More Than Just a VPN
Have you ever tried to load a webpage, only to meet the dreaded message that the website has been blocked by your country, company, or institution? It may be frustrating to have your access denied, but fortunately, Psiphon exists for a situation just like this.
Psiphon is a tool that can be used to bypass restrictions on Internet usage, allowing its users free and open access to online content. The software utilizes VPN, SSH, and HTTP Proxy technology to deliver Internet content to a user even if that user’s country or organization blocks the content. If one method of connection is unavailable, it will attempt another until it is able to deliver the requested content.
What is Psiphon?
Cost of Use
This software is free and open-source. It is available on Android and Windows.
Of course, Psiphon also has a paid subscription that seems to be priced differently according to the country. The paid version may generally be more expensive compared to other VPN solutions, but it does offer a 30-day trial for users to try out the paid features before handing any money over.
Unfortunately, if you plan to stay as a free user on the Android app, you may have to deal with no small number of advertisements, which can be annoying to some people.
Speed and Usage
The Android app allow you to choose from around 20 server locations. However, the catch is that it has a slow connection speed, capping free users at 2 MB/s. The “maximum speed” on a subscription plan offers only 5 MB/s, which seems very low, considering you have to pay for it monthly.
On Windows, it does not seem to have speed restrictions, although it does connect you to a random server that is not always the one closest to you. This might pull down your connection speed even further.
Anyway, it is not intended for high-definition streaming, gaming, or torrenting, so the connection speed seems to be adequate for browsing websites and loading low-definition videos.
Not For Privacy
It is worth noting that the company does explicitly state that Psiphon is meant only as an online access tool, and should not be used for privacy or security purposes. If online privacy is important to you, one factor that may be of concern is that this software is based in Ontario, placing it under the laws and regulations of Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network. In short, the software could be required to hand their logs over to the authorities. These logs consist of connection timestamps, country and city, chosen connection protocol, session count and duration, and amount of data transferred in bytes. It will also record the domain names of websites visited. Additionally, free users get advertisements, which can potentially allow third party advertisers to track views and regions.
If all of this sounds discouraging, Psiphon does state that they will normally not collect users’ IP addresses. They will also discard all logs after 60 days. However, if you are looking for a privacy-centered VPN, this software is probably not for you.
So, is Psiphon a Good Tool?
In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons.
Slow speed – limited to 2 MB/s
Not for online privacy
Expensive paid option for less-than-average deals
This software can be good if you are looking to access websites that are blocked by your country or organization. However, if you are after online privacy or a VPN for torrenting, streaming, or gaming purposes, you may want to look elsewhere.