Dumbclub FAQ

About 7 years ago, Astrill sent out an email accusing its customers of belonging to “dumbclub.” Ever since then, the subreddit for penetrating the GFW has celebrated this incident by calling itself “dumbclub.” In r/China user u/kanevast explained: “I don’t mean using a VPN is being part of a dumb club, I mean using Astrill means you’re part of the ‘dumb club’ as per their message to all of their clients a month or so ago.” From the Astrill communication of December 2015:

Due to increased censorship, use of VPN from China may not be possible at this time. We believe the situation will be back to normal after the holidays. While our engineers worked tirelessly to fix “issue” with our iOS app, some users were not that smart and helping Chinese censors by spreading news about new Astrill software all over the web. It appears some of the customers show no appreciation for our efforts nor they want open internet. Now you got what you asked for… It’s not working anymore. We can invent new technologies, we can defeat GFW but we don’t have a solution for stupidity. Dear “journalists” please spread this message as usual, all over the web and join DUMB CLUB.

Dumbclub FAQ #1

Q: I’m going to China to visit family for around a month and a half. How can I use things that are blocked in China, like YouTube and Google?

A: Astrill, Wannaflix, LetsVPN, Hong Kong SIM card, or self-hosted (e.g. Xray on VPS).

For useful links, see the summary of methods.

Dumbclub FAQ #2

Q: How can I watch videos that are geo-restricted to China from outside China?

A: Type into a search engine 回国vpn

Example of a search: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=回国vpn


Q: I installed a VPN, but now my device doesn’t work without the VPN. Why is that?

A: Probably your VPN installed some kind of kill-switch, or made a DNS server change, that hasn’t been cleared properly. Unless you have computer skills, you’ll need to contact your VPN provider for a solution. As a last resort, some operating systems (e.g. Windows) allow you to completely reset your networking.


Q: How do websites or streaming services know I’m using a VPN and block me?

A: Websites that don’t want you using a VPN block known VPN node IP addresses. Your only solution is to find a VPN provider with IP addresses your destination site doesn’t know about. Even so, it’ll only work until the site or streaming service updates its list of IP addresses.