Last year I talked about using Tor to bypass the internet censorship in China but the problem is that it’s painfully slow, almost to the point of being unusable. There are other options such as anonymous proxy servers (again slow) and corporate private networks but for most individuals these are not an option and fiddly to configure.
I have however discovered another alternative which provides both security, stability and speed – it’s not free but certainly isn’t expensive either. Enter Witopia personalVPN – costing $59.99 per year this basically creates an encrypted tunnel out to Witopia’s secure internet gateway giving you unlimited access to the internet without any blocks or restrictions. Set up is simply a matter of installing a simple piece of software which is sent to you pre-configured by email (there are clients for Windows, Mac & Linux).
Establishing a connection takes a matter of seconds and then you’re good to go. No messing around with any computer or internet settings as you would with the other solutions. What makes this even better is that the speed is fast, in fact I’d swear its faster surfing international sites using the VPN connection than without it normally making me extremely happy!
This of course will work world-wide once you’ve subscribed and can be useful in other situations where you want to ensure your connection is secure. Although I’ve only been using it a short while I’d thoroughly recommend it, especially if you’re in China.
N.b. as a side note if you use Mac OS X I’d recommend using the Viscosity OpenVPN client, rather than the included Tunnelblick application as it has a much better interface. It will import the connection settings automatically the first time you run it.
Update: for those in China blocked by the great firewall you might also like my guide to the various other ways of bypassing it.