If you come across a website in China that is blocked by its online censorship system ‘The Great Firewall’, it means you need the working VPN for China to access these websites. Most VPNs don’t work in China, but the ones that do, are extremely slow.
To find out which VPN still works in China, we tested a total of 23 VPNs to see if they bypass China’s Firewall restrictions. I have also shared the full Methodology later in this article.
IMPORTANT: Even though the VPN apps I have listed in this guide works in China, but their websites are blocked in the region. It is best to sign-up with these VPNs before you visit China.
We found the 5 best VPNs for China that happened to bypass all kinds of restrictions and are fast enough to stream HD content.
5 Best VPN Services for China
Here is a rundown of the five best VPNs that still work in China and why:
- PureVPN – Overall best VPN for China that is fast and works with US Netflix
- Ivacy – Currently working in China and offers good value for money
- Surfshark – Extremely affordable Chinese VPN with unlimited device connections
- ExpressVPN – Expensive service but works in China
- NordVPN – Obfuscated servers that unblock all websites in China
1. PureVPN – Overall Best VPN China
PureVPN is my top choice to use in China since it is based in Hong Kong. I have also researched that PureVPN doesn’t any logs of its users in any way. The service offers 12 servers in two main cities of China such as Beijing and Shanghai.
But remember, its Shanghai server is a virtual one and routes through Hong Kong. I recommend you to use the Beijing server to access Chinese local content completely.
For people living in China, you can access 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries. This way, you can access your favorite media streaming services like US Netflix and others while living in China.
Similarly, you can access local Chinese social sites such as Sina Weibo or Douban with the help of its servers located in China. Besides, you can use its port forwarding feature to transfer your traffic through port 443. Due to its low-cost pricing plans, it is the cheapest VPN for China so far.
For more information, check out our exclusive PureVPN review.
How to Use PureVPN in China
To use PureVPN app in China, just follow the steps below:
- Go to PureVPN website and sign up for its subscription
- Download and Install the PureVPN for your preferred device
- Enter Username and Password
- Click on Change Mode and select Internet Freedom to make it work in China
- Now connect to a US server or any other server that are outside of China
- Enjoy browsing any website
2. Ivacy – Best Value for Money in China
Ivacy is based in Singapore that manages to unblock any website from China whether it be Facebook, WhatsApp, or any social media app with its 1,000 servers. It also offers two servers in Beijing and Shanghai specifically.
What makes this VPN stand out from other services is its extremely-low price that is available for only $2.25/mo with a 30-days refund policy. On the contrary, Ivacy unblocks US Netflix and other international video streaming services.
Ivacy has a separate ‘Unblocking’ tab in its app from where you will access websites from China. It is fast and secure, which are the really to things that really matter in China.
How to Use Ivacy in China
To download Ivacy VPN app on your device, just follow the steps below:
- Subscribe to Ivacy and download its app on your device
- Enter Username and Password
- On the right-side menu click on Unblock
- Many servers will appear, click on any server and start browsing the internet
3. Surfshark – Affordable VPN that bypasses Great Firewall
Surfshark is the fastest and yet the most affordable VPN with the ability to get around China’s Great Firewall quite easily. If you’re planning to visit China, then it is probably the safest VPN option to use in the Mainland.
Surfshark turns out to be an interesting option if you want to watch your favorite foreign TV shows or movies with the help of 1,000+ servers in 60+ countries worldwide. Its also one of the fastest VPN service in the industry.
Besides, the service mainly hails from user-friendly jurisdiction that is British Virgin Island like ExpressVPN. It means Chinese authorities cannot access to its users’ data due to its excellent no-logs feature.
It is one of the few VPNs that offer the Chinese Mirror Website in case you are unable to access the Surfshark official website.
For more information, check out our exclusive Surfshark review.
How to Use Surfshark in China
To download Surfsahrk app on your device, just follow the steps below:
- Subscribe from Surfshark website and download its app for your device
- Run Installation
- Enter Username and Password
- Connect to any server outside of China
- Enjoy browsing websites and streaming!
4. ExpressVPN – Fastest and Secure Chinese VPN
After testing ExpressVPN personally, I found this VPN fast and secure. You can access American Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and other streaming services that are currently blocked in China.
With ExpressVPN, you can access international servers from the list of 3000+ servers to watch any foreign content of your choice. It follows a no-logging policy and encrypts your internet traffic with 256-bit encryption.
Although it comes at n expensive price of $8.32/mo with a 30-days refund policy. It also offers a 7-days free trial on Android and iPhone as well.
As of now, you cannot access its official site in china but you may open the ExpressVPN mirror site without using a VPN connection in the country.
For more information, check out our exclusive ExpressVPN review.
How to Use ExpressVPN in China
To download the ExpressVPN app on your device, just follow the steps below:
- Subscribe to ExpressVPN if you haven’t already
- Download and Install ExpressVPN app on your device
- Enter the Activation Code (You will find it on Accounts Page)
- You can connect to servers designated to Chinese users (not all servers work from China)
- Once connected, a green icon will appear on the app interface
- Enjoy browsing websites
5. NordVPN – Super-secure with obfuscated servers
This Panama based provider is also our top recommendation when using best VPN in China. It is one of the few VPN service that offers obfuscated servers. These servers help bypass restrictions in China, Russia, and the UAE.
The service does not store users’ log and provides a comprehensive list of tunneling protocols to its Chinese users. Besides, you may experience its double VPN encryption that encrypts your data not once but twice.
NordVPN offers 5,500+ servers globally that allows you to access US Netflix, Hulu or other international media services while residing in China.
For more information, check out our exclusive NordVPN review.
How to Use NordVPN in China
To download NordVPN app on your device, just follow the steps below:
- Sign Up with NordVPN and subscribe to its service
- Download the NordVPN app and run installation
- Enter Username and Password
- Go to the Settings menu at the top
- Select the Advanced tab and Turn ON on Obfuscated Servers
- Go the main NordVPN app and select Obfuscated Servers
- It will connect to a US server automatically
Note: The Chinese government constantly cracks down on VPN services. To avoid any issues while you are in China, it is better to download from the link I have provided above and set up your VPN apps before you enter Chinese jurisdiction.
23 VPNs Tested in China (Methodology)
Our VPNRanks Chinese representator ‘Weili Wong’ tested 23 VPNs on her laptop using Windows. These VPN apps were already downloaded before she visited China. The task in hand was to know if these VPNs work in the Mainland and were able to unblock YouTube, US Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
There were mixed results. From a total of 23 VPNs, only 8 of them were working in China, but only 5 of them were fast enough to stream in HD. Here is a look at the table below:
|VPNs that we tested||Status|
|VyprVPN||Working (but too slow)|
|ShadeYou VPN||Not Working|
|VPNOne Click||Not Working|
|ZPN Connect||Not Working|
|CyberGhost VPN||Not Working|
|Private Internet Access||Working (but too slow)|
|Windscribe||Working (but too slow)|
|Avast SecureLine VPN||Not Working|
Best VPN for China Reddit
According to the Reddit community, let’s hear which is the best VPN to use in China by reading their posts and comments.
ExpressVPN, Astrill VPN, and NordVPN are famous according to Redditors when it comes to unblocking websites in China. One user confirmed that not many VPNs work in China, but 5 of them happens to work quite well:
One Reddit user recommended Astrill VPN since he had no problems while using it in China but was super annoyed by using ExpressVPN.
To connect the best VPN working in China, you will need to try a few times before it really does connect. This user tried using a local sim card and then connected to ExpressVPN and it worked.
ExpressVPN did work for this user in China, but he also pointed out that there are some official events where VPNs get disturbed badly.
Criteria to Select Best Working VPN for China
Considering the implications of the Great Firewall, I have selected some of the best VPN apps for 2020 you can use in or outside China based on the criteria I have mentioned below:
- Obfuscated servers
- Port forwarding (to transfer your traffic on port 443)
- Wide range of list of tunneling protocols
- Internet Kill Switch
- Keeps no logs
- Servers across the globe including China
- Can be downloaded while being in China
Also when you connect to a Chinese server via China VPN, you can change your IP with an encrypted connection, enabling you to bypass the Great Firewall restrictions.
How do China Blocks VPNs with the Great Firewall
A handful of VPN providers work in China. The reason is the ‘Great Firewall’. This infamous Great Firewall uses many methods to block VPN services. These include:
- IP Blocking: The Great Firewall blocks several IP addresses to stop users from accessing websites like Facebook, YouTube and so on.
- DNS Filtering: Upon writing a website (URL) in your browser, your devices contact DNS servers and check IP addresses. In case DNS is not allowed to provide an address, you cannot access the website.
- Deep Packet Inspection: GFW inspects an 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.
- URL filtering: The Chinese government has blacklisted different URLs. Therefore, you may not be able to access certain pages within the websites.
How to Unblock Websites in China other than VPNs
If you’re not into VPNs, we can recommend other solutions to unblock websites from China:
- ShadowSOCKS: It is a proxy application that works in China but offers awful speed. Read more about ShadowSOCKS.
- Lantern or Urban: These are actually peer-to-peer VPNs that use network resources of their users’ to unblock the internet. This is a bit risky as your system becomes part of helping people unblocking websites. So, your IP address will be available to the public.
- Tor: This is also a good alternative for VPNs but their encryption is easily detectable by China’s Firewall, so use it at your own risk.
VPN to China: Know this about before your travel to China
Even the VPNs that were working in the past are no longer working in China. Only a handful of VPNs tend to work in the country. It has also removed VPN apps from the iTunes Store that were unauthorized.
Therefore, there is one thing that you should know before traveling to China is to install a VPN on your laptop or mobile device. Otherwise, you won’t be able to open VPN websites since they are blocked in the country.
You need to take China’s internet laws seriously. If you wait out and think that you’ll be able to install it when you visit China, then you’re wrong.
Best Free China VPNs
Not all free VPNs work in China. The reason is, they do not have strong encryption that could bypass China’s Great Firewall. It took us a lot of time in compiling a list of free VPN China that works:
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, VPNs are still legal in China. Even though the Chinese government has blocked VPNs, but there is no official ban. Chinese authorities started clamping down on VPNs in 2017 until March 2018.
China has only blocked unauthorized VPNs that conduct illegal business. When the news broke that Chinese authorities will block all VPNs, the Chinese officials claimed that news as fake.
It depends on the various features and pricing plans. The least price you have to pay for China VPN is [get_price id=99788 url="https://www.vpnranks.com/visit-provider/surfshark-bvch-cn/"] with a 30-days refund policy.
The one best reason why your VPN connection is slow in China because of the server distance. If you connect to a US server that is 11,640 Km apart, you will likely face a slow speed.
Yes, ExpressVPN still works in China but it takes 2 to 3 attempts before you get connected. There is no official ban on ExpressVPN so it works perfectly.
Yes, Reddit is banned in China along with other social media websites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, and more.
I believe the authorities in China are taking every possible step to curb the online freedom of its netizens. Luckily with a VPN for China, you can access sites and platforms in China or outside china while being secure.
Lastly, on the safe side don’t forget to use mirrors sites to download and install the VPN app for China on your desired devices accordingly before you arrive in China.
Also, I would advise you to use a premium VPN for China, that will costs you some bucks but it will be worth your money and cut down the hassle.
Stay Safe and keep using VPN services of your choice provided in this guide!