Do VPNs still work in China? That’s a very tricky question, and technically they do work, but, only a couple of them. There’s an advanced step for online censorship in China, known as the Great Firewall. This forces local Chinese residents and expats to use only the best VPN for China.
However, as mentioned above, not all VPN services work within China. Either some are too slow, or others are just scams. After going through several providers, user-reviews / experiences, and testing each working VPN within China, I’ve shortlisted only 5 VPN providers that are currently the best for China.
Short on time? Before moving on, here’s a list of the top-performing VPN services for China:
- Surfshark – Top VPN for China, great features like GPS-Spoofing and NoBorders mode to help bypass geo-blocks while going undetected.
- NordVPN – Strongest VPN for China, offers obfuscated servers, advanced security features to bypass the Great Firewall.
- ExpressVPN – Fastest speeds and unblocks international services in China, and offers robust security features.
- VyprVPN – Bypass major censor blocks with its Chameleon technology, maintaining your anonymity.
- PrivateVPN – Offers Stealth Mode to use the VPN undetected in China.
China’s advanced censorship goes so far as to block access to even the most popular and most basic streaming services, websites, communication apps and more. You’ll find platforms like WhatsApp, Wiki pages, Facebook, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and many others blocked.
Despite these odds, with more advancements being made as the day passes, there are still a number of heavily encrypted China VPN services that still work! They’ve been highlighted in the list above.
The best VPN for China that still works in 2021!
There are many VPN services in the industry, but not every VPN is able to work in China. It’s not that easy. This is why I’ve tested and shortlisted only 5 VPN providers that are currently working the best in China. Keep in mind that this list was different a while back, and is constantly being updated with providers that are still working. This makes it easier for you to pick one.
So here’s a little about what makes these VPN services my top picks for China, starting with:
- Hailing from the British Virgin Islands, a safe jurisdiction
- A wide platform of 3200+ servers in 65 countries, including servers surrounding China.
- Delivers fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- Possesses robust features like GPS Spoofing, NoBorders mode, Camouflage mode, and others for extra anonymity in China.
- Other advanced security includes AES 256-bit encryption, and DNS/IPv6 Leak protected.
- Surfshark comes with a free trial for Android and iOS devices, allowing you to test the app. 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, allowing unlimited device connections.
All-in-all, Surfshark is a relatively strong VPN contender in general, and will make a great user-friendly yet, strong VPN to use in China. You can bypass the Great Firewall by using the Surfshark NoBorders mode.
If you’re only in need to access local websites or platforms in China, there are a couple of servers you can connect to. These servers are within countries that surround China.
During testing, I was able to access WhatsApp, Netflix, Hulu, and many other websites quite easily. There are a lot more details to look into, which you can check out in my Surfshark review.
- NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN, situated in a safe location away from the 14-eyes alliance.
- A huge platform of 5000+ servers in 59 countries, including locations in Asian-Pacific countries that are neighboring China.
- Good speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- Entails solid security and features like SmartPlay technologies for accessing geo-restricted platforms, a Kill Switch, obfuscated technologies, CyberSec feature to block ads and malware.
- Compatible with multiple devices including Windows, Android, iOS, Fire TV, macOS, and more.
- Allows up to 6 multi-device connections.
- Before you travel to China, you even have the option of testing out the VPN for 7 days on Android or iOS smartphones using the NordVPN free trial.
- There’s also a refund period of 30-days. You can cancel your account and ask for a refund at any time during the trial run.
NordVPN happens to be one of the best VPN providers that work in China. This provider has been audited and follows a strict no-logging policy. This means your data is safe from the ISP or Chinese government.
To bypass many restrictions in China, you’ll have to connect to any of the obfuscated servers. These servers are for heavily censored countries, and nothing fits the description better than China.
During testing, I accessed Netflix, WhatsApp, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, and much more. You can look up all its features in detail or its full performance report in my NordVPN review.
- A British Virgin Island VPN, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
- ExpressVPN offers a wide range of 3000+ servers in 94 countries, including servers near China.
- Unblocks Netflix, WhatsApp, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Facebook and others.
- Known to produce some of the fastest speeds with unlimited bandwidth.
- Incorporates some heavy security features and others like SmartDNS technology, Obfuscated servers, and TrustedServer technologies. All of these help unblock restricted services within China, and go undetected using a VPN.
- Supports all major devices and apps for Windows, Android, Firestick, iOS, macOS, and more.
- ExpressVPN offers a free trial, along with a 30-day refund period. You can ask for a refund or cancel your account if you’re not happy with the service.
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs in China that do work. Its performance is what outshone the most. From military-grade encryption, to TrustedServer technologies, all work side by side, allowing the Chinese and expats to bypass heavy surveillance and blocks.
You’ll be able to either use any one of its 3000+ servers or connect to the ExpressVPN obfuscated servers. The obfuscated servers are the best to use in China. It’ll mask your VPN traffic and make it blend in with the regular one. This will throw off the Chinese government from detecting the VPN.
If you’re looking to check out some more details regarding its functionality, check out my detailed ExpressVPN review.
- Based in Switzerland, known for its privacy laws.
- It has around 700+ servers in 70 locations, including locations in Chinese neighboring countries, like Malaysia and Vietnam.
- High speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
- VyprVPN has some interesting inbuilt features, with its Chameleon technology known to be one of its main features.
- Supports major devices and apps for Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Routers, Android TV.
- Offers a 3-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN has been ranked by many users, as one of the best for streaming. But, is it one of the VPN services that work in China? After testing, VyprVPN does offer functionality within the country.
The VPN offers features that are strong enough to bypass geo-block within countries that hold up heavy censorship laws. In China, you’ll be allowed to access restricted websites or apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, WhatsApp, BBC iPlayer, Google and much more.
To mask you traffic in China, make sure you’re connected to the Chameleon protocol, it’ll get you past the Great Firewall’s Deep Packet Inspection. To see the full list of features and overall performance, take a look at my VyprVPN review.
- Located in Sweden, within a 14-eyes region, but observes a solid and strict no-logging policy.
- It makes up a simple list of 150+ servers in 60+ countries, with server locations that neighbor China.
- Offers unlimited bandwidth and good speeds.
- Ships military-grade security like AES 256-bit encryption, is DNS and IPv6 leak protected, Stealth mode, and a Kill Switch feature.
- It also supports major devices and apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, Chrome extension, Android, Kodi, Routers, and more.
- Allows simultaneous connections up to 6 devices.
PrivateVPN is one of the simpler VPN services, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. This provider passed most of the tests and is now one of the best VPN services for China. To use a VPN in China, the provider you choose needs to offer special feature to help you bypass the Great Firewall. That’s where the Stealth Mode comes in.
When you enable the Stealth Mode, all your VPN traffic will be forced to blend in with regular traffic, to make it look undetectable to your ISP or the Chinese government. Other than this, the provider observes a very strict no-logs policy making sure that no data is provided / stored at all times.
Why do you need a VPN that works in China
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 traveling 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!!!
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.
This is one a few of the reasons why you’ll need VPNs that work and are safe to use in China.
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 traveling to the country. China first started censoring multiple foreign websites, making it super impossible for locals or foreigners to ever access.
But, as I said, in this modern age, 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 traveling, and for privacy. But that doesn’t seem to be given any importance.
To enlist the best working china VPNs, I chose them after trying and testing them; checked to see whether they offered superlative security features and more. I tested them based on being able to bypass any geo-blocks that China puts up, from everywhere and wherever you may be.
How to choose a VPN for China
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 traveling 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 to protect many platforms at a time. All of the VPNs for China mentioned providing multiple connection options, which include:
- Surfshark – Unlimited devices
- NordVPN – 6 devices
- ExpressVPN – 5 devices
- VyprVPN – 5 devices
- PrivateVPN – 6 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 traveling 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 affordable; providing features and advanced security that reaches the mark.
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:
See Also: Best VPNs for Reddit.
To use a VPN in China – Get one before traveling!
Okay, so, we’ve been through why you’d need a VPN for China and also the different VPNs you should consider when traveling 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, Apple app store, etc are also blocked. 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, 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 based 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:
Windscribe (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 on the app’s performance and features in this review.
TunnelBear (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.
Hotspot Shield VPN (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.
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.
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, VyprVPN, and PrivateVPN), so, make sure you surf safely. There’s only so much that a VPN can provide for security, accessibility, and privacy.