We don’t have to tell you that China is perhaps the most notorious country when it comes to online censorship. The Chinese government is controlling the Web in a very strict way, blocking websites and even globally popular Web services on a daily basis. And right now, the only way to go over the Chinese Great Firewall is by using a VPN.
You’ve probably heard a lot about using VPNs in China, especially about how VPNs in China are practically banned. The thing is that China has blocked VPNs and now only allows certified VPN services to operate within its borders. There was even news about individuals serving jail sentences for selling VPNs. Even though all of this might sound frightening, the situation is far from problematic, and there are plenty of fully-working VPNs for China. All you need to know is which ones you can use.
Before you start using a VPN in China, you need to know a few things. First of all, you need to know which are best VPN services out there, and which of those work in this country. Then, you need to know which VPNs bring reliable performance and the ability to unblock certain services. And this will lead us to our response on which is the best VPN you can currently use in China.
We’re proud to present our findings, so here are truly the 6 best VPN for China in May 2019.
1. ExpressVPN – #1 Rated China VPN
Without any doubt, ExpressVPN is the best option there is. No matter if you just want to stop anyone from collecting your data, or to jump over the Great Firewall, this VPN will get the job done with minimum fuss.
We understand that some of you might have prior experience using a VPN, while others might be complete newbies. Well, ExpressVPN caters to both of these groups of users. It’s very simple on the outside and it brings a highly polished UI. However, a lot of power hides within. This includes 256-bit encryption and the ability to unblock just about any Web service. Finally, ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat, which is hugely helpful if you encounter a problem and it also claims 99.9% uptime.
We gave you highlights of the most important features of this VPN. To learn more about each of these features, please read our ExpressVPN review.
Back in July 2017, NordVPN announced its presence in China. This is a huge achievement for every VPN because entering this market requires meeting a lot of different regulations. Even though the announcement says that their Windows version is supported, this also applies to MacOS and Android.
If you’re looking for an amazing value, you’ll find it here. NordVPN allows you to connect six devices at the same time using a single subscription. The only limitation is that those 6 devices cannot be connected to the same server using the same protocol. On the other hand, this VPN unblocks Netflix and Hulu, as well as the majority of other censored websites. And finally, you can count on double encryption which gives you the highest possible protection against data leaks.
We are sure you can wait to learn more about this VPN, so make sure to check our NordVPN review.
Setting up a server network requires a significant investment. That’s why the majority of VPNs don’t own their servers. This isn’t the case with VPN, which is one of the few VPN networks that their entire network and equipment.
The fact that VyprVPN is able to make deep customizations to its servers translates to speedy performance. We often recommend this VPN to those who don’t want to sacrifice the speed of their connection for the sake of unblocking websites. In addition, there’s a proprietary cloaking technology called ‘Chameleon’, available in the Pro version only. Even though it’s on the pricier side, this protocol works amazingly in battling the Great Firewall. Finally, the good news is that you can pay using Alipay, a huge popular payment service in China.
Are you intrigued by what this VPN offers? If that’s so, feel free to read our VyprVPN review.
4. Ivacy VPN
For a very long time, Ivacy has been known as the best VPN for China. This is because this VPN service has been able to go over Chinese roadblocks with plenty of success, at least when it comes to regular Web browsing.
First, you need to know that Ivacy is a reputable VPN brand. With no previous indiscretions from the past and with the promise of keeping your private data safe, this VPN has attracted plenty of loyal fans. You can use it on a number of devices, it comes with a simple installation, and it’s easy enough even for complete beginners. There’s really nothing not to like here.
However, it should be noted that Ivacy doesn’t play well with media streaming services, if you want to unblock them, that is. This is why we recommend Ivacy to those who want to continue using the Web as they did before, perhaps unblock some new websites – all while going beyond the Great Firewall. To learn more, here’s our Ivacy review.
5. Buffered VPN
If you care about simplicity, you will find Buffered VPN to be highly interesting. This is a very straightforward VPN with an exceptional set of features. And even though it’s not the biggest out there, it gets the job done.
We’ve wanted to place Buffered on our list of the best China VPN for those looking for something simple. This VPN service brings a very intuitive UI that looks identical on both desktop and mobile platforms. All you need to do is to select a server, and that’s it. There aren’t tons of features to play, and everything about Buffered is fully automated.
There are also a few perks that you’re going to love. Buffered works well with Netflix US, as well as with plenty of websites banned in China. And it manages to provide speedy performance. If you’d like more details before you make up your mind, check our Buffered VPN review.
It could be said that PandaPow is a niche VPN. However, it holds a lot of value since it comes from Hong Kong, providing an effective solution to unblocking websites in China.
Even though it’s somewhat small in terms of its features and server network, PandaPow has been on the market for close to a decade. It comes with a rustic interface that might look overly technical for average users. And it also brings only around 120+ servers at the moment. However, you can absolutely count on this VPN to get you outside of Chinese borders, which is its biggest value. In addition, it’s also highly affordable, especially its long-term plans.
PandaPow might not have all the bells and whistles of its competitors – but it’s one of the most effective VPN solutions, especially in countries like China. And due to its niche nature, we believe this service to be one of the best VPNs in China.
There are many misconceptions about using a VPN in China. We will try our best to clear your doubts, so keep on reading to learn more.
What is the Great Firewall of China?
Aptly named the Great Firewall of China (and officially known as the Golden Shield Project), this is the world’s most advanced Internet censorship system. As reported by Bloomberg, this censorship system is based on Internet Service Providers restricting all Web access to a handful of access points. This gives the authorities greater control over incoming and outgoing data.
It is known that China uses several methods of restricting Web access. This is IP blocking, DNS tampering, filtering of potentially dangerous keywords, deep packet inspection, and there’s manual enforcement as well. As you can see, a VPN needs to overcome numerous obstacles to become a viable solution. Since China blocks VPNs as well, this means that you need to be careful about selecting the very best VPN for China in 2019.
Why Do You Need a VPN in China?
In simple terms, you need a VPN in China if you want to go beyond websites approved by the authorities. VPNs are helpful when it comes to changing your IP address so that it appears as if you’re in a different country.
By not routing your Web traffic through your Internet service provider, you won’t encounter the same Web blocks as regular Internet users. However, even VPNs are strictly regulated and not all popular options work.
It is also worth saying that you should use a VPN even if you don’t want to visit censored websites. This type of application is helpful when it comes to encrypting your Web traffic. In other words, this helps you to stop your ISP from collecting your private data about what you do online.
Can You Use a VPN in China (Legally)?
Contrary to the popular opinion, you can use VPNs in China. The thing is that you have fewer options than users in other countries, as VPNs are regulated by digital laws of this country.
We have seen numerous news about China’s VPN crackdown. Since a number of VPNs don’t work in this country, there is a misconception that they are blocked. However, that is not the case since there’s a better phrasing here – they are not blocked, they are regulated. This means that using a VPN in China is perfectly legal. The general rule is that as long as you stay away from political activities online using a VPN, you should be fine.
Which VPN Works Best in China?
Based on our readers’ feedback and our hands-on tests, the best VPN for China is ExpressVPN. This VPN is capable of unblocking websites and online services within China without any problems and comes with highly reliable performance.
Simply said, ExpressVPN checks all the right boxes. You can use it on multiple devices at the same time, install and use it from within China, unblock websites, and make sure that one sees what you do online. This is possible due to ExpressVPN’s military-grade encryption that leaves no trace of your online whereabouts.
Does ExpressVPN Work in China (2019)?
With each passing year, there are fewer and fewer VPNs working in China. However, ExpressVPN fully works within China, without any restrictions – and it actually leads the pack in going beyond the Great Firewall.
For several years now, ExpressVPN is considered to be the best VPN for China. This is one of the rare VPNs without any downtime, as going against the Great Firewall can quickly take its toll. Thanks to this VPN service, Chinese Internet users can visit blocked websites, fight against the censorship and make sure their private data isn’t revealed to third parties.
Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that thanks to ExpressVPN, websites like Netflix, Hulu, or Google’s services are once again present within China.
What’s the Best VPN Protocol for China?
As said earlier, the Great Firewall is based on sophisticated technology. This is why not all VPNs work but only those who put in extra effort into providing advanced encryption protocols. In general, OpenVPN protocols are more effective than PPTP. This is why our list of the best VPN for China is based on OpenVPN providers.
Does Tor Work in China?
The Chinese government has blocked Tor within the country and there’s currently no way to circumvent this blockade. Even though some bridge relays used to work until recently, all published relays are now fully blocked.
At the moment, your best (and perhaps the only) bet to go beyond Chinese digital borders is by using a VPN. And most importantly, you need to find a VPN that hasn’t yet been blocked by the Great Firewall, such as ExpressVPN.
Can You Use Google in China?
There is a huge list of websites and apps that are blocked in China. One of the biggest victims here is Google, as it seems. Numerous Google services are not available in China, which includes Google search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Docs, and Google APIs. However, you might be surprised to hear that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are forbidden as well. When it comes to Web services, you shouldn’t count on Dropbox, Vimeo, Flickr, and SoundCloud. And finally, WhatsApp is the latest victim of this regime.
How to Watch Youku From Outside China?
The Chinese equivalent of YouTube is Youku. With hundreds of millions of monthly views, this website is the #1 destination for video-related content. However, the problem is that Youku is either blocked or strictly regulated in other countries. This means that the only way to fully access this service is by using a VPN. Still, make sure to do your research and find a VPN that offers servers in this country, such as ExpressVPN, for example.
Which Free VPNs Work in China?
There is a number of free VPNs on the market but none of them work in China – at least, they don’t work as they should. Nonetheless, you should stay away from free VPNs as they can cause harm by exposing your private data.
VPNs are subscription-priced services for several good reasons. First of all, they need to invest constantly in new equipment and expanding their server networks. In other words, the commercial VPNs cost a lot of money to run. So, here’s why free VPN, even in China, can never get the job done:
- Free VPNs can’t be used to fight against the Great Firewall. It takes a lot of money and research to stay on top of this task. That’s why only premium VPNs such as ExpressVPN, can guarantee safe passage outside Chinese digital borders.
- To earn money, many free VPNs collect your private data. What more, they can sell it third-party advertisers which is how they can earn money. You can see that this goes against the principles of what VPNs should do.
- Lastly, free VPNs can’t bring the same level of encryption as paid options. This means that the Chinese government can easily snoop on your online activity, as you expose your private data.
Dear readers, this is where we conclude our article on the best VPN for China in 2019. We hope that you managed to get valuable information out of it. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment.