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Shadowsocks Review 2023 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying

Author Image Nicky Hosek
Nicky Hosek Cybersecurity Researcher

Shadowsocks is a strange beast; it is part VPN and part a shadow that travels around in cyberspace unnoticed (a little like that sock that you lost in the laundry that you never found).

Shadowsocks differs from a VPN in that it isn’t intended to protect your privacy nor to give you anonymity while surfing. For that, we suggest you opt for a premium vendor like ExpressVPN.

As a SOCKS5 proxy venture, the main purpose of Shadowsocks is to bypass censorship and it was designed with one goal in mind – finding a way through the complex censorship laws that are the fundamental bricks in the Great Firewall of China. Unlike a VPN, Shadowsocks is highly customizable and uses HTTPS to disguise your online movements. This technology doesn’t encrypt your traffic like a VPN, nor does it send all your traffic through a specific server. Instead, it works with a number of different TCP connections, making it much faster than its rivals and much more difficult for authorities to detect as a masked connection.

Some of the benefits of Shadowsocks are that it is a completely free and open source with an extensive community dedicated to providing ongoing support. Shadowsocks is compatible with most platforms and is also fully functional on mobile devices as well as wireless networks. In terms of navigating geoblocks and government restrictions, you can’t really do better. Shadowsocks also enables you to decide which areas of your online activities are disguised by the program and which are left untouched, meaning you can operate on websites only available in China while simultaneously accessing blocked sites such as Gmail.

Creeping stealthily through the underwear drawers of virtual reality, Shadowsocks makes your online activities invisible while it also remains virtually impossible to detect.

Compared to a VPN, Shadowsocks has both its advantages and disadvantages. If your primary goal is to navigate past blocks imposed by restrictive authorities, then Shadowsocks is perfect for the job, but if you want to secure your online privacy and remain anonymous, you’re better off turning to one of the more reputable VPNs available.

If you’re really inventive, however, you can also use Shadowsocks in conjunction with a VPN to improve speeds. Shadowsocks can also help you unblock popular streaming services in heavily-restricted areas. For example, if you are in China and want to gain a reliable and high-speed connection to Netflix, you can tunnel the server over Shadowsocks while using a VPN such as ExpressVPN to mask your location and gain access to the site.

Shadowsocks Features — Updated in February 2023

💸 Price 0 USD/month
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 1+
💻 Number of devices per license 1
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country United States
📥 Supports torrenting Yes


$ 0 / month per month
Compare Shadowsocks With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

An easy and free way to bypass China\\'s Firewall

Despite its level of sophistication, the Shadowsocks setup process is surprisingly straightforward while it also boasts cross-platform compatibility.

As it is open source, it’s also completely free to download and provides some of the best technology available for negotiating content restrictions and censorship. However, if you want to hide your identity while surfing, Shadowsocks is not for you.

If you are looking for more ways to stream global content seamlessly, check out our review of the best VPNs for Netflix.

  • Capable of superfast speeds
  • Fully customisable
  • Effective at bypassing censorship and especially China
  • Compatible with most platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and OpenWRT
  • Completely free and open source
  • Offers flexible encryption
  • Optimised for mobile devices and wireless networks
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 1
Shadowsocks User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
Based on 1 reviews in 1 languages
Write a Review on Shadowsocks

Please rate VPN.

Super Alternative für China, wenn man einfach nur blockierte Seiten aufrufen möchte oder Geoblocking umgehen möchte

Shadowsocks ist keine VPN, das sollte man wissen. Aber für das Umgehen von Blockierungen von Internetseiten (z.B. in China) oder Geoblocking ist es super gut geeignet und funktioniert immer, auch wenn die großen VPN-Anbieter Probleme haben (dort lief um den 70. Jahrestag der Volksrepublik China nichts mehr). Ich schaue über Shadowsocks und Zattoo alle deutsche Sender in China, kann auch brav Google/WhatsApp benutzen. Ich habe meinen eigenen Shadowsocks-Server zuhause stehen, die Lösung kostet mich damit gar nichts (was man mit VPN auch machen kann, aber da wird die Verbindung immer mal wieder geblockt).

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