Best VPN

3 Best VPN’s for China in 2018

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It is well known that China operates a strict internet censorship policy.  Living in China or visiting the country means that you will be restricted in what websites and content you can view.

A VPN service can give you full access to the internet and allow you to bypass these restrictions and view blocked content.

Our pick for Best VPN For China: ExpressVPN


Why can’t I access things in China?

Are you living in China or simply visiting for a while?  If so, you will probably notice right away how restricted the internet can be in that country.

I used to teach English there for a few years before I came back home and it really annoyed me that I couldn’t access certain content.

This included news websites, social media where I wanted to keep up to date with my friends and family and also streaming services such as Netflix.

The good news is that I have the perfect solution for accessing restricted content in China and it comes in the form of what is known as a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. This works work cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou 

Let me explain this in more detail.

A VPN Bypasses China’s Internet Restrictions

When you try and access content that the Chinese government deems unsavory, you receive an error message saying there is a problem with your internet.

When I lived there I wasn’t trying to access anti-Chinese content or anything like that.  I was simply trying to get onto popular sites like Facebook and YouTube.

A VPN works by telling these websites that you are in another part of the world.

You see, the VPN services I list below allow you to choose an IP address on a server in another country so that the blocked websites think that you are actually in that other country.

This allows you to access content that is normally restricted in China.

Some websites that you cannot access in China include:

  • News websites from abroad to keep up with latest developments
  • Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Blogging platforms such as WordPress
  • Streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu

Without a VPN, you cannot access this content.  However, with a reliable VPN for China you can visit restricted websites and have full access to the internet.


Not All VPN’s Work In China

I am guessing many of you are new to the whole concept of a VPN.  That’s fine because I was as well at one point, until I went to China to live.

It can be a confusing market because there are so many VPN services out there.  However, not all of them are equipped to deal with Chinese internet.

I have listed my top 3 VPNs for China that are guaranteed to work in the country.

They have special settings that are tailor made for using with a Chinese internet connection and this is not something every VPN has.

Moreover I have tried all of them myself and I know just how well they work.


My 3 Best VPN’s For China

So I have done all the hard work for you. Instead of spending hours reading through various VPN websites you can find all the information you need about effective VPNs for China right here.


#1 ExpressVPN– 9.5/10 – Specially designed for accessing restricted content in China

best vpn for china

Without a doubt Express VPN is the absolute best service to use for accessing content in China.

I used this extensively when I was living there and I can vouch for their excellent service and really simple, but effective, software.

One major bonus when using Express VPN is that it uses ‘stealth servers’ that are located in Hong Kong and can therefore hide the fact that a VPN is being used at all.

This adds another layer of protection and means that you can still access content that is specifically restricted in China and the region.

Apart from this I really loved the customer service team at Express VPN.  They were absolutely fantastic and when I sent them some questions regarding their Chinese service.

They responded in less than an hour with all the details I needed.

They also showed me how Express VPN has been set up with China in mind and offers a high level of encryption to secure my personal data as well.

Finally, I need to mention how easy it is to use Express VPN.  When I was living in China I didn’t have much time to learn some complicated program.

However, Express VPN can be set up in just minutes and it only took a few seconds for me to connect to another server and have full access to the internet.

For anyone who isn’t sure about VPNs or doesn’t have a lot of technical knowledge but still wants fast connection speeds, Express VPN is definitely the best software to use.

If you want to bypass China’s Internet restrictions and ensure a high level of protection, get Express VPN now.

#2- IPVanish 7/10 –Backup VPN For China

If you need a VPN to use as a backup for China then you can get IPVanish but it doesn’t offer as good a service as Express VPN.

If you are not happy with IPVanish then you only have 7 days to get your money back. Express VPN provides a whopping 30 days for you to make up your mind about their software.

IPVanish does not work with iOS, so Apple users beware. The connection speed with IPVanish was below par as well.

Anytime I tried to use IPVanish to bypass China’s content restrictions and watch a YouTube video for example I had to put up with lots of buffering.

Seriously even a 3 minute video of YouTube took me nearly 10 minutes to watch because of the poor connection.

Whereas Express VPN has consistent servers you need to keep connected.  

Lastly their customer service is not good either. It took hours to get my confirmation email sent to me with my login details. For that whole time I was stuck behind The Great Firewall of China.

IPVanish is OK as a backup but I would always recommend using Express VPN as the first choice to bypass content restrictions and protect privacy in China.

IPVanish is available from this link.

#3 – Hide My Ass – 5/10 – Poor Quality Connection

HideMyAss is available in China and you can sign up to their service if you live or are travelling there. This is perhaps one of the only redeeming features for these guys.

They do offer a 30 day money back guarantee like Express VPN but that is where the similarity ends.

HideMyAss offer many servers but the connection quality is poor. If IPVanish took 10 minutes to stream a short YouTube video then HideMyAss will take 20.

I could barely get any content to work beyond simple text with these guys.

Their customer service takes an age to respond to you as well. It was nearly 24 hours before I got a response when I sent them a simple email enquiry.

Express VPN has a 24/7 live chat feature where you can talk to one of their staff at any time. HideMyAss advertise this but I don’t think it is monitored all day and night.

Conclusion:  The Best VPN for China

I know how much of a culture shock it can be to move to China.  Not only is it a very different place compared to back home, but you don’t have the same freedoms on the internet either.

For people living in China permanently, or even if you are simply visiting for a short period of time, using a VPN is a must.

Express VPN provides the best way in which to get around the censorship and will allow you to access services such as Facebook, blogging platforms, streaming websites and news resources as well.

Benefits of using Express VPN:

  • Reliable customer support, faster than the rest
  • Optimal streaming speeds
  • Hundreds of servers to choose from
  • Best to use when traveling and vacationing in China
  • High level of encryption and protection

For the most reliable and anonymous browsing in China, get Express VPN today.

Bryan is a proud, career U.S. Air Force officer with over 20 years experience in IT, cyber security, and acquisitions.

  1. Reply'
    April 3, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Living in USA, not China, would like to stay in contact with family, social media, and friends in China; especially in Beijing, and want to stay connected to WEIBO.
    Has been using a VPN the past 3 years, lots of problems connecting to China, sometimes able to connect to weibo, sometimes unable, now totally unable to connect to weibo (this occurred after this VPN underwent system-wide infrastructure restructuring).
    Recommended by a friend, contacted another VPN (PureVPN), PureVPN agent said China is not accessible or difficult to access currently by VSP in general, however, PureVPN is doing maintenance on their available servers in China, once is done, will be able to access websites in China.
    What is your suggestion on the BEST VPN for someone living in America, to be able to connect to China, especially connecting to WEIBO ?
    Your posting being of 2016, and ExpressVPN being the best and was blocked in 2016; what is the current status of ExpessVPN, unblocked yet?

    • Reply
      Sacha - Security Expert
      April 4, 2018 at 3:22 am

      ExpessVPN Should work with China, as you probably know, its “The Cat and The Mice” story, as you said “PureVPN is doing maintenance” as well ExpessVPN is doing those “maintenances” when getting blocked by China, what we found is that ExpessVPN respond time to those blockages is incredibly fast in comparison to other VPN companies.
      As well, we are currently working, on a complete review of China VPN with new information that should be done in the next week or so.
      Stay tuned 😊

  2. Reply'
    January 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Is the ExpressVPN still locked in China? If not, what is the speed now? Is it enough for a video call of messenger?

    • Reply'
      April 3, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Contacted ExpressVPN, their agent has confirmed blocking issue with China has been resolved.

    • Reply'
      ST Editor
      January 27, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Thank you for commenting! As far as we can tell, ExpressVPN is now working again in China, and has presented no problems both speed or access-wise. We’ve found that ExpressVPN constantly is among the best performers in our speed tests, and it definitely has enough power to give you a good quality video call on Messenger. We still recommend it as our top VPN for China, but we encourage you to learn more about local regulations and changes in the law in the country to make sure!

  3. Reply'
    May 18, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Express VPN is working fine in china recently I bought ExpressVPN from ReviewsDir to access my favorite social media sites.

  4. Reply'
    May 8, 2017 at 1:24 am

    ExpressVPN is no more working in China. Tried few other VPNs but Astrill is the only VPN working in China. Astrill is offering a special mode know as Stealth which works flawlessly.

  5. Reply'
    Ron Long
    March 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    IpVanish and HMA are no longer working in China. Better try Astrill guys..

  6. Reply'
    September 14, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I’m going to work for a year in China from october.
    If expressvpn is blocked, which one should I use?

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      September 18, 2016 at 5:38 am

      Hey Karjos,

      If ExpressVPN is not working for you, we’d recommend Buffered VPN for most situations.


  7. Reply'
    Marilena Solomontos
    September 8, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Hi there. I am so glad I have found this information. I am heading to Guangdong on Saturday and Iam lost about which VPN I should install. I was thinking that perhaps Purevpn could do the trick. What is your personal opinion on that? Thank you in advance.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      September 18, 2016 at 5:59 am

      Hello Marilena,

      In general we would recommend ExpressVPN or Buffered VPN for most circumstances. PureVPN could work, but we simply don’t have as much confidence in it.


  8. Reply'
    Bit annoying
    September 4, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    ExpressVPN has just been blocked in China. It’s all hit and miss.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      September 7, 2016 at 6:25 am

      That does seem to be the case. It’s currently a back and forth between VPN providers and those who wish to stop VPN users.


  9. Reply'
    Jin W Yong
    May 5, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I will be going to Xi’an, Xining and Lhasa in July. I wonder if ExpressVPN works over there. Has anyone tried it before? Need FB while on holiday. :-p

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      May 9, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Hi Jin,

      Express has some of the best connections to help Chinese clients access content while you are in Xi’an, Xining and Lhasa. I will let anyone comment on this to confirm.

  10. Reply'
    Ronnie Cronoble
    March 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I really assume this website needs way more consideration. I’ll most likely be once more to read far more, thanks for that info.

  11. Reply'
    February 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Hi Lyndon, Thanks for your rely.

    I am in Beijing and I am very pleasantly surprised that Express VPN actually works here! I was told to be able to have a fully refund if ExpressVPN doesn’t work in China. I am using ExpressVPN 5.0 for Mac OS X 10.9 and above.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      February 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Great Sky!

      Yes the 30 day money back Guarantee is great. China can be a challenge when it comes to content blocks.

  12. Reply'
    January 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm


    Thanks for your article on VPNs. I am headed for Beijing next week. I wonder if ExpressVPN would work with MacBookk Pro. PureVPN didn’t work for me last time when I was there.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      February 1, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Hi Sky,

      It definitely will. They have a Mac client which I personally use in the USA when I am working. Enjoy your trip to Beijing!

  13. Reply'
    December 16, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Express VPN is unable to load its own server configuration here in China , how could it be the best one?

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      December 30, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Hey there Charles, thanks for your question.
      ExpressVPN was found to rank the highest based on our testing, factoring in many different areas such as speed, customer service, price, and overall coverage area. All VPN providers have some limitations based on regional laws and restrictions, but when considering all the facts, ExpressVPN comes out on top for me.

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