Bypass Internet censorship in Android with Psiphon

Psiphon is free open source application from a Canadian company helping out millions of people from all over the world bypass Internet filtering. The software acts like a proxy and hides your computer IP from websites you visit but it was not built to make people anonymous on the Internet, the reason for Psiphon’s existance is to bypass filtering in countries which Internet Service Providers block websites.

The software can only be used in Android and Windows, if you are an Apple user this is not for you, the lack of iOS support perhaps is because Psiphon is targeted at users in the Middle East where few iPhones and Mac computers are sold.

Psiphon anonymous Internet browsing

Psiphon anonymous Internet browsing

Although my ISP does not have filtering I was thinking of using Psiphon in my smartphone because it is free and my current VPN charges me extra if I add a mobile phone device to the package, I also liked that registration and configuration are not necessary and there are multiple proxy locations. I don’t use my smartphone for banking or shopping of any kind hence even low security is enough for what I want to do, stop marketers tracking me online.

Psiphon for Android comes with its own browser, built-in adblocker and set to a homepage that can not be changed. The homepage contains a small ad banner, that is how the company makes money, I did not find it too intrusive, the are no adverts while you surf the Internet, I was only shown them when I launched the browser and if it really bothers you, a paid for Psiphon Pro version gets rid of all advertising. But since my main reason for using Psiphon was price, i.e. free, I would never pay for the Pro version, anybody willing to do that will be better off with a specialised VPN provider.

What Psiphon is good for

  • Access georestricted content
  • Bypass ISP filters and unblock Facebook and Twitter
  • Protect your data in public Wifi access points

What Psiphon is not recommended for

  • Hide from the NSA or law enforcement
  • Filesharing or bandwidth intensive activities
  • Wishleblowing and other high security needs

The app has four easy to navigate tabs, my favourite, the Stats tab, displays how much data is being sent and received. If you are on a tight data metered plan you might want to download Psiphon for this feature alone. Another tab displays connection logs, another one has settings and the Home tab lets you stop and start Psiphon. Everything nicely organised.

The main problem I had with Psiphon is that most websites I visited using the Psiphon browser did not identify I was on a mobile device and they showed me the desktop version of the site which made it very hard to read. The way to solve this is going into options tick the “tunnel the whole device” box, and use your own smartphone browser e.g. Brave, Firefox, etc instead of the one that comes with Psiphon.

I also felt the speed was low and pages were taking a bit too long to load. Because of this I have decided to uninstall Psiphon, I would recommend this application if you are inside a country that blocks access to websites but otherwise, I believe it might be better a free VPN, I specially did not like the embedded Psiphon browser, I like to use my own.

Visit Psiphon homepage

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