Shadowsocks and VPN services are two popular solutions to bypass the Great Firewall of China. While they have similar features and functionality, they are different technologies. In order to help you to understand better the differences between VPN and Shadowsocks, we will explore their unique aspects. We will also take a closer look at their advantages and the cases in which one solution, or the other would be more suitable.
Let’s start with Shadowsocks, which is a SOCKS5-based proxy project created by a Chinese developer who is known as clowwindy. Originally released in 2012, Shadowsocks focuses on bypassing censorship. In 2015, clowwindy announces that they were no longer getting involved in the project, since they were contacted by the police. However, other programmers took over Shadowsocks and they have continued working on the project since then.
How is it different from a VPN?
The main similarity between Shadowsocks and a VPN is that they are both able to get around restrictions and censorship, allowing you to access websites that are usually not available in your location. Shadowsocks was created to bypass the Great Firewall of China and it can overcome traffic restrictions. To disguise traffic, Shadowsocks uses HTTPS to be able to get beyond censorship.
Shadowsocks and VPNs may be both good solutions to overcome online restrictions and censorship, but the main difference is that Shadowsocks doesn’t use encryption to protect online traffic, while a VPN does. A VPN is a good solution for privacy and security since it encrypts your entire traffic, preventing others from seeing what you are doing online. On the other hand, Shadowsocks makes your data appear like HTTPS traffic, allowing it to pass undetected, but that does not guarantee that it won’t be visible to others.
Since it uses SOCKS5 proxies, Shadowsocks won’t send your entire traffic through a server, which is what a VPN does. Unlike traditional SSH SOCKS5 proxies, Shadowsocks works with several TCP connections. This means faster speeds compared to the alternatives.
Advantages of Shadowsocks
Shadowsocks is easy to set up and the simplicity of its technology means that you won’t need to take too long to configure it. Once it is ready to use, it allows you to get around restricted content. In addition, Shadowsocks disguises traffic and allows you to select what part of your traffic is guided by its technology. Thanks to this, it is not possible to access restricted content from inside or outside your location.
For instance, if you are in China and you wish to access Gmail, which is banned there, you can use Shadowsocks and select the Gmail traffic to be masked. This allows you to bypass the blocks imposed by the Chinese government. In that case, only Gmail will be directed through Shadowsocks and the rest of your traffic will still be handled through your standard connection, so you can access websites that are only based in China.
In addition, Shadowsock is very difficult to detect and to block, thanks mainly to the fact that it makes the traffic appear as HTTPS. The problem with VPNs is that due to their huge popularity, they have become targets for governments and in some cases they have even forced some platforms (such as the Apple Store) to block VPN apps.
Disadvantages of Shadowsocks
Although Shadowsocks is a fantastic solution to overcome content restrictions, it doesn’t offer much beyond that. This is why this superproxy is a good option only if it can get around a specific threat model, like your ISP. In case, you are wondering, a threat model is a situation or an issue that requires a stronger level of security. Public WiFi hotspots, data monitoring and logging are some examples of these cases. Considering that Shadowsocks doesn’t protect your online privacy and security, the best thing is to use it only if your main concern is to get around censorship and geographical restrictions. In case you want to hide your online identity, Shadowsocks wouldn’t be the answer. If you want to boost your online security and protect your privacy, a VPN would be the best choice.
Why should you opt for a VPN?
Compared to Shadowsocks, a VPN is more popular due to the fact that it has proven to be effective when it comes to getting around restrictions and securing your traffic. If you are looking for an option that protects your online identity and that helps you to be untraceable, you need to use a VPN. One thing to keep in mind is that not all VPNs provide the same level of protection. You will find a vast selection of services, but in order to get all the benefits of a VPN, you need to choose wisely. We recommend that you go for a VPN that is known for its high quality and security. Leading names like ExpressVPN, IPVanish, VyprVPN and NordVPN, provide a high standard of protection and they will also allow you to defeat restrictions.
With a good VPN, your privacy will be protected and you will be able to browse the internet securely and without restrictions. Not all VPNs can overcome Netflix restrictions, but there are some that are capable to defeat them and will allow you to access the US library so that you can enjoy a wider selection of content. Shadowsocks will help you to bypass online censorship and it is easy to use. However, a good VPN would be a better solution since it lets you hide your online activities and protect your data from online threats like hacking or online surveilla