China is known for many things – its beautiful landscapes, historical monuments, rich history, and culture – but it is also known for having the most severe internet censorship laws. When it comes to using the internet in China, you will find that numerous websites and web-based services are censored, and the only way out is through a China VPN of 2017.
The Chinese government goes to great lengths to restrict users from which websites and services they can access, and what content they can post online. All of this is achieved through ‘The Great Firewall of China’ (GFW).
The purpose of GFW is to scan and filter the content is sent and received through Chinese gateways. Therefore, if you post any content related to the protest, hate speech, or could pose a threat to the government, Chinese ideology, and political leaders will be immediately blocked by GFW.
Fortunately, there are tools available at your disposal that can help you bypass these censorship laws. One such tool is a VPN service. With a China VPN by your side, you can access any website within China, protect your privacy from State-sponsored surveillance, and enjoy unlimited internet freedom.
In this post, we will discuss some of the best VPN for China you can use, which features you should look for in selecting a VPN for China, and how they can help to overcome GFW.
5 Best VPN for China
China has been known for blocking numerous web-based services, including VPNs. However, the five best VPN for China listed below work seamlessly within Mainland China, they offer excellent all round performance and will allow you to enjoy the internet to its fullest.
Disclosure: VPNRanks is a professional review website and we may receive compensation from some of the VPN providers that we review. We test different VPN services thoroughly and carefully, and high scores are only given to the best providers after rigorous testing. Our opinions and views are solely our own and we are an independent enterprise.
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ExpressVPN for China5142 votes
- Prices starting from $8.32 per month
- 30 days money back guarantee
- 100+ VPN server locations across 78 countries around the world
- 24/7 Live Chat support
- Offers L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN and SSTP protocols
- No free trial
- No paid trial
ExpressVPN is a provider that has improved its service in China a lot in recent years. With having 97+ servers in 78+ countries, ExpressVPN provides instant access to restricted websites and channels from within China. With the support of robust 256-bit encryption keys and a great mix of tunneling protocols such as L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN (TCP) and SSTP, ExpressVPN keeps a user safe from cyber goons.
ExpressVPN has a ‘zero log policy’ and states that it does not maintain any records containing online activities of its users. This makes ExpressVPN highly reliable and a best VPN for China. It has servers are located in major countries such as US, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and UK. This aids in accessing different blocked services and website from Mainland China.
Similarly, strong data protection, 30-day money back guarantee, 24/7 customer support and affordable plans makes ExpressVPN a reliable VPN for China. In addition, as a Mainland VPN, ExpressVPN accepts Bitcoin as an anonymous payment method. This provides 99.99% anonymity to users who wish to keep their privacy safe.
30 Days Money Back Guarantee
PureVPN for China959 votes
- 500+ VPN in 140 countries (80,000+ IP addresses)
- Multiple Add-ons (Internet Kill Switch, NAT Firewall)
- 7 days money back guarantee
- 24/7/365 Live Chat support
- Zero Log Policy
- 5 Simultaneous Logins
- P2P Optimized Servers
- No Free Trial
- Strict Refund Policy
PureVPN is listed among top Mainland VPN providers. With over 500+ servers in 100+ countries, accessing blocked sites is never a problem with PureVPN. The customer support is exceptional, where the 24/7 live chat support solves even the most complex query in just a matter of time. PureVPN offers highly functional 5 multi-login feature that allows a user to connect to a single VPN account from Smartphone, laptop and desktop at the same time.
With a vast range of servers located in torrent friendly countries including Canada, Mexico, Netherlands and Spain, downloading of torrents and P2P files is safer than ever. To ensure a reliable protection from the GFW, the internet kill switch pauses the network traffic whenever a connection is dropped.
The desktop client provides terrific and mesmerizing experience to users of Windows and Mac OS X. Similarly, the user-friendly interface of iOS and Android app lets you enjoy movies, videos, music and more in blazing fast speed. In addition to this, Split Tunneling, zero activity log policy and robust customer service make PureVPN a best VPN for China.
7-Days Money Back Guarantee
Nord VPN for China2257 votes
- 550+ servers in 49+ countries
- 6 Simultaneous Connection
- Offers 2048 Bit Encryption for Certificate Authentication
- 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
- 24/7 Live Chat Support and Email Ticket Support Offered
- Free Version Available
- No refund for Bitcoin subscribers
Nord VPN is ranked among the list of popular Mainland VPN services which actually works in China. Nord VPN is a preferable VPN provider, with a set of features which qualifies it as an industry standard VPN. Currently, Nord VPN offers 550+ servers distributed across 49+ countries including France, Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, UK, United States and more.
Being a best VPN for China, Nord VPN provides exceptional privacy benefits to Chinese users by offering Static IPs for an additional cost. Moreover, the servers in Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Romania allows a user to download torrents and P2P files without getting caught by copyright trolls.
To assure robust data protection, Nord VPN offers Tor over VPN, which is a higher privacy solution. Similarly, no activity log, 30-day money back guarantee, Bitcoin support and user-friendly apps make Nord VPN a better Mainland VPN than many other providers.
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Ivacy VPN for China2050 votes
- Optimized P2P servers for absolute anonymity for filesharing
- 250+ VPN servers in 100+ locations
- 7-day money back guarantee
- Split Tunneling to save bandwidth
- IPV 6 Leak Protection
- Internet kill switch
- No Live Chat
- No free trial
Ivacy is a Hong Kong based service. It offers decent features for privacy and is right on technical grounds. Unfortunately, if we talk about customer support, user-friendliness, and presentation, Ivacy needs to improve in some grounds. IvacyVPN can overcome such loopholes to enlist among best VPN for China. But inters of users' ease, Ivacy offers great in-house desktop clients for Windows and Mac OS X.
An internet kill switch, DNS leak protection and 250+ servers located in 100+ locations across the world allows a user to bypass the Great Firewall of China while staying anonymous at all times. As a Mainland VPN, Ivacy caters the privacy needs of Chinese users with 5 multi-login, 7-day money back guarantee and zero activity log policy.
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How to Prevent Chinese DNS Servers From Blocking You?
The pesky Firewall of China uses sophisticated methods to block content. One of these methods is through DNS filtering. So, when you look up a website on the internet, you connect to a Chinese DNS server. This is why you can’t access various internet services in China.
Therefore, it is important to use a Mainland VPN service along with changing your DNS server. But, before you go onto change your DNS server, it’s better to check your DNS using various free tools such as https://www.whatsmydns.net/ or dnscheck.pingdom.com. These tools will show you if you’re using a Chinese DNS server.
Once you have you have checked for a Chinese DNS server, it’s time replace the DNS server. There are several ways through which you can do this:
- Use the DNS server provided by your VPN provider
- Use Google Public DNS: 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206
- Use OpenDNS server: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168
China VPN FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are different frequently asked questions (FAQs) about China VPN:
What is a VPN in China?
The internet in China doesn’t work like anywhere else in the world. About 18,000 sites are banned in China including most popular sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and more).
The GFW (Great Firewall of China) blocks any site and BlogSpot that includes pornography, violence, and discussions regarding Chinese Government’s policies. To get around with the restrictions, a VPN China allows Chinese users to access instantly thousands of blocked sites and services that are blocked in China.
A VPN China in first place encrypts the entire network traffic of a user and then makes him anonymous to GFW and cyber police. In this way, the best VPN for China delivers an elite online freedom and 101% protection to Chinese users.
What’s The Difference Between A Proxy And A VPN?
A proxy service uses a server that routes your network traffic through its IP address by masking your actual IP address. A proxy service is therefore, a tool to access blocked sites only.
A VPN on another hand uses a sophisticated mechanism, where it masks an IP address of a user with VPN server located in a foreign country. Afterward, VPN encrypts your entire network traffic with secured tunneling protocols, making your data encrypted and unreadable to ISPs, hackers, spy agencies, and cyber criminals.
So a Mainland VPN in comparison with proxy services, offers premium anonymity, 101% online freedom, reliable online protection and better online experience. Here’s an illustration created by ExpressVPN about VPN vs. Proxy:
I am Moving (or Traveling) to China, Will I need a VPN?
If you enjoy watching videos on YouTube or want to stay in touch with your loved ones through social media websites (Facebook or Twitter), or want to access services offered by Google (Gmail), then ‘yes’ you will need a Mainland VPN service. A China VPN also provides you other benefits such as protecting against cyber threats; DPI conducted by GSW, and also helps in accessing other streaming services from China.
Why do Chinese Authorities Block VPN services?
If Chinese authorities wish, they could block all VPN traffic within China. That said, there has to be a balance that needs to be maintained by the authorities in order to attract foreign business. The main reason why the government blocks China VPN is that these providers target Chinese audience and don’t comply with the data regulations set forth by GSW. Best China VPN services are those that offer alternate routes (or websites) to its users for accessing their service.
How Do I Know Which VPN is Working in China?
To quickly gauge which VPN services are working within China, it is better to inquire their customer support before making a purchase. The best VPN for China will quickly guide you through their signup process, resolve all your VPN-related queries, and provide you with any information that is necessary for making their service work successfully within China.
My VPN is Very Slow in China, How Do I Fix It?
There can be numerous reasons behind your China VPN working slowly. Network congestion due to high traffic load, VPN protocol, multiple downloads working in the background, your system’s firewall, and much more can hinder your VPN’s performance. The best way to fix this is through contacting customer support of a Mainland VPN; you should reach their live chat support representatives (if available) and resolve the problem of slow performance.
What Is The Best VPN Protocol To Use In China?
Protocols play an essential role into evading the censorship measures of GFW. While GFW uses deep packet inspection technique to block PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and SSTP protocols, it makes a majority of Mainland VPN services unable to work in China. Here are some more details about the best torrenting VPNs available.
So Which Protocol to Count On From Within China?
With that said, the best protocol that has proven to bypass the GFW is OpenVPN. With 160 to 256 bit encryption, OpenVPN offers decent security and high-speed connection. However, the only drawback of OpenVPN protocol is unavailability on some mobile platforms such as iOS.
Is Using a VPN Illegal in China?
There are no laws restricting the use of China VPN. Different businesses use VPN services for different purposes to facilitate their employees. However, what you do after connecting to a Mainland VPN is an entirely different story. The Great Firewall of China is very strict in filtering and blocking content that goes against their government, spreads hate speech, or calls for mass protest.
Can I Use The Same China VPN Connection on Multiple Devices?
Yes. Usually VPN providers offer multi-login feature, allowing users to connect multiple devices through a single account. The best China VPN will offer at least 3 or more simultaneous logins, so you can secure your laptop, mobile device, tablet, console, and much more through one account.
Paid vs. Free China VPN service
When it comes to choosing the best VPN for China, there are plenty of free and premium VPN services. While free VPN gives a test drive with minimum protection and security features, a full-featured paid VPN provider takes user’ online security to next level.
That said, a paid VPN service is way better than free version regarding speed, reliability, security, stability and unblocking capabilities. In addition to this, a premium VPN offers a range of servers, ensuring a better online experience to users.
On top, if unblocking sites is that you’re looking for then a free VPN will help. On another hand, a paid best VPN for China will ensure top-notch online protection, high-speed streaming, uninterrupted connection and 100% evasion from the GFW (Great Firewall of China).
Should I Use a Free VPN for China?
For starters, it is very difficult to find a VPN service that is available for free and works in China. Free VPN services are known to have numerous issues and do not provide the same quality of service when compared to premium China VPN services. Free VPNs don’t offer great online security, unlimited servers of your choice, and tend to be slower than paid VPN services. Therefore, we would advise you to use a premium VPN services instead of a free VPN service for China.
Which Payment Method Should I Use to Purchase China VPN?
There are many payment methods that you can use to purchase your preferred China VPN. If privacy is your top concern then you should look for Bitcoin as a payment method. Bitcoin allows you to make payments anonymously as you don’t have to provide any personal details or credit card information.
How can I Access Facebook in China?
Facebook needs no formal introduction and stands as world’s top social networking site. With having over 1.71 billion active monthly users, Facebook is used in almost every part of the world except China.
The government of China has put similar restrictions on Facebook, as it imposed on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. To get around with the restrictions, Chinese residents find Mainland VPN China a perfect option to bypass the Great Firewall and access Facebook instantly along with every other blocked site safely from within China.
Is SNAPCHAT Available in China? How Can I Access SNAPCHAT in China?
The most popular media sharing app and social network “Snapchat” is unfortunately blocked in China. If you want to access it safely from within China, refer to our easy step-by-step guide to instantly Unblock Snapchat in China.
Having over 100 million daily active users and 7 billion video views per day, Snapchat stands among top social networking apps in the world. However, strict censorship regimes and the Great Firewall of China don’t allow users to access the app within Chinese territories.
What If I Want To Watch Youku From Outside China?
With having over 800 million video views per day, Youku stands as China’s largest video hosting service. Based in Beijing, Youku offers an enormous of media library with popular movies, TV series, arts, music, hit videos, entertainment, news and more media. However, due to content licensing agreement, the traditional on-demand media service is blocked outside of China.
This leaves Youku’s fans unable to access the entertainment service from outside of China. Considering the blockage, the best VPN for China will allow users to access Youku from anywhere in the world instantly. This makes Chinese VPN service a perfect solution to unblock Youku from outside China.
How Does The Great Firewall of China Work
The Great Firewall of China is a menace when it comes to using the internet freely. It’s main purpose is to monitor – quite literally – the internet traffic that goes in and out of the country.Here is a short video about GFW and how it works:
GFW does this by using sophisticated technologies to block any content that can be deemed dangerous to the Chinese citizens. Some of these technologies includes: Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), packet filtering, DNS blockages, URL filtering, keyword filtering, resetting connections, and IP address blocking.
DNS Filtering & Blocking
When you enter a website (URL) in your browser, your computer contacts a DNS server and looks up an IP address. If the DNS is instructed not to give an address, you won’t be able to reach the website and probably see the message, ‘Site not found’.
Deep Packet Inspection
GFW inspects unencrypted data packet and looks for sensitive keywords in those packets. If the keywords are blacklisted, the content is then blocked or restricted for the user.
IP Address Blockages
There are numerous IP addresses blocked or forbidden by The Great Firewall in order to stop users from accessing different websites. For instance, GFW can block IP addresses of Facebook and prevent users from accessing the service from within China.
Some URLs are also blacklisted by Chinese government and blocked from being accessed. In certain cases, some websites are accessible but few pages within the website are blocked or filtered out.
GFW also blocks communication between the user’s computer and the blocked website for a certain period of time. This is done by resetting the connection between the two systems, restricting either one of them from communicating with each other.
In addition to using these tools, the web traffic in China passes through very limited gateways: six in total. This way, the Internet Police inspects, filters, and blocks content. According to ‘Reporters without Borders’, China is considered as the world’s largest prison for the Netizens.
If the reports are to be believed, China has more than 2 million people in its Internet Police force. The internet police force works more to censor the content that doesn’t seem to adhere to its policies rather than minimize cybercrime threats. One of the ways for protecting your privacy and accessing the entire internet is through the use of China VPN.
What to look for in the Best VPN for China?
Now that you know about the benefits of using a VPN service in China, there’re some aspects to consider before settling up with a best VPN for China. Here’s what you should look for in a Chinese VPN service:
Pricing plans of a VPN service hold significant importance. If you’re making your trip to China for a short duration like a month or so, then a VPN with monthly plan will be suitable for you. In addition to this, many services have varied offerings in specific plans, meaning simultaneous connections, encryption protocols, data limit may differ in a monthly and yearly plan.
Considering the situation. We suggest you to carefully examine the packages & plans of a service before making payment.
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As a matter of fact, some VPN works better in specific areas but may not even connect in other regions. This is because of Great Firewall which is more intense in big cities like Shanghai.
To get around with the issue, we advise you select a VPN with money back guarantee, so you can claim a refund if the service doesn’t work in your area. Currently, PureVPN and ExpressVPN are among the providers who offer money back guarantee.
Customer support is the first source of assistance that a subscriber seeks at times of query. We suggest users choose a service with a range of support channels, including FAQs, email ticketing, and live chat tech support. Moreover, we recommend users to test the support system of a VPN service, enquire them about service features and check if gives a prompt response.
How to Enhance The Use of China VPN
The Great Firewall of China might look mighty and formidable, but there are many vague areas in its implementation. This raises various questions about GFW as different websites and web based services work in certain provinces but not in others. Similarly, the blockages are also inconsistent throughout China as some websites are not entirely blocked while others (which don’t seem antagonizing at all) are completely blocked.
This is where a VPN for China comes into play. Unfortunately, choosing the right China VPN service can be very tricky as numerous services are blocked in Mainland China. The government uses the abovementioned sophisticated technologies and along with other tools to block such VPNs in China. Therefore, to enhance the use of your VPN and to select the correct service, here are some factors you should consider:
OpenVPN Protocol with TCP Port 443
When you are looking for the best VPN for China, you should look for OpenVPN protocol along with TCP Port 443. This is because when you use OpenVPN with TCP Port 443, it looks like your internet traffic is regular HTTPS traffic.
The reason why this is beneficial is that HTTPS is the backbone of all security protocols on the internet and blocking HTTPS means breaking the internet. Many websites use HTTPS as the standard protocol for protecting and securing their user’s communications.
So it’s essential to select a China VPN that offers OpenVPN protocol and TCP Port 443. And, even if the provider does not support TCP Port 443, it is often supported at server level. You can easily edit the OpenVPN configuration files (.ovpn) and use TCP Port 443. To better understand if your VPN service offers this protocol and supports this port, we recommend that you contact their support staff and find out more details.
Number of Protocols Offered
Although we have emphasized on using OpenVPN protocol on TCP Port 443 but it’s worth having a look at other protocols. Since GFW has been busy blocking and banning different VPN services, you should choose a service that offers multiple protocols such as PPTP, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2.
SSTP is another useful protocol as it also uses TCP Port 443. However, do note that SSTP is not offered by many providers and can also be available on limited servers.
Number of servers are very important when it comes to choosing a VPN. This is certainly the case with using a VPN in China. There are different providers that also offer ‘Stealth’ servers located in regions free from the clutches of Great Firewall.
Some of these server locations include Hong Kong and they use a technology incorporated by Tor to hide its nodes. This hides your VPN connection by concealing it in SSH or SSL tunnel. Using these stealth servers, users privacy is highly secured and protects them from GFW content filtration and monitoring.
Encryption Levels Offered
Encryption also plays an important role when it comes to boosting your VPN performance in China. There are different encryption keys offered by various providers. But, the best VPN for China should offer AES 256 bit encryption level. This is the highest and the strongest encryption level offered today.
Encryption is highly important for securing your privacy from GFW’s Deep Packet Inspection. It encrypts the contents of your web traffic into alphanumeric characters; making them unreadable to anyone. So when Internet Police inspects your data packets, all they will see are jumbled characters.
Are There Any VPN Servers In China?
A majority of Chinese VPN services offer unblocking feature from within China only, but what about the Chinese expats resided in foreign countries, who want to access local Chinese services like Tudou, Youku, and Renren from abroad? Surprisingly, few providers offer servers in Chinese territories including Shanghai, Beijing, Hubei, Guizhou, Shandong, Guangdong and more regions.
For users ease, we have listed providers who offer servers in China and allows Chinese expats to access traditional Chinese services from abroad. The list includes:
Popular Websites & Social Networks Banned in China
If you are in China, chances are you won’t get access to Google and every other service associated with it. If you think that’s enough, then wait, because it only gets worse. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, BlogSpot, LINE, WordPress, and SoundCloud, etc. are a few to name that are blocked by the Chinese authorities in Mainland China.
To access these websites, you will have to install a VPN for China in your laptops and PCs. The China VPNs will cloak your IP address and will hide you behind one of its IP addresses. If you are located in China and want to stream all the services, we recommend you to either connect to the UK or US server.
On the contrary, there are services that only work in China. Chinese expats will have difficulty in accessing streaming services such as Youku and Tudou outside China. This is where a VPN with servers located in Mainland China will help you out.
China has the world’s most strongest internet censorship program and nothing like you have ever seen. It employs numerous people in its Internet Police force and censors the internet to an unbelievable level. From multiple websites to web hosting services, streaming providers, VPNs, and anything containing blacklisted keywords will be filtered and blocked by the Great Firewall of China.
To overcome the perils of GFW, a China VPN is required. The providers that we mentioned earlier are working well for Chinese users. Their comprehensive server spread along with great performance will allow you to enjoy the internet in China to the fullest.
Do note that we are not based in China and most of our reports come from our readers. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but with the complexities of the Great Firewall and its inconsistent deployment, user experience might differ. If that’s the case, do share your experience with us and help improve our reporting for the best VPN for China.