The Best VPNs for China That Still Work in 2019
It’s well known that China operates a strict internet censorship policy, making access to certain corners of the internet a mission in-and-of-itself. Living or even just paying a visit to China means that certain websites, content and social media sites are totally out of the question.
A VPN service will allow you to gain full access to the limitless potential of the internet, enabling you to bypass any restrictions put in place by governments and gain your right to view ‘blocked’ content. So which VPN works in China?
Our pick for Best VPN For China: ExpressVPN
Best VPNs To Use in China
Specially designed for accessing restricted content in China
Does ExpressVPN work in China? Without a doubt, Express VPN is one of the absolute best VPN providers out there and is definitely a VPN that works in China.
It’s simple and easy to use (you don’t have to be a tech-geek to come to grasps with it), keeps no connection logs and uses the highest encryption levels in the industry – 256-bit AES encryption to be precise, so you’ll never have to worry about the Chinese government tracing your online footsteps.
Privacy aside, there are over 130 servers to choose from spread across 94 countries, so you’ll never be out of options when it comes to picking a reliable, fast VPN in China.
On top of that, ExpressVPN in China provides fast speeds as well as unlimited bandwidth – making it a great server for streaming with.
- $12.95 a month
- $9.99 a month for a six-month plan
- $6.67 a month for a 15-month plan (including three months free!)
- 30-day money back guarantee
If you want to bypass China’s Internet restrictions and ensure a high level of protection, try Express VPN 30-day money back guarantee!
NordVPN have a pretty good VPN service for China. It even confirmed that it’s still operating since China’s announcement banning VPNs. NordVPN doesn’t have any servers in mainland China so it can’t be closed down or seized by the government.
NordVPN says that setup should be easy, but when I tried it, I wasn’t able to connect the first time. NordVPN maintains that in some areas of China connection takes a bit longer, so I followed the instructions to unlock ‘stealth servers’ for use in heavily restricted regimes, and it worked.
In the end, getting NordVPN working didn’t take too long, but it was more than it took for ExpressVPN.
Once NordVPN was working, the speed was great. No complaints there. I could watch movies and stream TV shows without any lags.
NordVPN has top safety features which I’d say are as strong as ExpressVPN. It has double encryption and DNS leak protection, so I felt pretty safe.
NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, but ExpressVPN promises to honor it no matter what while NordVPN only gives your money back if something didn’t work.
Cyberghost is a great VPN all-around. It has many servers in various locations including the UK and the USA, so you can watch your favorite shows from home, without missing a beat.
Setting up Cyberghost couldn’t be easier, so even if you’re a technology beginner, you won’t have any problems.
Cyberghost is priced $10.99 for a one-month subscription, $7.99 per month for 6 months, and $4.99 for a year’s subscription. Their best priced plan gets down to $2.90 per month for a 2 year subscription, so you’ll be saving a cool 74%!
Sign up with Cyberghost here.
What To Look For In a VPN
When it comes to choosing the best VPN to use in China specifically, it can become a little overwhelming with the vast amount of choice on the market. We’ve done the hard work for you, sifting through the long list of VPNs to find the best provider’s out there. We’ve narrowed the list so you’ll know not only how to get a VPN in China but also which is best.
Our top list is based on the following criteria:
- Encryption technology – this should be very strong, particularly if you’re wanting to browse from within China, to make sure that your traffic is under wraps and unable to be read by third parties (or prying governments).
- No traffic logs – we don’t want a single breadcrumb left behind when it comes to your internet activity, it’s important that any VPN that works in China keeps no traffic logs, leaving no means of tracking your internet whereabouts.
- DNS leak protection – a good VPN will plug potential DNS leaks to ensure that anonymity is always kept (a DNS leak can destroy anonymity through ‘leaking’ your online activity to your ISP).
- Many servers – many servers is always a big plus, as it allows for a large choice of virtual locations to choose from, meaning you can also find servers with the best connections.
- High speed – no one wants a VPN that’s extremely slow, you’ll want a fast VPN in China that doesn’t cause your internet or streaming to lag, it’s hard to come across high-speed VPNs but they’re a big bonus to make for a higher quality browsing or streaming experience.
- A money-back guarantee – this means that you’ll be able to trial the VPN before committing 100%.
The Great Firewall of China Limits Your Internet Access
Calling the Chinese ‘slaves’ to their government isn’t far from the truth, and though to some extent we all are, the Chinese have it pretty bad. Being one of the most heavily censored countries in the world, the government regime implements a harsh amount of protectionism and does its very best to implement strict control over its people, particularly via the internet content available. Whether you can you use Facebook in China is a much-debated issue and unfortunately, it’s almost impossible.
The ‘Great Firewall of China’ (GFW) ensures that all internet is regulated and heavily censored, blocking access to foreign websites and any content anti-government or deemed inappropriate. This makes life for citizens, expats, and visitors extremely challenging, as many of the websites and social media channels that they’re accustomed to visiting regularly are now blocked. Does Snapchat work in China for example? See our list below to find out.
Blocked websites include:
- Google (the entire suite)
- Facebook (later we’ll get onto how to use Facebook in China, we know it’s a big one!)
- The New York Times
- The Independent
- Wall Street Journal
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You can find more info about blocked websites in China here:
- China and its Website Shutdown Spree
- China’s Harsh VPN Conviction Leaves Online Freedom at an All-Time Low
- China’s Bid for Cyber Sovereignty Threatens Global Internet Freedom
- Chinese and Russian Governments Crack Down on VPNs
Chinese Cities Where You Need a VPN
Beijing currently sits behind the ‘Great Firewall of China,’ and for those who live there or are travelling through, access to many sites that are hosted outside the country is difficult. If you’re trying to access the internet in Guangzhou, you’re bound to notice that there are some major restrictions in place. China blocks access to several sites, including Facebook and Google. Shanghai has some of the most strict internet censorship laws in the world despite it being designated a free trade zone. These government mandated content blocks prevent you from accessing lots of websites and services.
To get around these content blocks, you’ll need to install a VPN before you go to China. VNS block your IP address and connect you to a network of secure servers, so you can bypass content filters altogether.
How Does it Work
So how does one go about accessing their usual online websites and social media channels when in China? The answer is three words; a Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short.
A VPN will cleverly allow you to camouflage your physical location – so you may now be wondering how to use a VPN in China?
All you have to do is sign in to your VPN of choice and select a server from a different country where your favorite websites are available (the US for example).
This will make it appear as though you’re browsing from outside of China, and from the country that you selected. In doing this, your true IP address will be masked as it changes to another, while also encrypting all your internet activities.
After selecting a different server country, you’re now free to browse the internet as you would freely and without any restrictions and with no one watching what you are doing.
In other words, there’s no need to worry about the controlling government watchdogs – now you know how to use Facebook in China!
Try to Avoid a Free VPN
Unfortunately, it’s true what they say – nothing good in life is free, and you should take that into consideration when researching VPNs. We’d highly recommend avoiding free VPNs like the plague.
They’re riddled with ads (possibly malicious), often come with throttled bandwidth speeds, poor encryption levels (meaning third-parties will be able to see your online activities), and lack access to many blocked sites in China.
On top of that, you never really know where your data will end up – who knows whether or not the VPN provider is selling on your online activities?
Long story short, especially when it comes to browsing the web from China, stay clear of any ‘free’ VPN for China.
Is a VPN in China Illegal? Please Read This!
Are VPNs legal in China? There’s a big gray area when it comes to the nitty gritty legalities – in general, VPNs are available for individual use (even though China blocks VPN providers to the best of its ability, making it harder and harder to do so), but for a corporation to use one, they’ll need to get permission from the authorities. Unfortunately, China blocks VPN providers (though not all of them), and the recent China VPN crackdown has seen the government recently win the battle against VPNs on the Apple store, forcing Apple to remove all major VPN apps.
This means that if you are looking for the best VPN for iPhone in China, or an iPad, or even a Mac, you won’t be able to download a VPN from within China – you will have to download it before stepping on the plane. And while Android users still have the (limited) possibility of downloading a VPN app for China, they should be aware that soon it may be the same situation.
TLDR: can you use a VPN in China? – the lines are blurred but overall, yes.
All in all, if you want to enjoy access to the entirety of the internet, free from restriction when visiting or living in China, including visiting your favorite social media sites, news outlets, and even video streaming sites, then you will need to get your hands on a top VPN for China that is both secure and fast.
For the most reliable and anonymous browsing in China, get Express VPN today.