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roddy

Internet Blocks, the Great Firewall and VPNs

How are you getting round Internet blocks in China?  

60 members have voted

  1. 1. How are you getting round Internet blocks in China?

    • I just give up and read the China Daily
      20
    • Free web proxy like Anonymouse
      20
    • Paid web proxy like Proxify
      2
    • A browser plug in like Gladder
      12
    • I installed a bit of software, like Tor
      21
    • Something else which I will detail below . . .
      3
    • Port forwarding over SSH to a remote proxy, like Imron
      10
    • VPN, like Witopia
      53


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zhwj

FG is worlds faster than Tor. It doesn't get the attention that Tor gets for two reasons: (1) it's not open-source so there's no guarantee of anonymity, and (2) it's affiliated with organizations some might call sketchy.

I've been using it regularly for several years now and lots of my acquaintances do too. There are sporadic problems around major political sessions - it was in and out for the duration of the NPC sessions in the spring - but it gets updated frequently to get around targeted blocking when it occurs.

Also, there are some sites that don't load with FG, perhaps because their servers have been identified as carrying loads of users from China, or because of proxy settings or whatnot. Usually, all it takes is switching to another host (there are typically four or five to select from) to clear up the problem.

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gato

Just download FG through Tor (version 6.5 is the latest). :wink: It is much faster. I'm currently posting this message while using FG. Browsing this forums seem almost to be at normal speed.

FG is only automatically configured for IE, but you can set up Firefox to use it by using the add-on SwitchProxy or FoxyProxy.

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Quest

roddy, I think there are php proxy scripts that can turn your server into a proxy server, but if its not encrypted, China may eventually block your server, I don't know how they ban sites.

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nomad

Quest you are absolutely right. Woke up Wednesday morning to find out that all the proxy servers that I use are now blocked. I'm curious to find out how they are able to do this.

Thanks for the heads up on FG. I might try to download that this weekend.

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lilongyue

A word of warning - by mentioning all of these sites, etc., you risk having all of them blocked. Before I knew Blogspot was blocked, I started a blog, and after discovering it was inaccessible in China, sent out a mass email telling people to use a certain proxy site. A few days later that proxy site was blocked. It's guessed that China employes tens of thousands of people, plus lots of technology, to simply sit around and monitor emails, websites, and even cell phone text messages. I read an article about it, possibly in NY Times. They scan for certain keywords, and if the emails contain any of them they trash it. Same goes for text messages and websites. You're risking having this website added to the list by starting a thread on this subject. Sure, you could just use one of the methods listed in this thread to get around it, but how many people will be willing to do that just to visit a forum?

  • Like 1

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imron

Roddy, is chinese-forums hosted on its own server? or if not are you able to install proxy software (like Squid) on it (or perhaps ask your webhosts to set it up)?.

If you could do that, you could do the port forwarding trick over SSH. Access would be limited to those with login accounts to the chinese-forums server.

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roddy

I've set up simple proxies myself in the past, but when I want web-based I use the paid one I have - does everything you need and costs a pittance. I started looking at Tor as I needed a non-web proxy for iTunes, but it's slow, hence now looking at others.

@imron - shared (reseller) hosting still.

@lilyongyue. Now you've made me paranoid . . .

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imron

The beauty of port forwarding over SSH is that everything works with it (well, at least everything I've tried so far), iTunes included. It might be worth seeing if your webhost can set this up for you (they might already have a proxy installed to use for caching purposes).

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ABCinChina

I used anonymizer total net shield which is quite expensive, but safeguards all my transactions while at the airport or in China. Nice to see there are cheaper ways...

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gato

Article about a very detailed report just published about internet censorship in China.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=202401567&pgno=1&queryText=

Chinese Internet Censorship Machine Revealed

InformationWeek

October 11, 2007 03:52 PM

A report issued by Reporters Without Borders describes a bureaucracy that effectively clamps down on dissent, quashes articles, and uses online companies to distribute its own propaganda.

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roddy

Well I've found a solution which appears to be working out quite well, for the first hour anyway . . .

Came across an ad for Witopia. Basically you can get a personal VPN for USD40 a year, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Set it up fairly easily - you've got to do a little bit of work with the windows set up, apparently Mac is easier. Seems to be working great - all blocked sites are now accessible, other apps like iTunes and IM are working fine, even P2P stuff seems to be going through, and there's no significant slowdown like I was getting with Tor.

Was thinking about trying the Tor alternatives, but this seems to be working quite nicely and at less than a dollar a week I don't mind paying for it.

*Disclosure: Chinese-forums is a Witopia affiliate. If you use that link to make a purchase, then for less than 1 RMB a day you not only get a fully-functional VPN which will solve all blocking issues within China, you also drop a few coins in the forums' coffers.

Edited by roddy

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muyongshi

I use Witopia and I do agree that's it's decent but it should be noted that it can slow down your connection so it's better to download stuff in the morning... (less traffic then) and sometimes in the evening it borders on impossible. I only use it at certain times now...

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roddy

I'm certainly finding it worthwhile. I haven't really figured out what, if any, impact it has on speed. At times it almost seems to speed international sites up, while Chinese ones are perhaps slower.

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hazyrum

Thanks for the Witopia tip! It's solving my Skype problems wonderfully =)

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muyongshi

What problems were you having with Skype? I don't think I've had any...

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hazyrum

UDP problems? I was losing half of the packets coming in and it made for skype that was so choppy I just couldn't use it. Quite sad actually, I've been trying to find a solution for over a month. But everything's great now! =)

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Loriquero

ok, gladder is not working, neither xBBrowser recently... for me

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randall_flagg

Hi!

What proxy could I download to outdo the Chinese firewall? I'm in mainland China right now, so I am not asking what proxies people are using, but which one could I download from mainland China right now? I used to use "tor" until my system crashed and I had to do everything from scratch. I lost my "tor" files and the "tor" page, just like anonymouse, seems to be blocked. So I can't download it. Go Olympics! Yeah, right...

Randall

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