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[liberationtech] We are now testing the speed and stability of circumvention tools in China

Martin Johnson martin at
Thu Jul 7 08:33:43 PDT 2016

Hi all,

This week we launched a new project: Circumvention Central ( The idea is to test the speed and stability of
circumvention tools - both free and premium - inside the Great Firewall of
China. Anybody can run a test directly on the website. We have already
received thousands of test results.

One objective is to make it easier for users to choose a circumvention tool
that currently works well. As you know the firewall changes frequently and
a tool that worked well last year or even last week may suddenly become
very slow or stop working altogether.

Another objective is to analyze why certain tools perform better than
others. We hope to be able to use this to contribute to the improvement of
all circumvention tools, not just our own (FreeBrowser).

A third objective is to help us raise revenue. We act as a reseller of
premium VPN services and receive a commission on the sales. For the free
tools we just link directly to their respective websites where users can go
to download them.

The test works by downloading images from Alexa top 10 websites and
measuring the speed. It also verifies the size of the image. If an
incorrect size is returned or if the request times out, this is accounted
for in the stability indicator.

We expect the accuracy of the data to be questioned. We do take steps to
verify whether the info submitted by the user - their location and which
tool they are using - is accurate. The data is still imperfect. The more we
get, the more accurate it’s likely to be. We believe the current numbers
are already a good indicator of what works, and also how tools perform over

We of course welcome feedback and (constructive) criticism!

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