VPNReviewz Advises Mainland China Users: Most VPNs Are Blocked, But Not All

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Recently many VPN users and providers have reported that VPN access has been blocked by the Great Firewall of China. VPNReviewz editors looked for the VPNs and methods that haven’t been blocked yet

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It would be easier to list the VPN providers that haven’t been blocked, but keeping that list up-to-date would be difficult at best.

In China much of the internet content that the rest of the world enjoys is blocked from the internet. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and many (Western,) news sources, have been deemed either subversive, or inappropriate, for the Chinese user, but the censoring technologies have proved to be little more than a minor inconvenience. Until a recent upgrade in the censoring filters, internet users that wished to get around the “Great Firewall, (GFW,) simply used a personal Virtual Private Networking service, (VPN.) to make the hurdle to internet freedom.

In the last few months though, the mainland Chinese VPN user may have found that their VPN service, (both the paid and free services,) has been blocked by the GFW. ABC news and The Guardian reported the blocks in mid-December of last year, and at first the blocking of the encrypted streams seemed to affect almost everyone: business, public, and private connections alike. At first it seemed indiscriminate, but as the system has matured in the last months there have been fewer and fewer businesses complaining of blocks, but virtually all the major VPN service providers have reported blocks of some sort.

Michael Maxstead, CEO of VPNReviewz, said of the blocks, “It would be easier to list the VPN providers that haven’t been blocked, but keeping that list up-to-date would be difficult at best.” He refers to the workarounds that have been published by many of the providers. “The workarounds may work one time, but not the next,” he said. In spite of the blocks on most VPN services, HTTPS, (SSL,) hasn’t been affected, and others are saying that port randomization is working well for some of the VPN services.

Another major issue facing the VPN providers is notifying their customers of any workarounds that may be developed. Maxstead said, “They [Chinese government] learn of workarounds that get developed as soon as the customer does.” He continues, “it has also been rumored that they [the Chinese Government] are purchasing VPN accounts in order to obtain primary and secondary IP addresses that they don’t yet have blocked.” He also said he was surprised that this wasn’t done before they started blocking VPN services considering, the popularity of the skirting method.

“Another thing that further complicates the matter,” Maxstead added, “is that everyone is hesitant to publish anything about any of the VPN services that are still getting through the GFW.” But, he claims, there are a few VPNs getting through the GFW. He advises his readers and clientele to do their homework, and ask the people that are in mainland China behind the GFW before going to China. “And even then,” he cautions, “expect to run into some difficulties.”

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