Surf the net anonymously and go around firewalls and geo-restrictions with Ultrasurf

Freewaregenius 5-Star PickUltrasurf is free, proxy-based ‘anti censorship’, ‘pro-privacy’ software. It tunnels through firewalls (whether at work or country-wide),

encrypts online communications, hides your real IP from the websites that you are visiting, automatically deletes your browser history, and provides you with a US-based location so that you can access geographically restricted websites such as Hulu or Pandora.

Ultrasurf, which was originally created to enable internet users in China to surf freely, is also designed for portability. You can carry Ultrasurf on a USB stick and plug it into any internet terminal that you happen to have access to, instantly providing a secure, encrypted online experience on-the-go.

UltraSurf Screenshot1UltraSurf Screenshot2

Possible uses:

  1. Surfing (or downloading) privately and anonymously: your IP address is hidden from sites you surf, and your browsing history, cookies, and cache on your machine as instantly removed when you exit Ultrasurf.
  2. Surfing restricted sites at work: or other locations (or countries) which have restrictions.
  3. Accessing geo-restricted sites: or sites that are available in the US but may not be available in your country, from anywhere. E.g. Pandora, Hulu, Spotify, etc.
  4. Anonymous downloading: from P2P, Torrent,  or other sites. See the comment re: internet speed in the ‘verdict’ section below.

How to use this program:

  1. Download and extract into an appropriate location on your hard drive
  2. Run the Ultrasurf executables.
  3. Ultrasurf may run IE automatically (this can be switched off in the settings). If you don’t use IE then go ahead and close it and run the browser that you like.
  4. Ultrasurf will automatically select the best available server for you, although you could actually choose a server manually from the UltraSurf dialog
  5. You will see a ‘lock’ icon near your system tray indicating UltraSurf is running (see screenshot top right).

The verdict: this program is simply impressive. It has no restrictions on bandwidth, as free VPN (Virtual Private Networking) services have such  Tunnelbear and HotSpot Shield (note: UltraSurf is not a VPN service). It also does not involve the user in the process of finding and providing the internet proxy. It just works.

The main drawback when using programs like this one is a slower internet speed, and in my testing of this I did experience a lower speed, but only by about 20% or so that I could measure. I was still able simultaneously surf and to download torrent files in very good speed. However, this is not necessarily representative, your experience may vary.

The future of UltraSurf seems quite promising, with the addition of a VPN being promised, as well as support for Mac, Linux, and handheld devices.

Version tested: 11.04

Compatibility: WinAll. Mac, Linux, and device support is planned for the future.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (~1.32 megs).


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • Rosszip

    Wow, this brings back some memories. I used this back in high school (4yrs ago) to circumvent the schools filters. Awesome little utility as I remember, completely forgot it existed :

  • sue williams

    I am reading that ultrasurf might be malware? Has anyone thoroughly check ultrasurf out to verify its legitimacy ? Thank you

    • Samer

      @ Sue Williams: I run Avast and Threatfire, and these did not act out on running it. I also just ran it through VirusTotal (http://bit.ly/H1NpE6). Ten out of 42 services flagged it, however, they are flagging it mostly as follows: “not-a-virus:NetTool.Win32.UltraSurf” and “Riskware.NetTool.Win32.UltraSurf!IK”. I am not sure what this means. Given what this program does (creates an encrypted HTTP tunnel between the user’s computer and a central proxy), I can understand how it could raise suspicious flags by definition, but given that it has been around for 10 years now, I would have expected a more definitive VirusTotal profile if indeed it was malicious.

      To be honest, I have found many, many, resources that assert that it is clean, but cannot claim to have made an exhaustive survey on the subject. Although I have seriously considered pulling this post altogether, just to be safe, I have decided not to. I am considering modifying the text considerably.

      Here’s what I recommend: if you are worried, but need the service that Ultrasurf can provide, then consider running it within a virtual machine. Also, use it selectively, only when you need it, and do not use it on any websites that requires you to input passwords, such as your email or bank accounts. This is not because I have any KNOWLEDGE that it does anything untoward (I don’t), but because it seems totally unnecessary to do so.

  • Oaken

    It’s worth mentioning that Ultrasurf only works with your browser, not with any torrent clients, nor other software which accesses the internet…

  • http://www.portablefreeware.com webfork

    The Wikipedia article for this program is interesting…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrasurf – “Ultrareach is designed primarily as a circumvention product, rather than as an anonymity tool, and suggested that users concerned about anonymity should disable browser support for active content when using Ultrasurf.”

    Would recommend Advanced Onion Router (http://www.te-home.net/Projects/AdvTor.html) for a portable anonymizing tool, built using similar software to another program you’ve highlighted: Vidalia.

  • charlz

    hah! my company’s firewall blocks that site — “Reason: Proxy Avoidance”

  • jasray

    Norton will block it; most IT Departments have the server IP blocked. I would suggest a continued search since several other options exist which are as good or infinitely better. Oh, the VPN package–V100 I think it’s called–blocked even by AVG Free. Now that I think about it, there are so many other free services with speedy, unlimited caps I’m surprised Ultrasurf is still in the news.

  • http://www.attskrivafilmmanus.se fred

    #jasray

    “Now that I think about it, there are so many other free services with speedy, unlimited caps”

    As I do not dare to install Ultrasurf considering the 10/42 rate I would really appreciate some preferred links to all these free services. (I am a newbie on this proxy thing)

    /fred

  • sue williams

    What is 10/42 rate ?

  • http://www.techyfuzz.com Avi

    Ultra surf is not a malware, antivirus just think any application that works out of their predefined way can be a malware.Ultra surf used to work well in my college time but you do need to re- connect it everytime and there is a add-on for firefox users.

  • http://www.oldcodger.org Old Codger

    Nice little program – one which I will keep. However, if you are in China you may have problems accessing the web site. Reason: It is blocked by the Great Firewall of China. This means that have to have a similar program to go and get this program.

    Recommend FreeGate to do that. To get the FreeGate program, you will have to contact them by e-mail asking them for a link to the program download that can be accessed from within China. Shoot them an e-mail at d_help [at] earthlink.net

    FreeGate can be used only in China so it would have little use to anyone else. Similar reasons for the FreeGate program as with Ultrasurf. Biggest difference is that FreeGate is sponsored in part by Uncle Sam and the spooks at the CIA.

    I tried the program – and it is quick – quicker in IE than it is in Firefox – my preferred browser. To run the program in Firefox on an “as needed basis,” you will need to install the GProxy Firefox Add on.

    Contrary to the information provided, there are some websites that are able to block users of these types of programs. Some secure web sites – such as for on-line banking, require you to use IE only. Other web sites are also able to block users of Proxy servers like this program.

    The drawback to the program is that when you are using IE and you find that the proxy is blocked, you have to exit the program completely. Then, have to run the program again when move on to another web site. With the GProxy add on in Firefox, it is easy to block the program from running and then un-block it without having to restart the program.

    Personally, living in China – I will most likely use the program quite a bit. Only time will tell how effective it is as the Chinese are quite good at finding the tunnels and at the very least slowing them down dramatically – or at the worst – completely blocking the tunnel routes.

  • jfjb

    Hello Samer,

    Did you check http://www.internetfreedom.org/UltraSurf ?
    It points to three DL links, one being a “NEW UltraSurf software”.
    The executable is “v100c.exe”, dated 06.20.11 — making that NEW UltraSurf software older than the (regular?) “U” client software, but it says “UltraVPN 1.0″ under the mouse cursor…
    Is it the (precursor of the) “promised” VPN addition you mentioned?
    Apart from the exe filename and size, the ancillary files, GUI and footprint are identical.

    jfjb

    P.S. Cheers to the Says family, you’re a good dad to us. Thanks.

  • http://www.attskrivafilmmanus.se fred

    #sue williams
    10/42 rate, or actually now 11/42 is the virustotal.com rate for flagging the u.exe file as malware / virus
    See http://tinyurl.com/7nehqc7

  • Jonathan

    I scanned with Kaspersky Pure and Malware Bytes, and both said it was fine. So I trust it is not anything bad.

  • Kevin

    Is there any kind of direct download link you can give me from this site? I don’t have access to a computer without web blocking, so I can’t use any kind of download link that leads to UltraSurf’s site or anything else that my web protection flags as ‘Proxy Avoidance.’ I have K9, and no, to get the obvious out of the way, I’m not the admin.

    • Don Gilcrease

      Use this link to my personal Droplr account to DL UltraSurf:
      http://d.pr/f/nSuR

      It is v11.02 – not the latest – but Ultrasurf will ask to update itself.

  • alex

    You can try PirateRay.com – a simple client with secure SSH connection to multiple servers in different countries to stay anonymous and hide your identity. Easy to install and not expensive at all. Fast connection, no limit on speed.

  • dadwhiskers

    Ultrasurf is definitely not any kind of malware. It is a portable app, so it does not install.

    The above article says to use any browser you wish, which is true. However, Ultrasurf will anonymize your connection ONLY if you are using Internet Explorer. This is definite. Use IE if you want anonymity. That is, if you don’t want anyone to be able to trace your I.P. address back to you. This is very important in some countries and circumstances.

    You can download v 11.02 here:

    http://d.pr/nSuR

    When you run Ultrasurf, it will offer to update itself to the latest version automatically.

    See http://www.ultrasurf.us for full details.

  • http://shoutmetech.com ShoutMeTech

    I have been using Ultrasurf for long time and I’m impressed with the quality of service.. The best thing is it’s free..Though wondering if we can make it work with Torrents?

  • Dinesh

    I have been using it for a while but now I am having a problem. I have hide the golden lock now I cant change settings & also I cant exit it properly (have to go to task manager) please help.

  • http://technoxone.com Anjum

    Ultrasurf is an awesome software man, it really helps to surf the web anonymously mostly in the countries where youtube and facebook have blocked and it is one of the best solution to unlocked them.