Konga

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Surf the net anonymously and go around firewalls and geo-restrictions with Ultrasurf

Ultrasurf is free, proxy-based ‘anti censorship’, ‘pro-privacy’ software. It tunnels through firewalls (whether at work or country-wide), encrypts online communications, hides your real IP from the websites that you are visiting, automatically deletes your browser history, and provides you with a US-based location so that you can access geographically restricted websites such as Hulu or Pandora.


Ultrasurf, which was originally created to enable internet users in China to surf freely, is also designed for portability. You can carry Ultrasurf on a USB stick and plug it into any internet terminal that you happen to have access to, instantly providing a secure, encrypted online experience on-the-go.
UltraSurf Screenshot1UltraSurf Screenshot2
Possible uses:
  1. Surfing (or downloading) privately and anonymously: your IP address is hidden from sites you surf, and your browsing history, cookies, and cache on your machine as instantly removed when you exit Ultrasurf.
  2. Surfing restricted sites at work: or other locations (or countries) which have restrictions.
  3. Accessing geo-restricted sites: or sites that are available in the US but may not be available in your country, from anywhere. E.g. Pandora, Hulu, Spotify, etc.
  4. Anonymous downloading: from P2P, Torrent,  or other sites. See the comment re: internet speed in the ‘verdict’ section below.
How to use this program:
  1. Download and extract into an appropriate location on your hard drive
  2. Run the Ultrasurf executables.
  3. Ultrasurf may run IE automatically (this can be switched off in the settings). If you don’t use IE then go ahead and close it and run the browser that you like.
  4. Ultrasurf will automatically select the best available server for you, although you could actually choose a server manually from the UltraSurf dialog
  5. You will see a ‘lock’ icon near your system tray indicating UltraSurf is running (see screenshot top right).
The verdict: this program is simply impressive. It has no restrictions on bandwidth, as free VPN (Virtual Private Networking) services have such  Tunnelbear and HotSpot Shield (note: UltraSurf is not a VPN service). It also does not involve the user in the process of finding and providing the internet proxy. It just works.
The main drawback when using programs like this one is a slower internet speed, and in my testing of this I did experience a lower speed, but only by about 20% or so that I could measure. I was still able simultaneously surf and to download torrent files in very good speed. However, this is not necessarily representative, your experience may vary.
The future of UltraSurf seems quite promising, with the addition of a VPN being promised, as well as support for Mac, Linux, and handheld devices.
Version tested: 11.04
Compatibility: WinAll. Mac, Linux, and device support is planned for the future.

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