7 Best VPN Services in China (not free)
Update October 2018
Accessing the Internet in China can be frustrating as you will be isolated from many internet essentials such as google, Facebook, twitter. We all know that VPN can help you bypass Internet censorship but not all VPN work well in China. The Great Firewall by Chinese government is being constantly updated and Many VPN that once offered services in the past may stop working today. I live in Beijing, China for 12 years and keep updating this article each month to make sure you get first-hand information on which one works and which one doesn’t. Now it is October 14th, 2018 and…I’m still writing this on a VPN from within China.
Who is this VPN guide for?
- Those who are going to China or already in China and want to access Google, Facebook, Youtube and lots of other blocked websites and apps.
- Many VPNs do not work well in China and some are with bad speed.
- As an insider and a professional VPN user in China, I always keep looking for the best VPN in China
- I’ve tested a dozen of VPN services in the past 8 years and I’d like to share my user experiences in this post.
One of the big problems with being in China is that the Internet is strictly controlled. Many social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are all blocked in mainland China. If you are going to travel, work or live in China and want to escape the Great Firewall of China, you may want to know which VPN (Virtual private network) works best in china.
There is news going that China’s VPN ban came into effect on March 31, 2018, but at present all VPNs in this post still work well.
You might have been tried some free VPN services, however most of them may don’t work very well in China. China strengthened Internet censorship greatly in 2017 and this trend will continue in 2018. In order to have a smooth user experience and save your valuable time, it is worth to spend a buck on it. I live in Beijing and have personally tested more than 20 VPN services in the past 8 years. Here I will share my experience and reviews of the best VPN services in CHINA. Check our comparison chart and find the one that suits you the best. Please note that some VPNs’ official websites have been blocked in China, so you need to download it before coming to China.
Read on for individual in-depth China VPN reviews for year 2018 as follows:
Top 7 Best VPN in China
The reviews below are based on my own experience in Beijing. I personally use each of the VPN and I confidently recommend to our visitors.
ExpressVPN is the one of the few VPN services which work well in China. In the past several years many of the big VPN providers have been experiencing connection issues, but ExpressVPN still works well and keeps providing a solid and reliable VPN service.
ExpressVPN really provides great speed for users in China and guarantees a pleasant user experience. According to my test, its Los Angeles and Hong Kong and Taiwan servers specifically optimized for China users and offer the best speed, you can try different servers and find the best speed in your region of China. I personally like to use Hong Kong server, as it allows you to access blocked sites as well as Chinese sites with great speed.
Besides, ExpressVPN always keeps updating its software and app frequently , this is a testament that it has strong tech support which can provide better user experience and more importantly, to bypass the censorship of China.
One of the features that I like most is its “Automatic reconnect” function. If your connection drops unexpectedly, the VPN app will automatically reconnect your computer or mobile devices. It really saves you lots of time. Check its pros and cons below:
• Fast China-optimized servers
• 2000+ servers in 94 countries worldwide
• Unlimited bandwidth and server switches
• 30-day money back guarantee
• Easy to set up on Windows, Android, iOS, Routers and Linux devices
• Connect up to 3 devices
• Zero logging of your network traffic
• Accept payment via Credit Card, Alipay, Unionpay, PayPal, Bitcoins and others.
• Works well with Netflix
• Site not blocked in China
• 24/7 customer support by live chat or email
• Not on the cheap side of VPN for China.
Besides, its advanced tech will hide your IP address from hackers and spies. The most important thing is that it offers unlimited bandwidth and a commendable 30-day money-back guarantee! Its desktop and mobile apps are the fastest we’ve been tested in China. It offers reliable connection with plenty of server choices. ExpressVPN is currently running a 49% off deal. Billed 99.95 for one year package you will enjoy 12 Months + 3 Months FREE, which is $6.67/month. Make sure you get it before it’s gone!
2. Pure VPN
Cheapest VPN for China
PureVPN is the cheapest VPN for China. Purevpn always provides low prices with quality services to VPN users in China.
PureVPN is easy to set up, it provides step-by-step tutorials on their website to help you set up its VPN app on Windows, Pad or cell phone devices. It now has more 1 million users worldwide, this proves its popularity, dependability, the level of trust that people have on it.
PureVPN owns 750+ VPN servers in 140+ Countries such as USA, Canada, Malaysia. Users can choose different servers and find the one with the fastest speed in China.
PureVPN encrypts users’ all online activities and provides ultra-secure tunnel with very strong AES 256-bit encryption. So it is pretty safe when you use PureVPN.
According to New York Times recently China further tightens grip on the Internet and a number of VPN companies’ services were disrupted by Chinese government, but PureVPN still works quite well. An excellent advantage of Pure VPN is that it allows users to use the account on 5 devices at the same time. So you just buy one and five people can enjoy it at the same time. That’s great！
You can check the screen-shot below when I am watching YouTube videos with PureVPN. You can see that the speed is up to 5 mbps, that’s a very fast. The servers from Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan have the fastest speeds in Beijing. As for customers support it offers 24 hours Live Chat, Email and Phone supports. When you have problem they will always be ready to help you fix it.
• Fast speed in China
• Unlimited data transfer and server switches
• P2P is allowed
• 750+ servers located in 140+ countries
• 15-day no-hassle money back guarantee
• 5 multi logins with one single account
• Work well on laptop, desktop tablet, mobile phone and router
• Offer apps for platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and Android TV
• 256-bit encryption
• Accept payment via Credit Card, PayPal, Alipay and Bitcoins.
• 24 x 7 x 365 Live Chat Support
• No free trial
• Keeps log files
PureVPN provides fast and reliable VPN service and it is one of the best options for those who are traveling to or living in China. It provides an excellent user experience with lowest price. I highly recommend its one year package and with just a few bucks you will enjoy their fantastic service for 365 days. PureVPN now gives you 68% off deal for a 2 years account right now! You will enjoy their VPN service with just $3.54/month. Get this special before it’s gone! You can cancel anytime within 7 days money back refund period.
Good apps + Chameleon Protocol
VyprVPN is one of the the most secure VPN services. VyprVPN can help those in China access sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Google. I have tested their service in Beijing. It has fast speed and very reliable.
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Different with other VPN providers, VyprVPN owns its exclusive hardware in more than 70 worldwide locations, which guarantees a fast and reliable connection. Its Hong Kong or US Los Angeles servers can provide best speed in China.
Vypr VPN uses advanced Chameleon™ technology and OpenVPN 256-bit protocol prevent VPN blocking and throttling. China is its major market, the company keeps updating its technology to keep its service on in China. In the past years it could always bypass blocks to users in China more consistently than other VPN services.
VyprVPN offers easy-to-use apps for computer and mobile apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. Users can easily auto connect to blocked sites without manual setup. With its apps users can change servers easily with just a click. As for payment methods, besides PayPal and credit cards, VyprVPN started to accept AliPay as their new payment method, this will be much more easier for users in China.
• Unlimited bandwidth and server switching
• Easy to use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, TV and router.
• 700+ servers in 70+ locations worldwide.
• Chameleon security protocol
• 3 simultaneous connections
• 3-day FREE trial
• Accept AliPay now
• 30 day money back guarantee
• 24x 7 x 365 customer support
• Price is slightly above the average.
• Keeps log files
VyprVPN also offers 3 day free trial which allows users to see what they will get before making payment. Why not create an account and use its 3 day free trial service, you will know it is really worth the value of your money.
4. Buffered VPN
Best VPN for streaming services
Buffered VPN is a new VPN provider based in Hungary and one of the fastest growing VPN companies on the market. Buffered VPN is dedicated to privacy, they keep no logs and that’s why I like it.
Buffered VPN has servers in more than 40 countries and with four of them – South Korea, Japan, India and Singapore – next to China. As for the speed, it looks very good when I tested its computer app in Beijing. You can check the screenshot below to see the speed when I was watching YouTube video with India server.
Buffered supports up to 5 users per single account, that’s really amazing for a family or group of housemates. Since many VPN provider only support one computer connection! Besides, Buffered VPN works well with the major streaming video sites like Netflix, HULU, HBO, BBC iPlayer, etc. This is a function that many other VPN providers do not have.
Buffered is available on all major operating systems such as Windows, Apple, Linux, and Android. They also provide 24/7 live chat support, so you can speak to their staff and get your problem fixed ASAP.
• Fast speed
• Unlimited bandwidth and server changes
• Netflix, HULU, HBO work well in China with Buffered
• 5 simultaneous connections
• No log files kept
• P2P is allowed
• 30 day full money refund guarantee
• 24/7 customer support
• A little pricey
All in all, With fast speed, security and its multiple 5 simultaneous connections, plus its 30-day hassle-free money-back guarantee policy, all these make me highly recommend it to those who are going to travel to China or live in China. You will save 36% for yearly plan.
Hidemyass is a reliable VPN service for those in Mainland China. It is a big company which provides more than 900 servers located in 190+ countries around the world. One feature of HideMyAss’s software is itself can automatically change IP address to obtain the fastest speed. It works well not only in PCs but also smart phones.
• Easy to set up and use
• Fast connection speed
• Unlimited servers switch
• Servers in 190+ countries
• No bandwidth limit
• Available on iPhone, Mac, Windows & Android
• 30 day money back guarantee
• 2 devices login at a time
• No free trial
• Keep log files, store username and email address
HMS has a very large number of VPN servers. It even has servers located in Beijing, China. So you can watch Chinese online streaming videos, dramas and movies freely and smoothly. According to my test HMS is worth using and a very good service for people who travel or live in China. You can save 56% by clicking the button below.
6. Ip Vanish
Ip Vanish is another good choice. They’ve got a huge number of server locations and IP addresses in the world. Their VPN speed is fast and users can surf anonymously and access blocked websites in China. Its advanced technology even allows users to watch Netflix, Hulu in China with an anonymous IP address. The price is not the lowest but I think it is worth the money. The one year package is $77.99 with only $6.49 per month.
• Fast and stable speed
• Easy to set up apps
• No logging of internet activity
• 400+ servers in 60+ countries
• Available on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
• Unlimited bandwidth
• 256-bit AES encryption
• Unlimited P2P traffic
• 7 Days Money Back Guarantee
• No free trial
• Connected with only 2 devices at a time
Overall, IPVanish ranks high on among best VPN service providers for China. Its service is above average and very reliable. If you care about online security, you can consider signing up with IPVanish. You can get discount 43% off by clicking the button below.
7. 12 VPN
12vpn.com is another VPN that you should consider to use. They have a very simple site interface which is easy for common users to master. An ordinary netizens can figure out how to set up and use it in about ten minutes without actually understanding anything about VPN technology.
According to Bloomberg, Chinese authorities will shut down or ban any providers of unauthorized VPN services and apps from March 31, 2018. The government says people in China must use government-licensed VPN, but many people worries about the privacy and security. Some VPNs have been affected. The ExpressVPN and VyprVPN that we recommend in the list still works well and they will keep working hard to fight against the Great Fire Wall.
Reddit was banned in China on Aug 10, 2018.
BBC was completely blocked in China recently after altering its addresses from beginning “HTTP” to “HTTPS”, which is a more secure connection, according to the news from BBC published on Aug 7, 2018. And BBC now suggests use a VPN in China to access its services.
Blocked sites and apps in China
Google services such as Gmail, Search, Youtube, Drive, Play Store, etc(Google Translate works in China)
WhatsApp (Blocked in Septmeber, 2017)
HBO (June, 2018)
BBC (Blocked in July,2018)
Reddit ( August 11, 2018)
Quora (August, 2018)
FAQ About Using VPN in China
What is VPN?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network, which enable users to get connected with a dedicated private network, just like accessing a WiFi Hotspot. People use VPN either for online security, personal privacy or get around geo content blocking.
Why You Need VPN in China?
China is a special land where many popular international websites or services are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. These blocked websites include Google, YouTube, Facebook Twitter, Google+, Google Translate, etc. It will be extremely inconvenient when you travel or live in China without these services. With a VPN service, you can easily bypass Internet censorship and get access to these websites and services in China. Please be noted here CHINA means Mainland China. You do not need to use VPN in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, where Internet is completely free to use.
How to Bypass the Great Firewall of China?
The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is a censorship project operated by Chinese government,which aims at blocking potentially unfavorable incoming data from countries outside of China since mid-1990s. When people use the Internet in China, the traffic will be censored by the GFW. You can get around the censorship in several ways such as by using a proxy or a VPN service.
How to Access Facebook in China?
It is easy to unblock FaceBook in China. You need to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN.
Facebook is blocked in China, and when you try to visit Facebook in Mainland China it shows “This webpage is not available”. That’s because the website (such as Twitter, Google. Youtube) has been blocked China’s government. If you want to use Facebook in China, the best way is to connect to a VPN server, which can connect you with Facebook. VPN can help you browse the internet with privacy and without restrictions (more about VPNs).
Compared free VPN (with limited function, bandwidth and not safe), a paid VPN service is much more stable, fast and safe. You are advised to download and install VPN on your computer or mobile device before you come to China, that’s because many official websites of the VPN providers have been blocked in China.
How to Get a VPN China?
If you are traveling to China, you’d better sign up a VPN and install it on your computer. Please note that Google Pay is also blocked in China, so it is impossible to download VPN software within territory of China. So make sure you have both computer and mobile APP ready before going to China. If you are already in China, you can still sign up some VPN services. However, not all VPN services’ websites work well in China, a lot of famous VPN providers’ official sites are blocked in China. You can check our above reviews of the best VPN services that work well in China and choose the best one that suits you.
What’s the price of a Chinese VPN service?
Although you will find some free VPNs on the web, they are extremely questionable and possibly harmful and unsafe. You are in the risk of being spied and having your personal info being stolen. I strongly recommend a paid VPN service.
A paid-for VPN service is usually around $4-$15/month. Many companies provide a good discount for yearly packages, normally $50-100/ year, which is quite affordable. Moreover, you can share the cost with your friends as most VPN services allow several people (usually up to 5) to use on one account.
Even when you decide to leave China, your VPN is still useful. It can keep your personal info secure and safe when using public wifi networks at public places such as hotels, cafe and airports.. You can also use VPN to watch some streaming contents that are only accessible for certain locations. Besides, a VPN can also allows you to download internet stuff anonymously.
How to Use VPN in China?
After successfully getting a VPN service account, you will get an instruction from the VPN provider, it will show you how to download and use the VPN software. Most VPN services can be used on devices on both computers or smart phones and support systems of Windows, Mac, iOS and Android etc. You can easily get connected or disconnected by turning on or off the software.
Free VPN or Paid VPN ?
If you just use VPN occasionally, a free VPN might be OK. But if you want to use VPN daily in China, free VPNs are not good option as they are usually very unstable and the speed is very slow due to the bandwidth limit. Besides that, you may come across security risks by using a free VPN as Free VPN operators might earn money by selling user logs and IP addresses to third parties. So I recommend to use fast and safe well-known paid VPN services.
Is illegal to use VPN in China?
The answer is NO. At present there is not any law in opposition to using VPNs in China. The Chinese government know that international companies and many Chinese companies need to use VPN services to do businesses, so they turn a blind eye to it. It will be fine as long as you you keep away from political activities. The focus of their policy is on censorship, rather than punishment.
Since July, 2017, some major VPN apps have been removed from Apple store, so you had better use an Android or Windows phone when traveling to China.
Will China block VPNs from 2018?
According to theguardian.com, China will completely block VPNs from 2018. The authority has ordered China’s three telecommunications providers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – to block access to VPNs, by February 2018. However, academics, software developers and foreign businesses still need VPNs to communicate with the outside world, the government need to take their needs in to account. It is probably that you will endure some service outages or change providers, but VPN providers will keep improving their technology to make sure VPN users inside China will still be able to bypass the Great Firewall.
How Do I Test VPNs in China?
I live in Beijing and often use VPN to access Facebook and Google. In the past several years, I have tested about 15 VPNs from China. I signed up for each VPN and test it on my computer and smart phone. Finally I got a list of the best VPN services that work well in China. The above VPN ranking list always keep updating, and will be updated whenever some new VPN provider or some new features are found.
How to decide a VPN is Good in China?
I use the following criteria to decide if a VPN is good or bad in China:
- 1. Company reputation, a reputable company is more trustworthy.
- 2. Connection speed, a good speed can make you enjoy the internet freely with less hassle.
- 3. Stability, a good VPN service should be stable, a bad one has many annoying drops.
- 4. Whether its official website is blocked in China.
- 5. If the VPN provider offers free trail or has a Money Guarantee Back policy.
- 6. Customer support is also important, select VPN providers with 24 hours live chat support. When you have a problem you can get quickly fix it up.
What are the best VPN to use in China.
Please check our above reviews of the best VPN in China. You will find the fast and best VPN that make your trip or life easier in China.
What to consider before purchasing a VPN service for China?
Here are several really important aspects to think about when selecting a VPN for your stay or travels in China:
A good connection speed is the No. 1 factor that you should consider. If just for daily use like browsing the website and access Facebook, you can choose a VPN with normal speed but with cheaper price. If you need to watch streaming videos, build websites and the like, you need to get the fastest VPN in China that you can afford.
Bandwidth means the data amount that you are permitted to download and upload from the server every month. If you share an account with others, you will also share the bandwidth. I highly recommend a VPN that provides unlimited bandwidth.
3. Simultaneous Users
Most VPN providers allows for multiple users with only one account. But be aware that some only allow for one computer user. Choose the VPN that allows for more users (usually up to 5) and no limit on device types (computer, phone, and tablet). Then you can share a single VPN with your friends and save your bucks.
Stability is another very important factor that you should consider. It is really annoying to re-connect to different servers from time to time. Choose a VPN that can keep good connection and have less drops can ensure you a pleasant time on the web.
5. Ease use
Different VPNs have its own software to to connect your devices. It will be very confusing for people to install and set up a poor design VPN softare. Ensure that you select a VPN that can be easily set up on all your devices.
6. Customer Support
This is also very important. There is no perfect service on the planet. If you have troubles when using your VPN, a good support service can help you fix the problem immediately. A lot of VPN providers support live chat, phone and email service. Make sure that your VPN provider is available while you are unable to use VPN in China, this is very important.
7. Server location
Almost all VPNs have servers across the world. A server closer to your country will give you better speed. Choose the VPN services that offer servers in neighboring countries and regions such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Macau, Singapore or the United States and Canada, then you can get better speed.
8. The state of the company
Do not use VPN service from a Chinese company, as it may be shut down by the Chinese government one day. Choosing a VPN provider that is outside Mainland China (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan is outside of Mainland China), such as the U.S., is a must to avoid the this situation.
9. Device Compatibility
Does your VPN works with Windows, iOS, Android and Linux? You should make sure that you can connect all of your devices before purchasing. Some VPN providers offer free trials and this is an excellent way to check if all your devices can work properly with the VPN before buying it.
You should select a VPN that has a protocol no less than 128-bit encryption, which is usually good enough to protect your safety and privacy. Higher encryption is good, but will lead to slower speed.
The prices vary for different VPN services. You should balance the speed, stability and the price. It is usually true that you get what you paid for. It will be much better if the VPN company provides free trial or at least money-back policy, then you can test its speed and reliability at no cost. Do not just want to save money and use the cheapest or free VPN, because that put you in risk of leaking your emails, sites or banking information.
A VPN is really a great tool which allows you to unblock censored Internet when you live or travel in China. Ensure that you purchase your VPN, set up and test it before arriving in China. Lots of VPN providers’ official sites have been blocked in the country. You should also save the support email to make sure that you can contact the VPN provider even without using VPN.
For those who have any kind of VPN advice or suggestions, you are welcomed to leave a comment below.
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission when you buy through those links. I personally use all of the services listed above and recommend them because they are helpful and trustworthy.