Hong Kong may not be the biggest VPN market, but now it needs a good service more than ever. With the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and the new law of banning masks in public areas, it seems that China is clamping down on freedoms this region had for decades. Those who want to communicate while staying private are already searching for the best VPN for Hong Kong. The list below gives you the Top 3 VPN providers for Hong Kong in 2019.
Below are the criteria we followed when judging which providers should take the Top 3 spots.
- Security (military-grade encryption, top-notch protocols, kill switch)
- Privacy (jurisdiction, a no-logs policy, no IPv6 and DNS leaks)
- Presence in Asia (number of servers and countries)
- Reliability against firewalls and censorship (stealth protocol)
- Ease of use and customer support (apps for multiple devices, 24/7 live chat)
- Price (pricing plans, free trial, money-back guarantee)
1. NordVPN – best VPN for Hong Kong
The most secure VPN
- Pros: excellent privacy and security, Obfuscated Servers, quite cheap
- Cons: no router app
- Price: starts at $3.49
- VPNpro rating: 9.5
NordVPN is a great choice for Hong Kong. It has excellent security features, starting with military-grade encryption, two types of kill switch, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, leak protection, and more. It’s also the largest VPN network, containing 5,700+ servers in 60 countries, including quite a few in Asia. NordVPN is cheap for a top VPN, starting at $3.49 a month billed every 3 years.
NordVPN is also an awesome VPN service for China because it can bypass the Great Firewall. The Obfuscated Servers feature allows you to avoid Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), and the huge server list makes it hard to block the IP you’re using. Finally, the Double VPN and Onion over VPN features make you getting identified highly unlikely.
NordVPN also allows you to access geo-blocked or otherwise censored sites, such as Netflix, Hulu, and most other streaming platforms. NordVPN has specialized servers for torrenting and offers a free SOCKS5 proxy, making it a prime choice for use with various P2P apps.
The only two drawbacks we could find are the lack of a router app and not that fast connection speeds when compared to other premium VPN services.
NordVPN is cheap and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test it. And should you have any questions, its 24/7 live chat is always ready to help.
2. Surfshark VPN – great for both Hong Kong and China
The cheapest great VPN for Hong Kong in 2019
- Pros: strong encryption, anonymous sign-up and payments, unlimited simultaneous connections, very cheap
- Cons: poor self-help section
- Price: starts at $1.99/month
- VPNpro rating: 9.0
Surfshark VPN is the cheapest on this list and still great VPN option for both Hong Kong and China.
To start with, Surfshark VPN offers military-grade encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, a kill switch, and multi-hop. There’s also a Camouflage mode, somewhat similar to VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol. With it, you should be able to avoid internet censorship even when in China.
This provider is registered in the British Virgin Islands, which means no data retention laws and a chance to provide a no-logs service that Surfshark is willing to take. What Surfshark is surely not logging is the number of simultaneous connections, which means you can easily share one account with your family and friends.
Surfshark allows anonymous account creation and payment, making sure you can leave no trace at all. Each pricing plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, while iOS users can exercise a 7-day free trial.
To conclude, not much can be written about Surfshark’s cons. The only one we’ve found is the weak self-help section on its website. It’s not a big deal, though, unless their 24/7 live chat should go down for a prolonged period.
3. VyprVPN – your main weapon against censorship
One of the deadliest weapons against censorship
- Pros: secure, fast, owns all of its servers, capable against firewalls
- Cons: torrenting is risky
- Price: starts at $5.00/month per month, but users in Hong Kong might want the Premium version (starts at $6.67/month)
- VPNpro rating: 8.3
VyprVPN is a secure VPN solution aimed at use in internet-restricting countries like China. It has AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and an independently audited no logs policy.
VyprVPN price starts at $5.00/month, but users in China and Hong Kong will want the Premium version, which gives the Chameleon protocol. It makes VPN traffic indistinguishable for the DPI. As a result, the downtime suffered in China by VyprVPN users is virtually non-existent.
The Premium subscription also offers the VyprVPN cloud. This is your own dedicated cloud VPN server, which should be almost impossible to block.
VyprVPN is known for bypassing geo-blocking, as well as unblocking Google, Facebook, and any other sites blocked in China. With 700+ company-owned servers in 70+ countries, this service also delivers good speeds across the globe.
The only real drawback that VyprVPN has is their unfavorable stance towards copyright violations, which means that if you’re caught torrenting illegal files, you risk losing your subscription.
Why do you need a VPN in Hong Kong
With the ongoing Hong Kong protests, China is interested in what the locals are thinking and doing more than ever. After all, getting into the phones and laptops of protesters can prove invaluable in restoring the order. To hide from the Chinese government and the ISPs, you have to spoof your IP address, which can be used to identify you and determine your location. Also, you should encrypt all your traffic to avoid any data being intercepted.
A great VPN can do both of those things, protecting your privacy in Hong Kong and keeping you safe online during (and after) the civil unrest. What’s more, the government might decide to block certain social media services or websites in the future (a la The Great Firewall of China), so a VPN can help fight this by making your traffic look like it’s coming from a country where those services are freely available.
Even before the Hong Kong protests, people were arrested for supporting independence from China or merely criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. With the change of political climate in Hong Kong, it would be best to make sure that the government is not monitoring what you think and say, and VPN encrypted traffic is the best way towards privacy.
Are VPNs legal in Hong Kong?
At the moment of writing this article, using a VPN was still legal in Hong Kong, contrary to wearing a gas mask in public. But as the internet freedom has decreased to “partly free” in Hong Kong as per the Freedom House report, residents may expect to see not only some websites but also some services banned, perhaps including VPNs.
Avoid using these VPN services in Hong Kong
After giving some recommendations, it’s time to warn you about using shady VPN services in Hong Kong. The tools below will not only leave you exposed – they will most likely work really slow and getting support will require serious effort.
1. Hola VPN
Hola VPN is one of the most dangerous services, with serious security issues in the past. You will share your bandwidth and IP with other users and will benefit from no encryption, no kill switch, and no leak protection. Your personal data will also be extensively logged.
Even though Hola VPN provides great speeds, possibly due to the lack of encryption, there’s no point in using it if you want to protect your traffic and private data. What’s more, there’s no live chat, and neither of the support options is 24/7.
While Betternet has a better review score on our page than Hola, it still is a terrible VPN, especially for Hong Kong. Not having a kill switch is already a big red flag that Betternet keeps waving. There’s also no leak protection, so using this service won’t make your connection secure.
Betternet is not entirely clear about its logging policies, but they keep the right to share your data, just in case: “Your personal information may be available to a third-party content provider.” Finally, it has servers in only 10 countries, so it wouldn’t be fair to expect decent speeds when you’re one of 38+ million users.
3. Opera VPN
While we have nothing against this alternative web browser, it’s so-called “VPN” is far from a quality service. For starters, it’s not a VPN but a mere proxy that only protects your browser traffic, rather than the whole internet connection.
The worst part is Opera’s ownership, which is Golden Brick Capital, a Chinese consortium, so don’t expect your privacy to be their primary concern. As proof of this, Opera VPN collects your name, email, IP, and location, among other private information. And if you wanted to ask Opera about that, you can do it by email as there’s no live chat and there won’t be anything akin to one anytime soon.
Using a free VPN in Hong Kong
There’s no discussion about the dangers in using Chinese VPN services. But as the examples above show, VPNs from other countries might as well be more like malware than a security tool. That’s especially the case with free VPNs, which usually gain profit by selling user data, displaying targeted ads, or mining cryptocurrencies.