Freedom On the Internet

| October 26th, 2009

image How would you like to live in a world without facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr etc. What would you do if I tell you starting from tomorrow you are not allowed to access these sites anymore? As many of you probably already know, this is actually a reality in China – a country which has the highest number of internet users. Due to censorship policy in China, especially Internet Censorship, as for now, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr etc. are all blocked by the GFW – Great Firewall of China.

One of the easiest methods allowing you to get over the “wall” and access these blocked sites, browsing the internet freely and anonymously is to use a VPN software like Freedur. Freedur 2.0 the latest version is available for download. Freedur cost $59.99 for one year of subscribtion. But here is something for ChinaHush readers, for limited time, if you enter the coupon code CHINAHUSH, you will receive an additional 10% discount!

ChinaHush reader Jay – an American who is living in China wrote to me and shared his experience on using Freedur to get over the wall.

I was talking to my high school friend in San Francisco the other day, he had just gone to a wedding. One of my old friends got married, so all my old buddies gathered up and had a day like the old. Good times. “How did she look? Any hot bridesmaids?” “Yah, it was great! Sam did a guitar solo with the band, and Jessie invited some of her hot workers as well. We put the solo up on YouTube. The hot coworker was tweeting throughout the entire ceremony.”

Over the years I’ve had lots of chances to imagine what my life would have been like had I stayed in the US. I can imagine the stories, think about the weddings and birthdays I was missing, and maybe at night I can pretend that I’m sleeping in my old bed back home. Being blocked from popular media and networking interfaces forces people like me to indulge in these mental exercises. But no more. Welcome to the world of Freedur, an internet with uncensored, anonymous freedurm.

The proxy service known as Freedur is downloadable off the internet and has several different service plans, including a 7 day money back guarantee. Before I didn’t think I would really use it, but ever since I started using the VPN at work to get around the internet, internet at home makes me feeling like I’m living at my parents house, and my father has passworded all my favorite download sites. Really, once you have a taste of freedom, you can never go back to the old ways.

Installing Freedur was a breeze. I started the process by downloading the installer from freedur.net. The installer was very intuitive, and did not require much attention. After downloading the windows version from the website, I double clicked the setup program and answered all the questions. They were typical installer questions, and the entire process was completed in less than 10 clicks. No typing required. I opted for the default install path. If you really wanted to be advanced and customized, you could change the path to your choosing. Uninstalling is even easier. Uninstalling is only a matter of two clicks.

Interface

Upon starting up, the user is faced with an Iphonesque login prompt. The layout is clean, and simple. There is a big grey off button in the middle, a list of proxy servers to use, and some bandwidth statistics under it. The only non intuitive element is the icon in the bottom right corner. Mousing over won’t provide any insight. The ‘I wonder what this does’ button brought me to their twitter page. Since I did not have Freedur running, it showed me another reason why I need Freedur.

twitter blocked  twitter blocked

Logging in was one click easy. After logging in came the most difficult part of the freedur experience: Enabling the Freedur service. The large grey button that says ‘off’ is so obvious, I missed it because I was used to small hidden buttons attempting to hide the awesome service I was looking for. Usually when you click the big obvious ‘clickme’ button, you’ll be directed to NSFW sites with many a sexy singles waiting to be clicked. But sexy singles no more! One push of the big off button actually turns it ON; complete with popping hickey sound effects. Who would have guessed?

With my freedur enabled, a whole new world of browsing, exploring, and surfing dangerously in restricted areas was now available to me. I can now superpoke until I get my first harassment lawsuit. I can now YouTube all the Dave Chappell I can handle. I can look up all the FL Gong websites without having to worry about the secret police showing up at my door. Now clicking on the ‘I wonder what this does’ button actually takes me somewhere.

twitter before after twitter before after

For the tinkering user, Freedur also features a few options. The most obvious one being the proxy server one uses to access websites. This option I find to be very necessary as some websites only allow access from servers in the same country.

hulu out of US hulu out of the US

The settings menu offers a few simple options that let me choose between IE/chrome and Firefox. There is also a filtering function in case I want disable freedur for certain websites. Clearly, freedur was designed to easily allow selective service.

Clicking the help button directs you to a ticket page where you type up case description and enter some information. The interface is clean and simple. I did not submit a service request, so I do not know anything about the response times.

The central theme is simple. Simple installation, simple interface, simple uninstallation, even simple bug reporting. It’s so simple I’m even a little suspicious. I was expecting to open some ports, or change some internet settings, but no. I didn’t have to make any changes to my computer setup. Freedur works right out of the box.

Keeping something this simple isn’t easy. I’m sure a lot of time went into figuring out what to put in, what to ignore, and how to make it easy. It’s so simple, it’s almost invisible. I know that from now on, I won’t even notice it running in my background.

If I had to offer some suggestions, maybe they could add a ‘logout’ button to the interface. While there is a logout option in the left click menu, an addition to the main interface couldn’t hurt.

Really I find it hard to offer criticisms about this software. It’s so simple and easy, finding fault in so little is very difficult. One can say that the software is not as robust, and lacks features. There is no history, no tracking, no tracing information. If I had to do debugging, or wanted to track my usage history, those tools are not to be found. I might have to use my browser tools for those functions.

However I would also agree that having a simple proxy interface is preferred. The last thing I want is for my surfing to be bogged down by tracking, scanning, and all other sorts of bloatware.

As technology becomes more advanced and bloated, Freedur is an example of the effectiveness of a simplified/specialized tool. Welcome to the Internet, Uncensored.

System specs:

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 ver. 6.1 build 7600

AMD Turion64 x2 1.9 GHZ

4GB memory 160 GB HD

IE 8.0.7600.16385

Would you like to share your China Experience on ChinaHush? Write to me at chinahush[at]gmail.com

32 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Wilson says:

    This is why Western teens are getting dumber and dumber everyday. Shouting and begging their parents of money for VPN for twitter, Facebook, youtube, etc. because the evil Chinese govt block their brain-hazardous sites that makes their grades lower.

  2. Jack Sprat says:

    Riight, Wilson. Keep telling yourself that. Because the Chinese government has no ulterior motives whatsoever for blocking social networking sites… and, y’know, Twitter wasn’t helpful AT ALL in spreading important information after the Iranian elections. Anyway.

    Great news that programs like these are available! Is there any risk that you might get in trouble with the Chinese government for using them, though? I’ve always wanted to spend some part of my life in China after graduating, but have been very paranoid about going if I can’t have access to the news and social networking side of the internet. There’s always the chance that the government might relax a little before it’s time for me to go, but I’ve never wanted to bet on that possibility.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Why cant they use proxy servers to mask where they are going?

  4. Pig Yi says:

    I’m using freegate.
    It’s awesome and totally free.

  5. Andrew says:

    Freedur is awesome! I’ve been in China for the past 7 years and I don’t know what I would do without this program. While you are correct that there are free programs and websites out there, most are very unstable and not trustworthy. I’ve used proxies from Chinese companies which are around $5 a month but are not as good and fast as Freedur…

  6. Wilson says:

    “Twitter wasn’t helpful AT ALL in spreading important information after the Iranian elections.”

    And I especially like how a Jewish newspaper pretends to be a Iranian and spew their propaganda on twitter.
    http://www.chartingstocks.net/2009/06/jpost-removes-the-evidence-and-issues-a-response-iranelection/

    “Because the Chinese government has no ulterior motives whatsoever for blocking social networking sites”

    Yes they do. And it has to do with people deflecting to the CIA especially receiving espionage money from the quasi-political organization and taxpayer-funded (National Endowment for Democracy) which Hu Jia, Dalai Lama, WUC, Kadeer seems to receive.

    Besides, after 2-3 years, you’ll see who’s country is smarter: the country that let people constantly staying on the popular social networks or that country that blocks popular social networks (Friendster is still not blocked in China).

  7. Kai says:

    Wow, Key, you’ve got some fenqing on ChinaHush now.

    @ Wilson

    Don’t be silly, there are tons of “popular social networks” in China (Kaixing001, Xiaonei, QQ, etc.), they’re just Chinese social networks that can be controlled by the government when the government wants to control them. Friendster is an exception, though it is something of a has-been relic that only remains slightly popular amongst South-East Asians as Facebook continues to make gains in most countries around the world. The blocking of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. is more about whether or not those companies are willing to work with or be subjected to the demands of the Chinese government. Let’s not make ridiculous predictions about “who’s country” will be smarter “after 2-3 years” on the basis of what “popular social networks” are blocked. It only makes you look like an idiot.

    The use of publicly available channels to present biased information and propaganda is not limited to Twitter, Wilson. Trying to suggest that Twitter was blocked for the fact that propaganda can be found on it is patently stupid. The real reasons are that Twitter is a real-time communication threat that is easiest to neutralize by simply blocking access to the service, just like cutting telephone lines and internet access, AND that the government doesn’t think it can combat the biased information and propaganda that COULD be disseminated on Twitter effectively otherwise. You can even say a reason it is blocked is because the biased information and propaganda that could be in Twitter wouldn’t be the GOVERNMENT’s biased information and propaganda.

    The Chinese government is not stupid enough to think foreign-funded espionage, spies, or rabble-rousers in China can be stopped by blocking Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. This has less to do with countering potential domestic threats of that nature than simple information and communications control of the ordinary masses, not a few select elements. The target of these initiatives is the general internet populace, not a few spies, splittists, or terrorists. The goal is not to control the spies, splittists, or terrorists but to limit the impact of activists (amateur or profession) and ordinary people with populist causes.

    Knock it off, you’re not convincing anyone and all you’re doing is embarrassing the Chinese government.

  8. EXpat says:

    Keep on publishing and make freedur another dead application. This info should be low profile, don;t you think?! But what is done it’s done. Freedur helps a lot, China should think that evolving also means accepting the world reality and living it. Chinese netizens are very smart and will always find the way through, no matter how tall the wall is!

  9. Dirkjan says:

    So this is an advertisement for Freedur?

    • aclcla says:

      looks like it!

    • Charlie says:

      Love the site and everything you do here but you have to disclose that this is an ad, because it almost certainly is..

    • Sweet America says:

      Anything for a buck eh Mr.ChinaHush?

      • RZ says:

        Why not? Everyone else is doing it!

        And, of course, companies that market in this underhanded way are usually…

      • Kai says:

        Come on, you’re being a little harsh here, aren’t you? Key puts in a lot of time creating and updating this website for people’s entertainment. None of you are paying Key anything for the content he’s providing you. Why shouldn’t he throw in some ads and monetize his work a bit?

        I can understand asking that he be more clear about this being an advertorial or endorsement. Personally, I thought that was pretty obvious the moment he mentioned the coupon code but I can understand if people don’t think that’s enough disclosure. Still, it’s rather unfair to insult Key with the “anything for a buck” line. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t even recouped the amount of money he’s paid for hosting this website, much less the man-hours he puts in. Geez, guys, he’s researching and translating all this fun quirky stuff for you guys, for FREE. Cut him some slack, or at least offer a bit of respect when disagreeing.

  10. Sweet America says:

    You know this freedur thing is bullshit. Only reason people want to get around the firewall is so people can whack off to porn.

    Everybody, sing along with me!

    “The internet is for porn……. the internet is for porn. Grab your dick and double click for porn porn porn……”

    You know my statement is 99% true 😉

    • alnany says:

      lol!

    • Actually, porn is easily accessible in China without resorting to expensive VPN software. I routinely see young Chinese males getting to know the female form in booths at local internet cafes; clearly the ‘war on porn’ claimed by the Chinese government is a red herring.

      Facebook or Twitter, notably, are not places one would look for porn. The Chinese government is just compounding our grudges against it by blocking the ability of expats to keep in touch with their family and friends. Funny, given that the Chinese government is always complaining about the negativity of foreign perception of it, but its ‘war on family’ won’t make any new fans of the oppressive regime.

      • Sweet America says:

        *cough* bullshit. I’ve been to these places myself and they just use them to sleep in after heavy nights our and do extensive online WOW like games.

        You’re full of bullshit. Stopping expats from keeping in touch with family and friends? Try using a phone dumbass.

        • Cough on your own bullshit all you like, I have seen with my own two eyes young fellows checking out the porn in the net cafes of China.

          Would you enjoy paying the bills of overseas calls to the US? Just today I had a problem along these lines. An old friend contacted me via Facebook, wanting some advice on his idea of going to China for a few months to learn (a little) Mandarin. Unfortunately, using my current system of bypassing the GFW, I can only SEE some information on Facebook, not actually respond. The problem here happens to be that I don’t have a current email address for this old friend either. Just one small example of the spanner that the Chinese government throws into the works when it comes to people contacting people, not for the sake of terrorism but for the simple tasks of connecting with friends and family from home.

          Try having some sympathy for other people and their attempts to connect with family (a Chinese value as well, you surely know).

  11. jay's dad says:

    wow~~wonderous to behold,what a tricky articel for AD~totally a SHIT,ONE DAY THE same sticky end eventually as porno website that you(CHINA HUSH) DESERVE!!!!

    • Confused says:

      …are you making an attempt to parrot the posts above you? Because you’re rather poor at it. Not to say you can’t have the same oppinion or even post it, but it would be nice to be able to understand your writing without having to stand on my head.

  12. What about the whole freedur vs. skydur debate?

  13. Wang Er says:

    Freedur is no longer trustworthy. Check this article on Shanghaiist:

    http://shanghaiist.com/2009/08/18/freedur_terminated_from_the_inside.php

    If you have a website hosting outside China, using SSH tunneling should be the safest and probably fastest way:

    http://www.ytechie.com/2008/05/set-up-a-windows-ssh-tunnel-in-10-minutes-or-less.html

    • Jean Wissler says:

      That shanghaiist post is outdated, freedur and since then relaunched and going strong.

  14. Wilson says:

    @Dr. Jones Jr.

    So when did Chinese government cut off your phone lines or internet messenger lines?

    • Sweet America says:

      I agree, what a bullshitting retard. He’s obviously cynical and still lives in his mother’s basement.

  15. The fact that Freedur advertises itself through this method is what turns me off from it and guarantees that I’ll never use it. It just seems really low and unprofessional.

    I’m also really disappointed to see China Hush blatantly advertise like this. Merging paid links/ads into the regular content is just going to ruin this site’s integrity or credibility.

    • Willy says:

      Freedur is fraud. it’s not full vpn, it is unstable. you can not upload photo to facebook via app, and cannot upload video to youtube. the customer support response is slow. after i used for 4 day, i cancel the subscription. i require refund according their”7 day 100% money back guarantee”, they keep asking me try more. i insist, then they don’t answer me anymore. i am afraid they will disappear soon.

      • Key says:

        Hi Willy, I just took your case up to Freedur and they confirmed that you have been refunded already. Let me know if you still need help to reslove this.

        • Willy says:

          i received an email from Freedur at 23rd Nov. 13:47:36 Beijing time telling me, they have refunded. I don’t mind waiting, but even in weeken, they shall give me an answer.

  16. Key says:

    Ok, Freedur and ChinaHush are partners, view this post as an advertisement for Freedur if you will, but everything I wrote in the post is true. Many of my friends use Freedur in China, and we like their software because it is simple and reliable. Sure there are so many other methods you can use other than Freedur, the post here is just to inform you the censorship situation in China and one possible solution that many people use. And Chris (from Freedur) offered me this Coupon code for ChinaHush readers to get 10% off on their next purchase. I thought it is something you guys might enjoy…

  17. Alright yall. I found this amazing site which lets you watchthe spy next door online. I 100% suggest that you check it out as I really think it’s going to be a definite good movie. It’s a

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