Obfuscated servers are specialized VPN servers that hide the fact that you’re using a VPN to reroute your traffic. They allow users to connect to a VPN even in heavily restrictive environments.
When you connect to a regular VPN server, your ISP can’t see where you go online. But it knows that you’re using a VPN from the way your data looks. However, if you connect to an obfuscated server, it changes your data packets. Therefore, tools that are meant to block VPN traffic let it pass. No one notices you’re using a VPN, unless they inspect your data packets manually.
Obfuscated servers are used to bypass VPN-blocking firewalls. To do that, a VPN provider must remove all information related to a VPN from your data so that it looks like regular data packets.
VPN providers can obfuscate data in a few different ways. For example, data packets can be hidden using additional SSL/SSH encryption so that all the VPN metadata is out of sight. Think of it as encryption to conceal your encryption.
Data can also be scrambled, hiding the metadata from the packet header. This way, it looks like regular HTTPS traffic filled with meaningless information. Firewalls can’t recognize it, so they let it pass.
Obfuscated servers are not intended for casual use. So when and why should you use them?
To bypass VPN blocks
To protect yourself
First, open the NordVPN app, go to Settings, select Auto-connect, and make sure that you’re using the OpenVPN protocol.
Then, select Advanced and toggle the button next to Obfuscated servers.
Finally, go back to the world map, click Quick connect, and you’ll be connected to the best server for you.
If you decide to use obfuscated servers, you might also want to set up the automatic Kill Switch to stay safe no matter what. It will block a specific app or your entire device from accessing the web in case your VPN connection drops. Learn more about it.