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 to China is the censorship of foreign sites and apps, including social media.
In this blog, I will present the best free VPNs for China which have the capability to unblock sites while also maintaining your security.
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 well-reputed premium VPN services to safely access the web from China.
The Best Free VPNs for China Reviewed
Following providers have been selected after careful evaluation of their reliability, performance and security features. So have a look at these services and compare their features to determine the right one for you.
Windscribe is a surprisingly good option considering that it is available for free. The service offers 10GB/month bandwidth limit, but you can connect to unlimited devices at the same time.
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
This Swiss-based VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, something that hardly anyone offers for free. ProtonVPN provides excellent security through OpenVPN over UDP and OpenVPN over TCP.
With its fast speeds, you can access blocked sites in China instantly.
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.
- Fast servers
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Only 3 server locations available
Nonetheless, you will still be able to open blocked social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter in China with this VPN.
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.
- Supports P2P torrenting
- Allows up to 5 simultaneous connections
- 500 MB/month bandwidth
Hide.Me is another VPN with the great ability to break through GFW. Like every other free provider, Hide.Me has no servers within China.
Nonetheless, its foreign servers are what you need to be accessing blocked overseas content within the mainland. Unfortunately, it comes with a 2GB/month bandwidth limit.
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.
- Zero-logging policy
- Allows torrenting
- Uses OpenVPN tunneling protocol
- 2GB bandwidth/limit
5. Avira Phantom
Avira Phantom is a VPN developed by the people behind Avira antivirus. If you are looking for a provider with strong security features, this is the Way-to-Go.
It supports 5 devices simultaneously and has a built-in Kill switch to protect users from leaking their data to Chinese agencies.
With dedicated apps for Window, Android, Mac, iOS, Avira Phantom has done well to cover popular platform. It has also released a Chrome extension for secure browsing.
However, Avira’s interest in cross-platform compatibility ends here.
There’s no way of using the VPN on Routers, Smart TVs or Gaming consoles.
- Good usability
- Secure protocols for users in China
- Fast speeds
- 500MB/month bandwidth limit
Free iPhone VPN Apps
VPN services are just as important on mobile phones as they are for desktop computers.
In fact, most of our more sensitive information is today stored on smartphones, making it extremely important to ensure security on devices like iPhone.
Here are some of the free apps to cater the needs of iPhone users:
1. VPN Proxy Master
VPNProxy Master offers unlimited bandwidth to allow users to stream and browse the Internet in China without running out of data. This app provides a reasonable solution to iPhone users for accessing the geo-restricted content.
2. Hotspot Shield VPN
HotspotShield is one of those few providers that offer a free China server to its users. You can take advantage of vendor’s unlimited bandwidth and enjoy browsing the unrestricted Internet in China.
3. “Free VPN” for iPhone
Yeah, the app is actually called that “Free VPN”. The App was made by a Chinese developer with an utter purpose of allowing users to bypass Chinese restrictions on foreign content. Definitely worth checking out.
More Free Resources:
Using a VPN in China
Okay, so you know about VPNs that work in China. But the next step is extremely important.
The thing is, while these VPNs will allow you unblock sites when you’re enjoying vacations in China, most VPNs can’t even be downloaded from the country.
If you try to open the official websites of VPN providers, you will simply be denied access.
So, it is very important to remember that you need to install a VPN on your laptop/phone/device while you’re still in your home country.
I would suggest installing more than one of these before flying to China, because you never know which one might be blocked by the increasing efficiency of the Chinese Great Firewall.
The Internet in China is heavily regulated by the government. Chinese authorities exercise an extremely strict form of censorship which leaves citizens deprived from a wealth of information and content available on the web.
The Chinese government does not take kindly to any form of criticism or activism by citizens.
As such, it blocks platforms like social media which serve as open grounds for expression and sharing of views on a global level.
Travelers to China have a hard time adjusting to such a restricted version of the Internet as they are barred from accessing various websites which are the hallmarks of Internet (Facebook, YouTube, and Google among many others).
A VPN is still a proven solution to bypassing the Great Firewall (GFW) without raising the alarm systems in the Ministry of State Security.
So, you know what to do.
Chinese stance on censorship is unlikely to relax, as the state of the Internet is still as stifling in the country as ever.
Travelers and citizens in China should offer as much resistance to these oppressive policies of the government as they can, and the VPN services highlighted above can be a great help in this cause.
So don’t let your travel experience be spoiled by needless restrictions and keep a VPN installed and activated on your laptop and/or phones before you fly to China
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