Lantern is a free and open-source Internet censorship circumvention tool used to bypass internet filtering and censorship. It allows users to access blocked websites and content by connecting to peers in regions where those sites are not restricted. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how Lantern works and its features:

  1. Peer-to-Peer Network: Lantern operates by creating a peer-to-peer network. When someone in a region with censored internet uses Lantern, it finds peers from areas where the internet is not censored. This allows the user to access the internet through the connection of a peer, effectively bypassing censorship.
  2. Software Installation: Users must first download and install the Lantern software on their device. It is available for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.
  3. Automatic Configuration: Upon installation, Lantern automatically configures itself to connect to the fastest and most stable peers available. This makes it user-friendly, as it requires minimal technical knowledge to set up and use.
  4. Security and Anonymity: While Lantern provides a way to bypass censorship, it is primarily focused on unrestricted access rather than anonymity. It encrypts traffic between peers to prevent simple eavesdropping but is not designed to be a complete anonymity solution like Tor.
  5. Usage Limits and Pro Version: Lantern offers both a free version and a paid version (Lantern Pro). The free version has certain limitations on speed and data usage, while Lantern Pro offers unlimited, high-speed access and supports the project’s ongoing development.
  6. Community and Open Source: Being open-source, Lantern’s code is available for review and contributions on platforms like GitHub. This transparency helps ensure the software’s integrity and security. The community around Lantern contributes to its development and helps spread its use in regions affected by censorship.

Lantern is particularly popular in countries with strict internet censorship, providing a valuable tool for activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens to access blocked information and communicate more freely online.