5 Best VPN for China (2020 review): The Definitive Guide

In this article, I have listed our 5 Best VPN for China used to access blocked sites and apps within China, however, many VPNs don’t work in China.

To see which VPNs still bypass censorship in China, we rented a server in Shenzhen and pitched 59 different VPNs against China’s Great Firewall.

If you plan to visit or live in China and want to maintain access to western sites, apps, and services, then you’ll need a VPN.

Hence, you are in the right place as I have listed out VPN that works in China

Our main considerations when curating this list include factors we believe are of utmost importance to China VPN users. Which are:

  • Reliability in China
  • Customer support
  • Speed
  • Range of servers (especially in Asia)
  • Strong privacy and security credentials.

At the end of this article, you will, without a doubt, know the best VPN that is the right option for you to use

Let’s get started

Post Overview

I will keep it simple but concise and straight to the point. You will learn about its products and services offered.

Below is the breakdown of what I would be covering:

  1. Best VPN for China
  2. Are VPNs legal in China?
  3. What is the Great Firewall
  4. How do VPNs bypass the Great Firewall?
  5. Can I use a free VPN in China
  6. What to look for in a VPN for China
  7. How much does a China VPN cost?
  8. Conclusion

1.Best VPN for China

Based on the above criteria here are our top picks of the best VPN services for China:

ExpressVPN-Best all-round VPN for China

VPN For China

Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 5

ExpressVPN’s Key Features

  • 3,000+ servers around the globe and hundreds near China
  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • Obfuscated servers
  • RAM storage, not hard drive
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • DNS and IP leak protection
  • Works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, SHOWTIME, Hulu, ITV Hub
  • Compatible with: iOS, macOS, Windows, Android
  • Works in China from any device
  • Wide range of China-optimized servers
  • An overall superb service
  • A bit more expensive than rivals

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN for China, It’s not the cheapest VPN on this list, but it remains popular among users in China for good reason.

It’s a go-to provider for many because it deftly navigates around the Great Firewall. Express’ wide array of server locations is a big plus, with Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan-based servers being especially relevant in this case.

ExpressVPN offers consistent and reliable performance, with smart dedicated apps for most devices including routers.

This provider actively monitors its network for China accessibility and ensures that its software stays ahead of the censors’ efforts to block connections.

Under the hood, ExpressVPN uses obfuscation protocols and advanced technology to provide the best possible experience for users in China.

Torrenting is allowed on all VPN servers, and Express usually has a handful of servers that work with Netflix. If you’re only visiting China for a short period, consider the 30-day money-back guarantee.

It has a huge range of VPN server locations, the fastest servers, allows five simultaneous device connections, For any trouble that might occur, there’s always the live chat and email support available from China (the website is not blocked).

Security is second to none, boasting an automatic kill switch and leading encryption.

The ExpressVPN app works across all major desktop and mobile devices and is very simple to use.

That includes Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux (command line), Fire TV, and compatible routers.

Pros:

  • Consistently works in China and evades the Great Firewall
  • 160 server locations across 94 countries
  • Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and other streaming services
  • Keeps no logs of personal data
  • Reliable and fast connections
  • Best speeds and security

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than some other options

Visit ExpressVPN Read Review

NordVPN-Dedicated to bypassing the Great Firewall (VPN for China)

VPN For China

Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

NordVPN’s Key Features

  • Over 370 servers near China
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Blazing-fast speeds
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Works with: Disney+, Netflix, CBS, NBC, Lightbox, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer
  • Compatible with: Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
  • Great choice of server locations
  • Good performance
  • Monthly billing is expensive

NordVPN is also among a good VPN for China. It recently announced it now works from China, which is good news especially for Beijingers and Shanghaiists who want a lot of simultaneous connections for a low price.

NordVPN has dedicated an entire team to the pursuit of getting around website blocking in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and, yes, China.

It actively monitors connectivity and then works to carry out any necessary actions to bypass any new blocks.

It’s that kind of commitment to bypassing the Great Firewall that makes Nord such an attractive option.

It has obfuscated servers in nearby territories such as Japan and Hong Kong, with its Double VPN feature for further anonymity still available in Taiwan.

Those local servers should mean more stability and speed when you’re logging in from China.

NordVPN offers the best value, offering six simultaneous connections on one inexpensive subscription.

It can also unblock streaming sites like Netflix US and Hulu, which block most other VPN connections.

Torrenting is tolerated, and servers are available in more than 60 countries.

Live chat support isn’t as available as with some other VPNs, but query submissions online are answered pretty quickly.

Handy if you run in to any problems. And if you’re still a bit unsure about whether NordVPN is right for you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

All desktop apps Windows, Mac OS, and Linux work in China. Apps for iOS and Android mobile devices should work as well, but if you encounter any issues, NordVPN offers manual setup support for both desktop and mobile devices.

Pros:

  • Works well in China
  • Up to 6 devices can connect with one subscription
  • Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Video, iPlayer and other streaming services
  • Excellent security with strong encryption and no logs policy
  • Automatic kill switch

Cons:

  • Can’t specify a particular city or province to connect to
  • Some devices might require manual setup

Visit NordVPN Read Review

Surfshark- Affordable, simple and effective VPN for China

VPN For China

Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Surfshark’s Key Features

  • 1,040 servers worldwide and surrounding China
  • NoBorders mode to bypass Great Firewall of China
  • Camouflage Mode for extra anonymity
  • Clean Web ad and tracking blocker
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO GO, Sky TV, Disney+
  • Compatible with: Xbox, Playstation, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS
  • Works hard at unlocking sites in China
  • Attractive pricing
  • So easy to use
  • Will be too basic for some
  • Android app could use improvement

Surfshark, one of the Best VPN for China now works in China as of 2019, which is great news for people who want to binge-watch their favorite shows from western streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

Largely thanks to its great value price points and user-friendly interface, British Virgin Islands-based Surfshark has really risen up our rankings of late. And it has certainly improved its Firewall of China fighting credentials, too.

Surfshark keeps no logs, uses military-grade encryption, and includes an automatic kill switch.

P2P filesharing is allowed, bandwidth is unlimited, and speeds are fast enough to make downloading and streaming a breeze. It comes with a built-in ad blocker.

Despite the low pricing, Surfshark makes its service available to unlimited simultaneously connected devices. Very impressive value.

Surfshark excels at unblocking stuff, and almost all of its servers unblock Netflix, though most of them will redirect you to the US version.

Apps are available for desktop and mobile devices including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android.

Pros:

  • Works in China (VPN for China)
  • Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Fast downloads and high quality video streams
  • P2P allowed
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Automatic kill siwtch

Cons:

  • Fewer servers than others
  • An occasional slow server

Visit Surfshark Read Review

VyprVPN-Great balance of speed and security (VPN for China)

VPN For China

Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5

VyprVPN’s Key Features

  • Dynamic server switching for fast speeds
  • Nifty Chameleon security protocol
  • Self-owned servers for greater anonymity
  • Public WiFi protection
  • Zero-logging policy
  • Works with: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Crunchy Roll, ESPN, SkySports
  • Compatible with: Routers, Smart TV, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Blackberry
  • 30-day money guarantee
  • No refund policy

VyprVPN, one of the Best VPN for China is one of the few tier-1 VPN for China, meaning it owns most of its own VPN servers and data centers.

One of the main advantages of VyprVPN is its proprietary Chameleon security protocol which can help bypass VPN blocking, scrambling OpenVPN packet metadata to ensure it’s safe along with solid support for mobile operating systems, and 24/7 live chat for troubleshooting.

The Pro version includes a proprietary Chameleon protocol that masks VPN traffic to make it less susceptible to the Great Firewall’s deep packet inspection technology.

It’s on the pricier side, but residents of China will be happy to know the company accepts payments from Alipay, a popular payment gateway in the country similar to PayPal.

Golden Frog’s VyprVPN offers a decent number of locations, each with multiple servers. Live chat support is available.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

Pros:

  • Own all their servers giving excellent speed and uptime
  • Chameleon protocl and advanced encryption avoids the Great Firewall
  • Accepts payments from Alipay
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Automatic kill siwtch

Cons:

  • Store limited access logs for 30 days
  • 24/7 support only available through
  • Doesn’t allow torrenting

Visit VyprVPN Read Review

Hotspot Shield- Top VPN for China with a decent free option

VPN For China

Number of servers: 2,500+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Hotspot Shield’s Key Features

  • Servers in China and 3,200+ worldwide
  • Catapult Hydra Technology
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Advanced encryption
  • Zero-logging policy (VPN for China)
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Works with: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, HBO Now, DAZN
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Blackberry
  • Speedy connections
  • Nice and easy to use
  • Cheaper than some
  • No success on some streaming sites

Hotspot Shield, one of the Best VPN for China empowers users in China to access blocked websites, social media, apps, services, news, and videos.

It offers excellent speed and the ability to unblock Netflix as well as a handful of other region-locked sites.

You can use it to secure public wi-fi connections from third-party snoopers.

In VPN circles, Hotspot Shield is probably best known for its market-leading free version.

But it’s clearly been putting in the hard yards to improve its premium version, too, and it has managed to get around all the blocking attempts in China.

Only the Windows app comes with an automatic kill switch.

It uses a proprietary protocol called Catapult Hydra, which we know little about. Live chat support is available around the clock.

Handy if you’re in China but are looking to connect back to the US, UK or pretty much anywhere else it has a server location.

Although the company has wrestled with privacy concerns in the past, it has updated its policies to retain no identifying logs.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android, plus a browser extension for Chrome.

Up to five simultaneous device connections are allowed along with unlimited server switches.

Pros:

  • Plenty of servers to choose from
  • Decent speeds and unblocking ability
  • Works in China
  • Only option in this list to offer Chinese IP addresses.
  • 45 day money-back guarantee
  • Automatic kill switch

Cons:

  • No Linux support
  • Some past privacy concern.

Visit Hotspot Shield Read Review

2. Are VPNs legal in China?

Yes, using a VPN is still legal in China. Despite many VPNs being blocked in China there is no official ban on using VPNs.

We’ve seen a lot of poorly-worded headlines suggesting otherwise. In January 2017, a Chinese government ministry issued a notice announcing a campaign to crack down on VPN and special cable services throughout the country.

The notice does not say using a Virtual Private Network is a crime.

I cannot stress this enough, because this important point has been repeatedly misinterpreted by western media.

VPN providers cannot legally operate in China without government approval. It does not affect VPN users in any legal way, so far as we can tell.

It might result in VPN servers getting blocked more often, however.

No sane VPN provider maintains an official presence in China. Most do not have offices, employees, or servers on the mainland.

That means they operate outside of the jurisdiction of Chinese authorities and do not require approval from the Chinese government to legally operate.

Still, they might well be targeted for censorship by the Great Firewall.

There is no precedent on record of anyone being arrested, fined, or detained for using a VPN.

Because VPN use in China is so widespread, especially among academics and expatriates, this is unlikely to change.

3. What is the Great Firewall?

The Great Firewall is the unofficial nickname for China’s advanced internet censorship system.

Officially called the Golden Shield project, state-owned internet service providers restrict all internet traffic to and from China to just a handful of access points.

This gives authorities the means to monitor and restrict access to content outside the country.

The Great Firewall utilizes a combination of methods to censor the web including IP blocking, DNS tampering, keyword filtering, deep packet inspection, URL filtering, and manual enforcement.

To handle all of the internet traffic between the world’s most populous country to the outside world, complex intrusion detection systems (IDS) create copies of packets and pass them to filtering devices so that traffic flow isn’t interrupted.

Most of the VPNs we recommend above now use some sort of obfuscation to “scramble” the data and make it look like non-VPN traffic.

4. How do VPNs bypass the Great Firewall?

The VPN server acts as a sort of middleman to hide the destination of internet traffic.

If you were to try to directly load up Youtube, for example, the Great Firewall would immediately spot your connection to Youtube and block it.

With a VPN, the censors can only see your encrypted data going to a server.

Your data passes through that server and goes on to Youtube. Youtube sends back a video stream through the same server, and China only sees the data coming from that server, not Youtube.

That being said, China can block VPN servers just like it blocks Youtube, so be sure to get a VPN that’s one step ahead and hasn’t been blacklisted.

Chances are your company’s corporate VPN won’t work, so it’s best to be prepared.

5. Can I use a free VPN in China?

As a general rule, you’ll want to avoid so-called free VPN in China. The chances of a free VPN being able to bypass the Great Firewall of China are slim. Basic SSL VPN browser extensions get blocked frequently.

Even if they do work, free VPNs tend to be less reliable, impose data and bandwidth limits, and have a much smaller selection of servers than paid ones.

Furthermore, free VPNs often make money by spying on your online activities and selling the collected data to third-parties, including advertisers.

Some free VPNs are actually made by Chinese companies, including Qihoo 360’s Turbo VPN. These are best avoided at all costs.

6. What to look for in a VPN for China?

Here are a few top considerations when choosing a good China VPN:

Works in China – obvious enough, but not all VPNs can bypass the Great Firewall.

Unblocking – In addition to bypassing the Great Firewall, you may also want to access streaming services like Netflix and Spotify while you’re away.

They have their own geographic restrictions, and will require compatible VPNs. ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and VyprVPN all excel at unblocking streaming sites.

Speed – you’ll probably want to use your VPN to stream and download, so unlimited bandwidth and fast servers are a must.

Server locations – servers geographically nearest to China, such as those in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, will offer better speeds.

Simultaneous connections – If you have several devices or want to share your subscription with family or friends, you may want a subscription with more simultaneous devices.

NordVPN offers the most on our list: six simultaneous connections.

Security – China is a hotbed for malware, hackers, and scammers, so make sure your connection to the VPN server is secure.

Look for the following:

  • 128-bit AES encryption or better
  • Perfect forward secrecy
  • DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak prevention
  • Private DNS servers (not Google DNS)
  • An automatic kill switch
  • A no-logs policy

Customer support – Sometimes VPN websites get blocked, so it’s useful to have multiple channels through which to contact customer support, including email and live chat.

Apps – Make sure compatible China VPN apps are available for all your devices, as manual configuration may not work in China.

7. How much does a China VPN cost?

VPN subscriptions cost the same amount no matter where you subscribe from.

Depending on the provider and choice of plan, a one-month subscription typically costs between $5 and $15.

Most VPNs offer steep discounts if you sign up for a longer term, such as one-year subscription.

Many providers, including the ones we recommend above, also offer money-back guarantees.

If you plan to visit China for a shorter period of time than the guarantee lasts, you can cancel your account after you’ve left at no cost.

8. Conclusion

China’s advanced online censorship system, known as the Great Firewall, has made it a hotspot for VPN users.

Both ex-pats and native Chinese use VPN services to circumvent blocked sites and apps like Facebook, Gmail, Google, YouTube, Tinder, WhatsApp, western news media, and Netflix.

This is where I will wrap up the post for today for the Best VPN for China.

I hope I did not leave anything? If I did tell me below in the comment section.

Also, tell me:

Have you downloaded any VPN yet?

If not, will you pick from one of our recommended best VPN for china?

Or maybe you have a question let me know in the comment section.

Maryjane Ibeabuchi
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