Why do you need best VPNs for China? Existing like a separate world, China has a lot of limitation concerning the freedom of Internet users: local residents cannot access many of the foreign websites, while the foreigners aren’t allowed to use Chinese websites. Google, Facebook, Instagram and loads of other apps and websites we use day will be out of reach for you in China because of the notorious Great Firewall, which is the most advanced censorship system in the world.
What’s the way out? Both native Chinese and expats/ travelers use a VPN to regain their online freedom. However, the choice of a decent provider is a challenging task, as only a handful of VPN providers still work in China. The Great Firewall is tuned to detect VPN services and to further block and throttle them. Therefore, only those VPNs that use special techniques to mask VPN connections still manage to provide a satisfactory experience for their customers. We’ve compiled a list of the best VPN services for China that ensures both excellent connectivity and security.
5 Best VPNs for China
What’s the best VPN to use in China?
There are many aspects to consider when you search for a reliable and efficient VPN service. When looking for the best VPN for China, pay attention to the following aspects:
- Successfully bypasses the Great Firewall of China. An evident fact, and still, it is the crucial thing to consider. The majority of VPNs are not capable of bypassing the advanced Internet censorship system developed by the Chinese government and nicknamed the Great Firewall of China.
- The number of servers and locations. The best VPN providers have server locations all over the world. Having a server near the destination location means enjoying the faster connection. Therefore, you will need a server near China, for instance, in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, or California. Another crucial feature is multiple servers and IPs – it will ensure continuous work of VPN even in case the Great Firewall blocks one of VPN’s IP addresses.
- The speed of VPN. It should be noted that broadband speed in China is quite low, so you need a fast VPN, especially if you need access to streaming, torrenting, or eCommerce websites.
- Bandwidth. That means the amount of data you can download (streams and torrents included) and upload every month. If you share your account with other users, you share bandwidth, as well. So make sure that the amount of available bandwidth is enough to cover your needs, or you will stay without service. Ideally, you should find a VPN package that comes with unlimited bandwidth.
- Safety & Encryption. As a rule, 256-bit encryption is considered to be the golden standard for most VPNs. 128-bit isn’t enough to ensure unbeatable protection. The more types of encryption is offered, the better. Besides, there are some other useful safety options, such as Kill Switch, double VPN, zero-logs policy, and so on.
- The number of users/devices supported. Find out how many devices the VPN account supports. Can it be used on your computer, tablet, and phone simultaneously? Can you share the account with friends and family members? The more users/devices are supported, the more you save.
- Setting Up. Some VPNs require manual installation and setting up – it’s hard for users without technical skills and very time-consuming. Make sure that installation is straightforward, and there’s a detailed instruction on the website for setting software up.
- Mobile Applications. Some VPN companies don’t provide mobile versions for Android and iOS – you need to download third-party VPN agents instead or server profiles one-by-one. It’s a real challenge for users without technical knowledge and pain in the neck even for tech-savvy customers. It’s better to choose a VPN with its own mobile apps.
- Customer Service. If you experience problems with your VPN connection, you may need help right away. While some providers offer live chat and phone for customers to resolve issues as soon as possible, less popular companies lack such function.
- Price. Each company has its pricing policy – select the one that fits you in terms of performance and compatibility and look at the price only after that. Remember that we get what we pay for. Also look for free trials and money-back guarantee: this is a great chance to test the VPN without losing money.
- ExpressVPN – Perfect for Netflix and other streaming services
- VyprVPN – Industry-leading technologies and P2P availability
- BufferedVPN – Great for streaming
- NordVPN – High-speed anti-block solution
- TunnelBear VPN – Offers 1,5 Gb monthly for a free secure browsing
Best VPNs That Work in China
- High level of security, 256-bit encryption, split-tunneling
- Available in more than 90 countries
- Intuitive interface design, excellent performance
- Streaming, torrenting, Netflix are available
- Only three simultaneous connections are available.
- Relatively high price
The bandwidth is unlimited – once you pay for the service, you’re free to exploit it without minding limitations. ExpressVPN boasts over 2,000 servers in 90 countries providing global coverage. In addition to Windows, Mac, and mobile apps, ExpressVPN has browser extensions (for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox), as well as VPN for Linux and routers. Therefore, the VPN service ensures record-breaking compatibility with platforms.
The only drawback is that you won’t be able to connect all the supported devices under one license, as it only allows for three simultaneous connections. Such a limitation makes ExpressVPN an optimal choice for a single user only.
Safety & Encryption
ExpressVPN is internationally known for its impressive set of features, and those include Kill Switch and Split-Tunneling, among others. With Split-Tunneling, you’ll be able to hand-pick programs/apps that will be protected by the VPN (say, your browser). Kill Switch is designed to shut down your connection the second the Network breaks down.
Add the AES 256-bit encryption protocol, OpenVPN, and company-owned DNS servers, and you’ll get one of the most secure services on the market.
The company doesn’t keep any logs, and the HQ is located in the British Virgin Islands, and that’s exactly what the users are looking for.
A quick fact: the BVI is a part of the UK; at the same time, it’s an autonomous piece of land with its own set of laws and legislature. That means VPN services are 100% legal there and the BVI is not a member of any intelligence-sharing agency (we’re talking about 5/9/14-Eyes).
Ease of Use
The process of installation is a no-brainer: just download ExpressVPN app on your devices, follow the installation instructions, paste the activation code, and choose a server. The interface is simple: just choose a suitable server, and you’re ready to go.
When working with Chinese websites, you need to know a few tricks to reach the maximum efficiency of the service. Here are some tips from professional users.
In case of connectivity loss, ExpressVPN re-establishes connection automatically. However, iOS devices require the user’s consent every time connection is set up. That’s both advantage and drawback: from one side, the battery charge is saved, from another – it’s annoying.
The company provides 24/7 customer support service. Assistants can be contacted via email, phone, and live chat. You can also send a ticket with your feedback or complaints. An extensive knowledge base contains a FAQ section and manuals for setting ExpressVPN agents up.
- More about this VPN in our ExpressVPN review.
There are three basic packages available:
- Monthly subscription – $12.95/month;
- 6 months – $9.99/month;
- 15 months – $6.67/month (49% discount).
ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can use the service for a month and just get your money back, say if you leave the country after traveling. Besides, they have a 35% discount deal. You can also enjoy this China VPN free of charge for three months if you sign up for one year.
Vypr VPN maintains the speed of 4-5 Mb/sec (and up to 10 Mb/sec with Telecom connection) in China, while other servers can reach 45-60 Mbps. The results are not quite impressive, but on the plus side the bandwidth is unlimited, and the proprietary Chameleon protocol allows VyprVPN to bypass the Great Firewall and makes it a great choice from the standpoint of security. For better speed and performance, it’s better to choose Los Angeles or Japan servers, while Hong Kong servers are perfect for mobile browsing.
Safety & Encryption
In addition to the above-mentioned Chameleon technology that protects your data from the deep packet inspection, VyprVPN uses 128-bit and 256-bit encryption that complies with the strictest modern standards. Another benefit worth mentioning is the fact that VyprVPN owns all its servers, which allows for better performance. Independent tests show that VyprVPN boasts exceptional performance, and there are no DNS/IPv6/IPv4 leaks.
Please, note that VyprVPN collects some connection logs, but deletes the data within 30 days.
Ease of Use
VyprVPN does not require manual setting. The process of installation is fast and intuitive. This is one of the most convenient VPN agents on our list.
Users particularly like the interface for PC: it’s decluttered, quick and easy to navigate. If you decide to change a server, there’s no need to type in every address. You can also check ping times on the servers around the world to choose the one that suits you.
If users still encounter any difficulties, they can contact customer service via live chat to get a fast reply – responses are sent within 15 minutes. The service is available around the clock. Besides, users can create a ticket and find essential information in the online knowledge base.
Read more about this VPN in our VyprVPN review.
The provider has the following plans:
- Monthly – Standard – $9.95/mth;
- Monthly – Premium – $12.95/mth;
- Yearly – Standard – $5.00/mth;
- Yearly – Premium – $6.67/mth.
Using a coupon, users can get VyprVPN for as low as $3.75/month. A 30-day free trial is offered, as well. Aside from credit/debit cards, customers can select PayPal and Alipay options.
Software agents are compatible with Windows and Mac, and there’s also a version for routers. Recently, BufferedVPN introduced Android and iOS applications, so now it can be used on the go without problems. BufferedVPN allows for having five devices connected simultaneously.
Safety & Encryption
The company protects customers’ data using 256-bit Encryption and OpenVPN protocol – both are the golden standards of VPN protection. Nothing is making the service stand out though: no double routing, no specific protocols.
Still, from a reliability standpoint, Buffered VPN lives up to the hype: connection doesn’t fail often, and independent tests have shown that no DNS leaks occur. Besides, the company does not keep connection logs.
Ease of Use
Buffered VPN is installed in a couple of clicks – it features intuitive navigation and easy setup. Before mobile apps were introduced, it had to be set up on mobile devices manually, but now you only need to download the configurations for specific servers.
When it comes to customer service, Buffered VPN boasts a broad knowledge base on the official website: there’s a FAQ section, setup and troubleshooting tutorials, as well as a ticket system. Live chat is available, too: assistants answer shortly. In the email, answers are sent in 10 minutes. Besides, BufferVPN is also active on Twitter.
More information in our BufferedVPN review.
Buffered VPN has the following packages available:
- Monthly – $12.99/mth;
- 13 Month Special (save 41%) – $7.62/mth;
- Bi-Annual Plan (save 23%) – $9.99/mth.
There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. But the refund will be only made if you haven’t exceeded the threshold of 100 sessions (or 10 hours of sessions) or 10 GB of bandwidth.
With this virtual private network, you can select out from 47 servers and protect up to 6 devices simultaneously. While obfuscated servers are only available in some specific locations (Japan is on the list), users can still resort to regular servers in Hong Kong and Japan to ensure swift performance.
Dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and even BlackBerry are available. There’s also a Chrome extension and a version for routers.
With NordVPN there’s no need to worry about the bandwidth limits, but the speed is average. It depends on the server used, but the average upload speed is 16.8 Mbps, download speed – 34.7 Mbps.
Safety & Encryption
When it comes to security, NordVPN is an evident market leader. It boasts a large range of security features, such as:
- 256-bit encryption;
- L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, SSTP protocols supported;
- Double VPN (rerouting of user’s traffic);
- CyberSec technology that blocks ads;
- encrypted proxy for Chrome extension;
All that makes NordVPN top choice for users who value security and safety of their data.
Some reviews mention that NordVPN can drop connection accidentally – it’s not convenient and can affect user experience.
However, bulletproof safety is guaranteed. The provider is well-known for being very careful about users’ privacy because it’s free from the impact of copyright owners and the NSA. No logs are kept at all, and the level of encryption is pretty high.
Ease of Use
NordVPN is installed in a couple of clicks – no extra manual work is required. As soon as the agent is installed, the user will need to choose a server from the list. The software allows having VPN activated automatically as soon as the device is switched on. NordVPN is very competitive from the point of user-friendliness.
NordVPN provides different ways of contacting customer support: several email addresses, phone, and tickets. Assistants answer within 15-30 minutes, and the service is available for all customers on 24/7 basis regardless of packages used.
- More about this VPN in our NordVPN review.
The company has an agreeable pricing policy offering low VPN cost:
- 1 month – $11.95/mth;
- 12 months – $6.99/mth;
- 36 months – $2.99/mth.
A 3-day free trial is offered. Additionally, users can enjoy it free with the help of 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why is it on our list then? The VPN service can successfully bypass the Great Firewall thanks to the GhostBear feature that masks your traffic. You get the GhostBear feature at your disposal even with a free plan that comes with 500 Mb of bandwidth. It all makes TunnelBear a great choice for travelers who will only spend for a couple of days in China, but need to have access to otherwise blocked websites during their stay.
It is worth noting that TunnelBear is compatible with all the major platforms, and complies with top safety standards of the industry.
Safety & Encryption
TunnelBear is one of the most reliable VPN services so far. It does not keep any connection logs, there are a few useful technologies, such as kill switch. Tests revealed that no DNS leaks occur during browsing activity.
This VPN service uses the most advanced encryption technologies: 128-bit and 256-bit encryption together with OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2 protocols are available. High-grade data authentication and Diffie-Hellman key exchange make connection failure-proof. VigilantBear (analog of kill-switch) prevents access of third parties.
Ease of Use
TunnelBear is very easy in installation and use. PC versions are installed simply and quickly. Mobile applications aren’t’ challenging in setting and using, too.
The interface is easy and intuitive: users see the list of available servers and the most recommended ones (according to the current speed and connectivity).
There’s no live chat or phone customer support – that’s a considerable downside. However, TunnelBear’s ticket system is surprisingly fast and responsive. Assistants reply within a few minutes, and it’s human support, not just automatic answers.
More about this VPN in our TunnelBear VPN review.
There are three pricing plans available:
- Little (free) – up to 500 Mb bandwidth;
- Giant – $9.99/month;
- Grizzly – $4.99/month with an annual subscription (50% discount).
Please, note that no refunds are made.
VPNs that don’t work in China
Not all VPNs can overcome the Great Firewall of China because their IPs get accidentally revealed and blocked. If you want to be sure that your VPN service will work smoothly, avoid the following services:
VPN became slow or stopped working in China?
Your VPN doesn’t work? If you have an inbuilt VPN in your device, another VPN might not work in China because of too sophisticated filters. If your VPN is too slow, you can try to reconnect to another server to check the speed.
Please, note that in some certain periods, VPNs in China are slow or even don’t work. Those periods include:
- Political meetings in China in October and March
- Chinese New Year
- Military parades
What else can be done to re-establish VPN connection in China?
- Change a server
- Change the VPN protocol. Usually, OpenVPN protocol is used, but sometimes these connections are detected by packet inspection
- Switch to port 433 (SSL). Since blocking this port might disrupt the Internet, China isn’t likely to block the traffic on 443.
Moreover, some recommend using the L2TP/IPSec protocol because it’s also less likely to be blocked. Most devices support L2TP, and VPNs include it in their security arsenal due to a high level of security.
Are VPNs legal in China?
Surprisingly, using a VPN in China is still legal despite what media says. The government doesn’t ban such companies, but VPN servers are blocked more often, and downtime happens accidentally even with the most reliable VPN providers.
Besides, most VPN services operate outside China – they don’t have offices or servers in the Mainland. That means their activity isn’t regulated by Chinese authorities, and they cannot affect the service anyhow.
There’s no precedent of anyone being fined, arrested or punished for using a VPN. Since a lot of users prefer VPN for browsing in China, this isn’t likely to change.
When it comes to finding the best VPN in Mainland China, the task is challenging, because a lot of providers’ IPs are blacklisted, and the number of available services isn’t high. However, there are still a few companies that can provide you with stable access to websites and brilliant security.
Don’t expect to get a free VPN China IP easily – those providers that left on the market mostly offer paid packages. However, the quality of service you get is totally worth every dollar spent. The above-mentioned providers do care about customers’ privacy and convenience. Overcoming Great Firewall Restrictions with its harsh internet censorship system is a hard task, but being patient enough you’ll figure out an optimal solution!
Best VPNs for other countries
Here is our guides for other countries: