Which VPNs Work Best in China in 2019
The 5 best VPNs for China (that will still work in 2021)
You will need a VPN to access blocked websites and apps within China, but many VPNs don't work in China. We rented a server in Shenzhen and tested 59 providers to find the best VPN for China.
During my stay in China, I relied on a VPN service to access western websites, apps, and social media.
It quickly became apparent that most VPNs don't work in China, and some are frustratingly slow.
China's advanced online censorship system known as the Great Firewall has turned the country into a hotspot for VPN users. Chinese people living abroad as well as native Chinese use VPN services to bypass blocked websites and mobile apps like Facebook, Gmail, Google, YouTube, Tinder, WhatsApp, western news outlets, Netflix and even Comparitech. So which VPN should you choose and which ones still work in China?
It's not easy to test VPNs in China, and many of the lists of the best VPNs for China on the internet are unlikely to be based on real testing. To see which VPNs are still circumventing internet censorship in China, we rented a server in Shenzhen and threw 59 different VPNs against China's Great Firewall.
Table of Contents
The best VPNs for China
NordVPN recently announced that it is now also operating out of China, which is good news especially for Beijingers and Shanghai residents who want lots of simultaneous connections for a low price. NordVPN offers the best price, with six simultaneous connections in one cheap subscription. It can also unblock streaming sites like Netflix US and Hulu that block most other VPN connections. Torrenting is tolerated and servers are available in over 60 countries.
NordPVN keeps no logs of user activity, gives users unlimited bandwidth, and uses military-grade encryption standards. Some servers specialize in speed and security optimization, such as anti-DDoS, ultra-fast streaming, dual VPN and Tor over VPN. An automatic kill switch and integrated ad blocking are included in all apps.
All desktop applications - Windows, MacOS, and Linux - work in China. Apps for iOS and Android mobile devices should also work. However, should you run into problems, NordVPN offers manual installation assistance for both desktop and mobile devices.
Surfshark is now also working in China as of 2019, which is good news for people who want to watch their favorite shows from western streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Surfshark excels at unblocking things, and almost all of their servers unblock Netflix, although most of them direct you to the American version. Plus, you get unlimited devices with one subscription, making it a great option to share with a family or group of roommates.
Surfshark does not keep logs, uses military-grade encryption, and includes an automatic kill switch. P2P file sharing is allowed, the bandwidth is unlimited, and the speeds are fast enough to make downloading and streaming a breeze. It has a built-in ad blocker.
Apps are available for desktop and mobile devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
ExpressVPN is perhaps the most popular VPN service in China. It's not the cheapest VPN on this list, but it remains popular with users in China for good reason. It has a huge selection of VPN server locations, the fastest servers, allows five simultaneous device connections, offers 24/7 live chat support, and claims 99.9% uptime. Security is second to none, with an automatic kill switch and industry leading encryption.
The ExpressVPN app works on all popular desktop and mobile devices and is very easy to use. This includes Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux (command line), Fire TV, and compatible routers. Almost all apps offer split tunneling so you can connect certain apps to the VPN and let others connect directly.
Torrenting is allowed on all VPN servers, and Express usually has a handful of servers that work with Netflix. If you are only visiting China for a short period of time, consider the 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is one of the few Tier 1 VPN networks that supports users in China, which means it owns most of its own VPN servers and data centers. That means fast, constant speeds and excellent uptime. The Pro version contains a proprietary Chameleon protocol that masks VPN traffic to make it less sensitive to the Great Firewall's deep packet inspection technology. It's on the more expensive side, but residents of China will be happy to see the company accepts payments from Alipay, a popular payment gateway in the country similar to PayPal.
Golden Frog's VyprVPN offers a variety of locations, each with multiple servers. Live chat support is available. Our only gripe is VyprVPN's not-so-private logging policies, so frequent torrenting users and Popcorn Time VPN users might want to look elsewhere.
5. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield enables users in China to visit blocked websites, social media, apps, services, news and videos. It offers great speed and the ability to unblock Netflix as well as a handful of other regionally blocked sites.
Although the company has struggled with online privacy in the past, it has changed its policy not to keep any identifying logs. Hotspot Shield's server network is commendable with 3200 servers in more than 70 countries.
Only the Windows app has an automatic kill switch. It uses a proprietary protocol called Catapult Hydra that we know little about. Live chat support is available 24/7.
There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android, as well as a browser extension for Google Chrome. Up to five simultaneous device connections and an unlimited number of servo switches are permitted.
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