How to access Facebook from China

My name is Josh. I love traveling. I love Facebook. Now, this is everything you need to know in order to understand what happened to me this week. I arrived to Beijing on Monday and right when I landed I found out that Facebook is blocked in China and there is no way to access it from this side of the world.

tl;dr; I used https://anysitenow.net to solve the problem and if you are looking for a good service that will help you access Facebook and Twitter while you are in China, check it out. it worked ok for me.

So we landed, and as I do when I land in any other place of the world, the first thing I do is to check in on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and lately also Snapchat. I know it is crazy, but this is me and this is how I keep my loved ones updated. Yes, I know, it is hard to call 5,000 Facebook friends ‘loved ones’ but yes, I love them. Got any problem with that? 🙂

So in the terminal when waiting for by bags to arrive, I take my phone and think about the funny post I’ll share with the world. Although I do have 5,000 friends, I really wanted to tell my mom that I arrived to China and everything is ok. And it didn’t work. And that sucked. Badly.

I tried to restart my phone and checked my cellular data, both on my iPad and my Android. Everything worked except Facebook. I got really nervous and then that nice lady came over to me and said: You can’t connect to Facebook, ha? She was smiling.

I told her: Yes, something is wrong with my phone, I’ll fix it in a minute, don’t worry about it. And she replied: No, it is not going to work. But Why? I asked, and she explained it and said that in China, Facebook is blocked and there is no way you can access it unless you use a service that overrides this blockages.

So the way it works is this: In order to access websites that are blocked, you need to access a website that is not blocked and use it in order to access other websites. It’s like telling your sister to tell something to your mother, without actually talking to your mother.

That woman referred me to that website that solves this problem, it is called proxy-cetner.com it has a free trial and does not require any installation. I tried, it worked like a charm and after I saw that it really works, I have decided to get a paid account for my the whole year I’m going to spend in China.

If you know other ways to solve this problem, please feel free to share in the comments below.

How to Access YouTube in China

Ever have a vacation gone bad?

Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to imagine this, because you’ve experienced it) going on vacation and having a great time in Beijing – and you get off the plane, check into your hotel, open your laptop or iPad to watch the YouTube video of your brother’s extreme ski trip that he said he was going to post – and it’s BLOCKED! The government has decided that it’s dangerous for you to watch your brother ski??!!

Before reading this whole boring post, the answer to your problems is a beautiful website called https://anysitenow.net that helped me access Youtube while I was traveling in China. It was super easy to use and most important, it had a free trial that I used to make sure this shit really works.

So back to my story 🙂 You want a vacation, but you don’t want one off the grid – so now the pressing question (even before “Where can I get some really good beer?”) is: How do I access YouTube in China?! Just want you need right now, huh? Finding a way to unblock YouTube….

There are a few options to consider, and I’ll outline the pros and cons for you – and then tell you what worked for me.

VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s basically a way of putting your whole computer in different place – virtually. So if you have a VPN, your computer acts like it’s in the United States, or Canada, or England – or wherever the VPN is hosted. And so if YouTube isn’t blocked in the USA (thank heavens) – then it won’t be blocked on your computer, even if you happen to physically be in China.

Pros –

  • If it’s a decent VPN, it will work to access YouTube in China, Facebook, Twitter – whatever you want.
  • It’s secure (i.e. no spying on what you’re sending).
  • The entire computer and all programs that use internet access will work as if they are in another location.

Cons –

  • You have to install something on your computer – which can slow the computer down, especially if you have a Mac.
  • It will only work on the device you installed it on.
  • In China, it often won’t work for mobile devices.

Proxies

A proxy is basically a website which will let you type in the site you want to see, and then instead of you accessing the site directly through your browser, you access it through this site as an intermediary. So if the proxy is located in a different location than you, it will show you the site the way you can see it in that location. So if your proxy is located in France, when you view YouTube through the proxy, it will act as if you are viewing YouTube in France.

Pros –

  • Nothing to install.
  • Can access it off any device.

Cons –

  • They often don’t work well for social media because the technology is complicated (Ajax, streaming video, etc.) – so if your goal is to access and unblock YouTube videos in China, it might not work.
  • China keeps blocking them one by one.
  • They only work for your browser, not other programs – say, Skype.
  • Usually not secure.

One other option, which I’ve used and can recommend – is a type of “web-based VPN” called Proxy Center.

It is a proxy – meaning it’s effectively putting your browser somewhere else, and you don’t have to install anything on your computer – but it’s secure and whoever is responsible for the programming knows how to handle complicated technologies. YouTube worked perfectly, and I could share the important stuff with my friends on Facebook.

One big plus is that Proxy Center has a free trial, which doesn’t require ANY personal info to start (no email, no credit card) – so you can SEE that it’s going to work before you commit to anything.

So… VPN, proxy, the “web-based VPN” of Proxy Center – check them out and hopefully one will work for you to access YouTube in China – and get your vacation off to a better start.

Good luck!

How to access Facebook in Turkey

If you are in Turkey and need to access Facebook, this post is for you.

Unfortunately the Turkish government has blocked Facebook. Apparently Facebook offers freedom of speech, which is not very welcome in Turkey these days. So in order to connect to Facebook, there are a few things you can do which are very easy and very effective.

The best way is to use a secure proxy. https://anysitenow.net/ is a good place to start. The main reasons is that it does not require any installation and it has a free trial. This is critical when trying such services, since without a free trial there is  no way to make sure that this service really works and can really help you access Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest.

Another important thing to check is that the proxy service you use is secured. How can you check it?

Very simple.

The address bar in your browser should look like this:

This is how the address bar looks when there is a problem and the connection is not secured

Just make sure that your connection is secured.

If you have more tips for other readers, please share them at the bottom of this page.

 

How to access gmail in china

Gmail is the most popular email service in the world. In February 2016, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1 billion active users, and with their growth rate, they must be at 1.3 billion today. So the chances that someone travelling to China is actually using Gmail, is quite high.

The problem started in 2010 when Google decided to close their Chinese office. They did that after refusing to cooperate with the Chinese government who asked access to the accounts of users who access Gmail from China.

Since then, Gmail is blocked in China. Not always, but most of the time.

There are several ways to access websites, same way like many users use to access Facebook, by simply using Proxy services, VPNs, or TOR.

It all depends on what exactly you need.

If you are an engineer, with tons of technical knowledge, who knows how to configure routers, install services, and know what to do and most importantly what not to do, checkout TOR. It is free and it is working. However, as mentioned here, it is complicated.

The second option, is to use a web based proxy. The advantage is that you do not need to install anything, just open your browser and you’re done.  You need to make sure that this proxy works in https ad that https is not broken.

The last option, which is not a bad one, is VPN. The thing is you’ll need to install it in advance, preferably before you left your home country. Installing a VPN while you are in China is a bad idea. The chances that you will install a Chinese virus pretending to be a VPN service are too high 🙂

In any case, just make sure not to do anything stupid 🙂

How to access Netflix from outside the USA

Netflix is one of the (if not the) best media streaming services in the world. I offers millions of hours of video any day, any time.
The problem? If you don’t live in the US, you are doomed.

When a company makes a movie, it tries to sell this video to as many publishers as possible. Netflix is just one of them and when Netflix buys it, they get a license to broadcast this movie in one place only – the US of A.

Netflix itself wouldn’t mind if you watch a video from Paris, New Delhi or Barcelona.  The reason they give you a hard time is because they want to be “ok” with the company who sold them this movie.

Until recently, people used VPNs in order to access Netflix from outside the US. Not any more. Netflix blocked all VPNs from using their service and this is not possible any more.

So what can you do?

In the next post, we’ll discuss new ways of accessing the web, ways that can make your life easier and improve the quality and habits of your online engagement with services like Netflix, Hulu and others.

Stay tuned.

How To Access Twitter In Turkey

Many of us travel to Turkey on business. Recently, I have asked myself, and done extensive research to find out if I can access Twitter in Turkey. I have come to the conclusion that Twitter is censored in Turkey. If you write something that the government does not like, they will block your Twitter account. Now, I personally use the Twitter social media platform for work purposes, however, do I really want to take that chance that I may be censored? My Twitter account can get banned? No, I don’t. Which is why I chose to use this proxy service http://www.proxy-center.com to access my social media accounts for the duration of my visit in Turkey. I don’t want to have the extra worry of not knowing whether or not my activity on Facebook and Twitter are being monitored by the Turkish government.

What I did was I simply signed up for a proxy service, for my peace of mind.
I will explain exactly what a proxy is and you can decide if you would like to access Twitter through this service as well.

Basically, a proxy is a service which changes the location of where you sign into different websites. There are free proxies, and secure proxies. A free proxy is usually not secure, and gets blocked very quickly. Secure proxies are more difficult to locate, and keep your information secure. I would rather pay for a secure service, and know that the chances of it getting blocked are very slim. As well, when you pay for a service, the good customer service which comes along with it are well worth the low cost.

I prefer using proxies as opposed to a VPN since a VPN requires downloading software to your computer. Many people have work computers, and trust me, you do not want to accidentally download a virus to your computer. Whether a work or personal computer, it would not be a good thing downloading viruses onto your computer… Yes, it happens. You don’t know who the person is that you are downloading this software from, and I personally wouldn’t take that chance. With a proxy, you are given a login URL and you sign in, and from there you just sign into the websites that are censored and blocked. Easy.

This is not the first time I am traveling to a country with internet censorship, and so I have done much research in the past, and know which proxies work, and are worth signing up to. For the low cost of approximately $6 per month, I find that it is definitely worth it.

I do not want to get into a situation in Turkey where I cannot access Twitter and Facebook, so I am going well prepared and ready. Either way, I don’t want my accounts being “watched” and monitored. Who does? No one I know…

So go ahead, find the best proxy to access Twitter in Turkey! Even better, you can try this service out for free before you sign up, just go to http://www.proxy-center.com and click on the free trial!

Facebook Access In China – What Works and What Doesn't

Once upon a time, in a land far (Far East) away, people could access Facebook.

Then it all changed. In 2009, the Chinese government banned Facebook. Goodbye, zài jiàn.

Slamming the door on Facebook appalled thousands if not millions of people who live in or visit China, and rely on Facebook to keep in touch with all their friends and share their Chinese adventures. Maybe you’re one of them.

But if you are, all is not lost. There are still ways to have Facebook access in China.

First, here’s what doesn’t work:

1) Writing a letter of complaint to the Chinese government. Bad move. I’m sure you can see why – especially if you put your name and address on it.

2) The Tor Network. This is a network run by volunteers to give users a way to surf anonymously – and it used to work. But China has gotten better and better at blocking it.

3) Free proxies. Not across the board, but in general the free stuff doesn’t have the kind of programming power behind it that will deal well with the complicated technology of Facebook. So you can try to find one, but it’s usually a waste of time.

Okay, I know you’re waiting for what DOES work to get Facebook access in China.

1) Certain paid proxies. One example I’ve used recently for Facebook access is Proxy Center. They have all the things to look for in a good proxy, so whether you’re using them or you want to try something else, here’s the list of things to look for:

a) Free trial – and hopefully you should actually be able to try it and check that it will work where you are and for what you want to do before they tell you to hand over any of your personal info.

b) Secure. Make sure there is an https:// in front of any page you ever find yourself on while using the site or the service.

c) Good support. They should be prompt and deal with any issues that come up. I had an issue come up when using the Proxy Center service, and they worked with me until they solved it.

d) It actually works. Yeah, that sounds obvious, but Facebook is tricky. Check that you can do all the things that are important to you – so that you don’t start paying and suddenly find out that you can’t access Farmville. Luckily Proxy Center is Farmville-friendly. 🙂

2) VPNs. If you decide to go with a VPN for Facebook access in China, it should have all the same qualities as a good proxy. I haven’t used VPNs – I’m happy with Proxy Center, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you want to check them out, there’s plenty of info out there – just really make sure that they have a free trial, they’re secure, they have good support, and they do what you want them to do.

You know what works, you know what doesn’t – now go and get Facebook access in China!