Shapeshifter Transports is a set of Pluggable Transports implementing the Go API from the Pluggable Transports 2.0 specification
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The Operator Foundation

Operator makes useable tools to help people around the world with censorship, security, and privacy.


The Shapeshifter project provides network protocol shapeshifting technology (also sometimes referred to as obfuscation). The purpose of this technology is to change the characteristics of network traffic so that it is not identified and subsequently blocked by network filtering devices.

There are two components to Shapeshifter: transports and the dispatcher. Each transport provide different approach to shapeshifting. These transports are provided as a Go library which can be integrated directly into applications. The dispatcher is a command line tool which provides a proxy that wraps the transport library. It has several different proxy modes and can proxy both TCP and UDP traffic.

If you are a tool developer working in the Go programming language, then you probably want to use the transports library directly in your application.

If you want a end user that is trying to circumvent filtering on your network or you are a developer that wants to add pluggable transports to an existing tool that is not written in the Go programming language, then you probably want the dispatcher. Please note that familiarity with executing programs on the command line is necessary to use this tool.

If you are looking for a complete, easy-to-use VPN that incorporates shapeshifting technology and has a graphical user interface, consider Moonbounce, an application for macOS which incorporates shapeshifting without the need to write code or use the command line.

Shapeshifter Transports

This is the repository for the shapeshifter transports library for the Go programming language. If you are looking for a tool which you can install and use from the command line, take a look at the dispatcher instead:

The transports implement the Pluggable Transports 2.1 draft 1 specification available here: Specifically, they implement the Go Transports API v2.1 draft 1.

The purpose of the transport library is to provide a set of different transports. Each transport implements a different method of shapeshifting network traffic. The goal is for application traffic to be sent over the network in a shapeshifted form that bypasses network filtering, allowing the application to work on networks where it would otherwise be blocked or heavily throttled.

The following transports are currently provided by the library:

  • obfs4
  • obfs2
  • shadow (Shadowsocks)


The dispatcher is written in the Go programming language. To compile it you need to install Go:

If you just installed Go for the first time, you will need to create a directory to keep all of your Go source code:

mkdir ~/go

If you already have Go installed, make sure it is a compatible version:

go version

The version should be 1.10.2 or higher.

If you get the error "go: command not found", then trying exiting your terminal and starting a new one.

If you have a compatible Go installed, you should go to the directory where you keep all of your Go source code and set your GOPATH:

cd ~/go
export GOPATH=~/go

Software written in Go is installed using the go get command. You need to install the transports that you want to use in your application. For instance, for obfs4:

go get

This will fetch the source code for the obfs4 transport, and all the dependencies, and compile everything.

If you want to install all provided transports:

go get

This will fetch the source code for all of the transports, and all the dependencies, and compile everything.

Using the Library

The Shapeshifter Transports are just a Go library. In order to use the transports, you will need to integrate them into your application, which is presumably also written in Go. For details on the Go API for Pluggable Transports, refer to the Pluggable Transports 2.0 draft 1 specification.

Frequently Asked Questions

What transport should I use in my application?

You should use a transport that is likely to work on the network where your application is currently being blocked. This changes over time as the network administrators alter their blocking rules. obfs4 is a popular transport, so that might be a good starting point if you don't know how blocking is implementing on your network. If you are an application developer using Pluggable Transports, feel free to reach out to the Operator Foundation for help in determining which transport might work best for your application. Email

My application is not written in Go. Can I still use the transports?

Yes, the Go API is only one way to integrate transports into your application. There is also an interprocess communication (IPC) protocol that allows you to control a separate process (called the dispatcher) which provides access to the transports through a proxy interface. When using this method, your application can be written in any language. You just need to implement the IPC protocol so that you can communicate with the dispatcher. The IPC protocol is specified in the Pluggable Transports 2.0 specification section 3.3 and an implementation of the dispatcher is available which you can bundle with your application here:


shapeshifter-transports is based on the transport implementations included with the Tor project's "obfs4proxy" tool.

  • Yawning Angel for obfs4proxy and the obfs4 protocol
  • David Fifield for goptlib
  • Adam Langley for the Go Elligator implementation.
  • Philipp Winter for the ScrambleSuit protocol.