The Best VPNs for China (Tested After China’s 2018 Crackdown)
If you’re traveling to China, you’re going to have a problem accessing your favorite sites. We found the best VPNs and tested them to see how reliable they are. Share
China is cracking down on VPNs in the hope of blocking all unauthorized VPNs. With all the outdated information on VPNs online, please don’t travel to China with a VPN unless it’s on this list, as it might not work for you. While some other VPNs might work, we can only guarantee that the following will work without any problems. All of the VPNs listed below were tested in June 2018 to make sure they still work in China.
Let’s face it. If you’re traveling to China, you’re going to have a problem accessing your favorite sites.
That’s because China uses a firewall, also known as the Great Firewall of China, to block and censor content. Gmail, Youtube,Facebook, and Twitter are just a few of the thousands of sites you cannot access in China. (You can see which sites are blocked in China here.)
So, if you’re on a business trip, visiting China on vacation, or you happen to live there, accessing your favorite sites can be problematic.
There are a couple of ways to bypass the Firewall, but one of the most efficient ways is with a VPN.
Yet, not all VPNs can do so.
China recently cracked down on VPNs, and some – that previously worked – do not work anymore.
To find the best one, we tested our top VPNs to see which actually work in China.
6 Reliable and Popular VPNs (that actually work in China)
- Incredible security standards and encryption
- Many servers surrounding China
- Affordable and well-priced
- 24/7 customer support with a site available in simplified Chinese
Because NordVPN doesn’t have any servers in China itself, you would think that it would not work well. On the contrary, because NordVPN doesn’t have any servers in the country, it’s not on the Chinese government’s radar. This means that there’s a significantly less chance of the government blocking this VPN.
If you’re worried about having a strong connection, don’t be. NordVPN has over 60 servers surrounding China, including 11 in Japan and 14 in Hong Kong (which does not fall under the same government rules).
NordVPN also recently introduced an alternative list of servers dedicated to bypassing heavily restricted areas. The company also offers assistance specifically on configuring a VPN from China.
Besides the military-grade security and encryption, NordVPN focuses on privacy and anonymity. The best part is how affordable the VPN is. With great deals all year long, you can buy a subscription to NordVPN for just a couple of dollars. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular VPNs out there.
However, if you happen to not like NordVPN (we doubt this will happen, but we’ll mention it anyway), you can get your money back within 30 days, guaranteed.
- Fast speeds
- Over 1,700 servers
- Great customer service
- Pricier than other VPNs
ExpressVPN is one of the top VPNs on the market, and they are one of the most popular in China. While other VPNs run into problems bypassing China’s VPN block, ExpressVPN constantly fights it.
On top of that, they have thousands of servers all over the globe including Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. All of these servers add to ExpressVPN’s fast speed (they were even awarded the Best VPN Award for Speed).
ExpressVPN also offers top-notch security, you can read about it here.
While you might be worried about accessing ExpressVPN with your iPhone, rest assured that as long as you download the application outside of China, you will not have a problem with it. If you happen to have any problems, ExpressVPN has fantastic customer support available in a number of languages.
If ExpressVPN’s price bothers you, the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee. So you can try the VPN out (or use it for your trip), and then decide if you want to keep it or not. Chances are you’ll decide it’s worth the price. Most of their customers are big fans of the service.
Can’t decide between NordVPN and ExpressVPN? See how they compare.
- Over 700 servers around the world, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore
- Chameleon technology works on Mac, Windows, and Android – but not iOS
- Available for purchase from within China
Despite numerous VPN blocks, VyprVPN remains accessible in China. The company prides itself on its Chameleon VPN protocol, which scrambles OpenVPN data so the signature isn’t recognized via deep packet inspection (DPI). This means you’ll still get the benefits of one of the most secure VPN protocols out there – one that China usually succeeds in blocking. However, be advised that the iOS app does not come with this technology. So if you want to use your iPhone in China, VyprVPN is not a good choice. The Chameleon technology is also only available on the premium plan.
What we like about VyprVPN is that it doesn’t invest in third-party sources. They are what we call a tier-1 network, which means they exclusively own all of their servers, ensuring that all activity is routed through their network.
For those who forget to get a VPN before arriving in China, the company has a designated website that you can access from within China.
Even when it’s blocked, VyprVPN gets their site up and running quickly. If you want a dependable VPN in China, VyprVPN is the way to go. Don’t believe us? Check out these user reviews.
- 750+ servers in over 140 countries, including China and Hong Kong
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections
- Reliable customer support
PureVPN offers a special China VPN service, which can bypass the Great Firewall of China, offering you complete freedom online. They offer advanced data encryption and security features, including a kill switch.
While they have had some issues regarding privacy in the past, this probably won’t affect you if you are just visiting China and want access to the websites you usually use. PureVPN’s China VPN will allow you to remain secure and anonymous on public wi-fi connections.
They offer very reliable customer support, including a 24/7 live chat feature.
The company offers a 7-day money back guarantee, with a no-questions-asked refund policy. If you’re still not sure if you want to give it a try, check out these customer reviews.
- Can bypass the Firewall but only with L2TP
- Servers in Hong Kong
- No logs policy
While it might not provide the incredible features of the other VPNs listed here, PrivateVPN can still bypass China’s Firewall, and that’s saying something. PrivateVPN evades the recent crackdown by recommending users log on with the L2TP protocol.
For access to basic websites, PrivateVPN is your answer. You also get access to Netflix and other streaming sites with good speeds.
Overall, it’s a good VPN for China, but be ready to commit; users have had trouble getting their money back in the past. To learn more about how users experience PrivateVPN, click here.
- Bypass the Firewall using Port 443
- Servers in Hong Kong and surrounding areas
- Available on all platforms
Trust.Zone is an overall good VPN package, and their team constantly checks to make sure the VPN works in China.
All you need to do is download the VPN before arriving in China. When you open the app and turn it on, go to Settings and switch your VPN port to 443, 33, or 22. Since port 443 is used for all HTTPS traffic, this one will give you the best chance of unblocking content.
Trust.Zone has over 95% success with their users accessing content in China. However, if you do run into problems for some reason, you can contact Trust.Zone on their support page. Still not sure if Trust.Zone is right for you? Check out these user reviews.
Traveling and Don’t Want to Spend a Fortune? Here’s How to Get a Top VPN for Free
The VPNs mentioned above are so confident that you’ll love their service, they offer refunds if you’re not satisfied. Plus, many have free trials. This means that in theory, you can get the VPN right before your trip, and then cancel once you’re home – essentially getting it for free.
Both NordVPN and VyperVPN have a 30-day money back guarantee, and a 3-day free trial. ExpressVPN offers a risk free, 30-day money back guarantee. CyberGhost has a 30-day money back guarantee and a 7-day free trial. Trust.Zone has a 10-day money back guarantee and a 3-day free trial. And PrivateVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee and a 7-day free trial (although in order to get it you need to request it from customer support).
In addition, discounts.
What You Need to Know About VPNs in China BEFORE Traveling
- In July 2017, the Chinese government announced that it will block all VPNs by February 2018. This hasn’t happened yet, but the crackdown on VPNs continues.
- China blocked almost all VPNs from the Apple App Store.
- To use a VPN in China, you need to download and install a VPN app on your computer or phone before you arrive. Otherwise you won’t be able to use it.
- Not every VPN works in China. (That’s why you need to pick a good one.)
With the Chinese government’s stringent rules on internet usage, embarking on any virtual activity while in the country without the protection of a VPN is dangerous, if not a little crazy. By using one of these recommended VPNs, you will secure your online identity and be free to access the sites you need to stay in touch with friends and family overseas.
Looking for more information about VPNs? Check out our VPN guide.
A VPN is Not Just for Bypassing the Great Firewall
While there are other ways to get past China’s Firewall, such as using a proxy or Shadowsocks, a VPN is the best way.
Here’s what you get when you use a VPN:
- Access to blocked content
- Faster speeds
- Security and encryption
As we mentioned before, China has some of the most stringent internet laws in the world. You can’t even access the New York Times from China! But, with a VPN, you can change your location to access all the content you want.
A VPN can increase your internet speed.
While China has WiFi access in many locations, the speeds are noticeably slower compared to other countries. If your ISP happens to throttle your connection, a VPN can bypass that, giving you faster connections.
You also get tighter security with a VPN.
Even though only a small percentage of Internet users need their activity to be hidden from the government, a VPN’s encryption will protect you from pop-ups and random downloads that can infect your device.