The 5 best VPNs for China [Recommended for UK Citizens Visit to China]
The internet in China is heavily censored and whether you are living or traveling there, it is difficult to get around the restrictions imposed by China’s Great Firewall.
In this article, we’ll tell you about the 5 best VPNs for China if you are planning to visit China from UK that can bypass the ugly restrictions.
The government blocks websites that it deems unacceptable, including many international news sites, social media platforms, and search engines including Facebook, YouTube, BBC, and even Google.
This can make it difficult for travelers and expatriates to stay connected while in China.
China’s digital censorship is the stuff of legends as well as the butt of internet humor. Using a set of techniques and tools known as the “Great Firewall of China”, China has been able to keep an Orwellian overwatch on what information gets out and in the country.
Keeping that in mind, having unfiltered access to information and news has literally become a matter of life and death. The best way to evade China’s totalitarian digital antics is still via a VPN.
A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a server in another country.
This allows you to bypass China’s internet censorship and access blocked websites and apps. A good VPN for China will also have strong security features to protect your privacy.
We have tested a lot of VPNs and out of those, we recommended the best ones.
So without any further ado, let’s get started.
Best VPNs for China to access UK Content: Quick Summary
- ExpressVPN – The Best All-Round VPN for China in
- NordVPN – Best VPN Dedicated to Bypass the Great Firewall
- Surfshark – Simple & Affordable VPN for China
- CyberGhost – User-Friendly VPN With 10+ Servers in China
- Ivacy – The Best Torrenting VPN for China
Want to know how to get a VPN in China? Redirect here!
Best VPNs for China to access UK Content: In-Depth Analysis
1. ExpressVPN: The Best All-Round VPN for China
If you’re looking for a VPN that will work well in China, ExpressVPN is our top pick.
It’s one of the few services that consistently gets around the Great Firewall, making it ideal for anyone who needs to stay connected while traveling or living in China.
In addition to being fast and reliable, ExpressVPN is also one of the most user-friendly VPNs on the market, making it a great choice for first-time users.
The provider offers a total count of 3000+ servers in 94+ countries covering 160 VPN locations including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan servers.
You can connect to 5 devices at the same time and ExpressVPN apps are available for all the major operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
ExpressVPN is one of the few providers which offers a dedicated app for routers that you can easily set up. And it supports all the major ones including Netgear, Asus, and Linksys.
If you’re into movies and TV shows then you’ll be happy to hear that ExpressVPN servers work on all the major streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more.
ExpressVPN currently offers 3 plans. A monthly plan that costs $12.95 (£10.94), a 6-month plan that costs $9.99 (£8.44)/mo., and a 1-year plan that costs $6.67/mo (£5.63/mo).
All the plans require an upfront payment and they’re all covered with the 30-day money-back guarantee offer. You can also sign up for the ExpressVPN free trial if you want to try it first before becoming a permanent user.
The customer support team of ExpressVPN provides 24/7 service through their live chat so you can get assistance any time of the day.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated review guide for ExpressVPN!
2. NordVPN: Best VPN Dedicated to Bypass the Great Firewall
NordVPN is another excellent choice for a VPN to use in China. The service has a large network of servers (3000+ in 94+ countries), which gives you plenty of options for finding a fast and reliable connection.
Obfuscated servers is one of the great features of NordVPN that makes it best for China’s Great Firewall. The servers are available in nearby countries such as Japan and Hong Kong.
You can have 6 simultaneous connections with a single NordVPN subscription and apps are available for all the widely-used operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
The provider offers handy features which are DoubleVPN (encrypts traffic twice), CyberSec (blocks ads), Onion over VPN (passes traffic through Tor + VPN), Dedicated IPs, split tunneling, kill switch, and a built-in Smart DNS feature.
The Smart DNS feature can be used to stream geo-restricted content on famous platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more without encrypting your traffic.
NordVPN currently offers 3 plans including a monthly plan that costs $11.99 (£10.13), a 1-year plan that costs $4.99 (£4.21)/mo., and a 2-year plan that costs $3.99/mo (£3.37/mo).
All the plans require an upfront payment and they’re covered with the 30-day money-back guarantee offer. You can also use it free for 7 days on handheld devices without purchasing a subscription plan.
Also, NordVPN’s customer support team is available via live chat 24/7 so you can contact them any time for queries.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated review guide for NordVPN!
3. Surfshark: Simple & Affordable VPN for China
Surfshark VPN is an affordable option that’s effective in China. The service offers a variety of features that make it a good choice for users, including the ability to bypass the Great Firewall.
It is based in the BVI which falls out of the jurisdiction of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes. Also, it has a strict no-logs policy which has been audited by an independent third party called Cure53.
The provider offers a decent server count with 3200+ in 65+ countries.
The most amazing trait: Unlimted simultaneous connections! This means you can connect as many devices as you want without any limitations.
Surfshark is very secure. It offers the state-of-the-art WireGuard protocol and all your traffic is encrypted with the AES 256-bit method. Other protocols include OpenVPN and IKEv2 which are also good.
On the streaming front, Surfshark servers are optimized for all the major streaming platforms. You can smoothly watch your favorite content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
Surfshark offers 3 plans. A monthly plan that costs $12.95 (£10.94), a 1-year plan that costs $3.99 (£3.37)/mo., and a 2-year plan that costs $2.49/mo (£2.10/mo). You can also opt for the Surfshark free trial if you’re not sure to get a subscription plan first.
There is a dedicated app for all devices including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Also, if you get in trouble with the setups, the customer support representatives are available through live chat on the official website.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated review guide for Surfshark!
4. CyberGhost: User-Friendly VPN With 10+ Servers in China
CyberGhost is another VPN that’s a good choice for first-time users. The service is easy to use and offers a variety of features that make it a good choice for anyone who wants to stay connected in China to access UK Content.
The provider offers more than 10 servers in Mainland China and they’re all located in the Shenzhen region. CyberGhost also has servers in nearby countries including Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau.
CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania and it has a classic yellow-black theme. It has a large fleet of servers (6000+) which cover 88 countries.
Security features of CyberGhost include a strong encrypting mechanism (AES 256-bit), DNS & IP protection, 2-mode automatic kill switch, ad blocking, split tunneling, and a strict no-log policy.
You can connect 7 devices simultaneously and CyberGhost works on all widely-used devices including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
CyberGhost offers 4 plans. A monthly plan that costs $12.99 (£10.97), a 1-year plan that costs $4.29 (£3.62)/mo., a 2-year plan that costs $3.25 (£2.75)/mo., and a 3-year plan that costs $2.29/mo (£1.88/mo).
Excluding the monthly plan, all the other plans are covered by a 45-day money-back guarantee offer, which is the longest duration offered by any VPN provider.
The customer support team of CyberGhost is available 24/7, you can contact them using the live chat button on the CyberGhost website.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated review guide for CyberGhost!
5. Ivacy: The Best Torrenting VPN for China
The first VPN to introduce the incredible Split Tunneling feature, Ivacy has its headquarters in Singapore. It is among the only few providers that offer servers in China, allowing expats to access their favorite Chinese content.
It offers 6 Chinese servers (3 in Beijing and 3 in Shanghai) to get around the Great Firewall.
Ivacy is one of the best VPN for torrenting all around the world so you can easily carry out your P2P activities with ease.
The 5-year plan of Ivacy is super-affordable, it only costs $1.19 (£1.01)/mo. and that too with a free Password Manager. However, the subscription fee is to be paid upfront, which is $71.64 (£60.51).
Other plans include a monthly plan that costs $9.95 (£8.40) and a 1-year plan that costs $3.99 (£3.37)/mo.
Ivacy has a total count of 5700 servers in 100+ countries, including servers in Hong Kong and Japan. All the servers are P2P and streaming-friendly.
Security features of Ivacy include a 256-bit encryption system, a strict no-logs policy, public Wi-Fi security, internet kill switch, dedicated IP, split tunneling, DNS & IPv6 leak protection, and DDoS protection.
Ivacy VPN offers simultaneous connections on 10 devices and it supports all major devices including iOS, Android, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Smart TVs, and many more.
The customer support of Ivacy is available 24/7, you can reach them via live chat, email, or support ticket.
Want to know more? Visit our dedicated review guide for Ivacy!
How Can I Get a China VPN to access UK Content?
Step 1: Sign up for a VPN that bypasses the Great Firewall of China. We recommend ExpressVPN.
Step 2: Download the VPN app for your device and install it.
Step 3: Launch the ExpressVPN app and sign in with your credentials.
Step 4: Connect to a VPN server location and you can now securely access everything on the internet.
Why is a VPN necessary for China?
China is a country that has strict internet censorship laws, which means that many popular websites and apps are blocked.
Famous social media apps that are banned in China include Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and Quora.
In video streaming, YouTube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion are banned in China.
Even search engines including Google and DuckDuckGo are banned in China. Bing works, but the search results are censored within the Chinese boundaries.
Streaming platform giant, Netflix too, is not available in China as it was never launched there.
Also, the country actively monitors and stores the data of the citizens by logging their traffic to use it against them if needed.
So this is why a VPN becomes necessary to use in China.
A VPN allows you to bypass the Great Firewall and access blocked sites and services. In addition, a VPN can also help protect your data and online activity from government surveillance and hacking.
Choosing a VPN for China can be difficult, as many VPNs are blocked by the Great Firewall. That’s why we recommend ExpressVPN, which is one of the few VPNs that still works in China.
States in China that Do Not Require a VPN Service
Hong Kong and Macau are famous destinations for many, thanks to their amazing nightlife, modern architecture, and vibrant lifestyle.
At the same time, they exist as the safest locations in terms of internet censorship laws. Where China blocks all access to the outside world, Hong Kong and Macau believe in a FREE lifestyle.
However, recent amendments to the National Security Law have greatly altered the digital landscape of Hong Kong and Taiwan. As a result, many of the online freedoms previously enjoyed by netizens have diminished.
The threat of internet surveillance casts its long shadow over social media activities and online transactions. Therefore, a VPN has become essential to keeping data security in the hands of the average internet user.
How to Protect Yourself from Government Surveillance in China
The “Great Firewall of China” has amassed a great reputation for being incredibly hard to penetrate, preventing users within the country from accessing services in other countries.
The Government tries its best in controlling what content is available for seeing to its citizens. In light of this, they indulge in internet surveillance activities. Follow the steps below to protect yourself:
- Keep All Data Off the Cloud – All your passwords, documents, and pictures could become part of the internet data lump. Try moving all your personal information to a secure external hard drive or USB, preferably encrypted.
- Use End-to-End Encryption –For protecting all your private conversations, it is crucial to use end-to-end encryption. One of the most famous tools that offer this feature is “off-the-record (OTR) messaging).
- Add Strong Passwords to All Accounts –Whether it’s your email, social media, or any other account, make sure to always keep strong passwords with a mix of alphabets, numbers, and various characters.
- Use VPN over Tor Configuration –Nothing beats the VPN over Tor configuration by adding an extra layer of privacy! It is almost impossible to trace your identity, as your network passes thousands of nodes around the world.
- Use Anti-Virus/Malware Software –Many anti-virus and malware solutions come equipped with advanced tools and threat detection systems that disable the network upon identifying any kind of attack.
FAQs: Best VPN for China to access UK Content
Does VPN protect you in China?
Most VPNs don’t work in China. And if some are working then they’ll work extremely slow. China bans social media and video streaming apps/websites. It also logs and tracks the traffic of its citizens to use it against them. That’s why we recommend a reputable VPN like ExpressVPN which is the best VPN for China.
Is the use of VPN illegal in China’s?
The Chinese government has banned the use of VPN services. They are only allowed access if they share access to the Chinese government, which is not a secure practice from a user’s point of view.
Which free VPN is best for China to access UK Content?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN service for China. It is not free but you can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee offer to use it free for one month. You can also test the VPN service by trying out its 7-day trial which is available on Android and iOS only.
What sites are banned in China?
The list of services that are banned in China are:
- Google Apps
Why is YouTube blocked in China?
The video streaming platform YouTube is owned by Google. It lets users watch video content from all around the world. And the Chinese government takes this as a threat and that’s why they block content that is against the Communist regime or assists any ideas of democracy.
How do I escape the China Firewall?
Here are ways you can bypass the China Firewall:
1. Download and install a VPN before entering China.
2. Use a VPN that provides obfuscated servers.
3. Use a VPN with advanced protocols (OpenVPN).
4. Test your VPN regularly.
5. Keep a backup VPN in case your primary VPN provider is banned.
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 to be able to access the ones you actually want to.
With all the factors taken into consideration, I highly recommend Chinese netizens to sign up with ExpressVPN to bypass the Great Firewall. As an alternative, I would suggest they go for the infamous Panama-based provider, NordVPN.
I strive to be as accurate as possible with the complexities of the “Great Firewall”. Nevertheless, do feel free to give your own suggestions about the best VPN for China to access UK Content or share your experience with any of the providers mentioned above.