How did I bypass the GFW in China

Everyone knows China has an incredibly large firewall for their policies. Here I’m not talking the technologies behind the GFW, instead I’m telling you how did I bypass the GFW for real use (like googling, tweeting or read news).


Few years ago (likely in 2010), software like FreeGate and Wujie connected very fast, the connections to outside Internet were quite stable so they were popular in China, so the government noticed them.

Soon they became very, very unstable and slow. Therefore, more ways to bypass the GFW popped up. The most popular way would be VPN connections, even for now. I used VPN connections to access outside Internet (Chinese people called this “scientifically accessing Internet”) for a really long time, and it was hard work.

Why?

The GFW will detect your pattern of accessing Internet, automatically. It was incredibly annoying as my VPN servers will be blocked by the GFW after a period time of connection, just for me.

Yeah, blocking just for me.

Later I found Hongxin, a Chrome extension specially for accessing outside Internet. Hongxin was a paid service as it used Linode servers to provide connections. Hongxin was incredibly stable for a very long time, until August 2015. After I went back to China from Taiwan in August 2015 (I went Taiwan for summer vacation), Hongxin became completely not useable. The reason wasn’t about technologies, every Hongxin user thinks that China government has taken Hongxin’s developers as many of the tools for bypassing the GFW were down at the same time.

After a few days I found SuperVPN for Android, Psiphon for all platforms. Two weeks later they became a little unstable. And then I heard that the developers of ShadowSocks has been taken by China government.

So finally I found the most stable way for bypassing the GFW is GoAgent (now XX-net), though it was unstable for a period of time.

Another solution would be SSH tunnels, but your server may be blocked very soon just like VPN servers.

Since SuperVPN became unstable, I found another software called Lantern (it’s open-sourced!) for my Android phone. Lantern is also available on Windows systems.

By the way, solution for accessing outside Internet in China for iOS would only be VPN connections, no any other solutions.

Those solutions were tested by myself until Oct 2015.

Another thing I need to say that the GFW has been confirmed that the servers of it are around coastal areas of China like Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shenzhen etc. And the GFW servers’ configurations are confirmed to be different for every ISP. The solution above are tested in Suzhou, Jiangsu.