Best VPN For China

The Great Firewall of China is a massive obstacle for VPNs to overcome. Only a handful can bypass it successfully. Even fewer can do the job with consistency. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. After all, the Chinese authorities make an active effort to halt VPN services in their tracks.

(In case you're in a hurry, our top recommendation for China is ExpressVPN.)

What Is The Best VPN For China In 2021?

Only the best VPN services are capable of working around Chinese censorship measures. Due to that, it’s highly recommended to select one that’s able to do it. Why? Because you deserve the best and need the right tool to get around oppressive internet censorship.

Many VPNs claim to work in China. Sad to say, only a few of them actually do. As a result, it is quite difficult to pick the right service.

Here are the top 5 VPNs that work in China.

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. Surfshark
  3. NordVPN
  4. VyprVPN
  5. Astrill

Let’s now go into the details…

1. ExpressVPN

logo expressvpn

Credit: ExpressVPN.com

ExpressVPN is a service that has dominated the industry for many years. With it, you can rest assured that you’ll be protected. The VPN prioritizes security over anything else but doesn’t forget about speed. On top of that, it works in China with amazing consistency making it a reliable tool for anyone who needs to bypass internet censorship.

Unlike most VPNs, ExpressVPN has a large server network that’s fully RAM-based. This means that it’s incredibly trustworthy because it can’t store your logs. With it, you won’t worry about your private data being leaked.

ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and supports a wide range of protocols. It even has its own called Lightway that’s based on WolfSSL. Moreover, the VPN has a built-in kill switch feature and has no record of ever getting compromised.

My tests prove that ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market. To my surprise, the service did wonderfully, regardless of what server I was paired with. As a result, the experience of doing things like streaming and gaming was beyond seamless.

Torrenting is another thing ExpressVPN excels at. Part of the reason why is because it boasts a fully enabled P2P network. That means all of the VPN’s servers are optimized for the job. You won’t need to manually pick a location. It’s possible to torrent without issues anywhere.

ExpressVPN has a native app for every major operating system and browser extension. Each of which is incredibly user-friendly. This mainly due to their very simple interfaces that anyone could master shortly. And yes, even those who aren’t tech-savvy won’t have problems.

At $12.95 per month, ExpressVPN is rather pricey. It’s a tad bit more expensive than most of its competitors. Because of that, it isn’t suitable for anyone who’s on a tight budget. Nevertheless, I recommend that you get it as there’s a 30-day refund period anyway.

2. Surfshark

logo surfshark

Credit: Surfshark.com

Surfshark was established in 2018 and has since taken the VPN industry by storm. It managed to garner a huge following thanks to superb marketing tactics. Our testers claim that the service is extremely reliable. Any of its 1800+ servers are more than capable of providing access to the global internet. Thus, you can’t go wrong by selecting for use in China.

You may count on Surfshark to keep you protected. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and supports every mainstream protocol. The VPN also boasts a RAM-based network. In addition, it has a kill switch, malware blocker, no-logs policy, alert system, and Multihop, which is its proprietary version of the “Double VPN”.

Few VPNs can match Surfshark’s speed. Due to unlimited bandwidth, you can get a blazingly fast connection. Hence, there’ll be no trouble when you’re doing things like browsing the web, gaming, and downloading all kinds of content.

Surfshark can unlock any streaming service you throw at it. I’ve accessed the foreign libraries of all kinds of services using it. And if you’re wondering, my viewing experience was great since the VPN is so fast. Buffering and lack of quality were nonexistent.

Sad to say, the server network of Surfshark isn’t fully P2P enabled. As such, not every location you pair to is optimized for torrenting. Fortunately, the service automatically pairs you with a suitable server when a downloading activity gets detected. 

Like every top-tier VPN, Surfshark has wide compatibility and great applications. It also allows for unlimited simultaneous device connections. For that reason, it provides superb value for money. After all, few other competitors have the same offering.

The lowest price of Surfshark is $2.49 a month for a 2-year plan. Although it isn’t the most affordable service, it’s still within reach of average consumers. Now, if you’re skeptical, it’s easy to try it risk-free. Just purchase a subscription then take advantage of the 30-day refund policy if you’re ever unsatisfied.

3. NordVPN

logo nordvpn

Credit: NordVPN.com

NordVPN is known for many things. It is one of the most famous VPNs as it provides some of the best online security money can buy. Apart from that, it’s amazingly fast, surpassing every other service in my tests. Most importantly, it bypasses the Great Firewall of China without hitches. All our testers say that it’s reliable and rarely has periods of downtime.

Before continuing, you should know that NordVPN isn’t perfect. The service was once attacked by a hacker that procured information to create a fake server. Luckily, he was quickly caught, and no personal user data was stolen.

The untoward incident that affected NordVPN forever changed it. Since it happened, the VPN has strived to regain the trust of its customers. It did this by establishing its own protocol based on WireGuard and implementing a bug bounty program. Plans to upgrade to a full RAM disk network have also been announced.

NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and has support for all common protocols. It also boasts a hefty assortment of security features. These include a no-logs policy, malware blocker, kill switch, and Double VPN. Thus, you can be sure you’ll be safe by selecting the service.

Torrenting is easy with NordVPN, even if it doesn’t have a fully enabled P2P network. Like most of its rivals in the industry, it detects torrenting activity then automatically connects you to an optimized server. You’ll not have to go through the hassle of researching and picking out a suitable place for the job.

NordVPN’s speed and unblocking capabilities make it a perfect choice for movie buffs. With the service, you’ll be able to bypass any streaming website geoblock. After doing so, watching will be really pleasant since there’ll be no buffering and quality issues.

You use NordVPN on all major platforms. It has great apps that surely won’t disappoint. Besides that, a subscription isn’t that expensive. At $11.49 per month, you’re sure to be able to afford it. If any regrets come about after making your purchase, simply avail of a refund as there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in place.

4. VyprVPN

logo vyprvpn

Credit: VyprVPN.com

VyprVPN is another service that was recently established. For that reason, it has a small network consisting of less than 1000 servers. Despite its disadvantage, the service works in China and does so reliably. It also gets around streaming site geoblocks. Thus, you’ll never feel handicapped when using it.

As you might’ve expected, VyprVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and defaults to the OpenVPN protocol. The service supports other well-known protocols, including WireGuard along with Chameleon. Both of which have yet to be widely adopted.

The no-logging policy of VyprVPN was dodgy, to say the least. It once recorded the current VyprVPN address being used, source IP addresses, total number of bytes utilized, and connection start and stop times.

Fortunately, things have changed for the better. You no longer have to worry about having your private data tracked and stolen.

VyprVPN uses all of the latest security features, such as public wifi protection and an automatic kill switch. It has even got VyprVPN Cloud – a handy tool that makes accessing cloud storage much safer. With all that said, there’s still room for improvement as the VPN doesn’t offer its own malware blocker yet.

You might want to get another service for torrenting. Why? VyprVPN doesn’t encourage it on its servers. Nonetheless, it still allows for P2P activity across its entire network and maintains a no-logs policy. Hence, the service remains more than suitable for the job.

Users of all popular platforms except Chromebook OS and Linux may use VyprVPN. All of the service’s apps have wonderful interfaces that aren’t hard to get around. One downside is that users can only establish a maximum of five simultaneous connections. As a result, you might need more than one account to keep everyone at home protected.

VyprVPN is an ideal choice for budget-conscious individuals. The lowest price available is $2.50 a month. While there’s no free trial, you may still try the service without risks. Just buy the most affordable subscription, then ask for your money back in 30 days if you don’t wish to continue.

5. Astrill

logo astrill

Credit: Astrill.com

Taking the last place on this list is Astrill. It’s an obscure VPN that’s based in the Seychelles. Even if it was established in 2009, the service has yet to gain widespread popularity. That said, many experts claim that it’s underrated. After all, it works in China with decent consistency.

Astrill has a small server network. Despite that, it won’t leave you shorthanded when it comes to connectivity. That’s because the VPN has a global presence in 100+ cities spread across more than 50 countries.

What’s great about Astrill is that it has a wide range of encryption options, including AES, CAST, Blowfish, and Camellia. Besides that, it supports many protocols, including WireGuard. There are also many security features like a kill switch, no-logs policy, and DNS leak protection.

Something that’s not praiseworthy about Astrill is its speed capabilities. In my time using it, I’ve never had fast connection speeds. During some instances, the VPN put my internet into an unusable state. Because of that, I can’t recommend it for gaming or torrenting.

Astrill can dependably unblock streaming websites. My teammates have successfully been able to access Netflix USA and several other foreign libraries. Sadly, their viewing experiences were not great because of the VPN’s slow speed. Buffering and quality issues plagued every title they tried to watch.

Its apps are available on all major operating systems. All of them have interfaces that aren’t hard to utilize. Sad to say, they’re not aesthetically pleasing. Hence, they don’t provide a commendable user experience.

Astrill is one of the most expensive VPNs in today’s market. Its lowest price is $10 while its priciest is $20. As such, it is not worth recommending to those looking for the best deals out there. This is especially true when you consider that the service only allows for a max of 5 simultaneous connections.

Why Use A VPN In China?

Why Use A VPN In China

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VPNs are a necessity in China because of the Great Firewall. For those who don’t know, the Great Firewall is a censorship system put in place by the country’s government to prevent citizens from tapping into the global internet.

Most of the websites that you access daily are banned in China. The same goes for popular internet services like Spotify and Netflix. As such, it’s essential to have a VPN installed on your device before going to the country. Without one, you’ll only get to browse the restricted version of the internet there.

Not all VPNs work in China. Only the best services can do the job, and even fewer achieve it with consistency. Why? Because the authorities work tirelessly to uphold the censorships that they have established. They’ve invested billions of dollars on equipment and intelligence to ensure local internet users are kept in the dark.

To put it simply, VPNs let you hop across the Great Firewall by replacing your IP address and encrypting your data. By doing these things, it becomes hard for government monitors to see what you’re doing online as well as censor what you are browsing. 

Are VPNs Illegal In China?

Are VPNs Illegal In China

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Contrary to popular belief, VPNs are not illegal in China. The country doesn’t have any laws that stop private individuals from using them. 

On top of that, a list of government-approved services exists. These can be used by citizens for a variety of different reasons. However, they can’t be downloaded whenever you want. Moreover, they’re not at all trustworthy.

With all that said, VPN use is discouraged in China. It’s also very difficult to download a VPN there. This shouldn’t be surprising since the websites of most VPN clients are blocked. Besides that, they aren’t available in local Apple or Android app stores.

Some VPNs maintain Chinese web domains where you can download their apps. Still, your best bet is to get a VPN before going to the country. That way, you’ll not put yourself at risk of being labeled as a suspicious person by the authorities.

One last thing to note is that China’s Great Firewall doesn’t extend beyond its mainland borders. As such, it’s possible to access the global internet without a VPN from its other territories such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

How To Choose A VPN To Use In China

How To Choose A VPN To Use In China

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Choosing a VPN to use in China isn’t easy. There are countless VPNs that say they work in the country. In truth, only a handful of them do. Furthermore, even less are capable of functioning with the level of consistency that you’ll need.

You want to opt for a service different from the ones we’ve listed above. Make sure to put these things into consideration during your selection process. By doing so, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be getting the best VPN for China that your money could buy.

  • Reliability In China

As mentioned earlier, not all VPN services can bypass the Great Firewall. Even fewer can reliably get the job done. 

Due to that, it’s important to research and see whether you’ll be getting a dependable VPN. Failure to do so might just leave you disappointed as well as frustrated.

  • Security

Security is always an important thing to consider when selecting a VPN. Make sure to buy one that uses AES encryption as it’s the most secure. It’s also important to take support for protocols seriously. 

Moreover, always go with the service with features like a RAM-based server network, a kill switch, double VPN, malware blocker, and no-logging policy.

  • Network Size

VPNs with larger networks are generally better since they’re more established. In addition, they also provide you with more options when it comes to connectivity. Last of all, larger VPNs are more adept at maintaining your anonymity whenever you go online.

  • Speed

The rate at which VPNs slow down your internet greatly varies. Because of that, it’s essential to pick a service that’s known to be fast. When that’s not done, you’ll have a terrible browsing experience. It shall take forever for webpages to load and content to finish downloading.

  • Unblocking Capabilities

You must get a VPN that works around the geoblocks of all the streaming platforms that you use. It should also be capable of bypassing websites that are restricted even in your current location. That way, you’ll get to experience complete internet freedom.

  • Compatibility

All the top players in the VPN industry have wide compatibility. They work alongside every major operating system, web browser, gaming console, and router. Some even function on streaming devices as well as smart televisions. 

Needless to say, some services work on more devices than others. Hence, it’s a must to pick on that’ll meet all your needs as a user.

  • Easy-To-Use Apps

How you interact with your VPN is dictated solely by its apps. To have a good user experience, your service needs to have great apps. They should be light on memory, aesthetically pleasing, and a breeze to use. Furthermore, they’ve also got to be easy to download and install.

  • Customer Support

Believe me, troubleshooting a VPN in China is difficult. Because of that, you should choose one that has great customer service. Its representatives must be knowledgeable, cordial, and fast. Additionally, they should be available via many avenues like chat, email, and phone.

  • Budget

Nobody has an infinite budget to spend on VPNs. As such, you should make it a point to choose the VPN that provides the best value. 

Don’t skimp and pick the cheapest one as often, they’re not safe and capable. Remember that it’s always best to invest in digital security – something that must be taken very seriously.

Best VPN Protocol To Use In China

Best VPN Protocol To Use In China

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Picking the right VPN protocol to use in China can be hard for first-time VPN users. After all, the specifics of what it does isn’t widely known. To learn more about the subject, I suggest that you read our VPN Encryption & Protocol Guide.

With that said, many experts say that OpenVPN UDP is great for users in China. It’s proven to be fast, secure, and capable of bypassing internet censorship. Furthermore, almost every modern VPN natively supports it.

Alternatives that are also suitable for utilization in China include WireGuard, StealthVPN, and Lightway. Between the three, WireGuard is the only one that isn’t proprietary. Hence, only it is available on many services. Most of which work in China without hiccups.

How To Use A VPN In China

How To Use A VPN In China

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Using a VPN in China is beyond easy. Anyone with a basic knowledge of tech can do it without hassles. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising. VPN developers always work to make their products as user-friendly as possible, so all types of customers can use them.

Make sure to download and install your VPN’s app on your device before going to China. Once you’re in the country, login, select a server, then connect to it. You should then be ready to bypass the Great Firewall and freely access the internet.

It would be wise to configure your VPN settings to have a more optimized experience in China. Pick the right protocol for the job and activate Double VPN. If possible, create a list of your favorite servers. That way, finding then connecting to them won’t be difficult.

Summary

Before finishing this article, let’s quickly look back at the five services we discussed earlier. Each of which is great for use in China. Needless to say, all of them have their downsides. As such, it is important to know exactly what you’re looking for to avoid having regrets.

  1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is hands down the best VPN solution for China. It’s never failed our testers in the country. On top of that, the service is fast and incredibly safe. With it in use, you can rest assured that your security will not be compromised.

  1. Surfshark

The VPN that offers the most value on this list is Surfshark. Why? Because it provides top-notch security, is very fast, has amazing apps, and allows for unlimited simultaneous connections. In addition, it’s adept at getting you over the Great Firewall. Although it’s possible to experience downtime when using it, your needs will still surely be met.

  1. NordVPN

NordVPN has long been a favorite in China for good reason. It can bypass the country’s internet restrictions and keep its users anonymous. Moreover, the VPN service can unblock almost every streaming website. It also has all-encompassing compatibility and easy to use apps. Lastly, it’s reasonably priced, making it suitable for budget-oriented folks.

  1. VyprVPN

VyprVPN destroys the notion that a large server network is necessary to bypass the Chinese government’s censorship measures. With less than a thousand servers, it’s able to provide online freedom. The VPN is also adept at maintaining the anonymity and safety of its users.

  1. Astrill

Last but not least is Astrill. The established service is famed for being capable of working past the Great Firewall. It does the job with amazing consistency despite its relatively small server network. Besides that, it has a great track record in regards to safeguarding its users.

VPNWhy Is It Good for Use In China?PricesLink
logo expressvpnTopnotch security,
Fast speeds,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Easy-to-use apps,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$9.99/Month (6 Months)
$6.67/Month (15 Months)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo surfsharkEasy-to-use apps,
Fast speeds,
Excellent security,
Unlimited simultaneous connections,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$6.49/month (6 Months)
$2.49/Month (2-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo nordvpnGreat unlocking capabilities,
Decent apps,
Blazingly fast speeds,
Works in China
$11.99/Month
$6.99/month (1-Year)
$4.99/Month (2-Years)
$3.49/Month (3-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo vyprvpnGreat security,
Awesome prices,
Simple Mac app,
Fully enabled P2P network,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$3.75/Month (1-Year)
$2.50/Month (2-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo astrillExcellent security,
Wide compatibility,
Works in China
$20/Month
$15/Month (6-Months)
$10/Month (1-Year)
Click for BEST Price

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.

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