How to Use/Unblock Instagram in China with VPN 2019

Last updated: September 19, 2019
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Accessing Instagram in China is not possible these days without a VPN. We've compiled a list of 3 top VPN services that can get you past the Great Firewall and allow you to use Instagram like millions of users around the world.

China doesn’t like social networking sites based outside its country.

The reason behind this is that they cannot control these sites and make them run the same restrictions that permeate the Chinese web.

Google refused to bow down to Chinese orders to filter results and it was banned.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter also got banned in China because Chinese users were making use of these platforms to organize rallies and create dissent, things the Chinese government simply does not like.

The latest victim of China’s banning spree was Instagram, the world’s most popular visual media-based social networking sites.

After Facebook and Twitter got blocked, users in China turned over to Instagram to keep their anti-government activities and protests going, so the Chinese government banned the service from being accessible in China.

Currently, only some best VPNs can allow you to bypass this China-wide ban on Instagram as most of the VPNs cannot be accessed in the country since they’ve also been banned.

Here is a short summary of our 3 best VPNs to Unblock Instagram in China.

#1:Surfshark: #1 Recommended VPN for Unblocking Instagram in China.
Best Plan: $1.99/month (2 Year Deal)
#2:ExpressVPN: Fastest VPN. Solid encryption. Chat support. Best apps
Best Plan: $8.32/month (1 Year Deal)
#3: NordVPN: Largest server park. Keeps zero logs. Offers Fast speeds.
Best Plan: $3.49/month (3 Year Deal)

According to us, the best recommended VPN for accessing Instagram in China is Surfshark as its a low cost, privacy-oriented provider which you can subscribe to for just $1.99/month

Wait for a Sec: Read our 4 Minutes Detail Best VPN for China Guide.

Is Instagram Blocked in China

From 26th September to 15th December 2014, a series of sit-in stress protests began, after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), introduced new reforms for the Hong Kong electoral system.

These policies were highly restrictive and urged the same level of control in other cities of China in Hong Kong too, which was criticized deeply by the residents, and members from all over the world. As a result, the strike against NPCSC’s decision quickly gained momentum as a “danger”.

It gained the title “Umbrella Revolution”, where students were publicly demonstrating their defiance outside the government headquarters, occupying several major city intersections, disrupting traffic low resulting in great distress.

Protesters were even found blocking arterial routes, after which the police decided to push back and used TEAR GAS! This attack on what was a peaceful protest, lead to more citizens joining the movement, peaking at 100,000 at one point. It was now a “war” against the government.

Situations kept getting tense, as the protestors were found posting videos/images online on INSTAGRAM, regarding police brutality. The angry youth refused to back down and used social media to heighten awareness of the civil rights of individuals in the country. Thanks to the help of such social platforms, the protests now included pro-democracy slogans and an end to the regressive nature of the government. Of course, China would never back down from its laws and decided to act with force.

Immediately after Instagram was blocked China-wide by the end of December 2014.

Since then, the platform has remained inaccessible in China and the ban continues to this day.

How to Check if China Blocked Instagram

It is not necessary for you to use a tool or software to check whether Instagram is blocked in China. All you have to do is enter the into the URL of your desktop browser, and you will receive an error immediately of the site being inaccessible in China.

The other way is to check whether the local app stores have the Instagram app or not.

And even if you have the app installed on your mobile, it won’t work when you are in China. You will receive an error message that the service is not available due to government restrictions.

Instagram VPN for China 2019

To access Instagram in China easily, you need reliable China VPNs that offer unflinching performance, as mentioned earlier as well. But which VPNs are suitable for this task among the hundreds being offered in the industry?

According to our in-depth analysis and testing out all of these services based on various China-specific factors, we came up these three top VPN services that can easily allow you to unblock Instagram in China as well as Hong Kong/Singapore without any issues.

Using Instagram in China with these VPNs is as simple as the “Plug and Play Concept”. Just turn them on and use Instagram to upload your pictures/videos in a fast and efficient manner.

Here is this list of the Best VPNs in China, you can rely on for unblocking Instagram in China – based on their performance, customer support, features, and server availability!

Surfshark: Cheapest VPN For Unblocking Instagram in China

Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark is a reliable and privacy-focused provider and is best suited as a VPN for China. Surfshark is incredibly affordable at $1.99/month, making the best choice for those who don’t want to spend a big sum of money to just access an app like Instagram in China.

Surfshark’s powerful servers will assist you every time in bypassing the Great Firewall in China that blocks a lot of social media platforms including Instagram.

The VPN boasts a strong reputation for anonymity and offers a strict no-logs policy

It has a dedicated site for allowing access to its site in China as well.

And if you are worried about how you can setup Surfshark on mobile platforms like iOS and Android since all VPN apps are banned in Play Store and iOS App Store in China, the provider offers workarounds for this as well by way of offering .apk files to manually set up its VPN on Android.

This .apk file can be acquired anytime by contacting Surfshark’s excellent live chat support.

Surfshark VPN is probably one of the safest options available right now for accessing Instagram in mainland China.

You can know more about Surfshark in our detail review of the service from here.

ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN for Instagram in China

Don’t like your feed to take time to load on Instagram when using VPNs? Don’t worry, as with ExpressVPN’s super-fast speeds, you will never face this issue at all.

It is pricy at $8.32/month, but if you want nothing but the best, you need to subscribe to this provider.

ExpressVPN leads the way in everything. Its got the best security, powerful China unblocking capabilities, dedicated China site, multiple apps, the best live chat support in the industry, fastest VPN speeds and more.

No matter which device you need to set up this VPN on, ExpressVPN offers a way for that. There are comprehensive manual setup guides, .apk files, and dedicated apps so that you can use it in China without hassle.

Once you sign up with ExpressVPN, you gain access to 3000+ servers in over 90 countries worldwide, which grants limitless unblocking capabilities for geo-restricted websites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, along with other social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, all of which are inaccessible to users in China.

Perfect VPN for China, undoubtedly, but expensive.

You can know more about ExpressVPN in our detail review of the service from here.

NordVPN – Best All Round VPN as a VPN for Instagram in China

For those located in China, NordVPN offers you specialized servers that bypass the Great Firewall, enabling you to explore the internet and unblock services seamlessly like Instagram without hassle.

For $3.49/month, you will be able to access secure features like “obfuscated servers”, which make VPN traffic appear like regular traffic, tricking firewalls like the one in China to not suspect and block out VPN based connections.

NordVPN has a server network of 5678 servers in over 60+ countries globally giving it massive reach. A healthy concentration of these servers is located in close proximity to China, thereby guaranteeing lower lag rates and faster speeds.

Military-grade encryption, No logs policy and OpenVPN support among other security features make user connections under this VPN extremely secure, which is a perfect scenario if you are using this VPN in China for unblocking restricted sites.

.apk file is available for Android devices, allowing you to use NordVPN on Android even when its app is not available for download on Google Play in China.

Speeds are very good as well and mostly, you get at least 70% of your original network connection speeds when you turn on NordVPN.

You can know more about NordVPN in our detail review of the service from here.

How to Unblock Instagram In China With VPN

Since Google and all of its related services don’t work in China, you won’t have access to a Gmail account which is necessary to get Google Play on your phone. If you don’t have Google Play you cannot download Instagram’s app in China.

To bypass this problem, you need to do the following:

  • Get a VPN that works in China
  • Go to Gmail and create your account
  • Install the Google Play app
  • Enter your Gmail credentials
  • Now search for “Instagram” app on Google Play Store
  • Install the Instagram app
  • Create an account for Instagram if you don’t already have one
  • Sign in to Instagram and use it in China freely

Now, you need to vary that you need to keep the VPN turned on before you open the Instagram app on your phone, otherwise you will get an error message.

Apart from this, if you want to access Instagram on desktop, simply turn your VPN on and go to to use the service in China.

Instagram in China Alternatives

Since social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest+, Quora, Snapchat, and Google+ are all blocked in China, it has become necessary to use VPNs to unblock these sites.

However, if you are looking for alternatives to these sites, you should know that China offers quite the diversity in its own social media presence. Some of the best include:

  1. WeChat: An all-in-one SM app that allows users to share pictures/songs/files/videos, chat with friends/family members, track their fitness, check out nearby places to eat, and more!
  2. Meipai: Famed as the “Chinese Instagram”, Meipai is a great alternative to the original platform, particularly for sharing video content.
  3. Sina Weibo: This social media app enjoys the reputation of being known as the Twitter of China, boasting quite a similar appearance and user-interface.
  4. Tencent QQ: Just like WhatsApp has now become crucial for anyone for chatting up with their friends, Tencent QQ is a popular instant messaging app alternative for Chinese users.
  5. Toudou Youku: For expats who miss accessing YouTube in China, you have the Toudou Youku that is a viable alternative. Though the content is majorly Chinese.
  6. Zhihu: If you are fond of taking part in discussions, answering general questions, or simply gain knowledge on different topics, Zhihu is the perfect alternative to Quora in China.

How to Use Instagram in China Free

Most sites would advise users in China or expats to sign up with a FREE VPN service, but that is not a wise option at all.

Free services cannot unblock any sites in China let alone Instagram. There are other major problems as well with Free services but in this case, this one should deter you from falling for such traps.

Wrapping Things Up

Regimes like China’s want to maintain their authority over all aspects of information. This demands the involvement of citizens personal life and blocking of anything that contributes towards rebellions against the Governments laws.

This censorship issue has even restricted user access to Instagram, the most popular visual media-based social networking app in the world.

Surfshark is our top recommended VPN to unblock Instagram in China as it costs less at $1.99/month and doesn’t compromise on security or privacy features while remaining powerful enough to unblock the social media app in China easily. 

Using a VPN is your only option to stay away from prying eyes like the Chinese government while accessing your favorite social media apps/platforms like Instagram, so get a subscription to one and don’t delay it any further.

4 Responses to How to Use/Unblock Instagram in China with VPN 2019

  1. Victor Anyali

    I will be in Shanghai next week and solution to this will also be of help to me.
    We really need the help.

  2. Charles

    Is it legal?

  3. Xav

    Hi, I will be flying to Shanghai tomorrow. Do I hv to get the VPN before I fly off in order to use my IG n FB in SHA?
    Need help.

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