VPNs seem to be something of the past in China, and that’s not because of outdated value, but rather because of the fact that China is still on the witch hunt for blocking out VPN services within its country, holding some of the world’s severest censorship laws. Further on, you’ll find the best VPN for China, which is tried and tested, and that still works efficiently in China.
China has its own plans in mind, completely ridding its people of staying connected with foreign countries; blocking off masses of international websites and VPNs, with a constant movement of 24/7 internet surveillance.
However, with more advancements being made as the day passes, there are still a number of heavily encrypted VPNs for China that still work!
I’m not giving out tips to sneak around China’s many censorship laws, but letting you know that if you’re ever traveling to China, it is best you do it with the services of a VPN that are safe to use, keeping you connected with the rest of civilization.
The need for VPNs in China is needed now more than ever, especially since the Pandemic broke out, leaving international travelers within Chinese walls, desperately trying to reach out to their loved ones.
Best VPN services for China – A quick look!
On every website or VPN platform, you’ll often come across many VPN users, providers, and testers squandering over which VPN app to choose for China. And, I don’t blame them! It’s extremely difficult to get your hands on a functional premium VPN in China.
Before moving on, here’s a list of the overall best, but more importantly, functional VPNs that still work in China:
- Surfshark – Great features to help bypass geo-blocks while connected to unlimited devices per subscription at $2.49/mo.
- NordVPN – Encases server locations from neighboring countries of China, allowing access to restricted platforms like Netflix at $3.71/mo.
- ExpressVPN – Renders high-speeds providing access to US Netflix and other international websites in China at $6.67/mo.
- FastestVPN – Good speeds, budgeted, and heavily encrypted with security features at $1.11/mo.
- VyprVPN – Bypass major censor blocks with its Chameleon technology, maintaining your anonymity $2.50/mo.
The Great Firewall of China – Reasons why you need a VPN
In case you don’t know, China is home to some of the biggest and strictest censorship laws put on multiple websites that are mainly foreign. Laws in China keep changing and more and more websites or streaming platforms have been put on complete lockdown.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or a foreigner travelling to China, you wouldn’t be able to access even the most common communication or social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and it gets worse, YOUTUBE and GOOGLE!!! (That’s got to hurt!)
The reason being, the Chinese government wants complete internet or social control on all foreign activities, which according to the government, could hamper or interfere with the laws of the state.
Taking Whatsapp into consideration, since it’s a heavily encrypted app, allowing the public to stay completely private, the Chinese government put a ban on it; creating their own version called “WeChat”. This is a complete unencrypted app, with the government on the other side tabbing into every little conversation being held.
VPNs for China – The big BAN theory
Censorship and online surveillance laws in China, are the sole purpose of why you’d ever need a VPN to bypass the active censors of the Great Firewall when travelling to the country. China first started burying multiple foreign websites so deep within the Earth, making it super impossible for locals or foreigners to ever dig up.
But, as I said, in this modern age, the people are always going to look for ways to stay connected with the rest of the world, for simple things like getting access to watch their favorite Netflix movies, etc.
However, another breaking point added to the list, China somehow got wind of the VPN situation being the source of unblocking many websites or services.
So, they moved on to VPN blocking in China, leaving the public with little or no option to comply with the law. Yes, it’s true, China has managed to wipe off almost every VPN provider.
And though to some extent, it is a right to prohibit the usage of VPNs for the use of illegal activities, what about the rest? VPNs are important for business, for travelling and for privacy. But that doesn’t seem to be given any importance.
But, you see, I haven’t listed the best VPN for China based on what scraps I managed to salvage from the dust. I chose them after being tried and tested; reliable VPNs that have superlative security features, able enough to bypass any geo-blocks that China puts up, from everywhere and wherever you may be.
The best VPN for China – That still works!
Now, the thing is, there are many VPN providers in the industry that are more than worthy of their services. Similar to the VPNs enlisted, they too provide robust security features and fast speeds. The only thing that sets the rest apart from the VPNs for China, is well, their ability to functionally work in China!
So here’s a little about what makes these VPNs my top pick, starting with:
Best all-rounder VPN that works in China
- Hailing from the British Virgin Islands, a safe jurisdiction
- A wide platform of 1700+ servers in 64 countries, including some surrounding China.
- Delivers fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- Possesses good features, advanced security encryption, and is DNS Leak protected.
- Surfshark comes with a free trial for Android and iOS devices. If there’s any other device you’re willing to test it on, Surfshark also comes with a 30-day refund on top of any paid subscription plan.
- Supports all the major platforms like Firestick, Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and much more. There are a lot more details to look into, which you can check out in my Surfshark review.
Uses SmartPlay feature to bypass the Great Firewall of China
- NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN, situated in a safe location away from the 14-eyes alliance. It happens to be one of the best for China.
- A huge platform of 5000+ servers in 59 countries, with locations around China’s neighboring companies.
- Good speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- Entails solid security and features like SmartPlay technologies for accessing geo-restricted platforms like Netflix, or Disney+.
- Compatible with multiple devices including Windows, Android, iOS, Fire TV, macOS, and more. You can look up all its features in detail in my NordVPN review.
- Before you travel to China, you even have the option of testing out the VPN for 7 days on Android or iOS smartphones using NordVPN’s free trial. There’s also a refund period for 30-days.
Unblock websites in China with ExpressVPN MediaStreamer
- Another British Virgin Island VPN, marking it as a safe choice.
- A wide range of 3000+ servers in 94 countries, including servers near China.
- Known to produce some of the fastest speeds with unlimited bandwidth.
- Incorporates some heavy security features and others like SmartDNS technology, helping you unblock restricted services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more. It has a special MediaStreamer feature to assist with that.
- Works with great efficiency on all major devices and apps for Windows, Android, Firestick, iOS, macOS, and more. If you’re looking to check out some more details regarding its functionality, check out my detailed ExpressVPN review.
- ExpressVPN also comes with a free testing period for Android and iOS smartphones, along with a 30-day refund period for extensive testing on multiple devices.
Budgeted VPN for streaming in China
- Being based in the Cayman Islands automatically makes this VPN a suiter for China; being part of a privacy-friendly region.
- It makes up a simple list of 350+ servers in 39+ countries, with server locations that neighbour China. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of its list. Since it isn’t listed among VPNs that are worldly recognized, it dodges a huge target of being blocked in China.
- Renders unlimited bandwidth and good speeds.
- Ships military-grade security like AES 256-bit encryption, is DNS and IPv6 leak protected, and a huge plethora of security features.
- It also supports major devices and apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, Chrome extension, Android, Kodi, Routers, and more that you can check out in my extensive FastestVPN review. You can learn how to set it up with your Android or iOS through its tutorial.
Privacy-friendly VPN for China
- Based in Switzerland, known for its privacy laws.
- It has around 700+ servers in 70 locations, including locations in neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Vietnam.
- Produces high speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- VyprVPN has some interesting inbuilt features, with its Chameleon technology known to be one of its main features. This feature works best for countries that hold up heavy censorship laws; allowing you to access restricted websites or apps.
- Supports major devices and apps for Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Routers, Android TV, and more that you can check out in my VyprVPN review.
How the list of top VPNs for China was chosen
Now, you’ve been through a censorship briefing of media platforms and websites in China, and you’ve also gone through why China targeted the VPN market next, blocking its services too. So, putting those two facts together, let me show you how I selected the best VPNs for China, based on:
Bypassing the Great Firewall of China’s restrictions
The first main reason to use a VPN is getting across all the majorly strict censorships and geo-blocks in China. Choosing the right VPN for China depends largely on your ability to access Whatsapp, Netflix, YouTube, Google, and much more while travelling to China.
A versatile list of server locations
It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or a foreigner in China. A VPN is supposed to provide you with a well-thought-of list of server locations, inclusive of countries surrounding China and a good amount of US locations, providing you access to multiple streaming services like Netflix, and access to other websites, of both local and international quality.
Fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
I believe that if you’re investing in VPN services for China, they have to be capable enough to provide you with good speeds and unlimited bandwidth so that all your streaming and torrenting desires go about uninterrupted.
Multiple device connections
Another factor that you should consider, is getting a VPN that allows you to make multiple device connections, simultaneously, per subscription. All of the VPNs for China mentioned providing multiple connection options, which include:
- Surfshark – Unlimited devices
- NordVPN – 6 devices
- ExpressVPN – 5 devices
- FastestVPN – 10 devices
- VyprVPN – 5 devices
Heavy security measures
Since getting past the Great Firewall is more of a bigger challenge as compared to restrictions in other countries, you’re going to need a VPN that has advanced security encryption and the best security protocols like military-grade AES 256bit encryption and OpenVPN.
One of the main things I look for when investing in VPN services is looking for a functional and in-built Kill Switch feature. Since you’re going to looking to gain access to multiple platforms in China, you’re definitely going to need a Kill Switch enabled throughout, masking your IP and identity if ever your VPN connection fails.
Another thing about choosing a VPN is the overall look and feel of the app. The user-friendliness of a VPN matter a lot; especially if the majority of VPN users are all beginners. What happens when you’re travelling to China for the first time and aren’t much of a tech-savvy person. The reality is you’re bound to land up without knowing how to use the app, followed by not being able to access any basic apps or services like Whatsapp and Google.
Now, I understand that since there aren’t many VPNs that actually work in China, giving functional VPN providers the chance to jack up their prices. But, however, the good thing about this list of VPNs for China, is the fact that its prices are broken up into packages that are quite affordable; providing features and advanced security that reaches the mark.
Reddit VPN for China – According to a Reddit user
The working of VPNs in China is not something you or I can predict. There’s always going to be constant changes in the near future, but for now, here’s what a Reddit user chose as his/her top pick for a VPN in China:
To use a VPN in China – Get a VPN before travelling!
Okay, so, we’ve been through why you’d need a VPN for China and also the different VPNs you should consider when travelling to China.
You should know, this isn’t about “The best VPNs” for China, but rather about reliable ones that still work through all the extreme censorship blocks that prevail in the country.
There are countless top VPN services that still exist besides the ones enlisted, but, the only reason that they didn’t make it to this list is that they lack full functionality within China.
On the other hand, since China has already blocked off multiple VPN providers, websites like Google and well VPN apps from the Google and Apple app store, it’s wise that you should download and install the VPN app before entering the country.
It doesn’t matter how heavily encrypted a VPN is, if the censor blocks don’t even allow you to download the app to get started, what is the point?
With the Chinese government breathing down your neck with all its major censorship laws, it’s not safe surfing the internet without being attended to by VPN services; that’ll provide you with tight encrypted passageways, keeping your digital footprints private and anonymity in check, along with speedy streaming and overall internet experiences.
A Free VPN for China
Before the excitement kicks in; letting us get ahead of ourselves, you should know that as much you and I love free things just as the next person, not all that’s free is the best option. Considering the fact that China is base on some of the world’s largest censorship blocks, using a free VPN could be a little risky.
The thing is, there are very few free VPNs in the industry that actually work reliably, let alone work in China.
But, just in case you’re looking to use a VPN in China for a short time or maybe because you’re on a tight budget, there are 3 VPNs that were tested out, which work in China.
However, because they’re free, they lack features like good speeds, heavily encrypted security, or even wide server coverage to get you access to multiple geo-blocked platforms. They include:
(Freemium VPN for China)
This is a freemium VPN with both paid and free versions. The good part is that the free version has no expiry date in terms of days, but services its users with 10 GB bandwidth/mo. It also is limited towards having just 10 server locations and no OpenVPN configuration. Get more details here.
(Uses GhostBear feature to bypass restrictions in China)
Another free VPN, which allows you to use all the servers, inclusive of those available in Japan and Hong Kong. There’s no expiration date to the VPN, but a limit of 500 MB of data/mo. It uses its GhostBear feature to bypass the Great Firewall; allowing P2P but doesn’t support streaming, leaving it as an okay option for simple surfing or web usage. There’s more to look into, which you’ll find in my TunnelBear review.
(Free and secure VPN for China)
A great choice for China, where security is concerned, providing military-grade encryption for its free version. It offers around 500 MB per day, which is still not a good number for streaming. The only downside to this is the major lack in speed, minimizing your chances for streaming due to overcrowded US servers.
Other alternatives to a VPN in China
If you’re a local in China and can’t seem to unblock websites without a VPN nor get your hands on a VPN, there are other alternatives you could try out, allowing you to unblock restricted or censored websites. They include:
- Proxies (Shadowsocks and Ultrasurf)
However, the sad reality of the situation is, you could try all the methods of staying connected, but if you’re living in China, it’s going to be very tough maintaining every ounce of privacy and security. A VPN is the best or well, the safest way to get you access, but it’s easier to access for those living out of the country and who’s just visiting China.
Other than that, there are premium free trial VPNs that you could test out. They work for Firestick and other devices, have reliable refund policies, and come lined with the best security features.
To summarize all that made these top providers the best for China, they were selected on the basis of being able to access restricted websites. They additionally provide great speeds with unlimited bandwidth. These VPNs also incorporate suitable server coverage that is capable to bypass restrictions. They also come with a refund policy making it a perfect option when on vacation. The best part is that all the providers on this list offer the best VPN deals!
Choosing the best VPN for China isn’t one of the easiest topics to talk about. With China’s heavy censorship blocks, it is very difficult to say what tomorrow will bring for every VPN provider that still works in China.
However, since we know that not many VPNs work in China, we’re still on the right track of being able to access restricted streaming platforms and blocked websites in China with one of these VPNs (Surfshark, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, FastestVPN, and VyprVPN), so, make sure you surf safely. There’s only so much that a VPN can provide for security, accessibility, and privacy. If, however, you’re looking to access Chinese websites while traveling abroad, you’re going to need a China IP address for that.