For us in China these days, access internet is a tedious chore given the major web sites are blocked including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the popular Online TV network, TVU network. GFW (So called “”Great Fire Wall”) and the possible “Green Dam” in the future, the “Information control” is strong. Fortunately, there are ways to climb the “Wall”. Basically, as far as I know, there are three tools can do this. Most of users use FreeGate, a free proxy client to by pass the internet blocking; there are some other users use Tor Proxy, which is essentially the same proxy idea but target more technical savvy users. But, if you don’t know how to do it by now, there maybe some difficulties to get it to work; just trying to search “FreeGate” in Google and click any result url you will get a “connect reset” error. It seems they have blocked any “sensible keywords” appear in a url or a page. So, how do you get the tools at the first place?
The simple answer maybe ask one of your foreign online friend to download a copy of one of these tools. However, I recently discovered a website: http://alonweb.com/, which provides a Free Open VPN service. As far as I know, this is by far the only website provides this kinds of service that I can access. I personally have use tor plus privoxy set up for a very long long time now, it is very reliable but some what slow. So, I want try out other alternatives to see if I can get more faster access. Here is my results: All of them are workable, but not one of them provide a satisfiable fast speed. After all, you are connecting through a proxy or VPN; but the real speed seem vary depend on the time of the day you are using them.
OpenVPN: If you are just started, since you probably have hard time to get other tools, this is the first you should get. It is a bit slow, but since it is not using a proxy but connecting through a VPN instead; you will have all your internet access protected, not only just your browsers, but also all your IMs and applications that required to update via internet. However, it seems some what not very reliable, not all of your client side request will be successful at the first time.
Tor: After you have the OpenVPN (just keep trying if some page seem hard to load), you should try to get a copy of vidalia bundle, which comes with Tor, Privoxy and a nice UI interface. Your Tor will very reliable, even thought some times it is hard to get it to connect to a faster onion network server; but it will always work. Yes, sometimes it is very slow, but it depends when you are using it. The nice thing is that, tor will change the router of your request to the final server on every request until it can reach the server.
FreeGate: This is a popular pieces of software used by many regular users. I just start use it yesterday. It seems similar to the tor, also turn your local PC ( with a specific port number, 8580 ) to a proxy access point. It works good except that it defaults automatically set the proxy for IE and open it up with a specific home page every time you start the program. I also found out the, it seems automatically affects other browsers too, like Opera and Safari, even I didn’t do anything on them. When It is running, the browsers are very slow, when it exits, the browsers are normal; which apparently indicates that they are using the proxy provided by the FreeGatge. And, also, sometimes, it can’t find sever in F3 Tunnel, so you will like just offline, can’t resolve any server on the internet. This is not better than tor, which will always connects to the onion network successfully otherwise you can’t even start the tor.
The conclusion: Install the FoxyProxy add-on for firefox and configure tor and freegate. Using tor the most of time; switch to Freegate to see if you can get faster access occasionally; at the worst times, use the OpenVPN – which is the slowest but safest.