Last Updated on December 16, 2020 by Staff Writer
Why China has the Great Firewall
What is the best VPN for Chinese? To answer that question let’s start with a little background. China has a strict internet censorship policy and most of the popular sites are blocked.
The government has a tight leash on all registered ISPs and if you access prohibited content you may get in trouble. This means if you want visit China, you need a VPN to be able to unblock most Western sites.
- Got no time? Our best VPN for China is ExpressVPN
Which sites are blocked in China?
Major sites are blocked in China. If you want to see the complete list, visit this resource, but to give you an idea of the sites that are see below:
- Google Apps
All these restrictions enable the Chinese government to censor any internet content in the mainland. However, you can use a VPN to bypass the Great Firewall of China and be able to access all these blocked sites.
How do VPNs bypass the Great Firewall?
A VPN creates a VPN tunnel in which all your traffic is encrypted. Although the traffic passes through an ISP in China, the ISP is not able to decrypt the data.
That means your internet activity remains private.
Not all VPNs are able to bypass the Firewall because some have DNS leaks and weak encryption. In the end, you are not totally secure and private so your ISP can see all the sites you visit.
That is why I encourage you to use only recommended VPNs that are safe and secure (more on that below)
You are guaranteed of zero DNS leaks, a reliable kill switch and solid encryption.
In the end, you are able to access any site without being blocked.
- VPNAnchor pro-tip for travellers:
Make sure you install a VPN before you enter mainland China because App stores are also blocked in China. You won’t be able to set up the VPN easily once you have crossed the border.
What to look for when selecting the best VPN for China
When choosing a VPN to use in China, there are factors you need to look for and these are:
- Speed on the connection
- Distribution of servers
- Customer support
- Strong security and privacy policies
- Ability to bypass the Great Firewall
The majority of VPNs available fall short in these areas but there are some that have all the features required to unblock restrictions in China.
- At a glance, we recommend these VPNs for China
If you use any of the above VPNs, you are light years ahead of more than 70% of VPN services that are on the market. These providers have extensive coverage and audited policies to guard your privacy.
Let’s be realistic, in a country that goes to extremes in-order to block internet content, a poor VPN is not going to see the light of day. Yes, speeds may be lower with a VPN, but you have better experience with a top quality VPN.
The best VPN for China in more detail
ExpressVPN – Fastest servers
- Editor’s Choice
The Chinese Great wall needs a VPN that has maximum horsepower to bypass it and it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN makes it to the top.
This VPN has the fastest servers that are highly optimized for bypassing firewalls.
There are more than 3000 servers around the world and numerous IP address to ensure that you remain anonymous.
We recommend that you select the 1-year plan so that you benefit from a 35% discount.
You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee and if you are not happy with the service you get a full refund.
NordVPN – Has all essential features
Next to ExpressVPN is NordVPN. This VPN is packed with all the essential features you need in a VPN and is equally able to bypass restrictions in China.
There are more than 5000 servers all over the world and this makes the VPN network very reliable.
You get a perfect balance of functionality and price especially if you select the 2-year plan.
Here there is a generous 70% discount that comes with a free-trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
With NordVPN you also get extra security features like:
- WebRTC block to prevent DNS leaks
- Onion over VPN
- Nordlynx protocol
If ExpressVPN is expensive for you, a perfect option is NordVPN, although we prefer ExpessVPN for a relatively higher speed.
Surfshark VPN – Very cost-effective
Surfshark has very affordable plans and offers up to 83% discount so that more people have access to premium online privacy and security.
There are at least 1700 servers located in all major regions and these servers are fast.
As expected in a top VPN, Surfshark has no DNS leaks and zero-logs policy. This means that there is nothing stored by Surfshark that ties back to you.
You also get excellent customer care should you have any queries.
To maximize your security, you also get adblock and antimalware features.
This VPN is for those who want a VPN that gets the job done without forking out a lot of cash.
VyprVPN – Strong privacy
This VPN is based in Switzerland with servers all over the world and one outstanding feature of VyprVPN is its strong security.
Once you are connected to the VyprVPN network, your traffic is shielded effectively from the ISP and the government.
Plans are also affordable as you get 80% discount on a 2-year plan and only Surfshark beats VyprVPN in terms of low cost.
VyprVPN has Chameleon, a powerful VPN protocol based on OpenVPN and is well-known for bypassing tough firewalls.
You also get an efficient customer support with a live chat feature for fast resolution of any problems.
For guaranteed privacy and security, use VyprVPN…
Hotspot Shield VPN – Strong unblocking capability
Hotspot Shield was used extensively during Eygptian protests in 2011 when the Mubarak regime cracked down on social media sites.
It has a free plan with limited monthly data but for effective use in China you need to sign up for the paid plan.
This also gives you access to optimized servers so that you can successfully bypass the Great Firewall.
The best plan is a 3-year plan where you get 77% off the usual price.
A maximum of 5 devices from multiple platforms can be supported on one account. Supported devices include:
Get access to at least 3200 servers in over 80 countries even if you are in China and access the Catapult Hydra protocol to create a powerful VPN tunnel.
Are VPNs legal in China?
Contrary to what one may believe, VPNs are actually legal in China. However, the VPNs have to obtain a licence to operate in the country.
This means if you want to operate a VPN service in the country, policies like zero access to your data of your data don’t apply. Anytime the Chinese government wants to access local VPN servers they can do so and that compromises your privacy.
The take-home message is to install a VPN before entering China if you plan to access Western sites seamlessly. Local VPNs are heavily monitored by the Chinese government and if you use one, your traffic is intercepted.
To save you the headache, use our top pick for China:
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