Using a VPN to beat Chinese Internet Censorship

Those who are in the know in China all say that a Virtual Private Network is the way to go if you want to get around the so-called Great Firewall in China. Most VPNs cost money, but I recently found this free one that works well, and I thought I’d share it with you guys. As you can see from the video, it’s a very quick and easy install and requires no expertise at all (my speciality!) to configure.

Spread the word among your friends in China. Screw proxies. This is friggin’ wonderful.

Watch the Video of the VPN install:

NOTE: I had to censor the part with The Daily Show in it.  Apparently youtube is quite sensitive about showing Jon Stewart’s face anywhere!  They took this video down the first time I posted it.  How about that? Youtube censored a video about censorship!

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52 Comments
  1. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this with everybody! I hope it stays available for a while. I just learned of another tool yesterday, called Freegate, which you can download here — I guess it’s been around for a while, but I just learned of it. It’s also very fast. I haven’t read about how it works yet, but I do know that it installs itself as a local proxy, and then talks to one of a list of servers to allow you to browse.

    You mentioned torbutton, but their most recent update broke a lot of things, and it’s unusable now. That’s not to say that tor is unusable — it still works, albeit slowly. There are other ways to control tor besides torbutton. Another setback, though, is that the tor website itself is now blocked, so it’s hard, for those just getting started, to find a place to download tor.

  2. Profile photo of

    @Rick: Awesome stuff! Like Sir Stingley, I use WiTopia, and don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s $40/yr. price tag is barely an after-thought, but it’s good to know there are free alternatives.

    @Klortho: The less we’re mentioned on the RSF site the more likely people will be able to read this without needing the above mentioned service ;-) Still, gotta love the RSF.

  3. Thanks for all those tips guys, I’m so going to try them. The constant interceptions on YouTube is really getting on my nerves! this internet censorship alone has made living in China quite a daunting experience…

  4. @frankie456 Uh, thanks Frankie. I’ll definitely have to try that VPN sometime. Yes, I’ll definitely have to try hotspotshield, which I’ve never ever tried before ever in life.

  5. So…this is great, but are they going to come and hunt me down or something?? Excuse my ignorance …
    All of a sudden I couldn’t upload pictures to my blog…I installed the VPN and now I can…but is it safe? I’m not up on all this…I just want to post on my blog for my friends and family at home, thats all..

  6. I freaked when my friend’s first post in a month was about China banning facebook. I’m on my way over and would miss everyone in California even worse without some kind of connection. Appreciate the tips.

  7. I just wrote a fairly comprehensive article about the so-called Great Firewall and also describes in details the various workarounds, including my recommendations for a very solid VPN system that allows one to even watch Hulu or other geographically restricted sites. If anything, this should clear up questions of just how China’s restrictions work and the legal ways around it. There’s a link as well to my VPN provider (came recommended by some Embassy and corporate contacts in Beijing.) It’s unmetered, very fast and has ten servers across the world including the UK, US, Canada, Japan which allows one to view content that is restricted to those areas as well as keeping your online footprint concealed.

    http://web.me.com/superacidjax/Sparkling_Chaos/Main_Page/Entries/2009/11/27_Getting_around_blocked_websites_(and_protecting_your_personal_info..).html

  8. The stupid GFW!! I’ve tried many VPNs and most of them are done now. I’m using Freedur now, it is fast and the Youtube videos stream super fast. Like it.

  9. hey guys! thanks for the advice but now none of those links you gave us are working.
    the government’s great firewall is better and better (for them of coars!) i hope oneday a verry good computer crack can make the strongest vpn in the world and just give it for free for the sake of the wolrd!
    and all those stupid chinese will look damn stupid as usual and loose the face as usual and they will think they didnt loose the face because they act like so wich the rest of the whole entire galaxy dont believe and know they they loose the face even if they dont think! OH I FORGET SOMETHING! “”as usual””!!!!

  10. Now that freevpn is blocked, any chance of an update as to what everyone is using ? I am using a proxy now that lets me view FB, but I cannot use most of the features.
    I visited 12vpn site – does it work well ?

  11. Been using http://www.vpn38.net.VERY GOOD,works on iphone and the connection is fast and stable,i recommend this for anyone looking to use facebook youtube etc.

    although they process their payment through taobao,i think you should at least have a chinese bank card that can do online banking.i use bank of china and they are very good.

    my 5 cents!

  12. I use 12vpn since about 6 months. Their support and documentation is the best I’ve seen. Right now I’m having some trouble with it disconnecting about once a day, and needs restarting to work again. So I’m gonna have to bug their support again to see if its my fault or theirs. Apart from that it’s reliable, and it’s fast.

  13. Worst vpn out there is ibvpn…Worst Customer Support and Server use to give me only 1mbps while i have 10mbps Connection…i recommend switchvpn[dot]com i am getting great speed and Faster streaming of videos from youtube and hulu…

    switchvpn[dot]com
    Best VPN out there!!

  14. i just paid for the ibVPN who advertises on your website but it doesn’t work on my mac and their tech support seem hopeless, perhaps they shouldn’t be allowed to advertise here…

  15. It’s not free, but it’s service is really very good, once you use it, you don’t need waste your time in finding VPN…
    It’s FBVPN, http://www.fbvpn.com, What impresses me most is their service is very very good, which I appreciate very much.

  16. Any update on which VPNs are working in China? Just moved to Beijing and would like to access sites. Also, any way to check the safety of vpn services?

  17. Well, wonderful suggestion, I was using it. However, looks like the good old government has found this and squashed it. Looking for something else now so I can keep up to date with my friends and family.

  18. i wouldnt bother with any vpn based in a western country. they will keep charging your credit card even after you cancel their “service”. ive had this happen to me, as has many others. use the Chinese vpn’s. Chinese bank cards do not allow anyone to deduct money automatically like they do in the west. every bank authorisation requires a password. thats how people in the west get screwed.

    • You can search free VPN in Google. I think you can get tons of results. I can suggest a paid VPN with trial account without registration if you will test on PC. Definitely FlyVPN highly recommend. 20 minutes per time.3 times per day. Good luck!

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