Best VPN for China – Working Free and Paid Options To Eliminate Great Firewall
Best VPN realizes that the residents of China have to go through great torment, due to the country’s very strict policies concerning internet censorship. New cybersecurity laws hinder the ability to freely download, listen, watch, read or surf the web, with state-owned ISPs constantly monitoring consumer information. The Government actually allows for the spying of PERSONAL data.
This is why internet users are always searching for the Best VPN in China, especially among those in academic circles and expatriates. Depending on what you do, it may be virtually impossible to work in the country, as all famous websites around the world are inaccessible. In order to use blocked websites and bypass the “Great Firewall” (a.k.a. Golden Shield), you need a VPN.
Why Do You Need the Best VPN for China?
If you are not one of the locals and have just arrived in China as an expat, you may end up flabbergasted, apprehending that all popular websites and social media platforms, like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and even Google’s services are BLOCKED! China owes this to its “Great Firewall”, which actually makes a person feel secluded from their community and friends.
If you think that sucks, you will freak out, even more, to learn that you cannot look for a place on Google maps or search for anything in English. Yeah, things just got real alright. This may also make you realize how reliant you are on Google Services (wink). Yes, you can use alternates like Apple map, Baidu, and Bing, but their filtered searches and features are not exactly accommodating.
Need we answer further, as to why you require a VPN? Truth is, they are your only solution for unblocking Google and other services, keeping you connected with the rest of the world. Otherwise, you can forget FB, Twitter, Pinterest+, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Netflix. Now, we do not mean to scare you, our only aim is to highlight the importance of a VPN.
Top 5 Best VPNs for China – Reviews 2018
The Great Firewall of China utilizes advanced methods for censoring the internet and making life impossible to live for you: URL Filtering, Deep Packet Inspection, IP Blocking, Keyword Filtering, tampering with the DNS – and these are just the known… Once you connect to a local Wi-Fi or internet connection, you create a pathway for them to monitor YOUR online activity.
So, now you have lost access to some of your favorite websites and also have to deal with the invasion of private information! Not many have real concern for their digital identity, but this is definitely alerting, at least for people like us. To protect yourself and keep you anonymous, it is vital you gain access to a highly secure VPN service, and not just any, but the best in business:
NordVPN is a Panamanian-based provider, which means it is completely free from censored internet laws and government surveillance. To our satisfaction, it also adopts a strong focus towards privacy. Boasting a no logs policy and providing high-level 256-bit AES encryption.
At the same time, the VPN offers all the advanced features to keep your identity anonymous. These include Automatic Kill Switch, DNS Leak/IPv6 Protection, Stealth Mode, Tor, and Double Hop! You also leverage cheap pricing. If you opt for the 2-year plan, you only pay $3.95 per month!
This plan will be backed up by a 30-day refund guarantee, which you can utilize if you do not feel secure with the service. The selling point though is the VPNs massive list of 2419 servers, spread across 56 countries. You can feel assured to enjoy unmatched blocking and streaming.
- Free Trial Available
- 24/7 Live Chat Support
- 30 Day Refund Guarantee
- 6 Simultaneous Connection
- 2419+ servers in 56+ countries
- Offers 2048 Bit Encryption for Certificate Authentication
- Monthly Plan is Expensive
Though IPVanish is based in the US, it still manages to offer outstanding privacy and security. The service has an extensive network of 1000+ servers, spread across 60 different countries around the world. You can find an app for every platform, be it Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, or Linux.
Though the pricing is a little expensive, starting at $7.50 per month, you do get good value. If things do not work out, you can always use their 7-day money back guarantee. The VPN also offers excellent protocol support. You can establish connections on the OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols.
If that were not enough, you also gain access to a huge IP address range (40,000+). There is a SOCKS5 web proxy available for you to enjoy secure P2P/Torrenting. Unlimited server switching and you can even establish connections on 5 different devices.
- No logs Policy
- 256-bit AES Encryption
- 24/7 Customer Support
- 5 Simultaneous Connections
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- 1000+ VPN Servers and 40,000+ IP’s
- Does Not work with Netflix
Based in Sweden, PrivateVPN is another reliable name in the marketplace of VPNs. Similar to the above, it boasts a zero-logs policy, which ensures your identity remains anonymous at all times. For protection against snoopers, you leverage 256-bit AES military grade encryption.
You have access to all tunneling protocols: L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and OpenVPN while being able to establish connections to 6 different devices. You can use the VPN for streaming/torrenting/unblocking, whatever purpose. This includes accessing Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime.
Most importantly, you can connect to 100 servers in 56 locations around the world. Monthly pricing starts at $8.21, which is a little expensive, but it is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. For the best value, it is advisable to opt for the 13-months plan, which lowers the pricing to $4.15 per month.
- Servers Available in 56 countries
- Automatic Kill Switch
- IPv6 Leak Protection
- Zero Data Logging Policy
- 6 Simultaneous Devices
- 2048-bit encryption with AES 256-bit
- Slow Browsing At Times
- Expensive Monthly Pricing
Ivacy is a Singaporean-based VPN service that has a strong focus towards security and privacy while offering unmatched unblocking and torrenting capabilities. Since the Government of Singapore is quite friendly in terms of internet censorship, it does not log user activity.
All user data is safe under the Personal Data Protection Commission, meaning you are completely safe from the prying eyes of governments and local ISPs in other countries. The monthly pricing starts at $11.95 per month, but there is a special deal, which gives access to the VPN for 3 years at $2.95 per month.
This means, you only pay $49 in total. If things do not work out, you can always leverage the 7-day money back guarantee. For connectivity, you have a huge list of 275+ servers in 50+ countries and 100+ locations around the world. The app is available on all platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and Linux.
- 275+ VPN servers in 100+ locations
- 7-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Internet Kill Switch
- IPV 6 Leak Protection
- Optimized P2P Servers
- Split Tunneling
- No Free Trial
- No Live Chat
Based in Hong Kong, PureVPN is another reliable and budget-friendly provider. It offers you plenty of advanced features for security, which include DNS Leak Protection, NAT Firewall, Automatic Kill Switch, Split Tunnelling, and Ad-Blocking. This ensures you remain completely anonymous online.
If that were not enough, you have access to a diverse array of protocols, which include L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. For connectivity, you have a huge list of 790 servers spread across 140+ countries, which means you can unblock websites seamlessly.
Monthly pricing starts at a high $9.95. However, if you want to save money, there is a yearly plan available. It allows potential customers to receive an amazing 50% discount. This lowers the pricing to $4.95 per month, which totals to $59 annually.
- 750+ VPN in 150+ countries
- 80,000+ IP addresses
- Internet Kill Switch, NAT Firewall
- 7 days money back guarantee
- 24/7Live Chat support
- 5 Simultaneous Logins
- No Free Trial
- Strict Refund Policy
Which Websites are blocked in China? Updated List 2018
By the end of 2017, Mainland China managed to block over 3,000 websites from around the world, under the country’s infamous internet censorship policy. We have compiled a list of some of the important ones below, but if you want a complete overview, check this link out.
Apps block in China
When in China, you cannot access certain apps for communication. These include KaKao Talk, the freeware app LINE, and even WhatsApp. The country even blocks Google Play and related services, which means you cannot access apps like Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Translate.
Work Tools block in China
China blocks many popular tool websites like Android, Xing, Scribd, WayBackMachine, iStock Photos, ShutterStock, Dropbox, VPNs, Microsoft OneDrive, Feedburner, Twitter URL Shortener, Google URL Shortener, Bit.ly, OpenVPN, ThePirateBay, 4Shared, Change.org, PasteBin, and Archive.org.
Popular Websites block in China
You completely lose access to various websites like VPN Coupons, Slack, Yahoo, Skype and anything linked to the outside world. Heck, this even includes SoundCloud. You will not be able to listen to your favorite music on the website.
Social Media Sites Block in China
Of course, if the country has taken measures to block access to websites worldwide, it also made sure to include social media. You cannot access Hootsuite, Google Hangouts, Google+, Flickr, Blogger, BlogSpot, WordPress.com, Picasa, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Search Engines Block in China
Google, and all versions of the search engine, which include Google.com/ncr, Google.de, and Google.hk will be inaccessible. In addition to this, China has even blocked various versions of Yahoo, Baidu, and Duck Duck Go. You will have to rely on Bing primarily!
Video Sharing Sites Block in China
Perhaps the most depressing of all is the inability to access Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope, Twitch, Daily Motion, Vimeo, Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and even porn websites, without exception. You will only be able to access Chinese content.
Media/Magazines Block in China
China also makes sure you have no way to learn about the happenings in other countries. The country blocks Wikipedia, WikiLeaks, Google News, L-Equipe, LeMonde, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Independent, and The Guardian.
Are VPNs Illegal in China? The Real Concern!
The Chinese Government introduces more than sixty internet regulations, implemented by state-owned ISPs and other Internet-focused organizations/services. As a result, residents cannot enjoy internet freedom, hindering their ability to freely download, listen to music, watch videos, or read the news. So, it is only obvious that residents and expats rely on VPNs. They are popular that way.
However, it is not the popularity of VPNs that matters, but the legality! Considering how stuck up China is about its internet censorship, can you still use a VPN? Most importantly, is it legal or will it get you into trouble? Well, to be honest, it is actually a grey area. The country urges the clamping down on the use of VPNs, but they do not cut them off altogether either.
What’s the Confusion About?
You see, the problem is, if they ban VPNs – giant corporations and multi-national companies will not be able to conduct their business. In light of this, the country does allow for the use of VPNs for people in the corporate sector. However, when it comes to individual use, certain cities go the extra mile. The city of Chongqing published a notice last March, specifying fines as much as 15,000 yuan.
What were these fines for? Against individuals/organizations using channels for connecting to international networks. Though they notice did not specify VPNs, many of their targets were VPN users. Then, Beijing enacted a Cybersecurity law, which even allows for the regulation of companies for storing and moving data in China.
Therefore, it is hard to decide what the country wants, as it even took down GreenVPN and Haibei VPN – both famous providers while urging Apple to ban hundreds of VPN apps from their China store. In the end, though, there is no law regarding the COMPLETE ban of VPNs. So, while it is discouraged, it is not completely illegal. Either way, your hands are tied…
Free Best VPN for China
If you are not willing to spend a lot of dough on a premium VPN service, you can always opt for something that is FREE of charge. Though you may not receive the same advanced features/security for protecting you completely in China, you can easily bypass geo-restrictions and stream content. Below is a list of the best free VPNs:
- Hotspot Shield Free
- ProtonVPN Free
Based in Toronto, TunnelBear is a reliable VPN provider, endorsed by high profile websites like LifeHacker. The VPN keeps minimal connection logs and offers excellent encryption across all protocols while providing reasonable speeds for torrenting and streaming on your mobile.
It gives access to servers in over 20 countries. The best part of all: you have a free trial available, which allows you to use 500 MB of data. Monthly pricing starts at $9.99, but if you opt for the yearly plan, you receive a 50% discount. This lowers the pricing to $4.99 per month, totaling to $59.88 annually.
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Works with Netflix
- Strong Encryption
- Servers in 20 Countries
- Located in Canada (5 Eyes)
- Free version is limited to 500mb
Based in Canada, Windscribe is a relatively new service in the marketplace of VPNs. It offers a well-designed and easy-to-use VPN product that boasts a strong focus on privacy and security. You can opt for the FREE version or pay for the premium, which starts at $7.50 per month.
If you choose the premium plan, Windscribe grants access to a huge list of servers spread across 46 locations around the world. The protocols offered boast high level of encryption, and the provider does not log any crucial IP information.
- Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
- Built-in Ad/Tracker Blocking
- Supports DoubleVPN
- Excellent Free plan
- Potent Privacy
- Okay-ish Speeds
- No Live Chat
Paid vs. Free – What’s the Best VPN for China
Many providers around the world offer free VPN services. The only problem is, if you opt for a FREE VPN, you can never be sure of the level of support, security, reliability, and speed you will receive. Most free providers will impose bandwidth limitations and data caps that can hinder the entire experience of browsing the internet in its entirety, which is already an issue in China.
Conversely, paid VPNs will offer better service overall. Since you are paying for a product, you can feel relieved to receive special care. For instance, where free VPNs will require you to troubleshoot and fix your own VPN-related issues, paid VPNs will come with built-in assistance. This allows you to solve problems quickly.
As a result, if you want to receive the best value, security, reliability, speeds, and support, particular for use in China, it is imperative to go for a paid service. Paid VPNs will not skimp on speeds or compromise on your security and anonymity. In fact, they will ensure you get the best security features for protecting your identity at all times. A few other advantages of choosing paid VPNs include:
- Complete Torrenting Capabilities
- Unblocking of Geo-Restricted Content
- Number of Simultaneous Connections
- Apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac OS
- A Huge List of Servers Available for Connection
Tips to Select/Choose Best VPN for China?
Dealing with the advanced technology applied by the “Great Firewall” and the level of internet censorship is incredibly difficult. However, there are some VPNs that are willing to tackle all challenges, creating loopholes for maintaining uptime in a difficult online climate.
The selection process though can get a little confusing, judging by the hundreds of providers online. This is why we have made the process easier for you. Below we have mentioned a few vital factors that can help you obtain a better, faster connection, while not compromising on security and privacy for VPNs.
When finding a VPN to use in China, it is imperative that you have an open mind with regards to pricing. However, this does not mean, you end up wasting away money. You need to find a VPN with the perfect balance. Therefore, always make sure to check the monthly plan and the offerings you receive for it, which means protocols support, encryption, multi-login, and features.
Money Back Guarantee
It can take some time finding the right VPN, most of all in China. Many providers make guarantees, but only a few hold up to their promise. Therefore, you need to search for a VPN that offers you a money back guarantee. This way, even you are not comfortable with a particular service, you can always consider using the refund to sign up to another VPN.
The last thing you need is facing trouble in establishing a secure VPN connection and receiving no support whatsoever. Sometimes configuring VPNs can get a little complicated. We suggest you choose a service with a range of support channels, which include live chat, email ticketing, FAQs, and a troubleshooting blog. This way, you can always find a quick solution, in case you face any troubles with the VPN.
Features & Encryption
Judging by how tight China’s internet laws are, you need a VPN that goes the extra mile. Select one that uses high-level military grade, 256-bit AES encryption and utilizes features like Automatic Kill Switch, Firewall Protection, DNS Leak Protection, IPv6 Leak Protection, Split Tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, DoubleVPN, and more. These add-ons boost your security and anonymity online.
Which VPN Services are Banned in China?
The Apple iTunes store in China has blocked hundreds of VPN apps, but that was not enough for them. A few services that gained popularity in the country for unblocking and bypassing internet censorship were removed completely. This means, you cannot access them anymore, even if you already have the app installed on your desktop, laptop, or smartphone. The names include:
- Elephant VPN
- Haibei VPN
Best Mobile VPN Apps for China
Many residents of China have reported to being blocked from using their smartphones after using a VPN service. The only way to regain access to their devices was to delete all tunneling apps and the ones mentioned in the block list above. The last thing you need is the same happening to you. So, make sure you only choose the best mobile VPN apps. Among these, include:
Best VPN for China iPhone/Mac/iPad/iOS
Though the iTunes for China has blocked plenty of VPN services from their store, you can still access a few, which offer remarkable security/privacy. If you are in search of nothing but the best, refer to the best VPNs for iPhone/iPad, Mac, and all other iOS devices below. We have also provided a detailed description of two of the best:
Established in 2011, CyberGhost is a Romanian-based VPN service, which means it boasts convenient internet censorship laws. The monthly pricing starts at $10.99 per month, with all access to features, which include unlimited bandwidth, refund guarantee, and technologies like the kill switch.
For connectivity, you have over 1,053 servers available spread across 32 countries worldwide. The provider does not keep any logs and even issues a transparency report, which outlines all malicious activity on their servers, along with DMCA notices and government requests.
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Supports OpenVPN Protocol
- DNS and IP Leak Protection
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Free Trial Available
- Servers In 30 Locations Only
VyprVPN is a Switzerland-based provider founded in 2010 by Ron and Carolyn Yokubaitis. Since the country is famous for its strong privacy laws, including the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO) and Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA), it is immune to mandatory data retention laws.
The monthly pricing starts at $5 per month for Basic, $6.67 per month for Pro, and $12.95 per month for the Premium. Noteworthy features you receive include VyprDNS, Chameleon Technology, NAT Firewall, multiple encryption protocols, apps for all platforms, no download caps, and no server switching fees.
- 30-day Money Back Guarantee
- Servers in 70 Countries Worldwide
- 24/7 Live Chat Support
- Connection to 3 Devices
- NAT Firewall and VyprDNS
- Keeps Connections Logs for 30 days
- No P2P Support
Best VPN for China Android
Undoubtedly, Android boasts the largest base of smartphones around the globe. For many smartphone companies, the OS is a top choice. You can find many providers that are offering dedicated applications, but only a few offer the best reliability for use in China. These include:
Based in British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is a famous name in the marketplace of VPNs. The monthly pricing starts at a high $12.95. Though the costs may seem a little expensive, you can leverage a 30-day extensive money back guarantee and receive the highest level of security.
The provider offers a NO LOGS policy that even the Turkish authorities could not shake during a case. In addition, the VPN boasts 140 servers in over 90 countries, 256-bit AES encryption, and dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, along with custom VPN routers for maximum security.
- 30-Days Money Back Guarantee
- Excellent Referral Program
- Multi-Platform Support
- Zero Logging Policy
- Live Chat
- Extremely Pricey
- No Free Trial
If you are in search for a FREE mobile VPN service that offers good reliability and security, then TurboVPN is definitely worth the consideration. Based in China, the app is completely free and protects users from high-level encryption and location spoofing.
It comes pre-installed on the 5th generation Amazon Fire Tablet, but you can also download the app on other Android and iOS devices. The client boats a simple and straightforward interface. Connecting to a server is as simple as pressing the “Connect” button.
- Free VPN Service
- Simple User Interface
- Apps for iOS and Android
- Unlimited Data Usage
- No Speed Caps
- Only 5 Servers
- No Website
- Poor Support
Apple Removes VPN Apps from App Store in China – What’s Next?
Judging by the way things are going, we can freely say the removal of 674 VPN apps from China’s iTunes was only the beginning. China is now plunging into the last holes of its “Great Firewall” internet censorship apparatus, which will undoubtedly affect the ability of businesses to operate in the country.
According to a report from Financial Times, it was revealed that five international companies and organizations were facing issues with global internet access. Some blamed telecom providers, saying they blocked crucial software for bypassing censorship in the country.
Last January, the Government gave an order to telecoms, which allowed them to close non-permitted dedicated lines. This, of course included VPNs. Though they are not completely banned, it is safe to say, things are not looking good for netizens in China.
Best VPN for China Reddit Reviews
You can find many threads on Reddit discussing the unfair policies of China concerning internet censorship. Residents and people visiting the country are often contemplating about which VPN service to use for bypassing blocks to services like Google. According to one user, China may also block access to VPNs by February 2018, but this news was disposed to be a rumor.
If you are looking for advice regarding good VPN services to use in China, you can follow the thread below. As you can see, you will find many comments of users of different VPNs. Their experiences with various providers can help you make an informed decision, regarding which provider you want to go with, based on the information we provided and you analyzed.
Proxy vs. VPN – What’s the Best for China?
Proxy services use a server for routing your network traffic through its IP address. VPNs, on the other hand, use a more sophisticated mechanism. In addition to shifting your location and masking your IP address, they also offer high-level encryption. This ensures that your data is unreadable to cybercriminals, spy agencies, hackers, and ISPs. Based on this, VPNs are undoubtedly the best choice for China.
Best VPN for China FAQ
Though we made sure to cover all bases in our guide for the best VPN for China, you can still present queries/questions. Below you can find a series of common questions, we get asked a lot regarding VPNs in China and the country’s internet laws. So, we decided to list them done in a single location:
Why Facebook Is Banned In China?
The Government of China decided to block Facebook in the early July of 2009, due to the Ürümqi riots, which ended up becoming a serious issue. Those who were supporters of the Xinjiang Independence were found to use Facebook as part of their communications network.
Can You Get On Google in China?
Yes, you can definitely access Google and its services in China, despite them being blocked in the country. The only solution as mentioned in the blog is to use a VPN. By masking your IP address and making it appear you are located in another country, you can easily bypass internet censorship.
How to Unblock Gmail in China?
China has the world’s strongest internet censorship program. It blocks any and everything that provides access to foreign-based tech or information. This includes Google and its services like Gmail. However, you can unblock the website by using a VPN service. For more information, you can read our blog here.
How to Unblock Instagram in China?
Instagram is a fun platform for sharing photos about the latest happenings in your daily life. If you are just visiting China, you will find that the SM platform is blocked. This means you will not be able to share pictures with your family members/friends. VPNs are the solution to unblocking Instagram.
What is Best VPN for Travel to China?
If you are traveling to China, then you probably know the importance of using a VPN. These handy tools are the only solution to reconnecting with your family members and friends. Some of the best providers include NordVPN, IPVanish, PrivateVPN, Ivacy, and PureVPN.
Wrapping Things Up
Hosting the most powerful censorship regime in the world, China is a tough country to live in. Though there are alternatives to all websites/services blocked, it is highly irritating not being able to access the ones you actually want to. This is where VPNs come in, providing a sigh of relief in a tough online climate. Use the recommended providers to regain control of the internet!
Each VPN listed above has been selected after careful research, testing, and analysis. We strive to be as accurate as possible with the complexities of the “Great Firewall” and China’s confused mindset concerning “dedicated lines”. Nevertheless, do feel free to give your own suggestions or share your experience with any of the abovementioned providers.