Top 3 Tools For Busting Through FirewallsCan't access a Web site thanks to employer or government censorship? Fortunately, there's a host of tools and techniques that can help you slip through the blockade. Here's an in-depth look at three of the best.
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I mentioned before that static pages work fine, but anything beyond that can be a crapshoot. YouTube, for instance, loads pages but not videos -- although a separately-provided plug-in fixes this. (Video sites in general are unreliable when accessed through Glype.) Consequently, Glype seems to work best when dealing with "straight" Web pages. The last revision of the program was in January 2009, so it's not clear if issues like these are going to be fixed in the core code.
Public And For-Pay Web Proxies
The above software programs, and others like them, are also available through networks of public proxies. Proxy.org lists a great many Glype-powered proxies on its front page, with the option to choose one at random. The obvious problem with such a system is the complete lack of a pedigree for such proxies. You have no idea what you're connecting to or who's listening. Using SSL across such a connection is probably mandatory -- assuming the proxy you're using even supports such a thing. (Many don't.)
Some proxy providers sell access to more advanced tiers of service. Proxify and Socksify, a brother-and-sister pair of services based out of N.Y., work along this model: they have a basic, free level of proxying service through their Web site, but they sell premium access as well. Premium access in this case includes built-in SSL support, higher bandwidth, and no restrictions on content types (the free service blocks video and audio streams). Sockisfy, sold separately, lets the user connect applications directly to the proxy network instead of going through a Web interface.
Over time, users have discovered a whole slew of other, indirect ways to circumvent Web-blocking systems. They're catch-as-catch-can, and are mostly used when nothing else is available.
One common method is to use the Coral Cache, or Coral Content Distribution Network, a peer-to-peer Web mirroring system originally designed to relieve congestion on heavily-trafficked Web servers. If the various CCDN servers are not blocked, a user can see a copy of a Web site in the Coral Cache by appending .nyud.net:8090 (or .nyud.net:8080) to the end of the domain name in the URL. Many Web-filtering programs already block the Coral Cache by default, however, which makes it of relatively limited use.
Another workaround is to have web pages delivered via email, such as with services like Web2Mail. This is useful if access to the Web is restricted but email itself remains relatively unblocked.
Google can sometimes be used as a proxy-defeating system through a clever hack: the page-translation service. If you request a page via Google Translate, select English as the target language, and use an arbitrary original language -- for instance, Arabic, when the original page isn't in Arabic at all -- you can get some pages to load as-is. This doesn't work with all sites, though; for instance, with the New York Times, it triggers a redirect to a "Page not found" error. Also, the user has to know the target URL in the first place -- although that doesn't exclude the possibility of, for instance, retrieving a site's homepage and then drilling down from there to the needed page. And finally, this assumes that Google itself is accessible at all.
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