Are you in China and can’t access Facebook? Are you wondering if this something wrong with your computer or your Internet connection? Well, in a way there is something wrong. The Chinese government blocks Facebook along with other sites such as YouTube and Twitter.
I’m not here to judge the Chinese government. They have their reasons for doing what they do. I work online. So when I travel to China I need a way to access block sites such as YouTube and Gmail. And, I also enjoy browsing Facebook in reading new sites that are often blocked in China.
How do I do that successfully and with ease? I use a kind of proxy or a VPN.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network. When you surf the web you essentially make a direct connection between your computer and the website you are visiting. Your computer has an IP address and the website you visiting also has an IP address. Everyone’s IP address is unique. Facebook has its own unique IP address and so does you to.
So if your computer is “A” and the website you are visiting is “B”, then we have a direct connection between A and B.
A VPN adds a third party IP address, or server, in the middle. Now it looks like this:
B: VPN server
You connect to the VPN server, which has its own IP address. The VPN server’s IP address is not blocked by the Chinese government. This is because the best VPN services are always changing their IP addresses. If the Chinese government identifies the IP address, the VPN service quickly changes to another one.
Once you connect to the VPN server, it’s as if you are now surfing the web from that server, not from your computer in China. All the surfing takes place from the VPN server, and then the VPN server relays all that data back to you in China.
The Chinese government thinks you’re connected to some IP address somewhere in the United States, when in fact it’s a VPN server that is going out to you to and Facebook and other blocked sites and delivering them back to you.
How Do I Get a VPN Server?
Many people use free VPN servers in the United States in order to make their surfing anonymous, or access Facebook from work. However free VPN services are likely to slow for China. Here is a good list of VPN sites for China that’s pretty good about keeping up to date.
Don’t bother going for the free ones. Fee-based VPN services offered dozens and dozens of servers from all over the world that you can choose from. They are always changing their proxies to stay ahead of the Chinese government. And most importantly, they are blazing fast. I can watch YouTube videos in China with my favorite fee-based VPN service without any problem. That’s not possible with a free VPN service.
New proxy site services are always popping up trying to be better than the next guy. Keep up the date on available services so that you can be sure you are getting the most for your money.
Proxy Sites and VPN Services Are Not Just For Accessing Facebook In China
Many people, including myself, frequently use proxies and VPN services. I always use them if I’m working in a McDonald’s or some other place that has public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily compromise public Wi-Fi services that tend to have minimal or no security. In addition, many people, again including myself, don’t like our ISPs or the government knowing what we’re doing online. It’s not that I’m doing anything bad. It’s just no one else’s business what I’m doing. My ISP or the government doesn’t need to know where I do my banking and how much money I have or what my child’s favorite TV show is.
Review this list of proxy sites and VPN services and find one that will fit your needs for a good price. Here are some of things you can do with proxies and VPNs:
- Access Facebook when it’s blocked from work or school
- Surf anonymously
- Protect your data when surfing on public Wi-Fi
- Protect yourself from hackers