Most VPNs don’t work in China because of its online censorship program called ‘Great Firewall,’ which restricts VPNs and websites and imposes censorship. So to bypass Chinese online censorship, people have been using the best VPN for China .
The Great Firewall has blocked major services in China, such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many more.
Chinese ex-pats and native VPN users often use virtual private networks (VPNs) to unblock websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp, to name a few.
However, most VPNs are blocked in China. To find out the best VPN that works in China, we tested a total of 150+ VPNs to see if they can circumvent China’s Great Firewall restrictions.
Based on our testing, we have recommended the most reliable VPN services that are currently working in China.
IMPORTANT: Even though the VPN apps we have listed in this guide work in China, VPN websites are blocked in the country. It is best to sign-up with these VPNs before you visit mainland China.
Best VPNs For China (In-Depth Analysis – 2022)
We have shortlisted the top 6 VPNs to help you choose the best VPN for China to bypass any form of censorship in the country. These providers were selected after testing 150+ VPNs based on various factors such as the number of servers, zero-log policy, obfuscated technology, money-back guarantee, and customer support.
1. ExpressVPN – Best All-Rounder VPN for China
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for China because it caters to your every possible online need – from security, privacy, data encryption, and anonymity to unblocking various streaming services in China.
For those of you wondering, yes, ExpressVPN works in China perfectly well. With ExpressVPN, you can access international servers from the list of 3000+ servers in 94 countries to watch any foreign content of your choice. So, for example, you can watch American Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and BBC iPlayer in China.
Even though ExpressVPN doesn’t have a VPN server in China, popular Chinese streaming content such as CCTV, CHC Television, and CNC world is still accessible on its Hong Kong server. This also means you can unblock and use popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp in China.
It follows a no-logging policy and encrypts your internet traffic with AES-256-bit encryption. ExpressVPN is good for public Wi-Fi safety.
While testing, we conducted a DNS and IP leak test by connecting to ExpressVPN’s Australian server. As you can see that ExpressVPN’s New Jersey server prevented my DNS/IP from leaking into Chinese Cyberspace.
ExpressVPN is also very easy to set up and works seamlessly everywhere. You can even use it on 5 devices simultaneously. It is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Linux, Gaming Consoles, PlayStation, and even routers.
For Smart TVs, Roku, and gaming consoles, ExpressVPN also offers a Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer. This feature allows you to set up ExpressVPN on Apple TV and unblock popular streaming services on VPN-incompatible devices.
You can get all these features for $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan) along with a 30-day refund policy. As the ExpressVPN website is currently inaccessible due to China’s Firewall restriction, you’ll have to use the ExpressVPN mirror website in the country to access their online services.
For more information concerning ExpressVPN, you check out our exclusive ExpressVPN review.
There is an ExpressVPN Trust Center, you can visit the page and get fully satisfied reading about their services and features.
- Escape censorship and pass through the Chinese Great Firewall
- Easily access blocked streaming and social media sites in China
- Lightning-quick connectivity with Lighway Protocol
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Limited advanced features.
- Costly subscription plans
2. Surfshark – Affordable China VPN
Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN for China. If you’re planning to visit China, then it is the most affordable VPN option for just $2.49/mo (Save 81% on 2 Years Plan) with a money-back guarantee within 30-days.
Protecting an unlimited number of devices on a single subscription, Surfshark surely is one of the cheapest VPNs for your online privacy, data protection, and unlimited unblocking.
Surfshark is a cost-effective option to change your IP and watch your favorite foreign streaming channels, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and others, with the help of 3200+ servers in 95 countries worldwide.
With Surfshark’s Hong Kong server, you can unblock popular Chinese channels, including CCTV, JXTVS, and China Health TV, from anywhere outside China.
With Surfshark, you also get various advanced features such as Multi-Hop, CleanWeb, and WhiteLister at your disposal. There is a NoBorders mode as well for bypassing China Firewall geo-restrictions.
Surfshark’s headquarter is located in the Netherlands. It means Chinese authorities cannot access its users’ data due to the provider’s strict no-logs policy. After testing, we weren’t surprised when we saw that neither our DNS nor IPv6 was leaking in China.
Surfshark also offers the Chinese mirror website in case its official site is not accessible with all the standard VPN features such as Kill Switch, AES encryption, and secure protocols.
For more information, check out our exclusive Surfshark review.
- Unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Hulu from China
- Unlimited multi logins
- Fast Streaming and anonymous browsing
- Support torrenting
- 24/7 customer support via live chat
- Limited servers than competitors
- Some servers perform too slowly in China.
3. NordVPN – Secure VPN for China
NordVPN is the most secure VPN for China. It offers state-of-the-art security and encryption tools like Multi-factor authentication and Meshnet that are hardly available with any other virtual private network provider. So if you are worried about your online privacy and anonymity in China, then NordVPN is the right choice for you.
NordVPN offers 5500+ servers in 59 countries that allow you to access US Netflix with NordVPN, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, and other international streaming services residing in China. It’s also great for unblocking various social sites like Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in China.
NordVPN’s Hong Kong server could unblock various Chinese-based content as per our testing – making it a great option for users in China.
NordVPN offers an “Obfuscated servers” feature that masks your IP and allows you to use VPN in the toughest and strictest environments. These servers help bypass restrictions in regions popular for strict censorship imposed by the Chinese Government.
NordVPN has a cybersecurity tool called Dark Web Monitoring to stop people from using the account information that has been exposed on the risky dark web. You can even torrent safely with NordVPN P2p optimized servers.
NordVPN Strict No-logs policy does not store users’ data and provides a comprehensive list of tunneling protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard) to Chinese users. Besides, it also offers a double VPN encryption that encrypts your data not once but twice, making it untraceable online.
NordVPN’s automatic kill switch feature disconnects your internet if the VPN connection suddenly breaks, and CyberSec protects your device from intrusive ads. With DNS leak protection, we experienced no data leaks issue while we tested NordVPN in China. However, you can see the IP leak test result below when we connected to NordVPN UK servers.
NordVPN offers compatible apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and browsers. With NordVPN, mask your IP and safely connect to other devices from anywhere with Meshnet. It offers 6 multi-logins on a single account. Install NordVPN on your routers and protect more than 6 devices by connecting them to your router.
Furthermore, it comes at a price of $3.99/mo (Save 70% on 2 Years Plan + Extra Subscription) with a 30-day refund policy and a popular NordVPN 7-day free trial, so that you can test the service free of cost before subscribing to a premium subscription.
To offer a quick and secure experience, NordVPN uses the lightning-fast NordLynx protocol. If you face any problems downloading its app, you can try downloading it from NordVPN’s mirror website.
For more information, check out our exclusive NordVPN review.
- Performs well in China
- Unblocks Netflix, Whatsapp, Facebook, and other popular sites in China
- Audited No-logs
- P2p servers for torrenting
- 7-day free trial
- Desktop apps work slowly sometimes
- iOS device setup is manual
4. PIA VPN – Reliable Torrenting VPN for China
Private Internet Access (PIA) is the best VPN for torrenting in China. It keeps no logs of your internet activity, offers torrent-friendly features such as port-forwarding, and also offers a SOCKS5 proxy to aid safe torrenting.
PIA VPN unblocks any website from China like Facebook, WhatsApp, or any social media app with 35000+ servers. In addition, popular international streaming content such as iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon, Youtube TV, and Disney+ can be easily accessed in the country with its wide network of servers.
It also offers 12 servers in China, which will come in handy in unblocking popular Chinese content. You just need to connect PIA VPN to the China server and watch CCTV, Shanghai Oriental Television, Zhejiang Television, Anhui TV, TOPV, iQiyi, Youku, Tencent Video, Taobao Live, etc.
Although it’s headquartered in the United States, PIA VPN is fully capable of securing your online traffic, especially torrent traffic, by using AES-256-bit encryption. It is also equipped with WireGuard protocol. It comes with a built-in ad blocking feature (MACE) to protect your device from malware attacks and to make your online experience as smooth as possible.
PIA also passed our DNS and IPv6 leak test, confirming once again that this provider is a perfect companion for your online security, privacy, and torrenting needs.
The service is available for a cost of $2.19/mo and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you wish to learn about how PIA has been performing in China lately, don’t forget to check out how PIA works in China guide for further details. To learn more about the provider, check out our PIA review.
- Good for torrenting
- Advanced Split Tunneling
- 24/7 live support
- Based in the US (part of 5 eyes alliance)
- Not a good option to use in China
5. PrivateVPN – Great Unblocking VPN that Works in China
PrivateVPN is another provider that works in China for unblocking various sites. It is famous for its unblocking ability as it works with the most popular geo-restricted websites. PrivateVPN runs a rather small server network with 200+ servers in 63 countries.
Most VPNs are blocked in China and can only be used via the L2TP protocol. Fortunately, PrivateVPN offers L2TP protocol and L2TP/IPSec.
It also offers a Stealth VPN that allows you to bypass censorship and internet restrictions. Stealth VPN obfuscates your VPN traffic efficiently, bypassing VPN blocks and firewalls. When you are using this tool, it hides your VPN traffic and makes it look like normal HTTPS traffic. That way, you can be undetectable, and no third party can know you are using a VPN.
PrivateVPN also offers maximum speeds for easy browsing along with tight security. And the best part is that with this VPN, you can easily access blocked streaming sites like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix in China. You can also use it to bypass censorship on various social sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter in China.
PrivateVPN is based in Sweden – a country with strong data privacy laws. It does not keep any user logs. Further, the VPN also comes with additional features such as Application Guard, kill switch, and IPv6 leak protection. During testing, it did not leak our actual IP address.
You can connect up to 6 devices on a single account, and apps are available for macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. You can get this VPN for $2.50/month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Live chat support is also available in case you need assistance. You can make payments through credit/debit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.
To learn more about t
- Functions in China with Stealth Mode on
- Works with Netflix and other streaming services
- Decent speeds
- Port Forwarding
- Free Remote Help + Installation
- Limited server locations
- Customer service is not available 24/7
6. Astrill VPN – Secure VPN for China with Stealth Mode
Astrill VPN is a secure VPN for China with a network of powerful servers. It offers a Stealth VPN feature that is dedicated to users in China.
It is an altered version of the OpenVPN protocol that is designed to bypass VPN detection mechanisms and firewalls. Owing to this feature, you can use Astrill in countries like China that block VPN traffic.
Its apps include various security features like encryption, IP leak protection, and split tunneling alongside a kill switch. There are many advanced features, like choosing different ports and assigning MTU values.
We ran IP leak tests by connecting to its US server, and our real IP was very well hidden during the entire session.
The VPN offers a network of 300+ servers located in 65 countries. Enjoy unlimited server switches with this small server network. It offers fast speeds and is listed in our fastest VPN guide. However, if we talk about streaming, this VPN is not the best option. However, it is a good option if you want to browse the web securely.
During testing, we could only access US Netflix as it failed to unblock Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. It does work with social media apps. It supports 5 simultaneous connections, and there are configurable apps for various devices like Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, etc.
The major drawback of this VPN is its price. Its one-year plan is available for $12.50/month, and one month plan has a price of $25/month. The VPN is more expensive than ExpressVPN – considering you get fewer servers and it doesn’t work with streaming services.
Astrill VPN offers a variety of payment methods, such as Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, UnionPay, PayPal, Perfect Money, and Bitcoin. However, we only tried the normal credit card method till now.
But for those living in China, this VPN is worth the try, as it is widely recommended on Reddit and other online forums. For details, you can visit our Astrill review.
- Clears the China Firewall test
- Work with Netflix
- Decent server speeds
- Does not offer live chat support
- Extra charges for additional add-ons
- Only unblock Netflix
Test Methodology: How we tested the best VPN for China
Considering the implications of the Great Firewall, we have selected some of the best VPNs for 2022 you can use in or outside China based on the criteria mentioned below:
- Works in China: Because most VPNs don’t work in China, it’s important to have a VPN that can bypass the Great Firewall of China and let you access restricted sites easily.
- Server network: A wide server network with servers in major countries for accessing various international geo-blocked streaming services, social media, shopping, online dating websites, and more.
- Zero-log policy: A strict zero-log policy ensuring complete online privacy, security, and anonymity in Mainland China.
- Obfuscated servers: Specialized servers capable of hiding the fact that you are using a VPN. Highly effective feature for allowing users to establish VPN connections in restrictive environments.
- Money-back guarantee: 30-day or more money-back guarantee that works as a safety switch if you wish to opt-out of the service.
- Customer support: Reliable and efficient 24/7 VPN customer support for technical assistance.
When you connect to a Chinese server, you can change your IP with an encrypted connection, enabling you to bypass the Great Firewall restrictions.
What to Do if Your VPN isn’t Working in China
Since many VPNs don’t work in China because of the laws and rules applied by their government, there are a few steps you can take to if your VPN is not working in China.
1. Check if your VPN App Is Up-To-Date: When connections become problematic, VPN providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN make significant adjustments to their connection protocols. Keeping your VPN app updated is one of the greatest methods to make them work in a proper way.
2. Check Your VPN’s China Server Status: Any VPN provider that is serving the Chinese market will include a status page that offers quick updates on connection problems, potential solutions, and advice on how to connect to VPN servers there. For example, ExpressVPN Status Page.
3. Change the connection protocols and server locations (try this multiple times): Any good VPN won’t stop you from changing servers and protocols as often as you want. It might take time, but this process surprisingly works.
4. Wait for a while after connecting, it might be slow initially: A VPN connection often slows down your internet connection. Give it some time to get the connection and speed stable.
Note: Even while China’s tightened censorship will affect how all VPNs operate there, only the best VPN China servers are able to adapt and get beyond the restriction.
Popular VPNs that are not working in China
Of the 150+ VPNs that we tested, 15 weren’t working in China. We suggest you do not purchase them if you plan to use them in the country. You will find their name and status in the table below:
|ShadeYou VPN||Not Working|
|VPNOne Click||Not Working|
|ZPN Connect||Not Working|
|CyberGhost VPN||Not Working|
|Avast SecureLine VPN||Not Working|
VPNs and the Great Firewall of China
Using a VPN to get around the Great Firewall lets you keep your online freedom. Bypassing Chinese government barriers with a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, you may access a completely open and unconstrained Internet without censorship or surveillance.
Many of the VPNs that were being utilized to get around the Firewall were first blocked by the Chinese authorities in January 2015. Unlicensed VPNs were formally outlawed in 2017. As a result, China is currently inoperable for numerous VPNs and their official websites.
Note: Offer yourself the best chance to avoid censorship by using a VPN in China from the above-mentioned list and downloading its app before going to China to avoid further connectivity issues.
How does China block VPNs with the Great Firewall?
China has strict policies against the use of VPNs that are not approved by the government. The country uses technology to block VPNs that prevent its citizens from accessing the internet without restrictions.
Some techniques used by the Chinese to block VPNs include:
How do VPNs bypass the Great Firewall of China?
A VPN is an efficient way to bypass geo-blocks imposed by the Chinese government and have access to unrestricted internet without censorship. VPNs do that by doing two things.
Hide your data
If the firewall doesn’t know what you are trying to access and from where you are trying to access it, it will not block it.
The actual data containing the information, such as the website name, streaming content, messages, chats, videos, or anything you are trying to send over the internet, is encrypted using a VPN before it leaves your device.
The Great Firewall only sees the encrypted data, so it can not determine what the user is trying to access.
Similarly, at the time of receiving, the data sent by the destination is also scrambled, courtesy of the same VPN server you used earlier to send the traffic.
The Great Firewall of China sees this incoming traffic, but it can not intercept or decode it due to VPN encryption.
Hide your destination
VPN also hides the destination identity itself, as it will look like you are receiving the data from an anonymous location or server.
The destination’s identity hidden here is the most crucial advantage of the VPN. If the identity is revealed, the firewall will immediately block the transmission.
That being said, China can block VPN servers just like it blocks different websites, so be sure to get ExpressVPN, which is the best China VPN because it constantly refreshes its servers and IP addresses to make sure none of them are blocked by China. It is also the best VPN for China Reddit users to recommend using in 2022.
The Best VPNs for iPhones Users in China
Most VPNs are compatible with iPhones and can be used in China. Moreover, after our testing, we were able to find the three best VPNs for iPhone users in China.
Below you will find our top 3 VPN recommendations for iPhone users in China.
The Best VPNs for Android Users in China
Most popular VPNs that work in Canada offer dedicated apps for Android devices. With the best VPN for China, Android users can protect their devices on the go. Here are the three best VPNs for Android users in China.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it illegal to use a VPN in China?
Lately, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology banned VPNs and officially viewed their use as illegal (MIIT). This causes problems for individuals living in China who have been using VPNs to access different prohibited websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Which VPN still works in China?
Based on your recent testing, the following VPNs still work in the country are as follows:
- ExpressVPN – Best VPN in China that works reliably in bypassing censorship in China.
- Surfshark – Best Affordable VPN with the unlimited simultaneous connection.
- NordVPN – Securely bypass the Great China Firewall restrictions.
- PIA – Best VPN for safely downloading torrent files in China.
- PrivateVPN – Best at unblocking geo-blocked sites using the stealth mode feature.
- Astrill VPN – Expensive but provides maximum security to Chinese users.
How much does a China VPN cost?
Is VPN slow in China?
Yes, slow speeds in China are always the result of poor peering out of the Chinese mainland, trans-Pacific fiber congestion, and throttling of VPN connections by GFW. We advise using PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN XOR, 256-bit ECC, and other protocols when testing with various VPN server locations and ports.
Should I leave my VPN on all the time in China?
Yes, it is recommended to leave your VPN on to ensure security in China. VPNs offer the best protection for online security. Therefore, you should leave your VPN on at all times to protect from possible data leaks in China.
You can never be too careful, so enabling the VPN at all times is the best way to ensure your security and privacy. Leaving your VPN on also reduces the risk of forgetting to turn it on in more vulnerable circumstances, like when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network.
How can I access the iOS App Store in China?
You can access the iOS app store in China by changing the location of your Apple accounts. However, in order to do this, you need to require a local payment method from another country. If you don’t have this, you might be able to use an iTunes gift card that you bought in another nation as payment.
You probably won’t be able to find or download the VPN you require if you set up your iPhone or iPad in China and connect it to the Chinese App Store.
However, to search, download, and update VPN software, set up your iCloud and/or iTunes Connect in a different nation. So in this way, even if you are inside of China, they ought still will function.
The Chinese authorities are taking every possible step to curb its netizens’ online freedom. In 2020, China started blocking all TLS 1.3 connections incorporating ESNI, otherwise known as Encrypted Server Name Indication. It is used for encryption by HTTPS connections.
ESNI encrypts DNS requests on websites that prevent ISPs from tracking your online activity – which goes against the Great Firewall’s monitoring system. To prevent this, the government has started blocking ESNI connections.
Luckily with the best VPN for China, you can access sites and platforms as VPNs are not affected by this update. Our recommended best China VPN is ExpressVPN which will help you keep your privacy intact and let you access a wide range of content from all around the globe.
Lastly, on the safe side, don’t forget to use ExpressVPN mirror sites to download and install the VPN software for China on your desired devices accordingly before you plan to visit the country.