Gain access to censored, blocked, or unavailable websites from anywhere in the world
Psiphon is an Internet security and circumvention program that uses multiple protocols to open up as much of the Internet as possible while also keeping you safe. Most people don't know just how many hidden dangers lurk around the digital alleyways of the online frontier. But Psiphon Inc, the company behind Psiphon, is here to help.
You might have heard about programs that let you get through region locking or safeguard your data. And if you have, you'll probably notice some overlap between those programs and Psiphon. This is thanks to the fact that Psiphon doesn't just cover one aspect of Internet security and circumvention. The program works with a wide variety of different protocols at the same time. This includes VPN, SSH, SSH+, split tunnel, and HTTP proxies.
Of course, a list of protocols doesn't really explain what Psiphon can actually do for you. It's best to begin by thinking about what your computer shows to the outside world when you're loading up websites. One of the points that is often most important to web servers is your IP address. Your IP address gives web servers a lot of information about you. It generally points to both your country and city. It might even let people narrow in on your neighborhood. Servers often use this information to lock users out of specific content. This is most often done with streaming media. Different countries can access different titles within most international streaming services. But it's extremely common for websites in general to lock you out of content based on your IP address.
But concerns over IP addresses go even further. For example, what if you were in a region where dissent against political figures was a crime? Or where even going to or organizing a protest could put you in danger? You absolutely wouldn't want people to have a red blinking light showing exactly where you are. But that's exactly what IP addresses can be. You're essentially yelling out who you are and where you're from to a variety of different sources when you're online. Or at least that's the way things operate by default. And that's not even the end of it. Cookies leave a trail of data behind you. And even a lot of possible solutions to the problem have their own security concerns thanks to the fact that they use a private codebase. When it comes to security, you really don't want to just take someone's word for it. You want to be able to look at the program's code.
All of these concerns prompted the development of Psiphon. Its merits begin with the fact that it's open source. Anyone can examine the program's computer code to verify that the program is secure. And that trust means that you can feel safe when confronted with any of the dangers present on the Internet. It's not so much that you need to go through the program's source code. But the fact that you're allowed to highlights that the developers have nothing to hide.
When you start up Psiphon it'll provide you with a number of options. Proxies are the most relevant of these choices within the context of IP addresses. You can choose proxy servers from over twenty regions. And once you've made your choice Psiphon will pipe your Internet traffic through those regions. So if you were in the US and used a Canadian server then you'd now have a Canadian IP address. You can even mix and match components through the split tunnel system. This option lets you send some requests through your standard IP address and others through an international proxy.
These options and ideas might sound overly complex. But Psiphon really does a fantastic job of making things as easy as possible. After you've chosen your region you'll see an icon spinning. When that spinning icon changes to a green light it means you're ready to go.
That's not to say Psiphon is perfect. The program operates by continually changing some of the configuration files on your computer. And when you disconnect from Psiphon it'll try to return those configuration files to their original state. But it's not always able to do so. And instead of alerting you, or trying again, the program will simply close. If that happens you'll have to manually fix the configuration files. It's a rare problem, but still common enough to be a concern.
On top of that, Psiphon isn't a full anti-surveillance program. You'll still have some personal information stored on your hard drive when you're using Psiphon even when you're encrypting non-local data and Internet traffic. Additionally, the Psiphon developers do sell some of your data to advertisers. The reason comes down to funding. Psiphon's free accounts offer a tremendous amount of usability. But that usability also costs money for the developers to maintain. Likewise, free users do need to endure a minor cap on transfer speeds. Free accounts are limited to 2 Mbps. That's roughly equivalent to 3G on mobile networks. But Psiphon, even capped, does have better latency than a phone using 3G. So you're still getting a relatively fast connection when using Psiphon.
- Abstracts complex protocols so that they're easy to use
- Supports multiple protocols
- Open source
- Speed is capped for free users
- Logs user data
- Some bugs related to configuration persistence