As China gets in the news more and more these days, so do the number of people coming to live, work, and travel in China. There are many great thing about this place, but one of the real let-downs is Internet censorship. For expats and travelers that come from countries that believe in the freedom of speech and press, it's a very strange concept to have news, video, and even ideas banned from general society. But on Chinese turf, we've got to play by Chinese rules…sort of.
The thing is that many of the sites that are blocked in China – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more are more than just a means of wasting time on the Internet. They're about real communication, meeting people with common interested, and while were away from home they're about keeping in touch with friends and family. We're not trying to overthrow the government, we just want to see what's going on back at home.
To access Facebook in China on Windows operating systems, you've got basically three choices. First, you can choose between a web based proxy and a virtual private network. As far as virtual private networks, you can choose between SSTP and OpenVPN.
- No Installation
- Cheaper than VPNs
- Can be used on mobile phones as well
- Can be used at work, school, public computers
- Can't access Hulu/Netflix
- Can't choose server location
- Must use secure browser
- Only encrypts browser
- Encrypts all programs, software, and Internet browsers
- SSL encryption means better security and anonymity
- More reliable connections
- Can access Hulu/Netflix/Pandora/BBC iPlayer
- Can choose server locations
- Must be installed
- Limited to one device per license
If you're going with a VPN, you can choose SSTP or OpenVPN. Both use SSL encryption, so they'll both make you completely invisible to Big Brother or any other spies online. SSTP is limited to Vista and Win 7 users (it's a Microsoft product), while OpenVPN can be used on Mac OS/X, all Windows operating systems, and Linux. Most VPN providers will have OpenVPN available, while SSTP is only available at select providers.
For OpenVPN, your best choice is 12VPN. They're in Hong Kong so sympathetic to the China situation, and tend to have faster updates when China gets it's panties in twist and starts blocking VPNs. They're also cheaper than other services, and have a great support team.
To access Facebook in China on Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can use SSTP. For users in China, you've got to account for some VPN providers being blocked, so one of your only choices is with PureVPN. They're a great service, and have experienced no issues, even after March 2011 when many VPN services had their main domains blocked in China. Opt for the 30GB plan and you'll pay less.
If you want a proxy to access Facebook and other sites on Windows, then SecuriTales is the way to go. As one of the only web based proxy services in China, they've got a super fast and reliable service. I wouldn't recommend anything else, especially because they've got a free trial and a 30 day money back guarantee.