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Which Protocol to Choose?
UPDATED on August 13, 2021 to reflect the latest Netflix unblocking information.
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This page has been updated on March 19, 2021, to reflect the changes brought by the new VLESS+XTLS protocol based on Xray-core.
See the old page here.
It really depends on where you are located and on what you need.
Let's go through the main pros and cons of each protocol we offer.

At a Glance...

Recommendation: Xray, with the new VLESS+XTLS protocol, is the recommended choice for web-browsing and streaming. If you don't have access to the new protocol (mainly on Mac OS), the old V2ray is the recommended option. We currently do not recommend Shadowsocks as it is based on an earlier version of the protocol. Choose Eclipse for security and video conferencing, and SmartDNS for Netflix unblocking on TVs and consoles (SmartDNS only works with US Netflix).
Xray
v2ray
Shadow
socks
Eclipse
SmartDNS
TCP
UDP
🟨
ICMP
Fast
🟧
🟨
Stable
🟨
🟨
Works in China
🟨
Unblocks Netflix
🟨
(Some)
🟧
(US)
(US)
Web-browsing / Email
Video Streaming
🟨
Gaming
🟨
🟧
🟥
VoIP/Video Conference
🟧
🟨
Countries
19
19
6
6
1
GLOSSARY
Stability: A measurement of the frequency of disconnections and speed fluctuations, as well as the likelihood of encountering various issues.
Gaming: A measurement of how the protocol performs when gaming. Gaming usually requires good UDP support, stable apps, and low ping (less RTTs).

Xray

Xray is a fork of the v2ray protocol by a coder under the name of rprx on github. The fork was created on November 9, 2020, and has quickly gained popularity over these past year, passing 5,500 stars on it's github repository (as of August 2021).
The fork fixes several important issues with the original v2ray code, including enabling full UDP gaming support on the original VMESS protocol, optimization of the code (about 30% faster than the original v2ray code), and most importantly, the introduction of several new technologies, including the one we are currently using, XTLS.
The only downside is that only a minority of apps have updated their software to support Xray, so you may need to update or switch to a different app to take advantage of this new technology. But it's worth it.
Most of our servers now run Xray by default. Xray is fully compatible with v2ray.
Update: Xray currently has some compatibility issues with Whatsapp calls. If you need Whatsapp call support, please use the "WhatsApp" server.
We HIGHLY recommend upgrading to Xray as soon as possible from v2ray and Shadowsocks.

Use Xray if:

    You need to watch Netflix or other streaming channels
    You need to connect to a wide variety of countries
    You need to connect to a specific country that is only on Xray/v2ray
    You want fast downloads and HD YouTube streaming
    Do extensive web-browsing, emails, etc.
    You want to run a UDP-based application
    You want to play online games
Don't use Xray if:
    You need OpenVPN for greater security
    You are on a system that doesn't support it yet or has poor support for it

v2ray

V2ray was created on September 5, 2015 as an alternative to Shadowsocks and has slowly gained popularity with users in China (the github repo now has more stars than Shadowsocks). It is more flexible than Shadowsocks, supports multiple protocols out of the box, and can effectively escape blocking by the Great Firewall.
V2ray is optimized for TCP only. It only has basic UDP support. v2ray also needs 1 RTT (round-trip time) more than Shadowsocks for it's handshake. You can eliminate this additional RTT by enabling mux support in your apps (however, keep in mind that enabling mux may bring instability in the network and reduce your streaming speed).
IMPORTANT UPDATE: We have now migrated our servers to Xray. It is much faster and more stable than v2ray. If at all possible, we HIGHLY recommend moving to Xray (unless your system does not support it at this time).
Xray is fully compatible with all v2ray setups.

Use v2ray if:

    YOU DO NOT, OR CANNOT RUN XRAY
    You need to watch Netflix or other streaming channels
    You need to connect to a wide variety of countries
    You need to connect to a specific country that is only on v2ray
    You want fast downloads and HD YouTube streaming
    Do moderate web-browsing, emails, etc.
Don't use v2ray if:
    You need to play online games
    You want to run a UDP-based application
    You need OpenVPN for greater security

Shadowsocks

Shadowsocks is one of the first protocols developped in China specifically to bypass the GFW. Development started on April 20, 2012. It's original developper was forced to stop his/her work on the project due to outside pressure. Work on the protocol continues on till this day via various forks on the original project.
Shadowsocks was the first protocol we implemented, before we had to switch to v2ray and Eclipse after it was getting aggressively blocked.
Unlike v2ray, Shadowsocks is leaner and is easy on RAM and the CPU, making it more stable under load. It has also optimized it's UDP packet transmission mechanism, making it a good option for gaming.
Because Shadowsocks is heavily censored, we need to use various mechanisms to hide the connection. Therefore, only a subset of locations are available for Shadowsocks.

Use Shadowsocks if:

    You need a simple, click-and-forget connection
    You do extensive web-browsing, email, streaming, etc.
    You want to play online games (use Netch on Windows)
    You need to do VoIP or video conferencing
Don't use Shadowsocks if:
    You want to watch Netflix or unblock streaming content (use v2ray)
    You need a specific country not supported by Shadowsocks
    You are running Linux

Eclipse (OpenVPN)

Eclipse is our own version of OpenVPN, modified to work in China. It has never been blocked, nor do we see it getting blocked in the near future. It runs on the official OpenVPN apps, and support all the functions of OpenVPN.
It uses 256-bit encryption, supports TCP, UDP, and ICMP protocols, and is thoroughly audited by industry experts to guarantee strong security.
The main downside of Eclipse is that it is slow. Speeds are usually between 3-12Mbps depending on the time of day and server choice (though you may get speeds of up to 25Mbps on some networks).

Use Eclipse if:

    You want an industry-standard VPN solution
    You need military-grade security
    You are doing light browsing, emails, streaming, etc (Eclipse can stream 720p HD)
    You need support for ICMP or other non-standard protocols
    You need Linux support
Don't use Eclipse if:
    You want a fast connection

SmartDNS

SmartDNS is a DNS server that unblocks Netflix and other streaming channels for you. You need to register your IP for authentication and add the DNS servers into your WiFi/ethernet settings and your good to go!
NOTE: It does NOT encrypt your connection. It does NOT bypass DNS poisoning by ISPs. It does NOT bypass China's firewall. It does NOT unblock Youtube.
It only bypasses geolocation blocking by Netflix and other such streaming channels.

Use SmartDNS if:

    You want to watch Netflix or a similar channel on a device that does not support v2ray (smart TV, console, etc)
    You want to only unblock Netflix, but don't need a VPN to bypass your local internet restrictions (i.e. you don't live in China)
Don't use SmartDNS if:
    You need to bypass your ISP/School/Country's firewall
    Your ISP is doing DNS poisoning/hyjacking on the domains you want to unblock
    You want a VPN
    You have v2ray/Shadowsocks/Eclipse running at the same time (they will conflict with each other)
Last modified 2mo ago