If you’re gearing up for a trip to China, you’ve undoubtedly already come across mention of the way that the Great Firewall restricts access to many popular websites that you’re used to in the West. If you’re hoping to access social media like Facebook or watch videos on YouTube, you will be incapable unless you have a way of bypassing internet restrictions.
While most VPN services should work in China, not all of them work very well. While investigating we found a few providers who have been struggling recently to provide stable connections for their customers. For example, IPvanish is a service that requires a manual configuration from inside China to work. So you’ll need some technical expertise to use it appropriately.
Avast Secureline has stated directly that their service does not work in China, as they claimed their infrastructure is completely blocked by the firewall. Private Internet Access, another VPN provider, has also had conflicting reports from users when it comes to their usability in China. It seems that a special configuration is required.
To keep you updated on which VPNs will be most appropriate for your time abroad in China, here is a list of reputable services we’ve compiled.
As a VPN service with desktop applications for macOS, Windows, and Linux, NordVPN is a Panama-based company that redirects your internet traffic through remote servers. By encrypting all of the data you send and receive, this service protects your browsing history from being logged and sold to government agencies, advertisers, and other third parties.
Like other VPN services, Nord VPN also allows you to access sites that deny your access by blocking your IP address. So not only can you access region-blocked content, but you can also keep maintaining your privacy at the same time. NordVPN uses “obfuscated servers,” that are specifically designed to be used in countries with heavily restricted internet access like China.
Based on the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is a privacy and security tool that masks your IP addresses and encrypts your traffic. Offering more than 2,000 servers across 94 countries, this service has multi-platform support and provides custom firmware for network router installation.
ExpressVPN protects against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks with 256-bit AES encryption, keeping your online activities private at all times. The software comes with a kill switch to put an immediate halt to all traffic should you lose your connection, and with a no-log policy, meaning they don’t retain any personal information in their servers. The increased anonymity makes this service a good choice for China.
3. CyberGhost VPN
As an advocate for free and uncensored internet, CyberGhost VPN offers advanced encryption and strict no-log policy. With a network of “No Spy” servers providing fast speeds and enhanced security, CyberGhost has over 3,000 servers in more than 60 locations.
This VPN is especially useful when it comes to accessing region-blocked services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Allowing 7 simultaneous connections, with DNS and IP leak protection, and unlimited bandwidth, this is another suitable choice for a VPN when traveling in China.
With over 2,000 locations in 141 countries, PureVPN has one of the largest numbers of servers in the industry. They provide all the tools necessary for getting around the Chinese firewall so you can enjoy the content you desire. Allowing you to mask your true IP address, their encryption prevents ISPs and governments from spying on your online activities.
PureVPN can also help you access all of your favorite websites, such as Google, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Change your virtual location to any country that you like so you can experience the internet without obstructions. Just choose a server, click the connect button, and you’re ready to go.
5. Astrill VPN
With a stated goal of overcoming online censorship worldwide, Astrill VPN has been designed to support a wide variety of tunneling protocols, such as OpenWeb, StealthVPN, Cisco IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, and SSTP. In addition to the ability to create a secure and private connection, this software also offers split tunneling, allowing you to access Chinese websites while obfuscating your international traffic.
There is a kill switch to prevent data leakage, should you lose your connection. They also provide you with up to 5 simultaneous connections with cross-platform capabilities for all major operating systems.
If you’re looking for a VPN service with a stellar reputation of reliability, StrongVPN has plenty of features to help you bypass the Chinese firewall. Offering unlimited speed and bandwidth, 2048-bit military-grade encryption, and smooth performance, you can use this software to enjoy unrestricted access to the internet.
StrongVPN provides an obfuscation method called Scramble, adding an additional layer of security while it makes your traffic more difficult for trackers to detect. One selling point that should not be overlooked is that the StrongVPN website is still accessible from mainland China for service assistance.
As a relatively new VPN service provider, VyprVPN makes it easy to bypass location-based IP-blocking. You can choose any server location in almost every continent, and enjoy the internet without obstructions.
VyprVPN has proprietary Chameleon technology, masking internet traffic so it is less vulnerable to China’s DPI (or deep packet inspection). Not only is this software available for all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Android, you can also use it to configure your router. The 256-bit protection keeps you safe from hackers or any other unwanted internet snoops, making it a suitable option for traveling in China.
8. Hotspot Shield
Unlike other premium VPN services that only provide a trial period before asking for a fee, Hotspot Shield allows you to use 500MB of data a day. Though the free version only allows you to connect to US servers, you get a chance to try the service and use it for as long as you like. With 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, and a built-in kill switch should you lose your connection, you can use Hotspot Shield with confidence while traveling in China. While this VPN’s main service website is blocked in China, their Elite service is not.
9. KeepSolid VPN Unlimited
VPN Unlimited have servers available in 6 different regions, allowing unrestricted access to content in their respective areas. Their KeepSolid Wise encryption provides more stable internet connectivity. You can use this service on up to 5 devices at once, and on any platform, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. Using VPN Unlimited, you can send personal data in complete confidence, and for that reason, it is another good choice for China travel.
That wraps up this article, hope you find the best VPN that works for you during your traveling in China. Any other good services we missed, please leave a comment and let us know.
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.