What are the best VPNs to use in China (2021)

Are you planning to visit China anytime soon? If you are, then getting a VPN membership that gives quality service within the Chinese borders would be highly advised. 

We’re sure many of you are well aware of the heavy censorship protocols followed in China. Going there without a VPN will block access to almost all your favorite websites and applications like YouTube and Facebook, to name a few. It is also a well-known fact that the Chinese government monitors almost all people’s data, using the internet within its boundaries. That can compromise any sensitive data that you might want to access on your stay there. 

That is why before you step into the People’s Republic of China, make sure to equip your devices with a reliable VPN service provider to avoid interruptions in your browsing experience from the great firewall. 

To help you choose the best VPN that works in China, we have brought you a list of the top 4 VPN providers that actually work in China. 

Before we hop onto the list, let us understand the Chinese censorship system called the great firewall. 

What is the great firewall?

The great firewall is a censorship regulation enforced by the Chinese government to limit the public’s access to foreign information to develop the economy by encouraging domestic companies and reduce the influence of foreign companies. It was originally called the Golden Shield Project and has played a significant role in internet censorship by blocking access to foreign websites and applications like Google search, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. 

They employ many techniques such as IP blocking, DNS tampering, keyword filtering and others to control the traffic coming and going out of China. And they have also blocked many VPN services that have provided the public a gateway to the outside world. Many VPN services have limited services as they work in one province but are blocked in others. Therefore, it is advised to get two VPN subscriptions. 

However, many VPN providers have proved extremely competent that even the great firewall could not compete with them. If you want to know about these high-quality VPN providers, make sure to continue reading about the top VPN providers in China. 

Is using VPN illegal in China?

The Chinese government has been after VPN providers for a very long time and has managed to block many of them. However, these VPN providers have managed to work the smart way and changed their IP addresses every time they are blocked, thereby resuming their services. 

So, it is safe to say that using VPNs is not illegal in China. While their government is frequently blocking many VPN providers, they have no intentions of completely suspending VPN services as of yet. 

Free VPN for China 

You will find many VPN service providers that will offer you free services but are they reliable?

The answer is a flat no. 

Most of these VPN providers will fill your devices with viruses and spyware, hampering your device’s functioning. Also, because these VPNs are free of cost, you are bound to see numerous ads disrupting your work in between because ads are the only source for these providers to make money. They are ineffective and offer very low-quality security to the users. 

Therefore, one must always go for a paid VPN provider as they will never compromise your privacy and provide you seamless user experience. 

Top VPN providers in China 

PureVPN

PureVPN is one of the leading VPN service providers around the world that offer servers in China.  Worldwide they have a network of more than 2000 servers located in 140 locations with more than 300 thousand IP addresses. 

In China, their servers are located in Shanghai and Beijing with IP addresses to surpass the scrutiny of the great firewall. They are zero log certified service, which means that they do not keep any record of user activity and do not collect any data that would compromise your privacy. 

Their subscriptions begin at $2.88 a month for 2 years, and for any queries, you can contact their team via email, live chat support, all of which are available round the clock. 

You can use this VPN on 5 devices simultaneously regardless of the scale of activities you do at the same time. With PureVPN, you can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most of the restricted websites in China. 

PureVPN protects your data using AES 256-Bit encryption keeping your identity hidden from the constant monitoring Chinese government. 

For accessing additional services like port forwarding and DNS Leak protection, you can pay an additional amount of $0.99 every month. All of these services come with a 31-day refund policy, so if you are unsatisfied with their services, you can easily deactivate your subscription.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has emerged as one of the most reliable VPNs to use in China. With its highly secure and robust servers, you can access outside content within China very easily. 

With more than 3000 servers across 148 locations, ExpressVPN indeed provides you high-speed connectivity even in China. Express VPN maintains a strict no-logs policy, so you can rest assure about doing your activities without the worry of your data being compromised.  

This VPN service begins for $6.67 a month, which is slightly on the higher side, but you won’t complain about the price when you use their services. If at any time you get unhappy with the services and wish to discontinue, you can request a refund under their 30-day refund policy. And if you cross that 30-day limit, you can cancel your subscription before the beginning of the next billing cycle. 

This VPN also comes with AES 256-bit standard encryption, which makes sure to protect your data and offer you advanced protection from the prying eyes of the Chinese monitoring agencies. In addition to its high-quality features, ExpressVPN also offers you DNS protection that will help to mask your location.  

You can use Express VPN on 5 devices at the same time with a single account, and if you have any queries, you can contact the support team via a 24/7 live chat system or email.

Surfshark

Next on our list is Surfshark, one of the most inexpensive and most uncomplicated VPN services in China. Their subscription plans begin for $1.99 a month along with a 30-day refund policy. Also, it allows multiple users to access a single account, so it is safe to say that surf shark VPN is one of the best deals for you and your family.  

They have over 1000 servers spread across 61 countries, which provide you fast speed internet connectivity. For China, their servers are located in nearby regions of Vietnam and Hong Kong to provide you the best possible user experience at this price point. 

It comes with the standard AES 256-bit encryption along with DNS protection and an internet kill switch. They also maintain a Zero logs policy to ensure that none of your data is stored. 

Surfshark provides many unique features to its users, like the NoBorders mode, which is very beneficial for people visiting China. It will help them access the internet without being bothered by the great firewall. The Camouflage Mode helps the user access streaming services like Netflix and Hulu by masking the fact that they are operating the internet with a VPN. Another fantastic feature is the MultiHop feature that changes the user’s server location at unplanned intervals, making it harder for anyone to track the user activity. 

Therefore, if you want a VPN service for short term use but with the highest qualities, then make sure to check it out. 

AstrillVPN

AstrillVPN is one of the most secure VPN providers that offer you some of the best features to ensure your confidentiality and safety. They have over 300 servers in 62 countries around the world. 

Their services are being used by a very limited audience who strives for fast servers and Premium quality encryption. Not to mention, AstrillVPN maintains a complete no-log policy for your security. 

They offer very high-quality features like the smart mode, which allows you to manage your connection on different websites according to your needs. 

Their application feature lets you filter out the application that does not require a VPN to reduce the server’s load when doing extensive activities. 

You can also access the dark web using this VPN without installing search engines like tor. Other features include:

  • An internet kill switch that stops your connection if your VPN disconnects for any reason, 
  • Port forwarding and 
  • A MultiHop system that randomly changes your server locations to prevent tracking, all of which contribute to increased safety without hindering the speed of your connection. 
  • You can also share your VPN connection with other devices using their VPN sharing feature. 

Their membership starts at $10 per month, which is higher than the other counterparts and comes with a 10-day refund policy. AstrillVPN offers a VIP plan for advanced users under which you can avail of 100GB of VIP traffic. 

In case of any questions, you can ping their support system at any given time, and they’ll be ready to help you. 

How much will a VPN for China cost?

All the VPN providers offer different subscription plans to cater to your needs. These plans range from one month 2 to two years or five years. 

You should choose a VPN subscription plan according to your requirement. If you are going to visit China for a short trip, then you should buy a plan for one month, which would be suitable for you. 

If your priority is the budget, you can go for VPN providers that are quite affordable, like pure VPN or surfer shark, which will provide you with a secure connection at the price of $2.88 per month and $1.99 per month, respectively. 

However, if your aim is advanced security to protect your sensitive data, you can go for Express VPN or AstrillVPN. They might be a bit pricey, but it can be justified by the quality of services they provide to their customers.  

Setting up a VPN in China

You should keep in mind that after visiting China, it would become difficult for you to access the customer service or to install a new VPN software on your device.

Hence, it is highly advised that you install the suitable VPN software on your device beforehand to avoid any last-minute hassles. As you know, the internet is very strictly monitored by the Chinese government; therefore, installing the VPN software after going to China would be impossible.

Also, you should install the VPN software two to three weeks before your departure so that you can check out all its features and, in case of any problems, get them resolved with the help of customer service. 

 Being prepared for any situation is always necessary; that is why we recommend that you subscribe to two VPN providers so that you can access the other if one doesn’t work. 

Softwares and applications that are blocked in China

China is known for its strict censorship over the media and internet to prevent and suppress the spread of information. The great firewall of China has blocked over 10,000 websites, making it very difficult for any person visiting from a foreign country to carry out their regular work. 

So, it becomes necessary to use a VPN to access all the major websites and applications otherwise blocked by The Chinese government.  

The list of all the websites that are blocked by the great firewall is quite long, but we would like to list some of them here:

  • Social media sites and applications:  YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify etc. 
  • Productivity applications like One Drive Android box. 
  • Google and its various services like Gmail. 
  • News websites like CNN, New York Times, BBC etc. 

These were a few applications and websites that have been blocked by China, and the list keeps on growing day by day. Therefore, one should always rely on a VPN if they want to access these sites after going to China. 

Getting a Chinese IP address

You might need a Chinese IP address if you want to access Chinese content if you stay outside the Chinese border. You can do this by connecting to a Chinese server using a VPN. However, not all VPN providers have servers that are located in China.

If you want to view content from Chinese streaming services like CNTX or Youku, then you should go for PureVPN that has servers located in China in regions of Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. You can select any of these Chinese servers, and you’ll be good to go. 

Conclusion 

You should always have a VPN installed on your device if you visit a country like China. Due to their restricted access to the internet, it becomes challenging for a person to stay updated regularly with the world outside. 

Not many VPN providers work in China, and those that offer free services are just trying to make money through advertisements. 

The above mentioned were some of the best VPN providers that work efficiently in China. Make sure to test them out before you leave for China to have a seamless and hassle-free experience.

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