VPN services are highly popular and for many people, they are the favorite option when it comes to bypassing online restrictions. However, there are alternative solutions, including Shadowsocks, which is widely used in countries like China, where VPN traffic is likely to get blocked. In these locations, Shadowsocks could work better in some instances. In this guide, we will tell you the steps to set up and use Shadowsocks on your Android device. Before getting started, keep in mind that in order to be able to run Shadowsocks on your device, first you need to get a Shadowsocks account. This will allow you to connect to a Shadowsocks server, which is a computer software that is installed on a remote computer that is capable of managing your Shadowsocks traffic.
It works in a similar way as a web server, which allows you to host a website so that others can visit it through a specific URL. The difference is that instead of a IRL, the majority of Shadowsocks servers can be accessed via an IP address and a port number. They are not accessible to every person who knows the address. A password is required to be able to get access to a Shadosocks server. Furthermore, the Shadowsocks server will encrypt your web traffic and since there are many encryption methods available, you will need to select the one that the Shadowsocks server has to use. In general, a Shadowsocks account comes with the IP address of the Shadowsocks server, as well as its port number, its encryption method and a password. Apart from the Shadowsocks account, you need to install the Shadowsocks app on your Android device. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect to the Shadowsocks server. Now. let’s take a look at the steps that you need to follow to create a Shadowsocks account.
How to create a Shadowsocks account
With a Shadowsocks account, you will be able to get access to a Shadowsocks server. It should be noted that there are two methods to access a Shadowsocks server. The easiest way is to buy and account, or ask others for a Shadowsocks account. If you have friends who happen to have previously set up a Shadowsocks server, you can ask if they would share the server with you so that you can get an account from them. Otherwise, there are websites where you can find Shadowsocks accounts available for a fee. You may also come across websites that offer accounts for free, but it is advisable to be careful with these offers.
If you don’t know anyone who has a Shadowsocks server already and can’t find reliable sellers, you would get ready to install your own Shadowsocks server. If you have technical skills and some time, you will be able to get full control with your own Shadowsocks server. This is not an expensive option as you just need to cover the cost of the serve hosting. You can set up a Shadowsocks server on Amazon EC2 or Digital Ocean. While this is not as simple as buying an account or getting one from someone you know, it is another option available.
Installing the Shadowsocks app on Android
You can find the Shadowsocks app by Max Lv on Google Play Store. Simply look for shadowsocks on the Play Store or go here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.github.shadowsocks&hl=en_US
This app is open source, meaning that the code can be inspected by anyone, which makes it less likely to contain virus, malware or backdoors. In addition, the app is free and it has a very high rating in Google Play Store.
In case you are unable to access the Google Play Store because it is blocked in your location, you can opt for downloading the app’s Android installation file (.apk file) from https://github.com/shadowsocks/shadowsocks-android/releases
Just open the page on your Android tablet or phone and select the first link with an .apk extension to download it to your device. Keep in mind that to be able to install .apk files on your Android device, you need to make sure that the security settings on your device are set to “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources”. Once everything is ready, you can click the .apk file to install Shadowsocks app.
How to configure the Shadowsocks Android Aoo
After the installation of the Shadowsocks app is completed, you will have to configure it by providing the information of your Shadowsocks account. The Shadowsocks Android app lets you set up multiple Shadowsocks on it, meaning that you can switch between them to get the best results. Every account is called “Profile” and you can add a new profile in the Shadowsocks drop-down menu. Look for the profile page and you may see a Default profile there, which you can edit. Then tap the “+” button to add a new profile. There are different ways to add a new profile in the Shadowsocks app including San QR Code, Manual Settings, NFC and Import from Clipboard.
For the manual setup, tap the “Manual settings” icon. In the screen that appears after that, you will see different options that you can adjust. The main ones are Server, Remote Port, Password and Encryption Method. Simply use the login information that you got from the Shadowsocks provider to fill in this information. You can change the name of the profile to something that you can easily remember. You don’t need to change the rest of the options.
Starting the Shadowsocks Android App
Once the configuration is done, just go to that profile and then tap on the paper plane icon to start Shadowsocks on the Android device. You may get an Android confirmation popup asking you to confirm if you are sure that you want to proceed. You can confirm and once the app has established a connection with the Shadowsocks server, the paper plane icon will turn green. A VPN connection icon will appear on the top bar of your device’s screen.
Stopping the Shadowsocks Android app
You can stop the Shadowsocks app by opening the app and clicking on the green paper plane icon to disconnect. Alternatively, you can click on the VPN connection icon on the top bar on your Android device. Then you can click Disconnect.
Tips for using the Shadowsocks Android App
Filter out Chinese websites
It is possible to get around Internet restriction in China with the help of Shadowrocks, but if all traffic goes through Shadowrocks, the speed of your connection will be affected, even for websites that have not been blocked in China. There is a good feature that lets you filter out Chinese websites, meaning that if you try to access Taobao and other similar sites, the traffic won’t go be directed through Shadowsocks. To disable this feature, you just need to go to the profile screen and select the “Route” option under “Feature Settings”. In the dropdown select “Bypass China”.
Disable Shadowsocks Of when it is not required
While Shadowsocks is designed to get through the Great Firewall of China undetected, the Chinese government is constantly working to make the Great Firewall of China more efficient and smarter, meaning that it is possible that it recognizes that Shadowsocks is being used and it may block you. The best option is to disable Shadowsocks when it is not being used. It is possible that by leaving Shadowsocks on all the time, the chances of it being detected, increase significantly.
Select a Shadowsocks Server near you
If the Shadowsocks provider you are using offers multiple servers, make sure that you select the one that is closer to your location. This will allow you to enjoy the best possible speeds. For instance, if you live in Shanghai, a server in South Korea or Japan would be the ideal choice. Servers in the West Coast, in cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, are the best options in the United States.
Use a VPN as a backup
Since the Great Firewall is becoming more and more advanced and it is capable of identifying and blocking solutions like Shadowsocks, it is advisable that you consider alternatives like VPN services. There are VPNs that use advanced technology that can get around blocks and even defeat the Great Firewall of China. We recommend providers like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, TorGuard and Windscribe.