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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unlocked! How to bypass internet filters.


Before moving to Vietnam I knew that I had to take some measures in order to experience the internet in full.  As you may know Vietnam employs a web filter as a means to restrict Vietnamese citizens (and tourists/visitors) from accessing certain websites, namely Facebook.  Also, certain services that I subscribe to are only available to users who's IP address originates from the USA, such as NetFlix, Pandora, and Hulu.  Fortunately for us there are ways of bypassing these restrictions and getting the information and services that we want.  Some easier than others and some are free while others cost a monthly fee.  So if you have to have your Facebook fix while on vacation in a country that censors the internet read on.

Proxy - I'm not going to bore you trying to explain to you what a proxy is and how it works instead I'm just going to tell you that using a proxy is the easiest and most cost effective way of bypassing these filters.  I personally haven't tried using a proxy to watch NetFlix or Hulu but it does work nicely to quickly access Facebook without paying anything.  Google search tells us that there are a number of different proxy services.  HideMyAss.com is a popular choice and have used it on occasion.  You should take caution while using a proxy to access sensitive information.  As most all free proxy services are not secure.  In order to access a secure proxy you probably need to become a paid subscriber.  In my opinion proxies are better suited for individuals who want a quick easy way of accessing blocked content such as Facebook and not for sensitive information.  So go on, query your favorite search engine and find a proxy that works for you.  I'll help you get started...

Pros:
Free
Good for when you need to access blocked websites in a pinch
Good if you don't access blocked content on a regular basis

Cons:
Not secure
Depending on service the proxy server can be crowded
May or may not work with what you are trying to access (sometimes flash doesn't show up correctly or at all)

VPN - A Virtual Private Network is my preferred method of unlocking the internet.  Again, I'm not going to bore you with technical mumbo jumbo.  Just going to quickly state that VPN services allow you to connect to the service provider server creating a secure tunnel in order for you to access those blocked websites.  Many VPN service providers allow free limited usage of their servers.  ibVPN.com, my current provider, gives out a couple free accounts a month.  This service is geared more towards users to access blocked or restricted content on a regular basis.  As I said earlier I subscribe to NetFlix, enjoy watching Hulu, and listen to Pandora while I work.  So VPN service is the right choice for me.  VPN service is also more reliable and faster than a free proxy.  Check out the different VPN services available from different providers and choose what works best for you.  When choosing a VPN service seek out customer reviews in order to make sure you are dealing with a reliable provider.  Popular providers: ibVPN.com, StrongVPN.com,

Pros:
Fast
Secure
Good for people who often access restricted or blocked content

Cons:
Monthly fees (but worth it)
Depending on whether you use PPTP or OpenVPN you must configure your PC or install a small application.

* The methods described will work to bypass censorship filters and is provided as educational material only.  I am in no way responsible should you choose to use these well-known methods to conduct illegal activity.  Many service providers have rules of what you can and cannot do while using their service.*

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