Last update: 12.18.2018
Imagine not being able to check your newsfeed on Facebook or watch your favorite videos on YouTube. That’s the reality for those in China who are not using the right VPN.
Are you planning a trip abroad for business or fun? If your choice of destination is China, then you should understand that internet access is restricted there by the so-called Great Firewall, which blocks users from visiting unauthorized sites or using unauthorized VPN services.
China has banned some of the world’s most famous sites, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google. However, you should not be discouraged if you have plans to visit this country. There are VPN services that can still bypass the Great Firewall and grant you online freedom.
The restrictions of the Great Firewall
The Chinese censorship system is the most advanced in the world. It is often referred to as the Great Firewall of China. Censorship is enforced by the government through the hands of technology and telecommunications companies.
The restricted content is mostly the kind that promotes anti-government or other ideas that the Chinese government disapproves of. This also includes user-generated content on social media. According to the Chinese government, internet censorship is a way to maintain social order and national security. However, the promoters of internet freedom and human rights argue that the Great Firewall does nothing but violate freedom of speech and freedom of information. It also stifles innovation, which in turn has a negative impact on China’s economy. Regardless of the opposition, it doesn’t seem like the Great Firewall is going anywhere in the near future.
Internet censorship and the scale of the inconvenience and harm they create are why there is a huge array of VPN services. VPNs give internet users access to servers other than their own when browsing online. These servers are located around the world. It creates a pathway between your computer and the one you are using to hide your identity online.
Companies mostly use it to securely access their sensitive data. Private citizens use it for several different reasons, such as to exercise freedom of speech, stream content that is only available in certain countries (like Netflix content, for example),and get around various other restrictions. In this article, we will take a look at the best VPNs to use in China, and explain their main properties, such as speed, security, price, and how these work with some of the popular streaming services.
Not every VPN can be the best VPN for China
Not all VPNs work in China and some of those that work might be too slow or not secure enough.
Speed, the range of servers, and reliability are important qualities to consider when deciding which of the VPNs offered is the best to use in China. The size and the age of the VPN may also determine whether it is good for use there. The newer the service, the less likely it is to be detected and banned in China. This doesn’t count if the VPN has an ever-growing server list and special stealth protocols.
Furthermore, these factors and more is something that you should take into consideration before your trip, since it may be difficult to access VPN websites from inside China.
Best VPNs for China
The assumption on the street would be that any VPN that works anywhere else should work in China. This is incorrect. China has been censoring the media for decades; the internet is just another outlet to censor. The sheer level of aggression with which China deals with threats is unmatched anywhere in the world.
China is an elite opponent — many VPN providers will simply not cut it in China. Any provider looking East must be armed with the resources needed to let people enjoy free online access.
- 1 month – $11.95
- 1 year – $83.88 ($6.99/month)
- 2 years – $95.75 ($3.99/month)
- 3 years – $107.55 ($2.99/month)
NordVPN believes that everyone has the right to access all sites regardless of the country’s restrictions. It has been able to deliver on this vision, which is why users give NordVPN a five-star rating.
This tool is among the best in the world. It is a multi-purpose, cost-effective VPN, making it very popular. However, in the end, the ultimate goal of any VPN is to guard users from prying eyes.
NordVPN ensures that the data you send flows through secure tunnels. As a result, it will remain safe. This VPN gives users a service called “Onion over VPN,” increasing the security of the service by fortifying it using the Tor network.
In short, NordVPN is the most secure among premium VPNs on the market. It offers a 2048-bit handshake and 256-bit encryption. The service comes with a number of protocols for security, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and SSTP. Perhaps more importantly for users in China, NordVPN offers a stealth protocol to bypass the Great Firewall (which it calls “Obfuscated Servers”).
There is also a kill switch to disconnect you if the VPN falters, P2P servers for torrenting, and many other essential security needs. Even though Double VPN lowers the speed of any VPN, we can say that NordVPN manages to stay within the realm of reason. It has one of the best speeds available in the market today thanks to the huge server list of 5,000+ servers in 62 countries around the world.
NordVPN is also compatible with multiple devices. It offers support for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. With just a single account, you can simultaneously connect up to six devices.
- 1 month – Standard $9.95/Premium $12.95
- 1 year – Standard $60.00 ($5.00/month)/Premium $80.00 ($6.67/month)
VyprVPN is a popular VPN service and one of the most reliable. It offers the required security to defeat the robust Chinese VPN blocking machine. It is also one of the fastest VPNs on the market today. VyperVPN offers two subscription plans. The Standard plan gives you three simultaneous connections per month. The Premium plan allows five. If you’re unhappy with the service, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN’s technical team is always up to the task of ensuring that they maintain strong customer privacy online. This VPN offers a particular protocol known as the Chameleon VPN to its Premium users that bypasses any Chinese restrictions. This enables users to avoid being detected and blocked by the Great Firewall. VyprVPN provides a reliable 24/7 customer support line. This helps you avoid any usage issues.
- 1 month – $12.95
- 6 months – $59.95 ($9.99/month)
- 1 year – $99.95 ($8.32/month)
We call ExpressVPN the “Mercedes of VPNs” since it’s powerful but also costly. ExpressVPN has been one of the market frontrunners for quite some time. It offers robust security, excellent speed, and reliable performance. ExpressVPN is also easy to install and use thanks to the detailed user guides. This service offers a unique customer care system, which gives you 24/7 support. ExpressVPN uses AES-256-CBC data encryption and also a very secure 4096-bit RSA handshake. ExpressVPN provides a network with zero-knowledge DNS servers to eliminate any issue with DNS leaks.
ExpressVPN is fast in comparison to most VPNs on the market today. It has over 2,000 servers across the globe. The VPN covers even remote regions of Africa where internet infrastructure is scarce. ExpressVPN has a lot of servers, most of them in mainland China and other neighboring areas, such as Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Japan. You will also have an opportunity to access sites like Netflix from anywhere in China or other restricted countries.
ExpressVPN is compatible with different operating systems. Even if you are not a Windows user, you can get the Express VPN app on Linux, Mac, or even Android devices. Express VPN has a simple installation procedure and also a helpful user support area that includes instruction manuals. There is a 24/7 live chat function to help you with any query or technical problem. ExpressVPN supports a wide variety of virtual payment methods, such as PayPal, Bitcoin, Yandex Money and many more.
4. Astrill VPN
- 1 month – $15.90
- 6 months – $69.90 ($11.65/month)
- 1 year – $99.90 ($8.33/month)
Astrill VPN is a Seychelles-based anonymity service and one of the very best for use in Asia (including China). Although the overall size of Astrill’s network is not very impressive (327 servers in 65 countries), the VPN has a big presence in Asia, making its speeds on the continent particularly good.
Performance aside, Astrill VPN has great security features, including a big selection of tunneling protocols, a kill switch, and multi-hop. Astrill uses unassailable AES-256 encryption and has no leaks to speak of.
Additionally, the VPN offers not one but two stealth protocols to bypass the VPN-blocking measures of the Great Firewall of China.
- 1 month – $5.48
- 3 months – $11.25 ($3.75/month)
- 3 years – $72.00 ($2.00/month)
PrivateVPN is one of the better VPNs on the market. This VPN’s privacy practices are top-notch and it offers a whole host of other services. PrivateVPN was created in Sweden which is a country known for its attention to security and online privacy measures. PrivateVPN adheres to a strict no-logging policy — none of the online activity of their customers is ever tracked or recorded. According to the VPN, even if they were under pressure from their country’s authorities to release certain information, they wouldn’t have that information in the first place.
Through their solid features, PrivateVPN is able to provide high levels of internet security and privacy. Those visiting China will appreciate the recently-introduced stealth protocol as well. PrivateVPN is also one of the best streaming VPNs that can get you access to geo-blocked media on platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
PrivateVPN has more than 100 servers spread throughout 56 countries. Compared to many other VPNs such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and others, this is a relatively small fleet of servers. Thankfully, however, this fact does not seem to compromise its connection speeds. PrivateVPN has clients who use different platforms, such as Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. With PrivateVPN, you can connect to as many as six different devices with a single license.
- 1 month – $12.99
- 6 months – $47.94 ($7.99/month)
- 1 year – $63.00 ($5.25/month)
- 18 months – $63.00 ($3.50/month) (SPECIAL OFFER)
Let’s forget about the past of CyberGhost where people knew it as an unreliable VPN. Instead, let’s focus on its new reputation: this VPN has a significant number of similarities with ExpressVPN and NordVPN. CyberGhost is a product of Romania where privacy is still an important consideration.
As you plan your trip to China, CyberGhost VPN should definitely be an option to consider. This is a comprehensive anonymity solution that will serve you both during your China trip and after. The encryption is solid and there are no DNS/IP leaks to be found. CyberGhost VPN has an in-built kill switch, which will stop all traffic if your VPN connection drops.
The only negative is that CyberGhost doesn’t have a stealth protocol and is not the cheapest service on this list.
Final thoughts on the best VPN for China
We have reviewed various VPNs and analyzed their strengths in detail. We have discussed many different VPNs and the attributes that make them suitable for China. Our main assumption is that if a VPN works in China, it will also work in other countries where access to some sites is restricted. The VPNs we recommend have the best attributes for such situations, such as speed, compatibility with different platforms, streaming/torrenting capabilities, and reliability. Any of these VPNs will shield your online work and give you the same freedom to access online services as you have in your own country. Whether you live in China or you’re just visiting, your online life will be enhanced by using one of these VPNs. Choose one that suits your specific needs, depending on your budget and the package you want. Make your purchase today and enjoy a safe and secure online experience while in China.