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

Updated: 8 July 2021
Updated: 8 July 2021

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 tool that allows you to bypass censorship. It has no other functionalities and cannot be used as an online security tool. It also doesn’t increase your online privacy. On the other hand, a VPN allows you to bypass censorship, and it can offer privacy and security functionalities. Also, a VPN has more features.

In a nutshell, you cannot replace a VPN with Ultrasurf. However, if you only need to circumvent censorship, Ultrasurf is a good option.

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.

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 your traffic between your browser and their 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. That is, the techniques are implemented secretly, not commonly discussed or documented openly.

Related guide: How to encrypt your internet traffic

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 it reaches its destination. The destination will only see the VPN’s server IP address.

Related guide: Beginners guide to VPN

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.

Encryption

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.

Logging

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.

Servers

Ultrasurf’s server infrastructure is unknown to the public. The app doesn’t allow you to choose which servers to use or access a server list. A VPN offers multiple servers, and you get a list of servers. Some VPNs allow you to choose servers depending on your online tasks. They have dedicated servers for various tasks such as P2P sharing and streaming.

Functionality

Ultrasurf’s primary purpose is to bypass censorships. It doesn’t offer other functionalities and features. A VPN offers a wide range of functionalities related to online security and privacy. You can use a VPN to bypass censorships, stream content, increase your online security and privacy, among other functionalities.

VPNs also come with many features. Some of them 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.

Compatibility

You can use Ultrasurf on Windows, Android (beta), iOS, and Chrome browser through an extension. 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.

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 use Ultrasurf or any premium VPNs to bypass censorships and other geo-restrictions. Additionally, these tools can help you gain access to 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.

Additional VPN guides you should check out:

Wrap Up

Ultrasurf is an excellent tool for circumventing internet censorship. When there’s no congestion, you can use it for other tasks such as streaming. 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 precautionary 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.

FAQ

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 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 gain access to the dark web anonymously is the Tor browser. You can combine Tor with a VPN to increase your security and privacy.

Written by: Justin Oyaro

Connect with the author:

Tech and Cybersecurity Expert Justin is a cybersecurity expert with over 5 years of experience that stretches across various technological realms. He is a valued expert in cybersecurity, Cord-cutting, Cryptocurrency, Smartphones, How-tos and other related fields. Justin has written authoritative content for multiple Cybersecurity websites and blogs on matters regarding privacy and security. He also does pen test on tech products such as smartphone applications and websites. When he is not writing, Justin spends most of his time on the latest tech trends and Android Studio. Justin is also a degree holder in Information Systems Technology and Master of Computer Applications (M.C.A.), University of Adelaide.

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