China’s formidable internet censorship, famously known as ‘The Great Firewall’, presents a unique challenge for both residents and visitors. Accessing globally popular websites and apps, including social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and even essential communication tools like WhatsApp, becomes a daunting task. This is where the role of the best VPN for China becomes crucial.
In our quest to guide you through this digital labyrinth, we have rigorously tested over 150 VPNs. Our goal? To identify the best VPN services that can seamlessly navigate China’s internet restrictions. After extensive testing, we are excited to announce that ExpressVPN stands out as our top recommendation.
Why is a VPN indispensable in China? The answer lies in the ability of these tools to bypass the Great Firewall, ensuring you stay connected with the world and enjoy unrestricted internet access. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into our findings and share insights on how these VPNs can be your gateway to a free and open internet in China.
Comparison Table: Best VPN China in 2023
Here’s a quick comparison of the best VPN for China and other options:
|Worldwide Servers||3000+ servers in 105 countries||3200+ servers in 100 countries||5500+ servers in 60 countries||35000+ servers in 84 countries||360 servers in 65 countries||200+ servers in 63 countries|
|Nearby servers to China||Thailand, Nepal, South Korea||Thailand, Nepal, South Korea||Thailand and South Korea||1 server location in China||Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam||Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines|
|Avg. Speed||89.42 Mbps||81.32 Mbps||83.82 Mbps||65.78 Mbps||20.53 Mbps||72.38 Mbps|
|Unblocks||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more||HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, SBS on Demand, Hayu, & more|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers|
|Best For||Overall Best VPN||Budget-friendly VPN||Largest Server Network VPN||Fast-speed VPN||Secure VPN||Torrenting VPN|
|Pricing||$6.67/mo (Black Friday Deal: Grab 3 Free Months + 49% OFF 12-Month Plan)||$1.99/mo (Get 86% + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)||$3.99/mo (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)||$2.11/mo||US$12.50/mo||$2.11/mo|
4 Reasons why you need a VPN in China
In China, where internet censorship is a significant concern, a VPN becomes essential. We share personal experiences of users and technical insights into how VPNs help you access blocked content while protecting your digital footprint from surveillance:
- Unblock common and popular websites
China has blocked commonly used websites like Google, FaceBook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and many others. The only method to access these services is through a VPN on your phone or laptop. You can easily bypass China’s geofencing on these sites by using a VPN to route your internet connection through servers in another country and browse as though you were in that nation.
In addition, a VPN is required to access many other websites, including Twitter, Wikipedia, Western News, and Snapchat.
- Evade government snooping
China has set up one of the most extensive digital surveillance systems in the world. Government censors closely monitor the Chinese internet; thus, it is reasonable to assume that your browsing activity is being watched if you are connecting to the internet without a VPN.
One advantage of utilizing a VPN in China is that you can prevent the Chinese government from monitoring your internet activities at all times. Anyone who values privacy doesn’t feel fantastic knowing that their activities and correspondence could potentially be seen by the government, even if they aren’t engaging in any illegal conduct.
- Maintain account security
When you go online in China, it’s not only your internet connection that’s being watched and restricted. WeChat, Weibo, QQ, and Douyin are just a few of the domestic social media sites that China actively monitors. The profiles, posts, shared data, and messages of every user are archived by organizations working for the government. The shopping histories, biometric information, and video surveillance footage are then merged with this social data.
WeChat is very popular in China, including among foreigners. But if you want to utilize another messaging platform to transmit private conversations, make sure you connect to a VPN. Although they are restricted in China, Skype, WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram are comparatively safe and private solutions.
- Use VoIP for calls
If you try to use your cellphone once you’ve arrived in China, you’ll probably have to pay exorbitant international calling rates. Even while you may purchase a cheap Chinese SIM card and mobile minutes. However, it can be challenging if you don’t speak Mandarin.
But if you use a VPN, you can place inexpensive calls, both inside China and to your loved ones back home. Use a voice-over IP (VoIP) service like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or Google Voice while turning on your VPN.
- Watch Netflix
since Netflix is unavailable in China, using a VPN is the only method to access your favorite while vacationing in China. Once your VPN is activated, you can hop between servers in various countries to get past the streaming service’s geofencing restrictions and stream some well-liked shows and movies on US Netflix in China.
Best VPNs For China (In-Depth Analysis – 2023)
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 stands out as the best VPN for China, offering a reliable solution to bypass the stringent Great Firewall. Its extensive server network of [server_count id=’13500′]+ servers in 105 countries, including strategically placed servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Japan, ensures robust connectivity and accessibility.
In case you wondering, does ExpressVPN work in China? The company’s website has an updated list of servers that are frequently checked to make sure they function in China. The US, UK, Japan, France, and Singapore are where you can find them.
In China, where access to platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix, and YouTube is restricted, ExpressVPN proves indispensable. It effortlessly unblocks these services, allowing users to stay connected and enjoy their favorite content without hassle. Look how we unblocked it:
ExpressVPN in China works perfectly well. With ExpressVPN, you can access international servers to watch any foreign content of your choice. So, for example, you can use ExpressVPN with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and BBC iPlayer in China. ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Craigslist.
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. ExpressVPN is also the best VPN for WeChat, which ensures more strict security and encryption.
Security is non-negotiable, and ExpressVPN excels here with its AES-256-bit encryption and strict no-logging policy. Whether you’re streaming, browsing, or communicating, your online activities remain private and secure from prying eyes.
It is good for public Wi-Fi safety. You can have an ExpressVPN Threat Manager feature that blocks all communication between your device’s components and any servers that are included on our “blocklist” of harmful websites and trackers.
While testing, we conducted a DNS and IP leak test by connecting to ExpressVPN’s Australian server. As you can see, ExpressVPN’s New Jersey server prevented my DNS/IP from leaking into Chinese Cyberspace.
Thanks to the innovative Lightway protocol, ExpressVPN offers blazing-fast speeds, ensuring that your streaming and browsing experience is smooth and uninterrupted. This is particularly crucial in China, where internet speeds can be a challenge.
Because obfuscation technology is only supported by slower security protocols (like OpenVPN), it tends to slow down your speeds severely. Thanks to the innovative Lightway protocol, ExpressVPN offers blazing-fast speeds, ensuring that your streaming and browsing experience is smooth and uninterrupted. This is particularly crucial in China, where internet speeds can be a challenge.
Compatibility is key, and ExpressVPN delivers easy-to-use apps for a range of devices. Whether you’re on a Mobile Phone or laptop, or using a device that doesn’t support VPNs natively, ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS feature comes to the rescue.
You can even use the ExpressVPN app on 8 devices simultaneously. It provides dependable performance and has developed dedicated apps for the majority of devices, including Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Linux, Gaming Consoles, PlayStation, and even routers. To make things even simpler, it recently unveiled Aircove, gear with a built-in VPN.
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 in $6.67/mo (Black Friday Deal: Grab 3 Free Months + 49% OFF 12-Month Plan), and the 30-day money-back guarantee offers peace of mind and making ExpressVPN cost worthy. Plus, their customer support is always on hand to assist, ensuring you have a seamless experience. You can also avail 7-day free trial on your mobile devices.
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.
Also, you can reach out to its quick live chat and email service to get your queries solved. For more information concerning the best VPN service for China, 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 – Best budget Friendly VPN for China
Surfshark emerges as the best budget-friendly VPN for China, striking an excellent balance between affordability and performance. It’s an ideal option for those seeking a cost-effective way to navigate the Great Firewall without compromising on quality. There is a piece of good news is that Surfshark now operates in China.
Surfshark boasts a vast server network, with over 3200+ servers in 100 countries, including locations near China for optimal connectivity. This extensive network ensures that users can easily access geo-restricted content from platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, even within China’s restrictive digital landscape.
With Surfshark’s Hong Kong server, you can unblock popular Chinese channels, including CCTV, JXTVS, and China Health TV, from anywhere outside China. Also, it is the best VPN for QQ Music, the Chinese Music app.
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.
You can easily and safely get through strict firewalls using Surfshark’s NoBorders (obfuscation) feature. This feature activates automatically when detects restrictions, but you can also manually enable it from its settings. After NoBorders was enabled, the program provided a list of the top servers for circumventing the firewall.
If you’re wondering, ‘Does Surfshark work in China?’, yes! We easily watched Netflix with Surfshark in China without any hassle.
Security is paramount, and Surfshark doesn’t cut corners despite its budget-friendly tag. It offers AES-256-GCM encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and features like CleanWeb to block ads and malware. Users in China can rest assured their online activities are secure and private.
Surfshark’s headquarters 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’s servers are optimized for speed, ensuring that streaming and browsing are smooth and buffer-free. This is particularly important for users in China who need reliable speeds to access international content without interruptions.
Surfshark uses the WireGuard protocol to maintain its speed performance. During our Surfshark speed test, we recorded a download speed of 81.32 Mbps and an upload speed of 76.12 Mbps on our 100 Mbps internet connection.
Surfshark also offers the Chinese mirror website in case its official site is not accessible with all the standard VPN features. Additionally, Ease of use is a hallmark of Surfshark, with intuitive apps for various devices and platforms. Its compatibility extends across smartphones, laptops, and even devices that don’t natively support VPNs, thanks to features like Smart DNS. So, enjoy Surfshark’s free trial on your Mac and iOS devices.
Surfshark prices make it one of the best cheapest VPNs. Surfshark’s pricing is among the most competitive in the market, offering excellent value for money. Coupled with a 30-day money-back guarantee and responsive customer support, it’s an attractive option for users in China looking for an affordable yet robust VPN solution.
You can share it with a family or group of housemates because you receive limitless devices on one subscription. For more information, check out our exclusive Surfshark VPN 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 – Largest Server Network VPN for China
NordVPN is the largest server network for China. Being the most secure VPN makes it an excellent choice for users in China. Its extensive server coverage, including over 5500+ servers in 60 countries with many in close proximity to China, like Hong Kong and Japan, ensures reliable and fast connections.
The servers offer impressive speeds, crucial for uninterrupted streaming of international content, including 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 in China.
NordVPN is equipped with robust security features, including double VPN encryption and a strict no-logs policy, and provides a comprehensive list of tunneling protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard) to Chinese users. This ensures that your online activities remain private and secure, an essential aspect for users in China facing heavy internet censorship and surveillance.
You can carefree use NordVPN in China as it 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.
Threat Protection, a special security tool offered by NordVPN, filters advertisements, trackers, and harmful websites. Additionally, it examines files before you download them and blocks any questionable content on websites before they load. With this, the malware won’t be able to infect your device, and third-party snoopers in China won’t have a chance to intercept your traffic. The ad-blocking feature is a plus point for smooth browsing.
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’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 leak issues while we tested NordVPN in China. However, you can see the IP leak test result below when we connected to NordVPN UK servers.
When testing NordVPN for speed, it recorded an average speed of 83.82 Mbps and an upload speed of 44.64 Mbps on our 100 Mbps connection.
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.
Despite its extensive features, NordVPN cost remains affordable. Priced at $3.99/mo (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan) with a 30-day refund policy, it offers great value, especially considering the NordVPN free trial available for 7 days to test the service free of cost.
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. Private Internet Access VPN – Reliable Torrenting VPN for China
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a reliable torrenting VPN for China. Known for its strong commitment to privacy and security, PIA offers a comprehensive solution for users in China who need secure and unrestricted internet access, especially for torrenting purposes, with features such as port-forwarding, and also offers a SOCKS5 proxy.
PIA boasts a vast network of over 35000+ servers in 84 countries, including regions near China including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Japan. This extensive network ensures users can easily find a fast and reliable connection for both torrenting and bypassing geo-restrictions.
Recognized for its torrent-friendly approach, PIA provides dedicated servers that are optimized for high-speed torrenting. This is crucial for users in China who rely on VPNs for safe and efficient torrent downloads.
Beyond torrenting, PIA also excels in enabling access to various geo-restricted streaming platforms. Its servers are capable of delivering high streaming speeds, essential for a buffer-free experience on platforms like Hulu, Facebook, YouTube, and more, including Netflix with PIA VPN.
PIA VPN excels at unblocking content, and it’s the most cost-effective option to change your IP with a new Chinese IP Address to watch Chinese content as well as watch your favorite foreign streaming channels. 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.
Security is a top priority for PIA. It offers robust encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and leak protection, ensuring that your online activities remain private and secure, a vital concern in a heavily monitored internet environment like China.
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.
On our PIA speed tests, the servers provided us with a download speed of 65.78 Mbps and an upload speed of 57.16 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
PIA is priced competitively, offering plans starting at $2.11/mo . This pricing makes it an attractive option for users in China looking for a balance between functionality and affordability. You can also get a PIA VPN free trial prior to buying its full subscription.
If you wish to learn about how PIA has been performing in China lately, don’t forget to check out how PIA VPN works in the China guide for further details. To learn more about the provider, check out our PIA VPN 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. Astrill VPN – Secure VPN for China with Stealth Mode
Astrill VPN stands out as the secure VPN for China in Stealth mode. This model is specifically designed to overcome the stringent internet restrictions imposed by the Great Firewall of China, making Astrill a reliable option for users in this region.
Astrill has proven to be a popular option among Chinese users. It offers family plans that allow for numerous laptops and cellphones in a home in addition to individual plans designed for those who only need a single device. The program itself is flexible as well, offering choices for a basic HTTP proxy connection in just a few seconds or a more involved VPN connection for increased protection.
Astrill may not boast the largest server network, but offers a network of 360+ servers located in 65 countries. Its strategically placed servers are effective in bypassing China’s internet limitations. The network includes servers in Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are crucial for maintaining connectivity in China.
While Astrill’s average speed of 20.53 Mbps might seem modest compared to other VPNs, it is sufficient for streaming content from geo-restricted platforms. Users can access popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer without significant buffering issues.
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.
Astrill’s security is robust, offering features that cater to the unique challenges of China’s internet landscape. The Stealth Mode, in particular, is a standout feature, enabling users to maintain anonymity and evade detection by the Great Firewall.
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.
During testing Astrill VPN speed performance, we connected to its US servers and recorded a download speed of 20. 53 Mbps and an upload speed of 18.45 Mbps, and there were no buffering issues.
It supports 5 simultaneous connections, and there are configurable apps for various devices like Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, etc. It is the best Android VPN for China.
Astrill’s pricing is on the higher side, at $12.50/month. However, considering its specialized features for China, such as Stealth Mode and a focused server network, the cost can be justified for users who prioritize reliability and security in this challenging internet environment.
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.
While living in China, our team searched for Astrill VPN China Reddit review. The answer came in favor as this VPN is worth the try, and it’s 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
6. PrivateVPN – Great Unblocking VPN for China
PrivateVPN is highly recommended as a Great Unblocking VPN for China, primarily for its exceptional ability to bypass the Great Firewall and provide access to a wide range of geo-restricted content. You can use PrivateVPN in China by enabling its feature called “Stealth mode” from its settings. This makes your encrypted traffic appear to be unencrypted.
PrivateVPN, while having a smaller server network compared to some of its competitors, strategically positions its servers to optimize access within China. This network includes 200+ servers in 63 countries, including regions adjacent to Mainland China, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. Ensuring reliable connectivity and efficient unblocking capabilities.
One of PrivateVPN’s standout features is its impressive streaming speed, which is crucial for accessing various geo-restricted streaming platforms. Users can enjoy a seamless streaming experience on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, with minimal buffering and high-quality resolution.
Security is a top priority for PrivateVPN, especially considering the stringent internet surveillance in China. It offers robust encryption and security protocols, ensuring that users’ online activities remain private and secure from any external surveillance or cyber threats.
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 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 an Application Guard, kill switch and IPv6 leak protection. During testing, it did not leak our actual IP address.
In our PrivateVPN speed testing, it performs significantly better than average, We recorded an average download speed of 72.38 Mbps and an upload speed of 67.36 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
PrivateVPN offers competitive pricing, with plans starting at around $2.50/month, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This price point makes it an attractive option for users in China who are looking for a balance between functionality and affordability.
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 this VPN, check the PrivateVPN review.
- 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
Test Methodology: How we tested the best VPN for China
Below, we outline the other criteria you might need from your VPN, which we used as our top considerations for bypassing Great Firewall when curating our list of best VPNs for China.
- 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. Since it’s difficult to find a VPN with a China server, you can also use nearby countries’ servers to access China’s content.
- Streaming: Just in case you wish to safely access streaming services like Hulu and Spotify while you’re traveling, in addition to getting through the Great Firewall, you will need a VPN that works with them because they have their own geographical constraints.
- Speed: There are only a few gateways through which all traffic leaving China can pass, which can cause backups and delays. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick a VPN that offers quick speeds. For speedier connections, it’s even preferable if your VPN provides servers in or close to China.
- Security: All the VPNs we have chosen offer Military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection. When traveling in China, these features shield your data from prying eyes and keep you secure on open WiFi networks.
- 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.
- Device Compatibility: The VPNs we’ve recommended provide native apps for most operating systems or devices. You can connect any device with these VPNs and enjoy streaming or browsing in China.
- 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.
- Value for money: While testing these VPNs, we’ve ensured you don’t get bankrupt investing in a VPN. The costs are reasonable and vetted by us after using the services first-hand. You’re getting value for money thanks to the features these VPNs offer.
- Customer support: With China VPNs, excellent customer support is essential because it’s typical to need assistance finding the best servers to connect to. Make sure your choice offers live chat support around-the-clock.
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
If your VPN isn’t working in China you need to upgrade to a VPN that can offer IP addresses that the Chinese government can’t recognize and block.
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 it work properly.
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, the 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 can 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. By 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. By “spoofing” your location online with a VPN, you can protect your identity online. Even if you might be in Shanghai, you’ll appear to be, say, in the UK or the US. This way you can access 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 2023.
Is there a free VPN for China?
You can use TunnelBear, which is the best free VPN for China. It has Obfuscation and a Kill Switch, which keep your data hidden while browsing in China. However, we don’t suggest it, but if you want to get the best VPN for China free, you can use ExpressVPN free trial and use its services risk-free in China.
What sites are blocked in China?
The list of websites and services that are restricted in China is as below:
Note: We’ve already covered a handful, but there are several websites and apps that are not accessible in China.
- Facebook (and Messenger)
- Google Apps (e.g. Calendar, Docs, Hangouts, Maps, etc.)
- New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
VPN Guides for Other Countries
Also, refer to our VPN guides for other countries:
- Best VPN for Maldives
- Best VPN for Taiwan
- Best VPN for Germany
- Best VPN for Colombia
- Best VPN for Ghana
- Best VPN for Italy
- Best VPN for Belarus
- Best VPN For Cuba
- Best VPN in Lebanon
- Best VPN in Japan
- Best VPN Malaysia
- Best VPN for Denmark
FAQs: Best VPN for China
What is the best VPN to access China?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for China. That’s because it has a huge server network globally. So Chinese users can easily bypass censorship and geo-restrictions on various sites locally and globally. It also offers the fastest speeds and the best security features to ensure complete privacy and anonymity as you browse through the web. Select the best ExpressVPN server for China, and you’ll be good to go!
Which VPN is better for China?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for use in China. It offers a server network of 3000 servers across 105 countries globally. You can connect to any server and gain access to geo-restricted content from anywhere. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t want to get a subscription right away.
Are VPNs legal in China?
Yes, using a VPN in China is legal. Although the country employs several restrictions upon using a VPN and even goes to the lengths of blocking many VPN providers, you can still use VPN legally. You just need to pick a VPN that works well in China and hasn’t been blacklisted yet.
Does Astrill VPN work in China in 2023?
Yes, Astrill VPN works well in China, even in 2023. It uses its Smart Mode and Stealth VPN protocol to bypass censorship with ease and without being detected by ISPs or the government. You can use Astrill VPN to unblock geo-restricted sites and escape internet shutdowns as well. It offers 360 servers across 65 countries around the world.
Is NordVPN blocked in China?
Yes, NordVPN is blocked in China. So, make sure to sign up for NordVPN before traveling to China. If not, even VPN sites are blocked in China, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to access NordVPN’s website and sign up there.
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.
Does VPN work well in China
This is still not confirmed because the VPN software is being used to get past access restrictions to websites and services that it has purposefully sought to prohibit. It is yet unknown how (or even if) customers will be penalized for using the ‘unauthorized’ software in China, despite the country’s prohibition on VPNs. And many VPN services are still making sales to customers in China.
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 2023, you can access sites and platforms as VPNs are not affected by this update. Also, the recommended best VPN for China Reddit 2023 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.