only certain areas of the globe.
A VPN makes a great way to unlock blocked content, such as nation-specific streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV. It’s also a great way to grab international fame and fortune (okay, maybe not fortune) by gaining access to international gaming servers.
ExpressVPN has 1,500+ servers located in 94 countries around the globe. This provides a great deal of unblocking flexibility.
ExpressVPN is not a bargain-basement VPN service by any standards. However, they do provide excellent value for the money. The company’s subscription rates are $12.95 per month, $59.95 for 6 months and $99.95 for 12 months. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Unblock, Snap, Then Chat
By using a Virtual Private Network like ExpressVPN, Snapchat users can easily get around any networking-related roadblocks their school or corporate IT manager might throw up between them and their favorite Snapchatters. (Wait? Is that a word?)
In addition to Snapchat access, ExpressVPN also provides excellent protection for your internet connection and its accompanying personal information. The provider keeps all your connected devices protected and provides a great way to cover your tracks on the internet.
Now, it’s time to log on and see what kind of goofy video or photo my wife has sent me. She just loves those damn puppy dog face filters!