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ExpressVPN Works in China in 2021 (But Only If You Do This!)

Most VPNs don’t stand a chance in front of the Great Firewall of China, but ExpressVPN has no problem getting over its blocks. It implemented a series of features and technologies that work together and allow users all over the world (including China) to access their favorite shows and websites on the internet.

To bypass the firewall, Express VPN uses obfuscation, DNS and IP leak protection, kill switch, split tunneling, and automated connections. All of these features make it possible for you to avoid censorship from anywhere.

If you haven’t already, try ExpressVPN with its 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll be able to bypass most firewalls and geo-restrictions while also staying anonymous.

Bypass China’s Great Firewall Today!

How to Use ExpressVPN in China in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. You need to sign up and download ExpressVPN before you arrive in China.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server of your choice from the list.
  3. Freely browse the internet! All you need to do is access your favorite websites.

Get ExpressVPN Today!

How to Download ExpressVPN in China (+ Make Sure It Works)

The most important thing you need to do is install ExpressVPN before you arrive in China. ExpressVPN is blocked there, and there’s no other way to access its website.

The process itself is straightforward — connect your VPN, set it up to start automatically, then enable the kill switch and DNS and IP leak protection. This combination of features will provide you with a reliable connection that will bypass China’s Great Firewall.

How to Set ExpressVPN to Start Automatically

To keep your connection on at all times, you need to set ExpressVPN to start automatically. This is very important — if you forget to turn on the VPN before you access a website, the firewall will block you. You can do this in 2 easy steps:

  1. Access the settings.
  2. Check the boxes next to “Launch ExpressVPN on startup” and “Connect to the last used location when ExpressVPN is launched.” These 2 features will make sure you’re always connected to the right server when your device starts.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's launch on startup settings

Setting ExpressVPN to launch on startup will keep you protected at all times

How to Enable the Kill Switch

The kill switch will instantly cut your connection to the internet if the VPN fails. As long as you’re in China, you need to keep it on at all times. Once the firewall identifies you, it will block your access. You can activate the kill switch in 2 steps:

  1. Open the general settings.
  2. Activate the kill switch. Check the box next to “Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.”

A screenshot of ExpressVPN's kill switch settings

Activate ExpressVPN’s kill switch to keep your identity hidden if the connection drops

How to Use the DNS and IP Leak Protection

DNS and IP leaks can leave your real IP exposed in front of the firewall. If the VPN fails or the browser sends WebRTC requests, your access will be restricted. You can activate the DNS and IP leak protection in 2 steps:

  1. Open advanced settings.
  2. Check the boxes next to “Prevent IPv6 address detection while connected” and “Only use ExpressVPN DNS servers while connected.”

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's DNS and IP leak settings

This will help you stay anonymous at all times while browsing in China

Bypass China’s Great Firewall With ExpressVPN!

What to Do if ExpressVPN Still Doesn’t Work in China?

If you encounter any problems, the first thing you need to do is disconnect from the internet and try these fixes.

Reconnect Your VPN

Even though it sounds generic, reconnecting your VPN will refresh your connection. The VPN may stop working due to a poor internet connection or a technical error. If your internet speed is not very fast, it can take up to 30 seconds to establish a connection with the server or even fail.

Reconnect your VPN and wait for it to give you a “connected” status before continuing your browsing. If it still results in an error, you can try reinstalling it — make sure you have the executable file before you do this, as you won’t be able to download it again.

Set the Protocol to Automatic

If you make any changes to the ExpressVPN client, the connection may stop. Make sure your protocol is set to automatic, as it will find the right combination to bypass the Great Firewall of China. Not all protocols use obfuscation, so you need to allow it to choose the right configuration.


Screenshot of ExpressVPN's automatic protocol settings

Allow ExpressVPN to choose the protocol automatically for the best connection

Get ExpressVPN Now!

Clear Your Browser Caches

Websites usually block the VPN’s IP addresses if they generate too many requests but can also block the user’s cookies. This happens if you try to connect multiple times from different servers but with the same account. If the website is programmed this way, it will block your caches — and automatically restrict your access.

To fix this problem, go into your browser’s settings and delete your cache. If you don’t want to delete everything, only select the website that’s not working before you erase them.

Contact Customer Support

As a last resort, you can contact ExpressVPN’s customer support and ask for guidance. Since the website is blocked in China, you can send an email to support@expressvpn.zendesk.com. The support team is prompt and will give you an answer within 24 hours.

Browse Freely in China With ExpressVPN!

FAQs on Using ExpressVPN in China

😍 Can I use ExpressVPN on my Android or iOS phone in China?

Yes, you can. ExpressVPN integrated the OpenVPN protocol in its apps, so you can use your Android or iOS phone to access the internet in China. Make sure you set the protocol to automatic, and allow the VPN to choose the best option for you.

Remember to download and install the app before you arrive in China. Most VPNs are blocked there, and the websites and apps are inaccessible.

🤓 Is it legal to use a VPN in China?

Some VPNs are legal in China, but not ExpressVPN. To operate in China, VPNs need to be licensed by the government and adhere to a series of stringent rules and regulations that would completely expose the users. Your IP address, location, and web activity would be logged and sent to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, and it doesn’t have to adhere to China’s regulations. Because of this, it’s not legal for anyone to use it there, and its users can be fined if the government finds out.

To stay safe and avoid being detected, you need to properly set ExpressVPN up to start automatically and activate its kill switch. In the unlikely case of a VPN failure, your sensitive information won’t be exposed.

🤑 Can I use a free VPN in China?

You can try, but it probably won’t work. For a VPN to bypass China’s Great Firewall, it needs very good obfuscation technology and IP and DNS leak protection. There are very few premium VPNs that work in China, as these technologies are not cheap to implement, and free ones usually don’t invest in it.

In general, free VPNs have limited bandwidth, meaning that you can only surf the internet for a limited time before being left without protection — and only if you manage to bypass the firewall in the first place. Besides, with no IP and DNS leak protection, the Chinese authorities can see who you are and what you do online — if they also identify the VPN, you can be fined.

To successfully bypass China’s Great Firewall and stay anonymous, I recommend ExpressVPN. Before you commit, you can try it out using its 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s zero risk for you — if you don’t like it, just ask for a refund.

😎 Does ExpressVPN have a website for China?

Not really. ExpressVPN mirrors keep appearing, but they’re taken down pretty fast. On top of that, none of them are official, so you don’t know for sure if the website you’re accessing is safe or not. It’s best to download and install ExpressVPN on your devices before you arrive in China.

🥰 Why is the internet censored in China? Which websites are blocked?

The Great Firewall of China was established to control the type of content the population has access to and protect the country’s economy. The government believes in internet sovereignty and does everything it can to restrict its population from interacting with foreign content, ideas and beliefs.

China’s authorities set up an entire suite of apps and websites to use there and blocked the ones we’re used to, such as:

  • Streaming platforms: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, etc.
  • Social media websites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • News providers: BBC, NY Times, Bloomberg, NBC, etc.
  • Search engines: Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.
  • Messaging services: WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, etc.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that can bypass the Great Firewall of China. Its advanced obfuscation technology and one of the strongest encryption protocols allow you to freely use the internet in China. Make sure to install it before you arrive, as its website is blocked there.

😇 Can I install ExpressVPN on my router in China?

Yes, you can. In fact, it’s even better to install ExpressVPN on your router when you’re in China. This way, all your devices can connect to it and stay protected. Besides, you don’t have to worry about accidentally closing the connection. The VPN will stay on all the time, allowing you to access the internet from China.

ExpressVPN has mobile apps for Android and iOS, desktop clients for macOS, Windows, and Linux, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and a router app. This means that you can access the internet in China from any device.

😉 How does ExpressVPN bypass the Great Firewall of China?

China’s firewall uses a keyword-based algorithm that analyzes every connection that reaches it. The common misconception is that the firewall only analyzes your IP, but in reality, it looks at your metadata too. If you send a document over the internet, the metadata will show information about the document’s size, provenience, date, etc., but not the actual information in it. ExpressVPN uses a powerful encryption algorithm to successfully hide this.

The AES-256 type encryption makes sure that your information, such as IP address and location, is not accessible by anyone on the internet. Then, server obfuscation comes in to scramble your metadata and make it look like regular traffic. This way, the firewall will see it as HTTPS traffic and allow it to pass. To complete the process, you need to enable your kill switch. In case the VPN disconnects or encounters a network error, ExpressVPN will completely close your internet connection. This is necessary because the firewall will instantly block you when you’re left without a VPN.

As long as you subscribe to ExpressVPN before you arrive in China, you won’t have a problem bypassing its firewall and accessing the internet as usual.

Bypass China’s Great Firewall With ExpressVPN!

Bypass the Great Firewall of China with ExpressVPN!

ExpressVPN has all the tools it needs to bypass China’s Great Firewall. It scrambles your metadata using obfuscation, keeps you anonymous with its DNS and IP leak protection, and bypasses the firewall without much of a hassle. Plus, ExpressVPN doesn’t have servers in China which means that it doesn’t have to conform to its strict data-logging policies. So, your browsing activity will stay completely private.

You can start using ExpressVPN right now and take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not pleased with it, just ask for a refund!

Get ExpressVPN Now!

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Kate is a technology researcher and human rights columnist, animal lover, and all-round TV binge-watching enthusiast.

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