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.

38 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

    • Even if they are able to detect that you are using a proxy, no one is going to send police to your house for looking at Facebook. They have plenty of murderers and rapists to catch.

  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

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