Oh well… the battle was fun while it lasted, though it didn’t carry on for too long. Upon arriving in Beijing, China, I was presented with an Internet connection in my hotel that totally blocked YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot and many other sites (I wrote about it here). Sure I had heard about the issues before arriving in China, and I was determined to get around them.
The solution that several sites stated was to sign up for a VPN service BEFORE entering China. I realised that many of the VPN sites were already securely blocked by their awesomely-amazing-annoying-firewall. Anyhow, while doing my R&D on circumventing the firewall, I stumbled across 2 sites that were decent and reasonably priced too.
Armed with a snazzy, professional website, they promise to deliver, and deliver they do. I signed up for a 7-day trial account (you need to register for an account, then activate via SMS and request for the trial) to test it out, and it surely worked well. They offer a choice of IP addresses from USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, Portugal and Ireland.
Importantly, they support many platforms – I was surfing Facebook on my iPhone and MacBook Pro with ease. Of course, they support PCs and Android devices too. Using a Mac, I had to install their software which would then initiate the VPN connection with their servers. Simple and easy setup, even for non-techies.
Sorry, I didn’t test the PC connection, but I did test the iPhone. When connected, it would show me a VPN icon in the top bar.
Everything seemed to work well, and I’m impressed. I highly recommend you test it out for yourself with their 7-day trial (no credit card required), then sign up.
Cost: USD23.36 for 3 months
While I admit I did not sign up for this service, nor trial it out, their promise is impressive and so is the price! Reviews scattered all over the Internet rave about the ability to get online and access Hulu, Facebook, YouTube from China, and it must be good.
You get to choose an IP address from 11 countries, namely USA, Australia, UK, Canada, Spain, Russia, Italy, India, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.
As for operating systems, they support Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian!
Overall, I’d say their website is horrible, but their brand promise and price are good. Who can ask for more, when they merely charge USD5 PER MONTH! If you’re only in China for a short period, sign up for their 3 day package at a mere USD0.99. The packages get even cheaper if you sign up long term.
And with that, I conclude the battle has been won. Internet freedom is restored, but only if you know how to, and only if you’re willing to pay a little. It’s a small cost for freedom.
The day will come when The Great China Firewall will crumble. I’m sure of it. Till then, viva VPNs.