Best VPNs for China
Last Updated: June 11, 2021
If there was ever a country where a VPN would be most useful to you, China is that country. China is famous for its Great Firewall that blocks out a lot of websites. Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are also censored. If you are planning a trip to China, or are already there and are having issues because of the censorship, a VPN can make everything relatively easier for you.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) connects you with a server in any country of choice. Thus, while in China, the VPN masks your IP address, making it seem as though you were in a different country. That way, you will be able to access all the restricted sites in China.
Additionally, a VPN serves other purposes, too. For instance, it helps secure your network. Also, you will be able to access geo-restricted content on platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, etc. Hence, while in China, you can stream content from Netflix in other countries with no issues at all. You will access all of these benefits once you settle for a VPN.
Below, you will find a review of some of the best VPNs for China.
This is a rundown of our top 7 recommendations.
- ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is your best bet for beating the Great Firewall.
- NordVPN – NordVPN combines excellent speed and topnotch security to give a seamless experience.
- SurfShark – With SurfShark’s unlimited connections, you can maximize user experience.
- Private Internet Access – PIA’s top browsing speed, tight security features, and friendly interface gives you an unmatched user experience.
- Private VPN – PrivateVPN guarantees water-tight security and excellent surfing speed.
- Hotspot Shield – Hotspot Shield provides reliable speed and maximum security, ensuring optimum user satisfaction.
- Trust.Zone – Trust.Zone’s quality of service will exceed your VPN needs.
7 Best VPNs for China
Security and speed are undoubtedly the two most important factors while using a VPN. The Great Firewall has one of the most sophisticated censorship systems in the world. You need a VPN with strong security features to be able to bypass it. Also, your VPN of choice should have high browsing and streaming speeds. Thus, even when you gain access to restricted content, you will not experience lags.
We used these twin factors, in addition to a host of others, to arrive at the comprehensive list below. Do take a look.
Overall best in our tests
- Super-fast servers
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Supports private protocol, Lightway
- Money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN is the best provider you can find in China. It has a range of servers – over 3000, to be exact. Some of these servers are located in the neighboring countries of Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong. These servers’ proximity will make sure you stream and surf at an excellent speed.
ExpressVPN gets around Chinese virtual blocks easily. At the same time, it makes sure that your data is not compromised through its military-grade encryption. Its kill switch also protects your information if your connection becomes compromised or unstable. It also has a DNS leaks feature that makes sure essential data does not get leaked while you make use of the VPN.
ExpressVPN is easy to use and set up. While in China, it would only take only a few clicks to set up an account. It even allows you to connect 5 devices simultaneously. ExpressVPN grants you a 30-day money-back guarantee. This simply means that within the 30-day window, if you are unsatisfied with the quality of service it provides, you can request a refund. You would have to set up an account first and get on a subscription plan. However, the process for requesting a refund is smooth and seamless; hence you need not worry.
Definitely the fastest in our tests
- Incredibly fast servers
- Great security features
- Verified no-logs policy
- Unblocks streaming platforms
NordVPN is another provider you ought to give serious consideration to in your search for a VPN to use in China. NordVPN has more than 5000 servers, easily one of the highest you could find. These servers are optimized for speed and located in the neighboring countries of Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, etc. You will never have to struggle to find a VPN to connect to while in China.
Additionally, these servers are designed to get around all sorts of restrictions while keeping your security in mind. The servers have unlimited bandwidth, so there will be no cap on how much data you can expend. If you want to use the VPN to stream geo-blocked content from platforms like Netflix and Hulu, NordVPN makes that possible. Its 256-bit AES encryption makes you virtually undetectable as you use the internet. It also maintains a strict no-logs policy.
You can install and run NordVPN on 6 devices simultaneously with one subscription. You will get the same level of premium service on all of those devices. If you have any challenges, NordVPN’s 24/7 support staff will be willing to guide you properly.
Best for connecting multiple devices
- Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
- Integrates Stealth mode
- Multihop feature available
- 3000+ servers
SurfShark has a modest amount of servers, with quite a number located near China. However, its other features are far from modest. Its servers all have top speed for optimum browsing. You can stream videos in HD without experiencing any buffering. You can also access social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube using the VPN. More so, you can access multiple servers in different locations simultaneously. This helps heighten your security as your IP address will bounce through different countries at the same time.
Security is another area that SurfShark excels. It makes use of the highest standard of encryption, the AES 256-bit encryption. The VPN has a camouflage mode, which hides the fact that you are making use of a VPN. Additionally, its features protect you from malware and even ads. You can easily detect fake links on social media and avoid them.
SurfShark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices at the same time. Thus, you can pool resources together with friends or family and hop on to one plan. In terms of price Surfshark is probably one of the cheapest VPNs in the business.
4. Private Internet Access
Broadest server reach in our tests
- Great unblocking ability
- Supports WireGuard protocol
- Decent streaming speed
- Affordable subscription offers
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a leading provider in the VPN industry. It keeps true to its name by providing unmatched security-focused service for its users. Its security features include the AES 256-bit encryption, IP masking, and DNS leak protection. All of these come together to make sure that you get around Chinese firewalls.
PIA comes with some unique features that you will find useful. One of such is the ability to choose a connection protocol. Most providers automatically choose a protocol for you once you log in. However, PIA allows you to choose a protocol yourself. Additionally, it permits anonymous modes of payment. You can pay with cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Bitcoin, etc. PIA is also fitted with a kill switch that automatically cuts off your internet connection when the VPN connection goes off.
PIA is extremely user friendly. You can easily set up both the mobile and website versions. It allows you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. It also has really helpful customer service personnel in case of any questions you have.
Best for Android
- Advanced configuration settings
- Unblocks restricted platforms
- Compatible with most device types
- Supports the OpenVPN, L2TP and IPSec protocols
PrivateVPN is another fast and reliable VPN for getting around Chinese firewalls. It has an array of servers to choose from, both in countries close to China and far-off ones. This is ideal if you are in China and need a close server for enhanced browsing. It is also important if you want to access geo-restricted content from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, etc.
PrivateVPN comes with a stealth mode. With it, you will be able to mask your ISP address. It also makes use of military-grade encryption as well as optimum security protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, etc.
PrivateVPN affords you reliable and fast browsing from speeds. You can be sure that there will be no buffering or lags while you are making use of the VPN. It allows for torrenting. This, coupled with its fast internet speed, makes browsing with it a pleasurable experience.
PrivateVPN gives a 30-day money-back guarantee period. You should definitely give it a try.
6. Hotspot Shield
VPN with the best servers
- Super-fast server speed
- Remarkable unblocking ability
- Intuitive user interface
Hotspot Shield is noted for its free version. However, it also provides an amazing premium offer. Hotspot Shield is an excellent provider that places a lot of emphasis on security. It even has its own special protocol. This protocol offers the same level of services as OpenVPN, combining both speed and security.
Hotspot Shield has servers in China. This guarantees you unmatched browsing and streaming speed. In addition, it has servers in the nearby countries of Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. You will always find a server whenever you need one.
In terms of security, Hotspot Shield makes use of advanced encryptions on its servers. It also does not keep any logs of your internet activities. This will make sure that even when subpoenaed, there will be nothing to give up. It also comes fitted with in-built malware protection that protects you from malware and blocs ads, too.
Hotspot Shield allows you to connect up to 5 devices at the same time. Also, it gives you a 45-day money-back guarantee. It also has 24/7 customer care support to attend to your needs.
Best VPN with a free version
- Offers dedicated IP addresses
- Allows torrenting and P2P file sharing
- Great pricing
- Free version available
Trust.Zone is one provider that you can trust its services. It provides you with reliable servers all over the world. These servers are equipped with top streaming and browsing speed. Specific servers are designated for specific streaming platforms. For instance, there are servers for Netflix, the BBC, etc. this enhances the ease with which you can connect and stream content from these platforms.
Trust.Zone is emphatic about its no-logs policy. It does not keep track of your internet activities. Additionally, it wipes off your internet presence, making sure that no one gets access to them, even the government. This is especially important for China. It also makes use of a trustworthy encryption, an automatic kill switch, and strong protocols.
Trust.Zone’s subscription plans are quite affordable. It also allows you to connect up to 5 devices at the same time. It even gives you a 3-day completely free trial. Within this period, you can download content up to 1-GB’s worth, without any challenges.
Tips for Using a VPN in China
Install prior to traveling: If you are traveling to China, you will do well to install the VPN before your plane lands. This is because it is a lot harder to get access to a VPN while in China. Google Play Store and Apple AppStore are all blocked in China. Furthermore, the websites of most VPNs are blocked, too, so you wouldn’t be able to download VPN apps from there.
However, if you live in China, it might be a bit dicey getting access to VPN apps. There are a number of friendly hotels around. They have VPNs integrated with their WiFi networks. You can make use of their network to download your app. Alternatively, you can download the Apk versions of the VPN apps. You can download them using Yahoo because Google is banned in China.
Carefully consider all your options: You have to consider your options carefully before deciding on a VPN. The first criteria you need to consider is whether the provider has servers in China or countries nearby. Next, you have to look at the browsing speed as well as the stability of the connection of these servers. Finally, the protocols and servers should have features that are up to date. That is the only way they can get around the Great Firewall. You are in luck because the 7 VPNs discussed above are excellent in these criteria just cited.
Connect to the closest servers: The closer a server’s location is, the higher the speed of the server. Hence, while using a VPN in China, do well to connect to servers in neighboring countries. Countries such as Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong are ideal for this. However, if you want to access geo-restricted content, you will have to connect to a server in a country where the content is unblocked. For instance, to access Netflix US, you will need to connect to a server in the United States.
Consider having a backup VPN: Most of the VPNs discussed above are reliable. However, the Chinese government is not. The Chinese government is notorious for censorship, especially with the government in power at the moment. The crackdown on VPNs has escalated in recent years. VPNs are being targeted and taken down regularly. Some providers routinely suspend providing services for a while before coming back up. In the case where your provider is either targeted or goes offline of its own accord, you will need to have an alternative. If you are going to spend a lot of time in China, or live there, you definitely need to have a backup VPN.
The heavy internet restriction in China is saddening. However, with a VPN, you can still conduct your normal internet activities unhindered. You just need to pay attention to make sure that the VPN you choose can get around the Great Chinese Firewall. You can be sure of this with the VPNs above.