The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is an ever-present country-wide digital prison that prevents citizens in China from accessing numerous forms of content on the Internet. The censorship of foreign sites and content has effectively cut off China from the rest of the world and reduced the basic freedom of the people.
In this situation, the citizens of China need to resort to VPN over the wall to defeat restrictions imposed by the GFW. The purpose of this blog is to help you understand the importance of a VPN in China and find the best service available for your needs.
What is Over the Wall VPN?
The GFW in China is basically a collection of regulations, restrictions, and technologies that are deployed by the government for the purpose of blocking foreign content. An Over the Wall VPN is a software that can grant users access to sites and services that are generally blocked by the GFW of China.
ISPs and government authorities work in unison to implement digital blockages, firewalls, and prohibitive legislation to prevent people from accessing content from around the world.
Users in China get over the wall through proxies or VPN services. The former is not a very reliable method because it can easily leak the real IP address of the user. However, VPN services have strong built-in security features that can cloak the identity of the user while giving them the power to penetrate the wall. In order to watch Chinese websites and content in other countries, you have to consider the best Continental VPN.
5 Best Over the Wall VPN Services
VPN providers are a messiah for Chinese people living under the shadow of censorship. If you have the right VPN with the combination of a few essential features, you can escape the surveillance from your government without worrying about your security.
The VPNs that can make this possible are reviewed below:
|VPN Providers||Price ($)||Special Deals||More Info|
Best for Geo-Unblocking
$2.99 Per Month
3 Years Plan
Best for Streaming
$8.32 Per Month
No Exclusive Offer
Best for Torrenting
$2.55 Per Month
Limited Time Discount
Best Affordable VPN
$2.95 Per Month
Exclusive Discount 1 year Plan
Best Fastest VPN
$2.25 Per Month
2 Years Deal
NordVPN is a highly-rated VPN provider based in Panama. The jurisdiction of the company is extremely favorable to users since the country has laws that protect privacy of citizens. The size of the server network is the largest among all competitors of NordVPN. Currently, it has more than 4,700 servers that cover 60 distinct locations all over the world.
NordVPN uses AES 256 bit encryption and a propriety feature called “double VPN”. This encrypts the traffic of the user twice to give that extra security that you might need in countries with low freedom of speech and persecution of bloggers and activists.
- Strong server infrastructure consisting of 4,700+ servers
- Advanced encryption protocols
- 6 simultaneous multi-logins
- Geographical reach of servers can be improved
ExpressVPN is a British Virgin Islands (BVI) based VPN provider serving users all over the world. ExpressVPN takes advantage of its jurisdiction since BVI have no mandatory data retention laws. This allows the company to offer the highest level of privacy that a user can possibly get with current technology on the Internet.
There are more than 2,000 servers operating under ExpressVPN spread across over 94 countries. As a result, bypassing restrictions in China is no problem at all with this VPN. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption for sturdy protection of end-to-end communication between users on the Internet.
Therefore, ExpressVPN is a superb VPN, particularly for users in China.
- Offers 2,000 servers in over 94 locations
- Fast server speeds
- Excellent cross-platform compatibility
- Good usability
- Provides only 3 multi-logins
PrivateVPN is a Sweden-based VPN provider which has established a strong place for itself in the VPN industry. It boasts a highly usable user-interface for all of its apps for different platforms.
The provider more than 100 servers spread over 56 countries. In addition, it provides variety of IP addresses to users which serves to keep their real identity a closely-guarded, making it difficult for government to trace users in China.
Like other leading VPNs in the market, it uses OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2, L2TP, and PPTP tunneling protocols and AES 256 bit encryption. It is also quite popular among torrent downloaders, since it offers great security and prevents IP leaks that can undermine the security as well as safety of users.
Thus, PrivateVPN is a great choice for VPN over the wall in China.
- Fast servers
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Uses AES 256 bit encryption
- Follows zero-logging policy
- Small server network
Based in Hong-Kong, PureVPN is one of the most well-renowned VPN services in the market. It is powered by a server network of over 2,000 servers, which can grant users the ability to get over the Great Firewall of China. The geographical distribution of these servers extends over 140 countries of the world. You can choose the “Optimize for China” mode to access the VPN servers configured to use in China.
It comes packed with interesting features such as split-tunneling, DNS leak protection, and purpose-oriented user-interface. The app offers specialized servers for a range of purposes including torrents, anonymous browsing, and streaming. It uses AES 256 bit encryption for protecting user data, which is especially important for Chinese nationals fearing persecution from the government.
- 2,000+ servers in over 140 locations
- Split-tunneling feature
- “Optimize for China” mode
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Refund policy valid for 31 days
- Connecting to servers can take a long time
Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN service that is a little less known in the industry. It is one of the lower-priced VPN services that nonetheless offers state-of-the-art security features. China’s GFW is strong enough to block many VPN services, but this is one of the few that is still operational in the country.
With 450 servers located in over 100 countries, climbing the wall of censorship is not a big deal through Ivacy. It is equipped with split-tunneling and DNS leak protection features, it offers excellent security. The encryption standard used in AES 256 as in the case of other leading VPN providers.
- Offers 450 servers in 100 different locations
- All servers offer unlimited-bandwidth
- Cheap subscription-rates
- User-friendly interface
- Connecting to servers can take multiple attempts
Why Do You Need an Over the Wall VPN?
In a world where all the information on any subject is available on our screens, all individuals should ideally have equal rights to access this information. Free propagation of knowledge is the foundation upon which social, political, and scientific progress of modern civilization is built.
The Internet has been playing a crucial role in facilitating free expression and contributing to the intellectual progress of the collective consciousness. However, censorship stifles freedom of expression that is essential for the development and exchange of ideas.
To put it simply, you need a VPN to:
- Unblock censored content
- Enhance online privacy
- Attain better digital security
- Bypass geo-restrictions
What Can You Unblock with an Over the Wall VPN?
VPN services can bring you all the websites and online services that lie just outside of the GFW, beyond your reach. This includes:
- Torrent sites
Thus, with a VPN, you can stay updated with the rest of the world and escape the digital darkness China is presently mired in.
From entertainment to social media communication, VPN services bring it all to the table while also ensuring your security.
What is Wall Software?
Wall software is simply another term for technologies that can allow users to break through the GFW of China. Proxy websites may also be considered Wall Software, since they can be used to access blocked content that gets within the reach of the wall.
VPN services are also considered Wall Software since they are designed for the express purpose of bypassing restrictions imposed by firewalls and other similar mechanisms. However, as an over the wall app, a VPN is much more reliable owing to its greater security and encryption features compared to other services such as proxy websites.
The GFW of China is quite effective in barring foreign content from reaching inside the country. In order to access content coming from continental areas over the wall, a VPN is the only reliable solution currently available.
One of the best advantages of VPNs is that they are extremely easy to use. You only need to pick one, subscribe to it, launch it, and connect to a suitable foreign server to see what it feels like to have all sites available at your fingertips. The only requirement is that you must first have a working China over the wall VPN.
Over the Wall App for Browsers
Several VPN providers offer dedicated apps that work as extensions within popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.
Some of the VPNs that work best with these browsers are:
1. NordVPN Browser App
NordVPN also offers extensions that can be added to Firefox and Chrome for free. It is a light extension that does not demand too much resources from the browsers. You can use the foreign servers available in the extension to access blocked websites in China.
2. ExpressVPN Browser App
ExpresVPN’s browser extensions are compatible with Firefox, Chrome, as well as Safari. However, you need to have a subscription for your Windows or Mac ExpressVPN app first before you can get the browser extension. ExpressVPN can easily circumvent the Chinese Firewall with no hassle.
3. PureVPN Browser App
PureVPN offers a free VPN extension for Firefox and Chrome. With these VPN extensions, you can protect your browser from cyberattacks while also maintaining secrecy for your browsing activities. It can easily pass you through the GFW of China.
However, you should keep in mind that browser VPNs can only encrypt the traffic from your browser. They cannot offer security to your entire Internet traffic, leaving part of your online activities exposed to the cyberspace. Thus, browser VPNs are only suitable for the purposes of surfing websites.
Over the Wall VPN Apps for Android
When VPN services first started, most of them were only available for PCs and Macs. However, technology has advanced considerably since then, especially in the domain of mobiles phones. As such, most VPN providers now offer apps for smartphones.
1. ExpressVPN APK
ExpressVPN offers a dedicated app for Android if you want to stay protected while using the Internet on your phone. You can download the ExpressVPN apk from Google PlayStore.
2. NordVPN APK
NordVPN also has an Android version for its VPN that offers fast speeds for Wi-Fi and excellent overall protection. You can download the NordVPN apk from Google PlayStore.
Telecommunication Service Providers in China
Telecommunication and Internet services in China are provided by three major companies. How do these companies compare when it comes to supporting VPN services without dropping server speeds and granting access to sites within and outside of the GFW?
Let’s discuss each one by one:
1. China Telecom
China Telecom offers fixed-line, mobile network, and Internet services in the country. It offers reasonably high Internet speeds and allows smooth access to domestic sites. However, China Telecom has a large number of subscribers, which often causes the download speeds to slump.
This is bad for your VPN, since speed fluctuations lead to continual disconnections of your VPN. China Telecom works reasonably well for local content on the Internet, but offers shaky performance if you want to access sites beyond the GFW.
2. China Unicom
China Unicom is another leading telecom service provider. It is not as big as China Telecom, but its smaller bandwidth is compensated by fewer number of subscribers as well. In fact, China Unicom performs much better if you want to access foreign content.
Owing to the fewer number of users, VPN services do not experience continual disconnection on China Unicom unlike China Telecom. You can access social media and other blocked services through a VPN running on China Unicom.
3. China Mobile
This company offers mobile voice and data services in China. The service coverage of China Mobile is excellent and it offers LTE for cellular Internet. However, it is not quite effective when it comes to accessing the content from outside of China.
Censorship in China is one a serious problem that leaves users deprived of their right to access online freedom and express their thoughts without fear of repercussions. The only viable solution to defeating the GFW of China is to use an over the wall VPN and stay connected digitally with the rest of the world.
I hope this blog was helpful to you. What are your experiences dealing with GFW of China? Let us know your feedback and thoughts in the comments below.