Ah, the Great Firewall of China – keeping the barbarians (with their porn, free thought, spiritual movements and user-generated encyclopedias) out of the Middle Kingdom.
Well, if you’ve ever had Kublai-like aspirations, here are a few proxy tools for scaling the wall, and getting back to reading the nefarious posts of all those Blogspot bloggers, and porn.
Tor: Anonymity Online
Easily the most important tool in a wallcrawler’s arsenal. Tor is a group of tools that with a bit of configuring, allows you to surf the net anonymously. Basically the software routes all your Web page requests through other people’s IP addresses (your Internet calling card), masking your identity online. Though effective, the re-routing slows down pageloads considerably. Because of this, you’ll want to download Firefox, and get the TorButton extension, which lets you turn Tor on when you need it and off when you don’t by the simple click of a button.
Anonymouse: Cuttin’ The Cheese
This no-software solution is a quick and easy way to get to most blocked sites. A little clunky, expect sites to run a bit slow when loaded through Anonymouse – as well, many commenting systems wont accept the anonymoused links, so leaving your opinion can be limited.
Proxzee: The New Kid’s Speedy
Proxzee is new, so I’ve really no experience with it other than I plugged in a few sites and they came up fast. As reported at the Weifang Radish and in more detail at Dave’s Wagon, this proxy service seems to operate much faster than those solutions mentioned above. Like both Anonymouse and the about-to-be-mentioned PKBlog, Proxzee relinks all children links on the page to Proxzeefied links (cure or curse, I’ll let you decide).
PKBlogs: Slap The Block
This site is exclusively for getting around the China/Pakistan/Iran/India blocking of Blogspot/Blogger blogs. It too is completely Web-based, and you need only enter the blog’s name to access the site. For example, if you wish to visit granitestudio.blogspot.com, you need only enter ‘granitestudio’ on the site, or optionally, simply type in http://www.pkblogs.com/granitestudio, or whatever blog you’re trying to reach. UPDATE: As of a few hours after writing this, Blogspot blogs became unblocked here in the Mainland. The CPC seems to block and unblock randomly, so… I’d suggest bookmarking this for later use.
Psiphon: It Probably Doesn’t Suck
Alright, how do I know. It’s mere minutes into November 28th, and the site advertises that its download will be available come December 1st – but it looks promising. Designed by The Citizen Lab, Psiphon allows trusted networks of computers in unblocked countries to provide access to blocked sites for people in places like China. I remember reading about this months and months ago, and I’m still not clear how it differs from Tor, but well… I guess I need only wait a few more days to find out.