OpenVPN Traffic Obfuscation to Circumvent Censorship

OpenVPN is a VPN protocol that can encrypt and tunnel your internet traffic. However, some network firewalls or internet service providers may block or interfere with OpenVPN packets, making it difficult to use OpenVPN in certain regions or countries. To circumvent this problem, VPN providers implemented traffic obfuscation, which disguises OpenVPN packets as regular HTTPS traffic. This way, the network firewall or ISP cannot detect that you are using OpenVPN and will not block or throttle your connection. Traffic obfuscation can be achieved by using Squid or Apache proxy servers, or by using a special plugin called obfsproxy that can run on both the client and the server side. Traffic obfuscation can help you bypass censorship and access blocked websites or services using OpenVPN.

Obfuscating OpenVPN allows VPN users to bypass network firewalls and censorship that block or restrict VPN traffic. Obfuscation disguises the VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic, making it harder for network administrators or ISPs to detect and block it. Obfuscation can be useful for people who live in countries with strict firewalls, such as China and some Middle Eastern countries, or to access geo-restricted content or services. Obfuscation requires both the VPN client and the VPN server to support it, and it may affect the VPN performance or speed.

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Panama based NordVPN is one of the best security oriented VPN companies with amazingly fast infrastructure. NordVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG based in Zurich, Switzerland (one of the Big 4 auditing firms) to back the claims that they don’t log identifiable user information under any circumstances. Additionally, NordVPN offers a Double VPN – a privacy feature that sends your Internet traffic through two VPN servers, encrypting it twice.

NordVPN offers over 5,000 servers in 62 countries, dedicated & shared IP types, and 6 simultaneous logins. When it comes to the Middle East, NordVPN has servers in the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Turkey. So if you need a Middle Eastern IP address, NordVPN is a perfect choice as you can connect to one of these VPN servers.

NordVPN implemented a strict no logs privacy policy, offers double data encryption, obfuscation tools and other advanced security features. NordVPN obfuscated VPN servers are a perfect choice to use on restrictive networks. These VPN servers are generally recommended for countries that block VPN altogether because the technology can bypass even the most advanced network firewalls.

NordVPN Obfsproxy servers not only unblock VPN on strict firewalls, they also hide OpenVPN and make your VPN use completely undetectable. Neither your ISP nor the government will know that you are using VPN.

NordVPN can, therefore, bypass Internet restrictions, online censorship and network firewalls. NordVPN can unblock Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other blocked websites.

Besides, NordVPN has a Smart Play technology offering an encrypted connection to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and similar services. If you are a torrenting user, NordVPN has torrenting VPN servers as well.

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PureVPN is a no logs VPN service with an Always-On Audit. This means that KPMG can conduct a thorough surprise audit of PureVPN’s processes and servers at any time without prior notice.

PureVPN has 2,000 high-speed VPN servers in 140 countries with obfuscated VPN servers that remove all of the VPN information from your data packets, so your ISP has no idea you’re using a VPN. Secure high-speed PureVPN infrastructure offers advanced security features for anonymous Internet use. PureVPN custom apps have a built-in WebRTC, IP and DNS leak protection. Kill switch is feature that guards the users from unencrypted data leaks when the internet connection drops. PureVPN even has a DDoS protection add-on.

PureVPN has a port forwarding feature that allows you to forward your encrypted VPN traffic through port 443 (typically reserved for encrypted browsing). PureVPN, thus, can unblock restricted websites and bypass Internet censorship.

Additionally, the provider considered the importance of uninterrupted streaming by introducing Dedicated Streaming add-on that will boost streaming speed and enhance performance. PureVPN optimized streaming servers are best to get a buffer-free streaming experience.

PureVPN is also one of the few VPN providers that can effectively unblock Netflix. For this purpose PureVPN setup dedicated Netflix servers. At the moment the provider can unblock Netflix USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Japan.

In case you want to limit your VPN use to specific websites/services only, Split Tunneling feature lets you decide which applications to send through unencrypted channel and which one to secure with an encrypted VPN service.

Split tunneling is commonly used in case you need a VPN for torrenting only. More so, PureVPN offers over 60 dedicated torrenting servers and a port forwarding feature to maximize your upload and download speeds.

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Offering over 3,000 servers in 55 countries, all mainstream protocols and top-notch security, TorGuard rightfully earned its place as a top VPN provider. To get a Middle Eastern IP address, TorGuard offers VPN servers in Israel and UAE.

No logs TorGuard is a reliable, fast and secure VPN service. TorGuard desktop apps have a kill switch feature that actively monitors your Internet connection to protect you from accidental IP leaks when your WiFi is unstable.

Stealth VPN is a technology that TorGuard uses to bypass Deep Packet Inspection firewalls, such as those typically used by restrictive governments to censor and restrict online content. Consequently, TorGuard is a highly recommended VPN service for users who live in the regions with particularly restrictive governments, and would like to unblock censored websites or services.

Besides a great number of security features and ability to unblock VPN on restrictive WiFi, TorGuard is also an ultra fast VPN service with gigabit servers (actually, 10 Gbps). This infrastructure allows the fastest VPN speeds with a reliable streaming and browsing experience.

Unlike most VPN providers, TorGuard VPN can bypass Netflix proxy error with their Netflix streaming IPs. TorGuard can unblock a number of Netflix regions (USA, UK, Canada, Italy, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and Singapore), Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and virtually any streaming or social media service.

TorGuard is not only one of the best VPN services, it also offers OpenPGP encrypted email service with 2 factor authentication and up to 10Mb free storage.

To read a full TorGuard review click HERE. VPN Logo

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Based in Malaysia, is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast gigabit VPN servers that deliver the fastest VPN speeds for users on gigabit Internet connection. is a no logs VPN service with gigabit VPN servers. Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience. The provider can unblock censored content and bypass local government restrictions.

Hide.Me is has advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls and censorship. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls. The technology also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like Double VPN encryption.

Additionally, the provider offers a dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) with up to 10 TCP/UDP ports, a useful feature on WiFi networks that block VPN ports.

Hide.Me custom VPN apps have a number of advanced features for maximum protection. Hide.Me VPN has a built-in protection against IP and DNS leaks. Kill switch is an excellent tool to shut down Internet access when the connection to a VPN server is dropped. Stealth Guard takes this even further by blocking access to predetermined apps even when the VPN is OFF.

For instance, once you add Chrome app to your Stealth Guard settings, Hide.Me app will block Internet access for Chrome browser unless the VPN connection has been established.

Hide.Me supports perfect forward secrecy, an advanced security feature that tells OpenVPN to regularly renegotiate encryption keys.

Hide.Me is one of the best VPN services to use since it has advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls and censorship. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls. The technology also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like Double VPN encryption.

More so, you can selectively tunnel only specific traffic via secure servers. Split tunneling feature allows this or, alternatively, SOCKS5 proxy can be setup on your browser/torrenting client and re-route only that traffic. Port forwarding feature is a great addition as it can speed up torrenting or streaming when your ISP throttles select traffic.

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Perfect Privacy is an ultra fast (gigabit servers) VPN provider with a heavy focus on advanced online security. As the name suggests, Perfect Privacy VPN has some of the most secure VPN features for maximum anonymity.

For the fastest browsing experience, you can choose between a multitude of VPN servers. But like we mentioned above, the provider’s focus is not the amount of servers they own, it’s security, privacy and complete anonymity.

Perfect Privacy has one of the best and most advanced kill switch implementations. Their integrated firewall enforces all traffic to be sent through secure tunnels thereby protecting their users from all known IP leaks not only when the app is running, but also after OS reboot. Essentially, it prevents unsecured online access when you restart your device until the VPN is up and running.

In addition, Perfect Privacy offers a unique Multi-Hop VPN feature that allows cascading over up to 4 OpenVPN servers at the same time along with SOCKS5 and Squid proxies. So you can create a chain of 6 VPN locations at the same time which basically eliminates any possibility of tracking you down. While this setup surely provides more anonymity, it will dramatically slow you down, which may be an issue for some VPN users.

Perfect Privacy can bypass strict firewalls by obfuscating OpenVPN to look like normal HTTPS traffic with Stealth VPN or OpenVPN over SSH fearure. For additional firewall penetration Perfect Privacy allows 5 custom port forwardings or 3 default random ports.

Basically, if your WiFi network completely blocks VPN, Perfect Privacy can bypass firewall and unblock VPN on virtually any network.

NeuroRouting is an AI based routing that determines the most secure and fastest route through the Internet. It also automatically changes your external VPN IP address depending on the destination. Another fantastic anonymity feature is the provider’s ability to resolve .onion (TOR) addresses without the need for the Tor Browser.

Overall, Perfect Privacy VPN is a perfect tool to avoid mass surveillance, bypass internet restrictions, access censored websites, and securely stream multimedia content.

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AirVPN is an Italian VPN provider created by privacy activists whose main goal is data protection. AirVPN has over 200 servers in 23 countries that have Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. Essentially key negotiation is performed every 60 minutes to avoid data breach if the key is compromised. AirVPN offers OpenVPN dynamic port forwarding on 80 TCP/UDP, 443 TCP/UDP and 53 TCP/UDP. Additionally, AirVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH and OpenVPN over SSL that mask OpenVPN and make the use of encryption tools invisible to some of the most advanced firewalls. To read a full AirVPN review click HERE.


Common ways to obfuscate OpenVPN

Obfuscating OpenVPN is a technique to hide the fact that VPN traffic is being used. This can be useful in situations where VPNs are blocked or restricted by firewalls, ISPs, or governments. There are several methods to obfuscate OpenVPN, such as:

  • Using a different port or protocol: By default, OpenVPN uses UDP port 1194, which can be easily detected and blocked. Changing the port or protocol to something less common, such as TCP port 443 (which is used by HTTPS), can make the VPN traffic look more like normal web traffic. But this method will not hide VPN traffic.
  • Using a proxy or a bridge: A proxy or a bridge is an intermediate server that relays the VPN traffic between the client and the server. The proxy or bridge can be configured to use a different protocol or encryption method than the VPN, such as SSH, SSL, or obfsproxy. This way, the VPN traffic is disguised as another type of traffic and can bypass some filters or firewalls.
  • Using a plugin or a patch: Some plugins or patches can modify the OpenVPN code to alter the packet headers, payload, or handshake. For example, the scramble patch can add a random string to the packet header, or XOR the payload with a key. The plugins or patches need to be installed on both the client and the VPN server.
  • Using steganography: Steganography is a method of hiding data within other data, such as images, audio, or video files. The VPN traffic can be embedded in these files and sent over the network without being noticed. However, this method requires a lot of bandwidth and processing power, and may not be very reliable or efficient.

Some VPN providers offer the option to wrap OpenVPN traffic into SSL or other protocols to hide it from network inspection and censorship. This can be useful in situations where VPN traffic is blocked or throttled by ISPs or firewalls. The idea is to make the VPN traffic look like normal web traffic, which is usually allowed and prioritized on most networks.

There are different methods to achieve this, such as using stunnel, obfsproxy, or SSH tunneling. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the level of security, performance, and compatibility required.

Obfsproxy, stunnel, XOR

Obfsproxy works by transforming the data packets sent and received by the client and the server into a different format that is not recognizable by the censor. Obfsproxy supports different types of pluggable transports, which are the algorithms that define how the obfuscation is done. Some examples of pluggable transports are obfs2, obfs3, scramblesuit, and meek. Obfsproxy can be used with Tor, a network that provides anonymity and privacy for its users, to make Tor traffic look like regular internet traffic and avoid detection by censors.

Stunnel is a tool that allows you to add TLS encryption to any TCP-based communication between a client and a server. It works as a proxy that listens on a port specified in its configuration file, encrypts the data from the client using OpenSSL library, and forwards it to the original server on another port. Stunnel can be used to secure various protocols such as HTTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, and more. Stunnel does not require any changes in the code of the client or the server applications, as it operates on the network layer. Stunnel is free software licensed under GNU GPL with OpenSSL exception, and it supports multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Android.

XOR is a simple but effective method to obfuscate OpenVPN traffic and bypass network restrictions. XOR stands for exclusive OR, which is a binary operation that returns 1 if the two input bits are different, and 0 if they are the same. It is also known as exclusive OR, because it excludes the case when both inputs are true. XOR can be used to implement various functions, such as encryption, parity checking, and bit flipping.

By applying XOR to each bit of the OpenVPN data with a secret key, the data becomes scrambled and unrecognizable by firewalls or deep packet inspection tools. The key is shared between the OpenVPN client and server, so they can reverse the XOR operation and recover the original data. XOR obfuscation is not encryption, and it does not provide any additional security. It is only meant to disguise the OpenVPN traffic as something else and evade censorship or throttling.

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