Ultrasurf Review – Should You Use Ultrasurf Instead of a VPN?

Justin Oyaro

By Justin Oyaro . 28 January 2024

Cybersecurity Expert

Miklos Zoltan

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In this article, you will learn about how Ultrasurf compares to a VPN and whether you should use it.

Quick summary
Ultrasurf is a specialized tool designed exclusively for circumventing censorship without offering additional features. It lacks capabilities in enhancing online security or privacy. In contrast, a VPN not only enables you to bypass censorship but also provides functionalities for online privacy and security, along with a broader range of features.

To summarize, Ultrasurf is not a substitute for a VPN. However, for the sole purpose of overcoming censorship barriers, Ultrasurf serves as a suitable choice.

Below we will discuss the following:

  • What is Ultrasurf, a VPN, and how they work?
  • The differences and similarities between Ultrasurf and a VPN.
  • Use cases for Ultrasurf and VPNs.
Summary: In this article, I discuss the differences and similarities between Ultrasurf and VPNs, their use cases, and whether Ultrasurf can replace a VPN.

Ultrasurf is a tool designed to bypass censorship but lacks other functionalities, making it unsuitable as an online security or privacy tool.

VPNs, on the other hand, offer numerous features, including encryption, privacy, and security, making them a more versatile choice.

In summary, Ultrasurf is a good option for bypassing censorship, but it cannot replace a VPN for comprehensive online security and privacy needs.

Ultrasurf Review – Should You Use Ultrasurf Instead of a VPN?

What is Ultrasurf, and How Does it Work?

Ultrasurf is an internet censorship circumvention tool. It can bypass website blocking and aggressive censorship techniques.

It was designed to allow users in Mainland China to gain access to censored online content. Ultrasurf also works in other countries with heavy censorship.

Ultrasurf only tunnels your browser’s traffic through its network of proxy servers. The tunnel encrypts the traffic between your browser and its servers. Traffic between their servers and the internet is not encrypted.

The websites you access will only see the proxy server’s IP address. The IP address changes every time you launch Ultrasurf.

Ultrasurf’s anti-censorship techniques are proprietary. They are not widely known as Ultrasurf design is security through obscurity. The methods are implemented secretly, not commonly discussed, or documented openly.

What is a VPN, and How Does it Work?

A VPN provides a secure connection over the internet. A VPN uses various encryption protocols that ensure your traffic is secure from prying eyes.

The encrypted traffic is routed through a VPN server before reaching its destination. The destination will only see the VPN’s server IP address.

Differences Between Ultrasurf and VPNs (Premium VPNs)

Here is a brief overview of the differences between Ultrasurf and VPNs.

*Note that the VPN descriptions usually only apply to reputable premium VPN providers. Lesser known or free VPNs may not offer the same privacy features.

Ultrasurf VPN Virtual Private Network
Encryption Encrypts HTTPS traffic. Encrypts entire device traffic.
Logging Logs personally identifiable information. Strict no-log policy.
Server availability You cannot choose servers. You can choose from a wide selection of servers.
Functionality Internet censorship circumvention tool. Online security and privacy tool.
Content filtering Internal content filter. Does not filter content.
Compatibility Windows, Android (beta), iOS, and Chrome browser extensions. Every major platform, including TVs and consoles.
Pricing Free. Premium.

Let’s take an in-depth look.


Ultrasurf encrypts your browser’s traffic using the TLS/SSL protocols. There is no option for choosing encryption protocols to use. A VPN encrypts your entire device traffic.

You can choose the traffic to use the VPN tunnel through split tunneling and what traffic to ignore. Furthermore, a VPN gives you various encryption protocols as well as features such as kill switch.


Ultrasurf doesn’t require users to provide personal information, but their servers log personally identifiable information.

This information includes your IP address, website links you click, date and time stamp, and even pages you view while online. Ultrasurf uses this information to protect themselves from liability or comply with legal processes and laws.

Ultrasurf is also based in the US. An unfavorable jurisdiction in terms of logging and privacy. Premium VPNs adhere to a strict no-log policy. They do not log personally identifiable information or your online activities.


Ultrasurf’s server infrastructure is unknown to the public. A VPN offers multiple servers, and you get a list of servers.

The app doesn’t allow you to choose which servers to use or access a server list. Some VPNs will enable you to select servers depending on your online tasks. They have dedicated servers for various tasks such as P2P sharing and streaming.


A VPN offers a wide range of online security and privacy functionalities. Ultrasurf’s primary purpose is to bypass censorship.

It doesn’t provide other functionalities and features. You can use a VPN to avoid censorship, stream content, and increase your online security and privacy, among other functionalities.

VPNs also come with many features. Some include protection against leaks, split tunneling, kill switch, double VPN, and Tor over VPN. You can also tweak settings according to your preferences.

Content filtering

Ultrasurf implements some internal content filter that might restrict you or block some content. This filter may not allow some websites or offensive content such as pornography.

This can be partly attributed to the adherence to the US laws. VPNs have no such restrictive filters, and you can access any content you want.


VPNs are widely compatible with every major computing platform. You can use a VPN on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, consoles, smart TVs, smart home devices, and various browsers.

Through an extension, you can use Ultrasurf on Windows, Android (beta), iOS, and Chrome browsers.

Check our out guide on the best VPNs for Windows for more info.

In terms of content, you can use both tools to stream and torrent content. However, Ultrasurf is not well suited for these tasks, and you may experience lagging and buffering. It is best to use a VPN in this case.

Similarities Between Ultrasurf and VPNs

Here are the similarities between VPNs and Ultrasurf.

Unlimited bandwidth

Ultrasurf and VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth with excellent speeds. These properties are suitable for torrenting and streaming.

However, Ultrasurf’s bandwidth doesn’t play well with streaming content. This is due to the great demand, and its network cannot accommodate bandwidth-intensive tasks.

Nonetheless, you will experience a fast browsing experience.

Bypass restrictions

You can bypass censorships and other geo-restrictions using Ultrasurf or any premium VPNs. Additionally, these tools can help you access blocked content such as websites.

Some VPNs might not work in heavily censored regimes. This is where you need to use Ultrasurf.

Use Cases for Ultrasurf

Ultrasurf is suitable for:

  • Circumventing censorships.
  • Gaining access to blocked websites.

Advantages of using Ultrasurf

  • Excellent performance.
  • Small in size; no installation required, and it leaves no trace.
  • Free product.

Disadvantages of using Ultrasurf

  • Logs personally identifiable information.
  • Often flagged by antivirus software.
  • Security through obscurity design.

Use Cases for VPNs

VPNs are suitable for:

  • Increasing your online privacy and security.
  • Bypassing ISP bandwidth throttling.
  • Circumventing censorship and geo-block restrictions.
  • Bypassing price segmentation and market discrimination.
  • Gaining access to blocked websites.

Advantages of using a VPN

  • Excellent encryption.
  • No-log policy.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.

Disadvantages of using a VPN

  • Expensive subscriptions.
  • Requires installation.

Wrap Up

Ultrasurf is an excellent tool for circumventing internet censorship. You can use it for other tasks such as streaming when there’s no congestion. However, this is not recommended.

Ultrasurf also doesn’t increase your online privacy. Hence, it is advisable not to use it as an online security tool. Rather, you should take other preventive measures to stay secure and private on the internet.

On the other hand, a VPN is suitable for increasing your online privacy and security. It provides many functionalities as compared to Ultrasurf. Most VPNs also come with privacy and security-enhancing features. You can also tweak some settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some people found answers to these questions helpful

Is Ultrasurf reliable?

Ultrasurf is an excellent circumvention tool. Although it doesn’t offer many functionalities as a VPN, it works well. It bypasses censorship and geo-restrictions. It uses proxy servers, the HTTPS security scheme, and other proprietary technology to bypass restriction blocks.

Does Ultrasurf contain malware?

Ultrasurf doesn’t contain malware at all. Nonetheless, some antivirus software may flag it as a trojan or some malware. This is solely due to how Ultrasurf works. That is, the way it implements tunnels and communications.

Does Ultrasurf work with Netflix?

Ultrasurf can gain access to the US Netflix catalog. However, it isn’t an ideal streaming tool. Its available bandwidth and speeds are not capable of streaming content in HD. You will experience buffering and lags. It is recommended to use a VPN for streaming purposes.

Is Ultrasurf safe for accessing the dark web?

The best tool to anonymize access to the dark web is the Tor browser. You can combine Tor with a VPN to increase your security and privacy.

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