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Chinternet Users Get New VPN Testing Tool

There was good news for businesses and individuals looking to reach the unfettered internet inside China this week with the launch of a new resource designed to provide more transparency around VPN use.

Circumvention Central is a new website which aims to offer real-time information on which VPNs are performing best at the specific time the user logs-on, according to its creator: anti-censorship organization, Greatfire.org.

“Real-time testing in China is important because VPNs get blocked and unblocked all of the time,” explained Greatfire.org founder, Charlie Smith, in a blog post. “We welcome any and all feedback on the test process itself. Tech savvy users can inspect how we conduct our tests by reviewing our javascript code directly on the test site.”

The site will test VPNs on speed – by downloading resources from the 10 most popular websites in the world – and stability.

The latter is typically not tested at all by similar services but is especially important inside China, claimed Smith.

“At any point, the connection can become unstable and/or go down completely. Individual requests may fail depending on the size of the request, the final destination and how they are proxied,” he explained.

“Thus comparing service stability is just as important if not more important than comparing speed.”

Greatfire.org’s intention with the new service isn’t just to get more people in China using circumvention tools and to improve their experience, but also to help developers improve their products and in so doing provide more choice for the consumer.

“As internet users in China know, the authorities have stepped up their attacks on circumvention tools over the past 18 months,” said Smith. “CC is part of our attempt to fight back. Instead of making this a game about secrets, we want to encourage people to share information about circumvention tools that do work.”

Greatfire.org hopes to also use the site as a new revenue stream, by acting as a de facto reseller for the VPNs listed on it.

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