China has become the epitome of Internet censorship. For freedom-loving netizens, China conjures up an image of a dystopian and authoritarian society where the population has little control over the kind of content they can consume. To regain some of that freedom, China VPN can get you through many blocked services in the country.
In this PureVPN china review, I will focus on one particular provider: PureVPN. I will describe how you can set up this VPN, the key benefits it offers particularly in relation to bypassing the Great Firewall of China, and solutions to some of the common problems that citizens face.
PureVPN and the Great Firewall of China
PureVPN is one of the few VPNs that work in China. However, we have received reports of users experiencing trouble getting PureVPN to work when connecting to Chinese servers from abroad in the wake of recent tensions in Hong Kong and China with the passing of the national security bill that threatens Hong Kong’s autonomy from China.
The great thing is that PureVPN is continuing to work fine within China.
PureVPN has always differentiated itself from others by its ability to hop user traffic over the GFW and provide individuals in Chinese territories access to content from overseas.
If offers the best geographical coverage with its server base having a presence in more than 140 countries. Within China, it offers servers located in major cities i.e. Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai. In addition, its servers in nearby locations such as Hong Kong which is quite effective in permitting users access to content beyond the wall.
However, users trying to connect to these servers from outside China have reported experiencing troubles trying to connect. This is an on-going problem that hasn’t yet been fixed at the time of this writing. But users that are situated within China are still getting full functionality without any issues.
- Servers located in China and geographically close locations
- Advanced tunneling protocols for bypassing the GFW
- Strong encryption for security of user traffic
- Connecting to certain China-appropriate servers can take multiple attempts
How to Setup PureVPN in China
PureVPN can be installed on a wide range of devices including PCs, Macs, and smartphones quite easily. Here is the PureVPN setup for China:
- Subscribe to PureVPN and click the “Get PureVPN” button
- Choose from the available packages
- Select your preferred payment option
- You will receive an e-mail with your login details as soon as you have purchased the VPN
- Download PureVPN China app on your device
- Install it and enter your credentials to log in
- Connect to a server appropriate for China and get unlimited access to the web
Benefits of Using PureVPN in China
PureVPN has a wide set of features that enhance the online security of users in China while providing access to a blocked website. Some of the key benefits it offers are:
- Break the GFW of China: The most important attribute of PureVPN is that it can turn the GFW transparent to incoming foreign traffic. The GFW blocks social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as well as many other news websites. PureVPN is perfectly capable of unlocking all these services wherever you may be located in China.
- Ensure Privacy and Security Online: PureVPN uses strong AES-256 bit encryption which makes it virtually impossible for any third party to decode your data and traffic on the web. This can ward off of potential cyber-attacks and government espionage. The zero-logging policy also effectively guards online activity sessions of users.
- Access VoIP Services: Social media is not the only platform that China finds objectionable. VoIP services such as Google Talk, WhatsApp, and Skype are also blocked in the country. PureVPN’s powerful servers can unblock these services and allow users to communicate through long-distances at low cost with these apps.
- Unblock torrents: One of the best things about PureVPN is how flawlessly it works torrents. There are over 50 server locations compatible with torrenting which work well with BitTorrent clients and allow fast downloading.
- Access Netflix: is also efficient for Netflix. With its streaming optimized servers, you can easily deploy PureVPN to unblock US Netflix. This makes it a great option for streaming fans.
The provider also offers a 7-day trial which you can use to see if PureVPN proves satisfactory for your needs. If not, then you can easily cancel PureVPN and even get your refund within 31 days of subscription.
Although the VPN performs well most of the time, no service is perfect. Issues arise from time to time and if you find that PureVPN is not working for any reason, you can contact their customer support through live chat.
Users that prefer long-term commitment can also keep an eye for PureVPN 5-year subscription, which the provider releases from time to time with the cheapest rates in the long run.
PureVPN Android app not working in China, check out these troubleshooting steps
Although PureVPN for China works flawlessly, for the most part, I’m still adding a few alternative manual configurations methods for Android, Mac and Windows. Firestick users can see this guide on setting up PureVPN on Fire TV.
Here’s how to use PureVPN in China with alternative configurations…
Android IKEV Manual Configuration
Download the StrongSwan app from the Google Play Store.
- Now launch the app and then tap on Add VPN profile.
- Now you’ll need to enter a China compatible VPN server address. To do so, you’ll need to contact their Exclusive live chat support. Do note that this is not the ordinary live chat support available on PureVPN website, instead, this team deals with China specific PureVPN issues.
- Now choose the VPN type. Select Ikev2 EAP (username/password).
- Next, enter PureVPN provided credentials in Username and Password fields.
- Next, check the CA certificate.
- Profile Name: PureVPN Ikev2 (you may type anything).
- Now tap on show advanced settings and type in server identity: pointtoserver.com
- Finally, hit save and then connect to the newly created Ikev2 profile.
To verify your new IP, head over to www.ipaddress.com.
Android IPsec Configuration
- First things first, head over to the settings option on your Android phone
- Now look for VPN
- Now where it says Name, type in PureVPN IPsec
- Now select type as IPSec Xauth PSK from the drop down menu
- Now type in a China compatible server address. You can get one by contacting PureVPN’s China Exclusive live chat support.
- Enter IPSec pre-shared key as 12345678
- Next, tap on Save
- Now tap on PureVPN IPSEC
- Enter Username and Password provided by PureVPN
- Finally, hit “Save account information” and tap on Connect
Android OpenVPN Solution
For the OpenVPN solution, you’ll need to download PureVPN Alpha. Since this app isn’t available on the app store, you’ll have to use the following drop box links:
Once you’ve downloaded the PureVPN Alpha .APK file, just follow the steps below.
- Install the downloaded .APK file
- Once the app successfully installs, tap on OPEN
- Now enter your PureVPN Username and Password > tap login and then hit OK on the prompt that pops up
- Next, tap the connect button on the screen and wait a few seconds for the connection to establish
MAC IKEV Manual Configuration
- First things first, power up your Mac > click on Apple icon and select “System Preferences”
- Now click on Network
- Next, click on the + icon to create a new service
- Now from interface drop down menu, select “VPN”
- From VPN Type drop-down menu select IKEv2
- Now enter the Service Name as PureVPN IKEv2
- Next, click on Create
- Now enter a China compatible server address in Server Address box. You can get one by contacting PureVPN’s China Exclusive live chat support.
- Under Remote ID, enter pointtoserver.com
- Leave the Local ID field blank
- Now check to mark the “Show VPN status on Menu bar” option
- Next, click on “Authentication Settings
- Now select Username from the Authentication Settings drop-down menu and insert the Username and Password provided by PureVPN
- Next, click on OK and then hit Apply
- Now click on VPN status icon from the menu bar and select “Show Time Connected”
- Finally, click on Connect and VPN connection will establish in a few seconds.
MAC IPsec Configuration
- For IPsec configurations, head over to Preferences > Network and then VPN
- Next, select the Cisco IPsec
- Now enter PureVPN IPsec in the description
- Now choose a China compatible server address. You can get one by contacting PureVPN’s China Exclusive live chat support.
- Now enter the PureVPN username and password
- Next, where it says Secret, enter this number: 12345678
- Finally, click on Save and turn on VPN
Windows IKEV2 Manual Configuration
- To manually configure the PureVPN IKEV2 protocol on Windows, right click on Network settings
- Next, click on VPN and then click on Add a VPN connection
- Next, Select Windows (built-in) from VPN Provider drop down menu
- Now enter any Connection name you desire. Example PureVPN DE etc.
- Now enter a China compatible server address. You can get one by contacting PureVPN’s China Exclusive live chat support.
- Now select “IKEv2” from VPN type drop down menu
- Next, choose “User name and password” from Type of sign-in info drop down menu
- Now enter the Username and Password provided by PureVPN
- Check mark “Remember my sign-in info” and click Save
- Now select the newly created VPN connection i.e. “PureVPN DE” and click on Connect
- Now wait for the connection to establish and you’re done
OpenVPN GUI for PureVPN
To make PureVPN work in China using OpenVPN GUI, you need to first download it from here. Once you’ve successfully downloaded the setup file, just follow the steps below.
- Double click on the setup you just downloaded and click on “Next”
- Next, install the OpenVPN Tap Adapters. You need to be patient as it can take a while to install
- Once the installation completes, click on “Next” and then “Finish”
- Now launch the OpenVPN GUI you just installed from the “Show Hidden Icon”
- Next, select a country of your choice and press connect
- Finally, enter your PureVPN username and Password and click Ok to complete the setup
PureVPN Installation on Other Devices
PureVPN supports various other devices and platforms as well. For instance, PureVPN is easily installed on Kodi with its dedicated add-on.
If you are own streaming boxes and consoles like Roku, then the installation is a little trickier as explained in this PureVPN Roku installation guide.
Since many devices like Roku do not directly support VPN apps, a way around this problem is to configure the VPN on routers. PureVPN can be set up on routers of different makes. This approach offers the advantage that all devices connected will automatically be routed through the VPN, providing stronger security.
Change VPN Protocol
The default VPN protocol used by PureVPN is OpenVPN. However, other protocols like SSTP and L2TP/IPSec are better at penetrating the GFW because China closely monitors OpenVPN traffic. You can change protocol settings on PureVPN and try these different configurations to access blocked sites.
Twitter Users on Using PureVPN in China
PureVPN is one of the few providers that seems to have pleased most customers if you search through Twitter. Many users on the social media platform have praised PureVPN’s ability to work well in China in the past.
However, the Chinese servers that foreigners can use to connect to PureVPN have been giving problems lately since the lockdown began in China:
I'm not joking, guys. China's Internet has basically gone dark for foreigners. PureVPN's Chinese servers are all dead or very sporadic. Almost impossible for me to get inside The Great Firewall via normie means. Some darkweb protocols work but the tor nodes are dead. #coronavirus https://t.co/8OSMdeG7ti
— Theodore R. Smith (@hopeseekr) March 4, 2020
Nor is it only PureVPN that seems to be affected. Other methods of bypassing the GFW such as Tor browser are also seemingly failing to work for users outside the mainland trying to access Chinese internet from abroad.
Nonetheless, PureVPN is still working fine for people within China.
PureVPN China enables access to the greater part of the Internet that has unfortunately been blocked in China. Although the VPN is currently unable to offer stable functionality in its Chinese servers for users situated outside the mainland due to increased censorship and control of information during covid-19, PureVPN remains one of the few providers that still work well for people connected to web from within China.
Do you have any personal experience about using PureVPN in China? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. We love learning about other people’s experiences!