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. China actively blocks many social networking sites, streaming services, news resources and blogs, and even monitors users’ online usage. You can get around these content restrictions by using a VPN. A VPN will also enhance your privacy to stop the Chinese government snooping on your activity.
Why Don’t I Have Web Access in Beijing?
When it comes to the internet, China is one of the most restrictive countries in the world. Its government likes to keep an eye on what content is being accessed and they also block many everyday websites such as news resources, blogs and social media networks.
For people living in, or visiting, Beijing it can be difficult to access certain information.
Why Use A VPN In Beijing
Because China blocks access to certain content in Beijing you need to find a way around this and a VPN provides the solution.
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. When you connect to the internet through a VPN, you are encrypting the data that you use online and also using a new IP address. You simply choose a server that is located in another country through the VPN. When you go to access a website that is usually blocked in Beijing, the site instead thinks that you are visiting it from the country where the server is hosted. For example, Facebook is blocked in Beijing and if you try to access it with a Chinese IP address you will see an error message. But, connect to the internet through your VPN, and select a server located in the United States, you can then get full access to this social networking platform.
The VPN also encrypts your data so that if anyone did try and spy on your activity then they will only see scrambled information that can’t be traced to you. Using a VPN massively increases your privacy and it is a necessary piece of software if you use the internet in Beijing.
Censorship in China – Update
In June 2017, news that the Chinese government had ordered its three biggest internet providers to ban all VPNs by February 2018 sent shockwaves through the webosphere. Although China’s internet censorship is already well known, Chinese citizens, tourists, and businesses were able to circumvent them using a VPN.
Over the years, some VPNs have been suspended. Romanian VPN, CyberGhost was removed from the Chinese iOS app store, and in May, a Chinese VPN was forced to shut down. But, the government has always permitted businesses to use a VPN for its internet usage and hotels catering to foreign tourists to offer VPN-protected Wi-Fi to their guests. This announcement has escalated China’s censorship to a new level. It comes in the middle of a 14-month ‘internet cleanup’ announced by President Xi Jinping as part of his push to secure ‘internet sovereignty.’
Confusingly, a month later, China added a ‘clarification’ that it would only be banning ‘some’ VPNs which don’t have the necessary ‘permissions.’ The statement said that the majority of users would be able to continue using them. It was probably meant to reassure businesses and tourists, but it’s only caused more uncertainty. Despite this ‘clarification,’ the future of VPNs in China is in doubt.
We’ve tested VPN services to see which provider supports streaming and isn’t blocked in Beijing. Here are the best VPN services for Beijing in 2018.
Top 3 VPNs For Beijing
The best VPN to use for getting around the content barriers in Beijing, while also ensuring that your connection is encrypted is, ExpressVPN.
Some programs can be complicated with many different options and settings. The software that comes with Express VPN is very easy to use, even if you are a total novice when it comes to VPNs.
Express VPN however, realizes that most people simply want a quick connection to a secure server and this is what they offer.
By using Express VPN, you also get regular software updates that are necessary for using a VPN in Beijing.
The Chinese government are always trying to block VPN usage. However, Express VPN stay one step ahead and ensures that their servers and IP addresses are available all the time for their users.
You can always be assured of finding an available server that works in Beijing with these guys.
If you do find that there is a problem with Express VPN in Beijing then you can contact their customer support who resolves most issues in under an hour.
They are really helpful and will take you through every step necessary to get the problem fixed, which is great if you are new to using a VPN.
By using Express VPN, you can get around any content restrictions, you also benefit from an easy to use program, and a high level of encryption to stop anyone spying or tracking your internet activity.
For the most private connection to get you around The Great Firewall in Beijing, we recommend ExpressVPN.
12 Months + 3 Months FREE
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.
SaferVPN is available in China and claims that it works to unblock every website, but I found that it didn’t always work.
When SaferVPN does unblock websites in China, it’s not very fast. Some of the servers are simply slow. HD streaming takes a pretty long time and you can’t do any P2P sharing or torrenting on any of SaferVPN’s servers.
It’s true that it’s a really safe VPN, so you won’t need to worry about the government monitoring your internet use or hackers grabbing your details. It has 256-bit encryption, zero logs, and a kill switch to keep you safe in China but ExpressVPN does that AND gives you fast internet, as well.
So, SaferVPN does keep your details protected online in China, but it’s just not fast or powerful enough. Use ExpressVPN instead.
SaferVPN has a free trial for just 24 hours and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Conclusion: Best VPN For Beijing
It can be a culture shock if you travel to Beijing given how restrictive the internet is and you want to access websites like social networking, streaming sites such as Netflix and news resources.
Using a VPN ensures that you can get around all these restrictions and instead have full access the internet while protecting your privacy.
If you use Express VPN to do this you will receive:
- Regularly updated software that is one step ahead of Chinese censorship so you can view blocked content in Beijing
- Easy to use program that even first time VPN users can operate
- Variety of servers located around the world with reliable connections
- Helpful customer service team who get back to you in minutes