Using VPNs Get Around The Great Firewall Of China
In late December, a number of VPN companies and their users reported a number of VPN outages. The latest developments support earlier reports that China has taken a proactive stance at clamping down on VPN technologies. The question now is whether or not a VPN is still the best way to try and circumvent the Great Firewall of China.
The Recent VPN Blockages Are Based on the Protocol Being Used
The most important factor to consider when trying to get uncensored access to the Internet in China with a VPN is how China has identified popular VPN networks. In most cases, the VPN companies are not what is being identified, but rather the VPN protocol being used. This means that the only way to get around this is by using a VPN service that offers multiple protocols. For example, the popular P2P protocol has long had only limited success in getting around the Great China Firewall. This is because it is one of the least complex which makes it easy for ISPs to spot and block. Recent reports note that a new technology used by China to filter the web can carry out complex encrypted traffic analysis. Essentially, it learns what connections to block.
A No-Win Situation for Some VPN Companies
The biggest problem VPN companies face is that they do not have a bargaining chip with China. This is because the Chinese government believes that VPN companies are operating outside of their laws. As a result, VPN companies are forced to continually improve their methods to stay ahead of Chinese censorship.
What Other Options Are There?
While some VPN companies have faced some struggles against the Great Firewall of China, this isn’t a reason to disregard the VPN technology altogether. The first thing to keep in mind is that there aren’t any other consistent options available. Switching away from a VPN connection isn’t possible because there are not any viable alternatives. The key is choosing the right VPN company.
The Focus Should Be on Available Protocols
Since China primarily blocks VPN companies based upon the tunneling protocol being used, it is essential to choose a VPN service which offers multiple protocols. This not only provides maximum flexibility from one device to another, but also gives users the ability to switch VPN protocols as needed. This makes it more difficult for Chinese ISPs to track and analyze the encrypted data.
VPN Companies Are Finding Solutions
As soon as consistent VPN outages were reported, VPN services started to release a variety of quick fix solutions to their customers. The most common fix is modifying protocols; however modifying MTUs and ports have resolved the problem in some cases as well. The highest success rates have been reported when TCP adjustments were made.
Stick with a VPN
VPNs are still the best way to get around the Great Firewall of China. While China is working hard to block VPN traffic, it remains the most viable option that is readily available.