How to use Facebook and Youtube in China

If you live in China you will no doubt already know that Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and many other sites are all blocked. Normally you would pay for a VPN service to tunnel out from the Chinese firewall (also know as the the Great Firewall GFW) or you would use a proxy service.

The problem with a VPN is that you have to pay for it and many of the VPN sites are blocked from within China, so you can’t even access them in the first place! The free programs tend to be quite unstable and the speeds are slow and you have no idea what information the free proxy sites are logging, they could very easily be recording all your passwords.

I recently discovered how to set up my own safe and secure private proxy server for free, on Google’s servers using a script called GoAgent. It is very easy to setup and if you follow the instructions correctly, it should take you no longer than 10 minutes to get up and running!

I have made a video guide of how to do set this up, you might find it easier to follow than the written guide below.

Facebook in China

Watch it on Youtube / Youku.

First of all we are setting this up using a Windows based computer. You will need to have a Gmail account already set up and the Google Chrome browser already installed.

Now lets get started!

Go to Google app engine and sign in with your Gmail account https://appengine.google.com now click Create Application.

Choose your country and enter your mobile phone number and hit confirm. You can choose sms or call verification. Enter verification code and hit Verify.

Now you create your Application. You need to enter a unique name for the Application Identifier, the Application Title can be anything you want. You do not need to touch any other settings on this page, just tick I accept these terms and click Create Application.

You should have successfully created a Google application! Click on the dashboard link on this page, we will come back to this later.

Download the latest version of GoAgent here:

Click here to download.

Unzip the file you just downloaded, open the folder and then open the folder “local”. Now open the file “proxy.ini” in notepad.

On line 8 where it says:

appid = goagent

You need to delete “goagent” and enter the Application ID you entered earlier for your Google app, now save the file.

Go up one folder and then go into the “server” folder, run the file “upload.bat”

It will ask you for your “APPID:” enter your Google App ID and hit enter. It will then ask for your email address, enter the Gmail address that you used to create your App ID and hit enter. Enter the password for this account and hit enter.

Wait for the window to upload the files, when it is done it will display a line of strange characters at the bottom.

Now if you go back to your Google App dashboard, you should see that some stuff has been populated! This means that you have successfully deployed GoAgent to your Google App server and you have a working proxy server :)!

But how do you use it?

In Google Chrome, download the extension SwitchySharp and install it. Once it’s installed the options page for it should pop up, click on the “Import/Export” tab and then in the bottom section click on “Restore from File”. A new window will pop up for you to find our SwitchySharp options, you need to navigate to the folder where you downloaded GoAgent, go into the local folder and select SwitchyOptions.bak then click “Open”.

SwitchySharp should have just imported some profiles to use with your GoAgent server.

Now go back to your GoAgent folder on your computer, in the “local” folder run the file “goagent.exe” you should see a little icon appear in your task bar, this means that GoAgent is active on your computer.

In Chrome, click on the little globe icon for SwitchySharp and select GoAgent, the globe should change colour to blue.

Now try going to Facebook.com and it should work!

To stop using your proxy, simply click on the globe in Chrome and select “direct connection”. If you need to restart your computer, just run the “goagent.exe” file again and set your Chrome to use “GoAgent” again. Simple!

If this worked for you, go ahead and tell your friends about it!

I will be writing a guide to use GoAgent with Macs, iPhone, iPad and Andoid phones soon.

If you had a problem getting it to work, make sure you take a look at the video guide I have made first before posting a question.

Watch the guide on Youtube / Youku.

107 thoughts on “How to use Facebook and Youtube in China

  1. Honestly, for a non techie person such as myself, using a proxy is a lot simpler. I dont have to download anything… However there is the downside of not being able to access Skype. Can I access skype if I follow your instructions? Accessing Facebook is very important to me, it’s how I connect with my family and friends while I’m overseas. I have been able to access Facebook, Twitter and Youtube by using a proxy.
    Any chance that someday the internet censorship will end? Hmmm…

    • The advantage of doing it this way, is that you control your own proxy server. You don’t share it with anyone and more importantly, no one else can see what data you are using on the connection. If you read the post, you’ll see that I’ve explained that your information is not secure over a public proxy.

      You should give this a go, only takes 10 minutes! I understand that for a non-techie this can seem very intimidating, but if that’s the case then maybe you should look into a paid vpn, your data will be more secure that way.

  2. This is absolutely awesome – life saver!!!
    Can’t wait for the android version to come out – you have no idea how much trouble you’ve saved for me – thank you so much!!! :D

  3. Great work!
    Tutorial is clear, works perfectly.
    I’m looking forward for your solution for ipad/iphone
    Thanks a lot!

  4. Great tutorial – it works perfectly. Thank you. I look forward to using it on Android when you get to it.

    • No it will not work for games, unless you can find a way to route the games data through the goagent port, which I’m sure is possible. But this guide is not written for that purpose, you will have to find your own way to do that.

  5. I followed the instruction video that you posted and everything should be working just fine. However…unrelated to the proxy itself and its set up:

    I made a comment about using a proxy to my father and now he is concerned about legality and me getting into trouble in China for trying to bypass the firewall… do I have anything to worry about? at all? is there any kind of trouble I can get into for using a proxy to go onto sites like Facebook?? Thanks

  6. Indeed a life changer! (just installed it). I need gmail for every single day for the next two weeks here and I was getting so stressed seeing how slow gmail was working.
    Thanks

  7. Hi, Jet,

    Thanks for sharing. I am going to China next week. Can I get to other blocked sites such as NYTimes using this approach? Thanks.

  8. Hi this sounds great. I am going to teach in Foshan in china for a year in Feb 2014. can I set this up from uK before I leave or will I have to do it from china/ I am also a technophobe so will ‘need a little help from m y friends’

    best wishes

    mandy

  9. “In Chrome, click on the little globe icon for SwitchySharp and select GoAgent, the globe should change colour to blue.”

    Where would that “little globe icon” actually be? I don’t see one.

  10. It is working for few seconds and then stops working, some messages in yellow color in goagent appears. something wrong.

      • Same here. I had this working for 8 months, but now it stopped working. I vaguely recall Google changing something with their app engine and now everything is all messed up :(

        • It seems google app engine expanded their range of IP addresses, which means that we can be getting bad IPs now. This sucks.

        • hi , i live in china too. i successfully used goagent for few months but now it started to show lot of errors while connecting such as “timed out” etc. i loved the program when it didnt have any problems but now its really hard to get connected also. so please help. i really need your help

      • i was the first person in my whole university to find this proxy and use it. i recommended this proxy for almost all the foreign students in my university and now i am really upset with the way it works. for a moment i thought, because many people are using it now it started to get slow and i blamed myself for sharing this proxy with my friends. but now i realize it had nothing to do with the number of users. if any one of you finds any solution for this or any other similar or better proxy, please do share. thank you

        • This is correct. Goagent’s Google app engine changed their IPs and use ones that are blocked by China now, so this Goagent solution no longer works. I will post a new solution in a couple of days.

  11. Jet,
    Great stuff. I watched your video and up to the point (10:20 of 14:49) where the chrome web store shows “SwitchySharp”, the blue button ( “Add to Chrome” is now “Available on Chrome”. This is where I got stuck. :-(

    If you have some free time, please take a look.

    mamadontteach
    in SHG…

  12. Hello Jet,
    Bravo…
    The last issue on missing “Add to Chrome” is resolved. Such error pops up when browser in use is “Firefox”. Once I use Chrome with the same link, all goes well and I managed to get youtube, facebook and twitter working now. Thanks a million. Jet…

  13. Hello Jet,

    Thank you for the instructions, I really appreciate it. I am going to China next week. I have one question, should I follow the instruction and install goagent before or after going to China?

    • Before china. Downloading things in china are rather difficult. I would even recommend you get another option as well as goagent. The latter has been awesome for ages but this last month has been on and off.. Download freegate for example which is far from good but is a free option to use to download something else if needed.

      • Thank you for the quick reply; however, I did not see anything about freegate in the video. I do not know where to download freegate and how to use it. And one more question, is freegate a safe option?

      • Hi dani & leo
        I am in china and using goagent from past 3 months it was working fine … but now goagent is not working ….. can you send me link to download freegate as on websearch no link is working in china …. thanks in advance

  14. If you are a mac user, then the goagent will obviously not work for you. However, my recent 10 month ESL trip to China showed that those around me using Mr. Jet Lee’s proxy worked quite well on the PC. If you are a mac user, pandapow is one of the only VPNs that is accessible in China without already having a proxy service or VPN. I used it personally and found great service with it. If one is having a difficult time accessing any internet while in China, a VPN may have become a strong consideration. $9 a month isn’t bad, especially if one desires to have unlimited access.

    • goagent for mac user its work so fine ….now a days goagent for all oprating sys so slow and errors . and on mac use mozila instant chrome .

  15. I have just installed it and everything is working, but when I try to access a website (even google.com) Chrome itself is blocking the access (as it says that the connection is not protected) so I cannot access it. How can I do? Should I try something else or just remove some security settings? (in which case, would it be safe or not?)

    Thank you! :)
    (I am in the UK for now, I was just trying to do everything before getting to China next week. I am using Windows)

    • Mr. Jet Lee’s Goagent solution no longer works unfortunately. I will post my own within a couple of days.

    • i dont know about yours but unfortunately mine is not working properly. i recommended this proxy for almost all the foreign students in my university and now i am really upset with the way it works.

  16. hi jetlee, i live in china too. i successfully used goagent for few months but now it started to show lot of errors while connecting such as “timed out” etc. i loved the program when it didnt have any problems but now its really hard to get connected also. so please help. i really need your help.

  17. Hi Jaffareddy, I am in the same situation. A few weeks ago it worked very well and fast. Even I made some reinstalation of everything – goagent, chrome, switchy sharp it doesn´t work well. It is unstable and slow. I have heard that it is because of stricter chinese blocation in this time. Maybe it will not take long time. But if you find some solution I also would be happy for any advice :)

  18. Hey Jaffareddy I downloaded spotflux and its connected but I still can’t get onto facebook and youtube. Any suggestions?

  19. i think newer version of Goagent running so slow and too much error . like creat ssl connection . dns…. something something i dont know you guys goagent working fine or not . let me know and mr.jetlee help me out …

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    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write related to here.
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  21. I just like the helpful information you provide to your articles.

    I will bookmark your blog and check once more right here frequently.
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  22. Hi,

    I have a desktop Win PC and a Macbook Air. However, naturally, I can only take my laptop to China. Does anyone have any verified way of using Facebook on a Mac in China?

    I will be extremely grateful!

    Jakub

  23. This only works on the computer that GoAgent is installed on, is that correct?

    I’m going to China this summer but I’m using a Chromebook. Since the Chromebook OS doesn’t allow me to download and use the GoAgent application, I won’t be able to make the VPN on it. However, is there a way for me to set this up on another computer with the same chrome account and then use the VPN on my Chromebook?

    Thanks.

  24. Thanks for goagent but I ran out of quota probably cause i stream how can I avoid this also the vpn for onavo. I installed it on my ipad mini which I bought here but when I tried to open it it said it cant be used in china is there another alternative I dont want to jailbreak my ipad

  25. Thanks for goagent but I ran out of quota probably cause i stream how can I avoid this i had to create another app and install it also the vpn for onavo. I installed it on my ipad mini which I bought here but when I tried to open it it said it cant be used in china is there another alternative I dont want to jailbreak my ipad

  26. I used goagent for Months But Now Don’t Working Take 1 Minute to Open youtube or anyothe website also google not working in china anymore

  27. thanks for the infos. i’ve got the proxy running in linux (debian) with their wiki/FAQ and wiki/GoAgent_Linux

    i learned to use this with iceweasel (firefox) with this site in chinese:
    iacrobat.com/goagent-chrome-firefox-switchysharp-foxyproxy

  28. Now I know only one way to connect to facebook/google/youtube etc. An android tablet or mobile is used as intermediate device. That mob/tab is connected to internet via wifi or data. An android app named “fqrouter2″ (which I think already known to all) is needed to be installed in tab/mobile. HTTP Proxy is turned ON in fqrouter2. Bluetooth Tathering is set ON (in the tab/mob) and pc is connected via bluetooth. Note HTTP Proxy and Port (from fqrouter2) and then put these in SwitchySharp (of google chrome in laptop/pc) or Proxy setting. If required disconnect/connect the pc bluetooth connection once/twice. Enjoy surfing!!!

  29. Hi Jet,

    My screen says “The system cannot find the path specified. Press any key to continue.’ when I went into ‘uploader.bat’ as you instructed. However, when I pressed any key to continue, it still doesn’t bring me to the screen that will ask me for my “APPID.

    Can you help me with this please?

    Really hope to hear from you soon!

    You can either reply here or if possible, could you send me an email at the below email address?

    Thank you so much!

    Regards,
    Cheryl
    admin@skytechshares.com.sg

  30. worked fine – Thank you!
    I just have the problem not beeing able to access “mail.google.com” through the goagent!
    Any idea?
    Thanks Tom

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  34. actually, just lately, China has blocked google so while I tried to follow your instructions I need to use another proxy-based tool. it gave me errors a lot time even if I tried to run as an administrator. so, I have left it for awhile and just use the other proxy-based tool that I use to have. though, it always takes time to load facebook and so as youtube. after a week I had tried it again. still I got errors so I tried to check what’s missing. one time was I had entered a wrong password so I have to reset my gmail password. then, I continued with your instructions.

    I have loved the result! why? it’s because I don’t have to wait for a long time for facebook to load and also I can watch videos from youtube without always refreshing like every 5 minutes…..

    thank you so much for sharing this…..it’s totally awesome!!! :) :) :)

  35. I followed all the steps you mentioned but in the end I couldn’t access Facebook:

    Error code: ERR_PROXY_CONNECTION_FAILED

  36. Hi! I am having some problems at the end.When I try to upload and when the black window pops up at the bottom of the page i see this – Attribute error:can’t set attribute.
    What does it mean ?

  37. while performing this step”Go up one folder and then go into the “server” folder, run the file “upload.bat”

    It will ask you for your “APPID:” enter your Google App ID and hit enter. It will then ask for your email address, enter the Gmail address that you used to create your App ID and hit enter. Enter the password for this account and hit enter.”

    rather then showing strange characters it show error in performing the setup…

    can any body tell me what is the problem, and how to rectify it

  38. Hi Jet and everyone
    Hope I can get reply soon.
    When I downloaded my goagent zip file, inside the folder the “switchyoptions.bak” file was different to the one you were showing on the youtube tutorial that you have made.
    Meaning, the list from “switch rules” have less list then what you have shown on the youtube.
    Would this effect the websites that I want to go?
    hope to hear from you soon

  39. the video on you tube but some school teacher can block it but some student are very expert and they can unblock you tube and they can use very easily. But it is very good for the for the student because they will learn more thing and they will be make future of the children so it is the good method which you can keep the student away from the social website.

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