How to Access Twitter and Facebook in China

I setup my connection to Twitter and Facebook via SSH tunnel again. When the original tools to access Twitter, and Facebook failed, I just lost interest to setup proxy. Now, I am back and just accepted the 109 Facebook friend request. (My rule: Accept everyone in jianshuo@Facebook, but be very selective on Kaixin001.com. Here is how I did it.

The process is pretty straight forward, but it is not free.

First, you need to have an account with any web hosting service provider that supports SSH. My list:

bluehost.com (Cheaper: 6.95 USD/month)

mediatemple.net (More expensive, $20/month)

There are many other very cheap hosting services. The only thing you need to check with them is, whether they allow SSH (Secure Shell) access.

Then you need a tool called PUTTY (download for free)

Double click PUTTY to run it, and enter the server name (your host service provider will give you, typically your domain name) into “Host Name (or IP address)” field under the default Session tab. Keep all the rest unchanged, like port 22, and Connection type as SSH.

On the left Category pan, expand SSH under Connection and click Tunnels.

Under “Add New Forward port:”, enter 7070 into Source Port, and select Dynamic for Destination. Keep the rest unchanged, and click Add. You will see D7070 appear under forward ports.

Then click Open to start the SSH session. You will be promoted to enter your user name and password (given by your service provider). When you are at the command line, the SSH Tunnel is established.

Then you need to setup your browser to use this proxy. Let me just talk about Firefox. IE is similar.

Open Firefox, click Options under Tools menu. The Options dialog appears.

Click Advanced button (on the right most of the pane), and select Network tab.

Click “Settings…” button under Connection section. The Connection Setting dialog appears.

Select “Manual Proxy Configuration” radio box. The input boxes under that become available to enter.

Enter “127.0.0.1” without quotation mark into SOCKS Host: field, and 7070 into Port field. NOTE: IMPORTANT Please make sure only enter into the Socks Host field, and keep all the rest fields empty.

Keep Socks v5 selected (unchanged), and click OK three times to close the configuration dialogs.

Now, you should try to enter “google.com” into address bar. You should be able to visit all the sites that you CAN access without proxy, like Google.com, www.sina.com.cn, or 163.com. However, you still cannot access Facebook.com, Youtube.com, Twitter.com. This is because the DNS record was hacked and changed. A small trick will help.

In Firefox, enter “about:config” into the address bar (Yes, it is a strange URL, just in the location where you typically would enter http://….) After click “I’ll be careful. I promise” button, you will see a long list of configuration options started with Filter input box.

Enter “network.proxy.socks_remote_dns” (without quotation marks) into the Filter input box, and you will see a line with network.proxy.socks_remote_dns as Preference Name appears. Double click it so the Value field changes from False to True (and you will also notice the line becomes bold).

Congratulations! Now you should be able to enter “Facebook.com” into your browser, and starts to surf on the Internet without limitation.

25 thoughts on “How to Access Twitter and Facebook in China

  1. QiHui

    great job! this is a very nice and helpful instruction! I’ll save it as reference for the future if I’m going back to china next time – uh.. I feel sorry seeing blocked access to some website outside of china:(

  2. ecodelta

    To keep a low profile with tweeter, use morse code.

    Tweet tweet tweeeeeeet tweeeeeet tweet tweet tweet

  3. Greg

    Why wouldn’t bluehost.com and such be blocked? do you wait til they are blocked, then move to another, and repeat?

  4. Sam

    How can I pay bluehost, and can I one account shared by more than one user? (7$ is not cheaper in China).

  5. Rhodo Zeb

    Paper Bus is from our friends at Freedur.

    The ones who came to prominence due to a very nasty disagreement.

    The ones who, rather than normal marketing, prefer underhanded marketing techniques like paying bloggers to personally recommend their service and do promotions while swearing up and down that they are not paid for their efforts. Lying, in other words; they are paid to lie. Not a good signal.

    The ones who have shown us all that the majority of English language China focused sites are run by unscrupulous suckers willing to do just about anything for a kuai.

    In other words, at best they have scummy marketing tactics, which should make one wonder (anew) about the reliability of the company.

  6. FoxyProxy

    You can use the plug-in for Firefox called FoxyProxy to be able to switch rapidly from using the proxy and not using it. Also, it manage the DNS through the proxy…

    Instead of Putty, you can use his little friend: plink (also from Putty developer)

    you can create a shortcut like this:

    c:\windows\plink.exe username@servername.com -pw thepassword -D 7070 -N

    also… if you don’t want to show in clear a username/password, you can use a password less method

    http://www.google.com/search?q=passwordless+login+linux

  7. jason

    Any proxies or downloads you post on this website will invariably be blocked because this website is based in China.

  8. jacopo

    great tutorial, I actually already had MT but never thought i could use it for this.

    no more witopia :)

  9. Jone Franklin

    i have been living in beijing for 3 years now me and my friends have found a lot of sites that you can use to access FB youtube

    if you have opera as an internet browser (i recommend, it it is very good) there is a widget that you can download called Proxy list that provides you with working internet based proxy sites

    they are very good but if you want to post stuff u have to turn off the setting at the top. But normally it is a little slow, if you want be fast just check out VPN service, such as fbvpn $5 /month strongvpn $12 /month freedur $19 /month. Good luck to you!

  10. Avery

    great job!This is a useful instruction!I have bookmarked your post for my future reference.It is so bad that the Chinese government blocks Twitter and facebook.

  11. Amir

    Freedur is a shit. Stay away from them. I’ve been their customer and it never worked good. The software is full of bugs, it crashes and slows down my computer.

  12. j

    Pretty cool, geeky way to get around GFW. But seems like a lot of work/cost for just a proxying web traffic. You might as well have set up an PPTPd server. PPTP VPN doesnt even require that you install software or make browser changes. There’s a whole host of providers for less than an SSH enabled webhost. Found one for only a $1 last time I was in china. http://1buckvpn.com Was working in 30 secs.

  13. shinwoo

    I access a number of sites that have been blocked with a vpn :) its good. lets you access any site you want. Been using one since a while. I’ve searched the net for many services and found this one highspeedvpn

  14. TwitterTweeter

    I travel a lot, and I don’t like to feel disconnected when abroad. I found a Proxy called Securitales.com through which I can access my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I highly recommended it as their service AND support is amazing. Their signup is super quick as well. Good luck to all! :)

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