Lantern Review

Much like Psiphon and Lahana, Lantern VPN is a free and open source (FOSS) anti-censorship tool. Unlike these tools, by default Lantern only become active when it detects that you are attempting to visit a blocked website. When this happens, Lantern behaves as a proxy server, routing your internet connection through either its own servers or those run by volunteers (choosing a server that is not blocked from accessing the website).

Our Score
4 / 5
Free option
Simultaneous connections
Server locations
Visit Lantern

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Lantern is free and is currently available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (Debian/Ubuntu). An Android app is apparently being worked on, but we have no idea when this might turn up.

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Privacy and Security

Lantern is developed by the US-based non-profit Free Software Foundation, Inc. Like Tor, it may receive some funding from the US government, but all code is open source, and can therefore be independently audited to ensure nothing fishy is going on.

Its developers are keen to stress that Lantern is designed as an anti-censorship tool, and does not provide protection against surveillance. Connections to proxied websites are protected using HTTPS (TLS), but connections to all other websites are unencrypted. Those looking for anonymity while online are recommended to use Tor.

Internal connections between Lantern ‘nodes’ are protected using strong AES-256-CBC encryption with ECDHE (elliptic curve) RSA key handshake, and SHA hash authentication.

Users can choose to provide the Lantern team with “useful information and analytics that will help us improve the Lantern program”, but this is strictly optional.

Ease of Use


The Windows client is only 4.4 MB, Lantern is extremely lightweight, and to use it all you need do is download and run the executable file.

Lantern 1

Some suggested websites that are unblocked by many repressive regimes

lantern 2

The latest version of Lantern now features a “Proxy all traffic” option. This means that Lantern can be used to unblock any website

Here in the UK the main reason websites are censored is due to copyright piracy. To test the service for this Lantern VPN review, we therefore ran the software, and then visited some well-known torrent websites. In our initial tests these remained blocked when using Lantern’s default settings, but could access be accessed with the ‘Proxy all traffic’ setting turned on. It seems, however, that were suffering from some teething problems, and in subsequent tests we could access every blocked website using just the default settings.

For more information about torrenting, see our best VPNs for torrenting guide.

Final Thoughts

This lightweight, free and open source anti-censorship app can be used to unblock any website. What’s not to like?

Visit Lantern »

1 User Reviews

gravatar profile picture
Habib Rahman
on 2020-06-25 08:07:03.
Overall score: 5
Lantern unblock

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Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.


on January 17, 2019
I have used Lantern Pro for a year and it is good when it functions which is about 80% of the time in my case. I an using it in China. I was planning to renew but when I click to pay I am only directed to Alipay which is written in Mandarin characters. I was willing to pay for the service so I wrote to Lantern 5+ times to address the payment issue. Lantern never responded. I checked their Google user group and it appears dead. I see only one recent entry on Github so the patient isnb't dead yet appears to be on life support. The lack of response and customer access has lead me to choose another provider.
on November 6, 2018
I use this Lantern vpn but I dont know what problume this use which problume sir.can u ask true impromations me sir
douglas replied to Nirjal
on November 7, 2018
H Nirjal, If you are having problems with Lantern you sould contact [email protected].
Trevor kasonde
on January 4, 2018
guyz i just downloaded the app. i need advise on how to configure it, am in zambia pliz help me.
Douglas Crawford replied to Trevor kasonde
on January 4, 2018
Hi Trevor, The Lantern App does not need any configuration. Simply download it and run.
on October 7, 2017
I bought a 2 years lantern pro license but it could not use on iphone7. The PC version works fine but when are you going to have the APP for iphone?
Douglas Crawford replied to SC
on October 9, 2017
Hi SC, This is simply a review. Please ask this question on the Lantern website.

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