Tag Archives: unblock

How to Unblock Facebook in China

Yes, Facebook is blocked in China, along with the other major English-language social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.

And yes, it’s a frustrating inconvenience for visitors from overseas. After all, you’re likely accustomed to an open internet. This is especially true for the multitude that use Facebook as a glorified address book and don’t have all their contacts elsewhere. If you rely on it and other online services for business, it’s a real problem.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of maneuvering around the great firewall of China, let’s examine the facts behind this limitation.

No Facebook: The Why, When and Where

Censorship of Facebook started in July 2009 after the Ürümqi riots occurred in China. Xinjiang independence activists used Facebook as a part of their communications network. Thus, officials concluded that the social media site was a threat and have been blocking it ever since.

Before proceeding it should be noted that Facebook can be accessed in Hong Kong and Macau. Additionally, there’s been reports that after 2013 the social media site is available to some in China.

1. Accessing the Web in China: How-to

Luckily there’s a number of strategies you can use to get your Facebook fix in China.

But first, you’ll need to consider how to obtain access to the internet in general. Here’s a list of possible solutions:

Wi-Fi: Major urban centers in China have Wi-Fi access everywhere. The Wi-Fi gets incrementally scarcer as you go further inland. As you need to be able to receive a text with a PIN to gain a connection, this option will be out for some.

Rented Phone: If taken care of before departing for China, service providers will ship a ready-to-use phone to you which is a convenient option. Also, you can opt to pick it up upon arrival. Unlike roaming, rates are fixed, reasonable and the service is guaranteed to have extensive coverage.

China SIM Card: If you’ve got the time and would rather approach this as a local would, get a SIM card. You’ll need an unlocked phone and a passport to make it happen. Either locate a kiosk that offers China SIM cards (often found at major airports in Beijing, Shanghai, etc.). Or, visit to a telecom company such as China Unicom or China Mobile store to buy one.

International Roaming: Your local carrier probably offers international roaming that includes a set number of minutes and data. This route can be costly. So, as a rule of thumb it should be the last resort.

2. Get on Facebook in China: How-to

It’s best to plan ahead and get your VPN account set up before traveling to China. If you don’t, it will be either be a real pain or an impossible task.

Decision-makers in Chinese government are well aware that people use VPNs to get around their restrictions. Thus, websites belonging to major VPN services are typically blocked in China.

Now, you may be wondering: what’s a VPN?

A virtual private network provides a buffer in-between your internet connection and the web.

So, your real IP address is replaced with another IP associated with a different location of your choosing. This means the ISP and websites you visit can’t tell you’re in China. All you need to do is select a city in the US with VPN software.

1. Sign up with a VPN service provider.
2. Download VPN software supplied by the service on each device you plan to use in China.
3. Launch the app, configure the settings, and test it by choosing a server location.
4. Once you’re in China you should be good to go. Click on “connect” and browse the free internet!

Best VPNs for China

LetMeBy’s recommended VPNs are a little different for China. VyprVPN has been vigilant about working around China’s roadblocks and deserves a spot here. Now, the top three:

PureVPN
NordVPN
VyprVPN

To read full reviews of the VPNs that are recommended here you can also visit this page.

Here’s the Catch

It’s necessary to consider that a VPN might fail you. China is continually trying to block these services. And the VPNs keep finding new tactics to get around it. Thus, there’s a clash going on here to be aware of.

If reliable Facebook access is absolutely necessary, you may want to beef up your offense. Some seasoned travelers recommend obtaining memberships with two VPNs. That way, if one doesn’t work you’ve got a backup.

To Conclude…

Internet access limitations can be a drag for foreigners visiting China.

Apps like Facebook Messenger provide channels of communication millions use every day. Being blocked from accessing Facebook can be also mean being unable to see important messages from friends, family, or colleagues.

The best way to approach this situation is to make the necessary arrangements before traveling to China. Start by ensuring your important contacts have an alternative way to reach you in case you can’t access Facebook. Secondly, sign up with VPN services that are known to work in China before the trip, and not after.

How to Unblock Telegram Securely

Telegram is a growing instant messaging app, but not every country is feeling the love.

It’s banned in Iran, China, India, and Pakistan. It was also previously blocked in Russia before the restriction was lifted in 2020.

Why Telegram Was Blocked

After Edward Snowden alleged the NSA was spying on Americans, the public’s perception of institutions would never be the same.

With distrust of institutions and tech giants at an all-time-high, many people began to look into alternative apps like Telegram. They started using the app because they were concerned that they were being surveilled.

In fact, Telegram was born out of distrust for governments, server authorities, and the big players in social media.

When governments found out about the type of users Telegram was attracting, some clearly weren’t impressed.

Several countries labeled it as a political tool or as a threat to national security. Iran and Russia have specified that the Islamic State used it to organize terrorism plots, spread propaganda, and communicate with foreign governments.

How to Unblock Telegram

Do you live in a country that has blocked Telegram? Did you try to use the app at school or work only to find it’s blocked by the administrator?

The easiest, most reliable way to unblock Telegram is to use a VPN. A virtual private server allows you to hide your current location and replace it with another location of your choice. For example, people in Iran can change their IP address to one that is associated with the United States. Thus, you’ll be able to bypass the restriction and access the app.

There are a lot of solid VPN services out there, plus they’re all more affordable than ever. At LetMeBy we aim to only recommend the best to our visitors.

These are our go-to fast, secure VPNs:

Telegram’s Privacy and Security: Strong Enough?

According to the software developer themselves Telegram messages are always securely encrypted. Secret Chat messages use client-client encryption. Cloud Chats use client-server/server-client encryption and data is safely stored in the Telegram Cloud.

Critics have noted that while Telegram messages are encrypted, the method used to achieve this is suspect. It uses closed source encryption which is considered inferior by many leading security experts.

Additionally, Telegram messages are not encrypted by default. You have to enable this feature. Founder Pavel Durov wrote about why it’s a myth that messengers like WhatsApp are better because they use “end-to-end encrypted by default”, while Telegram does not.

Tensions Lead to Durov’s Creation

Telegram founder Pavel Durov, was once dubbed “Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg” for creating a widely used website similar to Facebook for Russian citizens.

He fled Russia with $300 million due to clashes with Putin’s government. It was during this time in self-exile that Durov started programming Telegram. He created it specifically to give users better privacy and security when messaging.

The Yarovaya law, which requires Russian telecom operators to keep all voice and messaging traffic of their customers for half a year went into effect in July of 2018.

Management at Telegram couldn’t comply with the new law. They stated it was technically impracticable to provide transcripts of secret chats since they weren’t stored on the user’s devices or on Telegram’s servers.

Consequently, later in 2018 the Russian government began blocking Telegram. The ban was lifted in 2020 after Telegram agreed to help with extremism investigations.

Conclusion

Many users swear by Telegram and think it’s much safer-to-use than competitors like Facebook Messenger. Ultimately this camp prefers to trust Telegram founders Nikolai and Pavel Durov than to trust Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Others have pointed out that Telegram’s closed source encryption method is not as strong as their competitors. So, if you’re a fan of the app but want to be extra safe you may want to enable a VPN to add an additional layer of encryption.

How to Unblock U.S. Only Videos (YouTube, Hulu, MTV, South Park, etc.)

Being denied access to a video merely due to living outside the U.S. may be one the most annoying problems to plague the web.

sorry-canada

Luckily there are a variety of browser plugins, software and services you can use to overcome the barrier.

The catch is that the free options aren’t always quick enough to stream high quality video without hiccups. Virtual private network (VPN) services that ensure flawless video playback consistently aren’t free. A VPN may or may not be worth it depending on how much U.S. only sites and content you crave.

Plugins

If you just plan to watch the occasional U.S. only video and aren’t picky about performance, start with a browser plugin. Just keep in mind you’ll be entering captcha codes to prove you’re human on sites like YouTube, which can get tiresome, because the proxy server IPs are overused.

There are two popular plugins to consider: ProxTube and ProxMate. They work with Chrome and Firefox. These work by hiding your true IP and replacing it with an IP associated with the country the video is allowed in.

VPNs

If you’re planning on watching a fair bit of video on YouTube or Hulu and want the best user experience free of technical issues and shoddy streaming, VPNs are the way to go.

With a VPN you download desktop software, which manages connecting to proxy servers available with the plan you go with.

Generally I recommend these three VPN services:

VyperVPN is super quick and the best overall VPN. The monthly rate is a good value, but you won’t save as much as the others if you pay annually. A three-day free trial is offered so you can test drive the service before committing to a plan. Read my full VyperVPN review here.

PureVPN and StrongVPN get the job done just fine and are dirt cheap if you pay annually ($50 or $55 per year).

Closing Remarks

Hopefully content providers will get more lax about restricting video from being viewed outside the U.S. as time moves ahead. Some of these copyright laws strike me as antiquated and arbitrary. Until then enjoy all the video you can handle with the use of a handy plugin or VPN.