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In case you are not yet aware, China is not only famous for its Great Wall. Meet ‘The Great Firewall of China (GFC),” the country’s system of internet censorship and one of the strongest in the world. With its original name Golden Shield Project, the Chinese government blocks website domain names and IP addresses and domain names. It also inspects the data that are being sent or received, and being managed by around 2 million “cyber-policemen.”

The strict Internet blocking policy in the country was initiated and its first phase was completed in 2006. As of March 2014, among the huge websites and social sites that are blocked in China includes Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, along with various Google products such as YouTube, Google Docs, Google+ and Gmail. Not to mention, pornographic sites, gambling sites, and some Japanese sites. In a recent study by Harvard University, China has already blocked more than 18,000 websites.

Generally speaking, you can use different way to unblock websites in China. But so far, VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best technique. The question now is which is the better, the free services or the paid ones? For most of us, the word “free” is very attractive, tempting, and better. However, it is not always true. For VPN services, it is important that you understand the pros and cons of free and paid VPN services. Below are some of them:

Free VPN

Obviously, you do not need to spend any amount of money. However, the greatest advantage of using free VPN services is that providers do not usually require users to sign-up. You do not have to provide your full personal information and contact details; you can even use fake names if you asked to give one. Nonetheless, all VPN providers monitor the activities (including web traffic) and “remember” the IP address of the user. In addition, most free VPNs include advertisements in the package. You hate being distracted by ads, don’t you?

Paid VPN

Premium VPN services have wider bandwidth, greater range of encryption protocols, and faster connection, as compared to the free ones. Also, most paid VPNs for China (Like this one ) offer you another public IP address once the VPN server that you are using was blocked. But more importantly, your identity is more secured. You cannot also expect excellent customer services from services that you did not pay for. With paid VPN providers, you can expect more reliable services and support. Remember that China is very strict, which means you need a stronger solution to bypass Chinese Firewall .

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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the countries where strong Internet censorship is being implemented. The country’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is responsible for regulating online activities of its people. This includes limited use of social media and banning access on many websites, especially adult sites and articles that show disrespect on Islam.

Starting 2011, all online newspapers and bloggers in Saudi are being required to obtain a special license from the Ministry of Culture and Information. In June 2013, the Saudi government banned Viber. There were reports that WhatsApp and Skype will also be blocked; but CITC denied it later. For the record, Facebook and Twitter are not blocked in Saudi, but some posts are being censored.

For these reasons, many people in Saudi are looking for ways to unblock the restricted sites. So far, the two most popular ways are proxy sites and VPN (Virtual Private Network). While both of them provide anonymity and online security, they differ in the actual process. So before you choose, it is important that you first understand each method so you know which one is really better.

Proxy for KSA

Generally speaking, a proxy site functions as a web filter and is entirely browser based. Your computer will be connected to an anonymizing proxy server and will request to visit a web page. Then, the proxy server (like http://vpn-account.com/bypasssaudiproxy.html) will pass it to you. Therefore, traffic routed through a proxy server will appear to be coming from its IP address, not from your computer.

Pros

* Most of them are free, some paid services are affordable
* Easy to access; you only need to type its URL on browsers
* Fast browsing even for multiple users
* Some proxy sites can speed up browsing once data is stored in cache

Cons

* Traffic is not encrypted, which means your data is not totally secured
* Not 100% reliable, as many websites tend to block proxy servers
* Each web browser should be configured separately
* Most schools and universities don’t allow proxy sites to avoid access to pornography

VPN for Saudi Arabia

Virtual Private Networks create a well-secured network connection over a public network, such as the Internet. Therefore, the Saudi government will only know that you have connected to the VPN server, but not your activities (Read how to bypass Internet censorship in KSA here). This includes the IP addresses and websites you visited, with a minimum of 128-bit encryption.

Pros

* Most paid VPNs are affordable
* For businesses, VPN operational costs are much lower than any traditional WAN
* Many companies use VPN technology when allowing remote employees to access company data

Cons

* Free VPN services have many limitations, especially when it comes to security
* Not all VPN vendors follow the technical standards. Transferring from one VPN to another may cause technical problems.
* Some businesses may find it hard to configure their VPN connection
By comparing the difference between VPN and proxy servers, you can easily notice that VPNs have greater advantages over proxy sites, and their disadvantages are tolerable. With careful planning and choosing the right company, VPN is very much useful and economical for individuals and companies in Saudi Arabia.

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Oman is one of countries in the Middle East that has a very strong Internet censorship. Whether you are a local resident or a tourist, the local Internet Service Provider will prevent you from entering some websites. Although leading social sites are not really banned in the country, the Sultanate of Oman government is closely monitoring private communications. This includes chat rooms, blogs and forums.

For the record, Skype and some other VOIP services are blocked in Oman. The country also prohibits dating sites and links to pornographic materials, and implements a selective filtering on political sites and posts that criticize Islam. In March of 2007, Oman’s TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority) publicly banned the use of VOIP in Internet cafés and violators will be apprehended and fined.

If you are now in Oman or you know someone in the country, using VPN (http://vpn-account.com) is so far the best way to access the restricted sites. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) IS a network of computers that uses public telecommunications networks (such as the Internet) and acts as a virtual secured tunnel for users. Businesses also use this VPN technology as a firewall to protect their data online. Below are the some of the reasons why VPN is effective and user-friendly in unblocking restricted sites in Oman:

VPN is very easy to use; no additional software needed. Simply choose a reputable VPN software or company, and you will be guided accordingly.
• Traffic sent via VPN is encrypted, which means that no third party can access the information.
VPN hides your actual IP address and geo location because your data is being sent through the VPN server.
• You can have a VPN connection in various devices, including iOs and Android phones and tablets, as well as other digital devices that support VPN technology.
• Your data is also well-protected from hackers if you are in a Wi-Fi zone such as airports, hotels, and other public places.
• Some VPN services are free, but have certain limitations such as limited daily usage. Most premium VPN companies offer affordable prices and are very reliable.
• Absolutely safe for businesses and companies that require their employees to work remotely or even at home. This can also help increase productivity and profit as well.

While there are also other ways to access restricted websites in Oman, VPN is proven to be the most secured and efficient method. Most VPN companies offer free trials and excellent customer service, so you can be sure that your investment is in good hands.

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) imposes strict Internet censorship. But contrary to what you might know, telecom companies such as Etisalat and Du are not the ones that block sites, but rather the TRA (Telecom Regulatory Authority). For most families, blocking some sites has benefits especially those sites can be harmful to their kids. Nonetheless, the filtering policy also focuses on blocking gambling and dating sites, and those that are offensive to their religion and culture.

But many believe that the policy is a bit unfair. For example, Skype has been available n UAE only in 2013. Some residents even complain that there are Wikipedia pages that are blocked in the country. This therefore led to asking, how can I unblock websites in UAE? What is the best way to do it? Below are some techniques on how you to bypass Internet censorship, especailly in UAE:

Web proxy servers

In layman’s terms, a web proxy site acts like a middle man between the Internet and your server. Your visit request will be sent to the proxy, and not directly sent to the blocked website. Proxy servers bypass all the Internet filters and you can browse the site anonymously. However, your browsing time can be slower. In addition, many schools and organizations block proxy servers and therefore cannot be considered as 100 percent reliable.

Translation services

Translation services such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish allow you to translate a page from one language to another. Simply enter the web address (or URL) of a website to. Then, choose a language at the “Translation from” and “Translation To” fields so read the contents of that site in your chosen language. While this method is pretty easy to use, it imposes security risks. Such services usually do not apply encryption, making your connection not totally secured.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)


Getting a VPN account (http://vpn-account.com) is noted to be the most convenient way to open a blocked website in any country. In this method, your IP address serves as your online identity. VPN creates a well-protected tunnel between your system and the VPN server. Third parties cannot access this secured tunnel, making VPNs more secure than proxy servers and translation services.

So, if you want a more secure access to restricted sites, VPN is definitely the best idea. In fact, a lot of huge businesses and corporations are using it to protect sensitive data when linking various remote data centers. Some VPN services are free, but paid ones are better and prices are very affordable.

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