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Does NordVPN work in China: tested in 2024

NordVPN in China

The Great Firewall of China blocks residents and tourists from accessing a huge swathe of online sites and apps. This strict internet censorship policy blocks popular social media services like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, but it also prevents access to essential information sources, like CNN, Slack, and Wikipedia.

Such limited access to global information and communication is a problem for staying connected with friends and family. It’s an even bigger problem for getting access to unbiased news sources. Fortunately, using a VPN can help you to bypass blocks and browse freely – but not all VPNs work in China.

That’s why I specifically tested 20+ VPN services to confirm which VPNs still work inside the country. Through this, I can confirm that NordVPN works in China in 2024, ensuring uninterrupted access to essential online apps and websites, and simultaneously protecting you from government surveillance and cyber threats.

How to use NordVPN in China

  1. Subscribe to NordVPNnow 72% OFF!
  2. Download the VPN software onto your device and log in.
  3. Connect to an obfuscated server in a country with internet freedom, like the US or UK.
  4. Access apps and sites blocked in China without restrictions!

Get NordVPN for China >

Why should I use NordVPN in China in 2024?

The Chinese government uses a combination of techniques to block websites and track internet activity, all of which is known as the “Great Firewall of China.” DNS spoofing, blocks on specific IP addresses, and packet inspection are just some of the tools they use.

Fortunately, NordVPN can overcome all of these blockades. While connected to the VPN, all of your requests to visit a website, download an app, or access banned information will be routed through a secure, anonymous connection. Since VPNs have their own extended infrastructure, they can even bypass blocks at the DNS level.

Remember, it’s important to get connected and set up your VPN before you’re physically in China, as the government will block access to NordVPN’s website. In case you find yourself in this situation, we’ve provided NordVPN mirror site links further down in this article. These will help if you’re wondering how to use NordVPN in China when you’re already present in the country.

How does NordVPN work in China bypassing the Great Firewall?

When you connect to the internet with NordVPN, it encrypts your connection and thus all of your data. It also changes your IP address to match the country where your VPN server is located, letting you connect to the internet anonymously and bypass geographical internet blocks in China.

Premium VPNs like NordVPN have special features that fight back against such blocks. For example, while VPN users on the same server share an IP address, NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses for greater anonymity. These are isolated to a single user, making it less obvious you’re connected to a VPN.

Other features include double VPN functionality, which routes your internet traffic through two VPN servers to further cloak your activity and IP address, plus:

  • Zero IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks, as determined by my rigorous testing
  • Unbreakable AES-256 encryption
  • Top tunneling protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2/L2TP
  • Onion over VPN
  • A built-in kill switch
  • Free SOCKS5 proxy

Finally, obfuscated servers are one of the major benefits, as they help beat Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). DPI is one of the tools Beijing uses to block VPNs not sanctioned by the authorities. This method is highly effective against OpenVPN – the default protocol used by most VPN tools, including NordVPN.

NordVPN's obfuscated servers on a TCP or UDP protocol

With NordVPN, users in China who can’t access their chosen VPN server can enable an alternative list of Obfuscated Servers. These are based on a modified OpenVPN protocol and are dedicated to connecting from highly restrictive regions. NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers disguise your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic, which tricks the Firewall into treating you as a regular, VPN-less user. They also reduce the risk of the authorities finding out that you’re using a VPN in the first place.

All of these features work together to help you bypass the Great Firewall and remain completely anonymous. What’s more, since NordVPN offers up to 6 simultaneous connections, you can protect all of your devices, or simply safeguard the whole family.

Which blocked apps can you access using NordVPN in China?

Usually, if an app was blocked by the Chinese government when you tried to access it with your normal connection, connecting with NordVPN should resolve the problem. Below, I’ve included a list of the most popular apps that NordVPN can unblock if you’re having issues accessing them in China:

  • ChatGPT
  • Facebook and Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • X (Twitter)
  • WhatsApp
  • Wikipedia
  • BBC News (and other Western news sites)
  • Pinterest
  • Slack
  • Gmail
  • YouTube
  • Reddit
  • Netflix
  • Zoom
  • Twitch
  • Steam
  • LinkedIn

How to use NordVPN in China: detailed guide

The most important advice I can give is to get your VPN set up and connected before you enter China. Since most VPNs are blocked by the government, their websites are inaccessible, so you’ll likely struggle to access and download the files you need.

Here’s a quick guide to setting up NordVPN in the first instance:

  1. Get NordVPN. If you can’t access the website, try this NordVPN mirror site.
    Screenshot of NordVPN's signup page with deals, the best VPN for China
  2. Install NordVPN onto your preferred device for browsing.
  3. Log into the account that you just created.
  4. Enable your kill switch in the settings menu to ensure your true location isn’t leaked if your connection drops out.
  5. Check your VPN protocol in settings – you’ll need to select TCP or UDP. Now, the obfuscated servers will begin showing in your server list.
    NordVPN's obfuscated servers that can bypass the Great Firewall of China
  6. Connect to an obfuscated VPN server in a country with strong internet freedom, like the US.
    NordVPN working in China, connected to a US server
  7. Now, you can access PornHub in Idaho without being blocked.

If you’re already in China and can’t access NordVPN’s website, your best solution is the NordVPN mirror website. Mirror sites are essentially clones of a legitimate website and aren’t always swept up by the government’s blocks.

There are a lot more NordVPN mirror sites available if this one doesn’t work – you can ask their customer support via email ([email protected]). Note that you may have to use a foreign webmail service to contact this email address due to DNS blocking in China.

If you already have an account, but don’t have the app, you could also set NordVPN to work via your OS or the freeware OpenVPN app.

Why don’t all VPNs work in China?

You may have already noticed that not every VPN works in China. This tends to be especially true of free VPN services, though there are other good services that don’t work inside China either. ExpressVPN, for example, has not always been a reliable choice here.

Usually, the biggest issue faced by VPN providers in offering a working service in China comes down to how well that VPN can remain undetected, and this is determined by the level of functionality that the VPN boasts.

We’ve already talked about how NordVPN has advanced features to avoid detection. However, some VPNs lack these features – free VPNs are a good example of this. The companies behind these free services don’t usually have the justification or financial incentive to implement extensive cloaking and security functionality.

This is also why you’re unlikely to find a free VPN that works in China. Fortunately, my preferred VPN service, and one that can still reliably be used within the country, is NordVPN, which has all of the features I mentioned above. It comes with a 7-day free trial and extended 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk. In my opinion, this makes it the best free VPN for China too, even if for a limited time.

Using NordVPN in China: Key takeaways for using NordVPN in China safely

NordVPN is a reliable tool for those who are tired of online censorship in China. Through its large server fleet, I could unblock any website or online service, while at the same time enjoying the anonymity given by its strong security features.

If you’re looking to access banned apps or websites in China, remember my key takeaways:

  • The Great Firewall of China blocks access to a lot of social and information apps
  • A VPN can bypass these blocks, but not all VPNs work in China
  • In my experience, NordVPN is the most reliable VPN that still works in China

Just download and install the NordVPN app before arriving to China. Once there, open the app, sign in, and select a server outside China, preferably in a nearby country. If standard servers fail, enable Obfuscated Servers in the settings to bypass censorship. Connect to an obfuscated server for unrestricted internet access and enhanced privacy.

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Can I use NordVPN in China?

According to my tests, yes, you can currently use NordVPN in China in 2024. I advise that you choose this VPN to avoid disappointment, as many VPNs are currently blocked within the country.

Is Nordvpn legal in China?

Despite the country actively blocking VPN access, using a VPN in China isn’t illegal. Officially, only a specific list of government-approved VPNs are allowed, and these are normally accessed by corporations. Using a non-sanctioned VPN could lead to fines or other penalties, though there are very few documented cases that I could find – especially for tourists.

Can I use NordVPN to access Facebook in China?

Yes, you can use NordVPN to access Facebook in China, as well as any other apps that are blocked by the Great Firewall of China, including Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. Simply connect to a VPN server in another country where the app is not blocked, such as the US or United Kingdom.

How to make NordVPN work when I'm already in China?

If you can’t make NordVPN work by downloading it from the official website, you’ll have to try a mirror site instead. These are clones of NordVPN’s website, which are not usually captured by the government’s blocks. If you have the app but can’t seem to connect to a server, I recommend trying obfuscated servers that can be accessed by changing your VPN protocol, in Settings, to a TCP or UDP connection.

Can I be punished if caught using a VPN in China?

If you’re a Chinese citizen and use a VPN to access a website that China blocks, you could be punished with a jail sentence. For tourists, there’s less information available, other than that officials might make you remove a banned app from your device. From subjective experiences I found on Reddit, the majority of the country uses a VPN to access the internet, and finding and punishing thousands upon thousands of users seems unlikely.

Can I use free VPNs in China?

You’re unlikely to be able to use a free VPN in China because all of the free VPNs I’ve tested were blocked by the Chinese government. If you find one that works, there’s nothing stopping you from trying – but free VPNs typically find it hard to justify the expensive security infrastructure and feature set needed to bypass strict internet blocks. That’s why I recommend sticking to the reliable VPN that works in China, NordVPN.

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  1. Sio July 30, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I’m from china so anyone from other countries doesn’t miss to ask, does vpn works in China? Nowadays people tend to ask does nordvpn work in china?

    Yes, with all the government restrictions we do use vpn to override them. Nordvpn is one of the best vpn’s to help us to access common platforms to interact with others for building our business or learning new course/skill.

    It’s all possible with nordvpn specialty servers for accessing restricted sites, webpages and platforms.

  2. stevie98 July 18, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    I heard news that NordVPN doesn’t work in China, until I was there recently. Does NordVPN work in China? Absolutely. And the information given in this article is pretty much on point.

    1. avatar
      Konrad Strauss Author July 24, 2019 at 8:35 am

      Hi Stevie, thanks for your comment! With this post, we tried to answer the question of whether NordVPN works in China as thoroughly and informatively as possible. It’s one of the few VPNs out there able to reliably bypass the Great Firewall, and the Chinese government’s attempts to block it have all been unsuccessful, so far. 

  3. 98switches May 16, 2019 at 7:32 am

    A lot of my friends who have visited China in the past complained about the Great Firewall. Good that I cam across this article. Now I know what to use when I visit China next year!

  4. ChocolateIan April 29, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Travelling through China soon (no choice of my own, my family is going on holiday there but that place scares me with how horrible they are about privacy and how terrifyingly controlling they are of their people) so I’m glad to know I can keep myself private with NordVPN. I’m still not sure I’ll trust it entirely, but this will help.

  5. 1367Maddox-Parry February 21, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Nord VPN is among the leading VPN helping Chinese to stay a step above the surveillance of the ever vigilante Chinese government. Good enough, the servers are intentionally stationed out of sight to avoid clamp down

  6. MingLai-xxz February 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    I know the Chinese government successfully blocks some VPNs so I’m checking my options for upcoming holiday in China. I’ve heard good things about Nord and plan to try them. Their monthly plan of $11.95 is a little steep so I might use the 1-year $6.99 a month. I like the 30-day money-back guarantee.

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