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Bypass the China Firewall Methods

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Last updated November 16th, 2012 by Victoria Pal in Tech

bypass china firewall

With their assortment of techniques to prohibit access to websites they do not like, China is probably the country where the “Site not found” errors are most common, with the possible exception of North Korea. This can be frustrating, especially if your website isn’t intended to be politically subversive in any way, but it happens to contain out-of-context keywords that the Chinese authorities have deemed undesirable. This broad brushstroke is unfortunate, but luckily, there are ways to bypass the China Firewall and get past China’s so-called Golden Shield.

China’s Measures Against Attempts to Bypass the Great Firewall

If your website is inaccessible from China, this can cost you a lot in terms of traffic. If you’re set up to be a vendor of some kind, whether through ecommerce or a file-sharing/ file-storage program such as Dropbox – it can also cost you a great deal of money. The Chinese government has set up multiple avenues of website deflection, in addition to employing over 30,000 formal internet policemen:

  • analysis of nearly all incoming data to the People’s Republic of China using a limited number of access points;
  • keyword-based IP address denials, if you’re trying to access internal content from China that is prohibited to outsiders;
  • employing the net-mirrors that bounce information from fiber-optic cable ports to actively scan on-page content.

Because some websites do bypass the China Firewall, the exact extent of these measures, while far-reaching, does seem sporadic at times. For example, you might be able to bypass the firewall in one province, but fail to get through to the computers in another Chinese province or administrative district. When you add this to the fact that websites with seemingly innocuous content are prohibited, you can be left in the dark as to whether you have access to a constant audience in mainland China.

Luckily, we have developed such a tool which is freely available to you, and you can use it here.

The tool requires you to enter your URL in the provided box, and will use servers in New York to make sure your ISP is functioning well in the first place, and then compare that with the results from an attempted contact with China’s DNS servers in either Shanghai, Beijing 2, Guangzhou, or Hong Kong. You can also use the test servers in Munich (Germany) or Melbourne Australia for the comparison.

Top 3 Methods to Bypass the Great China Firewall

However, if you are in China and would like to access content that is usually censored, consider these methods:

  • Use Virtual Private Networks. VPNs are an absolute necessity in the Chinese economy, being that they are used by financial institutions of all kinds to transfer and secure money. If you can find a cost-effective VPN solution, you will be able to interact positively with organizations and companies that use this, and won’t really have to bypass firewall because they are completely legal as of 2012.
  • The tried-and-true proxy server solution can be infuriatingly slow, but it works. Not nearly as costly as the paid VPN method, using proxy servers – which can be had through any number of channels, as there are plenty of people who know the ones that work to get you into the Chinese section of cyberspace – works especially well if you have a large number on hand, and first test them using free online tools.
  • You can access and browse the greatest variety of content using the most powerful current method of getting onto their servers: Tor. This free routing software not only disguises your identity as you browse the internet; but, more importantly for your attempts to bypass the Cina Firewall, it hides the specific page or set of webpages you are actually trying to download and view. Clearly, this makes it quite the chore for Chinese internet authorities to stop you, since they don’t really know where you’re going; neither do they know where you’re truly coming from.

As these methods to bypass the China Firewall become less effective, more will certainly spring up to take their place - accessing the Chinese online market is too valuable to ignore.

Victoria Pal

She doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes traveling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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