The Great Wall of China is a premium tourist destination. How these fortifications protected the people against various nomadic groups is truly a wonder.
China’s Great Firewall has similar aims, although built more than 2,000 years later. Today, it blocks access to more than 300,000 websites.
When you live in China, your online freedom is limited. Why? Because it is challenging to access sites such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, and more.
These restrictions are problematic for residents wishing to stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. If you encounter a blocked site in China, do not panic! This piece breaks down the top five ways to access blocked sites in China and elsewhere.
How to Bypass Internet Filters and Unblock Sites in China
Internet censorship limits your ability to work and communicate. As a result, first-time visitors and the citizens of China find its internet surveillance program exasperating. So, what will you do? Here are the top five ways to unblock sites in China and regain your internet freedom.
1. Use a Virtual Private Network
VPNs are potent tools for bypassing filters and unblocking sites. VPNs encrypt web traffic, making it unreadable to hackers and surveillance programs, unlike proxies and browser extensions. A good VPN tool lets you choose from multiple locations to bypass geo-restricted content, web services, and resources.
An ongoing clash between VPN providers and Chinese regulators limits the choice of available solutions for accessing blocked sites. That’s why investing in a good VPN is prudent when traveling to China beforehand. This way, you’ll continue accessing your favorite websites, streaming services, and communication platforms.
2. Install the Tor Browser
Are you concerned about the anonymity and security of your web traffic while in China? If so, install the Tor Browser. It relays traffic through the onion network for every session.
Although China blocks direct Tor Browser downloads, shoot an email to its developer for a download link via a cloud service. Be sure to include details of your operating system in your message.
Also, consider running Obfsproxy alongside Tor for improved anonymity online. Obfsproxy makes Tor traffic look like regular web traffic upon deep packet inspection. For better results, combine Tor with a VPN.
3. Use a Proxy Server
Like VPNs, proxies route your traffic through different servers. While proxies aren’t as reliable as VPNs or Smart DNS servers, they are effective tools for bypassing URL filters. Still, consider using a proxy to bypass filters and access blocked sites in China.
Proxies hide your IP address to disguise your location. Note that proxies don’t always encrypt your data during transmission. Besides that, the tool has challenges handling page and image formats. Hence, select a reputable proxy provider if you decide to use one.
4. Leverage a Smart DNS
Smart DNS servers are the next tool in your arsenal for bypassing filters and blocked sites. A Smart DNS relays domain name server requests through a different country to mask your location. This technique allows you to access geofenced content without hitches. What’s more, when in China, you can configure a smart DNS on multiple devices to access your favorite movies, TV shows, or podcasts.
While VPN and Smart DNS works similarly, only the former hides IP addresses and encrypts data. Despite these limitations, a Smart DNS is faster than Tor or VPNs.
5. Use SSH Tunnels to Route Browsing Traffic
SSH tunnels use remote Secure Shell servers to forward resource requests between network devices, but it would help if you had an SSH client for tunneling to work. You also have three SSH tunneling types, each working by redirecting traffic between network ports through an encrypted SSH connection.
Linux, macOS, Unix-like systems, and Windows 10 support SSH tunneling natively. Install the free PuTTY tool for older Windows versions to get this feature. Regardless of your operating system, you can bypass filters and unblock sites by using the “ssh” command. Use this guide to configure SSH tunneling on your computer.
Increasing government surveillance will continue to threaten your freedom. While you might use these methods to bypass filters and unblock sites, beware there are legal consequences for breaching Chinese internet restrictions. After all, overriding government-sponsored barriers in China is not risk-free. Use these methods to override restrictions if you ever need to. Now that you know how to bypass the internet filters and blocked websites, go ahead and enjoy the freedom you crave!