They say in China, “One learns more from traveling a thousand miles than from reading a thousand scrolls.” It is hard to disagree with this proverb.
Traveling to China can be an eye-opening experience because it is such a huge change from our natural habitat that we have grown so comfortable with. And that is exactly what makes it worthwhile.
The only serious problem that you need to be prepared in advance for if you are visiting China is the censorship of foreign sites. In fact, most popular social media websites are blocked in China. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube and more.
To counter this heavy censorship and online regulation, you will need a VPN that works within China.
Unfortunately, many free VPN providers are either scams that may actually violate your privacy and sell your information to advertisers, or simply don’t work at all in China.
Nonetheless, here are some of the best free VPNs for China that are quite reliable for defeating censorship in the country:
- Ivacy – Dedicated app for Chinese users with unlimited bandwidth.
- Windscribe – 10 free servers, with 10GB/month bandwidth limit.
- ProtonVPN – 3 servers, unlimited bandwidth.
- TunnelBear – 20+ servers, 500MB/month limit.
- Hide.Me – 5 servers, 2GB/month data cap.
Note: Free VPNs don’t always have the wherewithal to defeat Chinese censorship mechanisms. For a complete, fool-proof solution, I’ll advise you to use a well-reputed premium VPN for China to safely access the web from with in China as well as outside China.
Best Free VPNs for China
The following free China VPNs have been selected after a careful evaluation of their reliability, performance, and security features. Don’t forget! All VPN websites are blocked in China, which means you need to download and install the VPN you choose before arriving in the country.
1. Editor’s Choice: Ivacy – Unlimited bandwidth
Ivacy is the most powerful free VPN for China. It remains one of the few VPNs in the industry that has the ability to bypass Great Firewall of China with remarkable efficiency and consistency. Although it is not exactly a free VPN to China, you can utilize its 30-day money-back guarantee to use it for a whole month and demand a refund within that period if you’re not satisfied.
The service is equipped with 1,000+ servers in 100+ countries, with 6 of these in China. VPNs that offer servers within China are a rare breed, so this makes Ivacy extremely valuable for users that want to access local Chinese content from abroad. As such, it is one of the very few free VPNs with China IP address. At the same time, you can also gain access to foreign content within China that are persistently censored within the country.
You can purchase Ivacy for $2.25/mo. For its low cost and excellent unblocking ability, Ivacy is the best free VPN to use in China.
Ivacy is compatible with most popular devices including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. For people in China, the wide compatibility of Ivacy is highly convenient.
For more information, see this Ivacy review.
- Excellent functionality within China
- 6 dedicated servers within China
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Not permanently free
2. Windscribe – 10 GB/month
Windscribe has moderate success rate working in China. Still, Windscribe is a pretty good VPN service to have if you’re looking for a free VPN in China. The service offers 10GB/month bandwidth limit, but you can connect to unlimited devices at the same time.
Moreover, it offers servers including the UK which are quite effective for users within China that want to access blocked services like Gmail, Snapchat, and WhatsApp in China.
You can use Windscribe through its dedicated apps on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. There are also extensions of this VPN for Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers.
This is not it. Windscribe can be set up manually on DD-WRT, Tomato and Asus routers. Devices like Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield and NAS are also supported.
- Unlimited simultaneous multi-logins
- Allows P2P filesharing
- Relatively slow speeds
3. ProtonVPN – Unlimited bandwidth
ProtonVPN is another decent VPN app that often works in China. The best feature of this VPN is its unlimited bandwidth. The VPN provides excellent security through OpenVPN over UDP and OpenVPN over TCP. It has no servers within China but has a good reliability for bypassing the GFW and restrictions against foreign content within China.
However, like most VPNs, its functionality within China wavers with time. As such, it might not always work within China. But the service it delivers is fast and smooth and enable access to blocked social media sites that are unavailable in China.
When it comes to compatibility, ProtonVPN covers the basics pretty well. It has custom clients for Windows and Mac along with apps for Android and Linux.
You can also set up this VPN on Linux through Proton’s OpenVPN config file.
Find more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
- Fast servers
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Only 3 server locations available
4. TunnelBear – 500MB/month
TunnelBear is a Canada-based VPN available for free for Chinese users. It offers more than 20+ servers, which is more than most free providers offer. In addition, TunnelBear is one of the few VPNs that have the ability to work in China, though it is something of a hit-or-miss ever since China increased strictness on VPNs.
The other downside to this VPN is that offers 500 MB/month bandwidth which can be increased to 1.5GB/month if you tweet about it. As such, this service is useful if you just have minimal VPN usage, such as unblocking social media websites like Facebook and Twitter in China.
TunnelBear has somewhat restricted cross-platform compatibility It has dedicated app for the four popular platforms; Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
With this, it has limited support for Linux systems. However, there is no way of using this VPN on Smart TVs, Routers or Gaming consoles.
Learn more about this VPN in our TunnelBear review.
- Supports P2P torrenting
- Allows up to 5 simultaneous connections
- 500 MB/month bandwidth
5. Hide.Me – 2GB/month
Hide.Me is another effective free VPN to break the Chinese GFW. Like most other free providers, Hide.Me has no servers within China.
Nonetheless, its foreign servers are what you need to access blocked overseas content within the mainland. The reliability of Hide.Me as a free VPN China has suffered somewhat over the years, but it can still deliver good functionality within China every now and then.
Unfortunately, it comes with a 2GB/month bandwidth limit, so you’re only limited to performing activities that don’t require too much bandwidth consumption.
Hide.Me boasts dedicated software for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and Windows Phone. It also offers add-ons for Chrome and Firefox.
It supports Linux, Blackberry, Routers, Synology and QNAP through manual configuration. If you interested in using QNAP in conjunction with a VPN, make sure you go through the detailed QNAP VPN setup.
For further details, see this Hide.Me review.
- Zero-logging policy
- Allows torrenting
- Uses OpenVPN tunneling protocol
- 2GB bandwidth/limit
Can Free VPNs Be Trusted in China?
The problem with free VPN service providers is that they are great in numbers, but a great many of these are scams that can sell your data to third-parties. This is, of course, unacceptable. What’s more, many free service providers don’t have the resources to bypass the sophisticated Great Firewall of China and simply don’t work within the country.
On the other hand, the VPNs that do work in China for free usually have severe bandwidth limitations and most of the advanced features that help boost your privacy are locked until you purchase the full version.
For these reasons, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and choose a well-reputed VPN, even if it may cost a bit of money. So, if you can afford it, you should always prefer using a paid service that offers free China VPN server along with multiple other benefits.
That is the only surefire way to defeat the strict censorship and surveillance that is only becoming stronger with the passage of time in China.
Tl;dr: Free VPNs cannot be entirely trusted to work efficiently in China which makes it more preferable to use a paid service instead.
Which free VPN is best for China?
Ivacy’s 30-day money-back guarantee works as the best free VPN for China. You can demand a refund within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the service, thus making it virtually free for the first month.
Which free VPN works China?
Ivacy is a free VPN which works in China (with the 30-day free trial). Most VPNs that are totally free of cost do not work in China anymore. However, you can try Windscribe, TunnelBear, and ProtonVPN too.
Does Betternet work in China?
Betternet does not reliably work in China. It may work occasionally, but it does not have a network powerful enough to consistently sidestep the Great Firewall of China.
Ivacy is the best free VPN to have in China owing to its powerful capability to counter Chinese censorship technologies. As such, if you’re traveling to China or living in the country, you can rely on this VPN to free internet in China from pointless government restrictions.
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