It’s no wonder that VPNs are so popular in China – while the ‘Great Firewall of China’ is starting to look less imposing than it once was, there’s still massive blocking in place for residents of (and visitors to) China.
Yep, the the aggressive state blocking of certain websites by the China government has eased somewhat in recent months. But if you’ve had to travel to the country in the last few years – either for work or leisure – you’ll be well aware of how tight the state continues to keeps its internet. That’s why getting the best VPN has become invaluable for residents and visitors to obtain access to restricted online content.
The use of a Virtual Private Network has become a more and more commonly used method for expats and those in academic circles in China to get around the state’s very strict policies regarding online content. So if you’re looking to access a restricted website then downloading a VPN in China is a solid solution.
Of course the country isn’t happy about the use of VPN software, enacting a ban last year – although it remains unclear how (or indeed, whether) users will be punished for using an ‘unauthorized’ software. But many VPN providers are continuing to sell to people within China and we’ve picked out five top-notch efforts for your use.
- Read Chinese Version: 2020 中国好用的翻墙 VPN 推荐
Best all-round VPN for China 2020
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 5
- Works in China from any device
- Wide range of China-optimized servers
- An overall superb service
- A bit more expensive than rivals
The best China VPN 2020 – Get 3 months free with an annual plan
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs in China, and it’s a go-to provider for many because it deftly navigates around the Great Firewall. Express’ wide array of server locations is a big plus, with Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan-based servers being especially relevant in this case.
ExpressVPN offers consistent and reliable performance, with smart dedicated apps for most devices including routers. For any trouble that might occur, there’s round-the-clock live chat and email support available from China (the website is not blocked).
This provider actively monitors its network for China accessibility and ensures that its software stays ahead of the censors’ efforts to block connections. Under the hood, ExpressVPN uses obfuscation protocols and advanced technology to provide the best possible experience for users in China.
Get the best China VPN 2020: 49% off and 3 months FREE
You probably get the idea by now…if you need a VPN for your time in China, then ExpressVPN is the best option. It gets even more attractive when you consider that 30-day money-back guarantee and the fact that VPNBay.com readers can get 3 months free and 49% off when you sign up for a great value one year subscription.
Dedicated to bypassing the Great Firewall
Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
- Great choice of server locations
- Good performance
- Monthly billing is expensive
NordVPN has dedicated an entire team to the pursuit of getting around website blocking in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and, yes, China. It actively monitors connectivity and then works to carry out any necessary actions to bypass any new blocks.
It’s that kind of commitment to bypassing the Great Firewall that makes Nord such an attractive option. It has obfuscated servers in nearby territories such as Japan and Hong Kong, with its Double VPN feature for further anonymity still available in Taiwan. Those local servers should mean more stability and speed when you’re logging in from China.
Live chat support isn’t as available as with some other VPNs, but query submissions online are answered pretty quickly. Handy if you run in to any problems. And if you’re still a bit unsure about whether NordVPN is right for you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out NordVPN’s pricing and plans
Generally speaking NordVPN has some pretty great pricing and frequently does special offers, too. Like Express (and loads of other VPNs with free trials), there’s a 30-day money back guarantee if you just want to give it a try before you commit to a two or three year subscription.
Simple, affordable and effective VPN for China
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
- Works hard at unlocking sites in China
- Attractive pricing
- So easy to use
- Will be too basic for some
- Android app could use improvement
Largely thanks to its great value price points and user-friendly interface, British Virgin Islands-based Surfshark has really risen up our rankings of late. And it has certainly improved its Firewall of China fighting credentials, too.
Like any good VPN these days, Surfshark has loads of servers – over 1,000, in fact – making it a great choice for making a location change to an IP address somewhere else on the world. And if that sounds like something that would be complicated to do, fear not…Surfshark is among the best around for keeping things simple and straightforward, with easy-to-follow buttons ans instructions like its ‘Quick connect’ function.
If privacy and security while in China are your major concerns, then Surfshark lives up to that requirement, too. It includes OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2 security protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a kill switch in place in case your connection fails. There’s also a private DNS and a double VPN hop for additional security.
High quality VPN with affordable plans
Surfshark might not quite outrank ExpressVPN on sheer quality, but it’s still an excellent service and surprisingly affordable too – click through and you’ll see that the starting effective monthly price comes in at less than $2!
Great balance of speed and security
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
- Nifty Chameleon security protocol
- Impressive speeds
- 30-day money guarantee
- No refund policy
One of the main advantages of VyprVPN is its proprietary Chameleon security protocol which can help bypass VPN blocking, scrambling OpenVPN packet metadata to ensure it’s safe from the tendrils of deep packet inspection.
VyprVPN is a tier-1 VPN network, which means the outfit owns all of its servers. There are enough of them to ensure good performance (14 are located in Asia), along with solid support for mobile operating systems, and 24/7 live chat for troubleshooting.
The much-praised Chameleon protocol is excluded from the basic plan, which offers three simultaneous connections. On top of that, it is expensive, and there is no refund, but you do have a 30-day money back guarantee. Despite the cost, what’s on offer here could well be worth paying for – your best bet is the annual Premium plan to make sure you get the benefit from Chameleon, and save the most money. The packages available are:
5. Hotspot Shield
A huge name in VPN with a decent free option, too
Number of servers: 2,500+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
- Speedy connections
- Nice and easy to use
- Cheaper than some
- No success on some streaming sites
- Some lack of flexibility
In VPN circles, Hotspot Shield is probably best known for its market-leading free version. But it’s clearly been putting in the hard yards to improve its premium version, too, and it has managed to get around all the blocking attempts in China.
It may sound like something out of an 80s action film, but Hotspot’s ‘Catapult Hydra’ protocol is one of its MVP features and helps the service perform at an extraordinary speed – even when we tested some of the farthest out server locations. Handy if you’re in China but are looking to connect back to the US, UK or pretty much anywhere else it has a server location.
How to choose the best VPN for China
Dealing with this level of censorship of the net is far from easy, but some VPNs are willing to tackle the problem, having proven methods of maintaining uptime in a difficult online climate. Obviously you need to look for a capable provider in this respect, and pick out a reliable VPN, too.
Choosing one with high quality customer support is also important, for when downtime does rear its ugly head. And obviously the number and range of available servers (particularly those in Asia) will help you obtain a better, faster connection. Tight security and privacy is, as ever, a primary consideration as well.
Note: China’s official ban on VPNs came into effect on March 31 2018, but at the time of writing, we haven’t received notice from any VPN providers acknowledging that their offerings will be affected.
With hundreds of VPNs all claiming to be the best, how do you choose the right one? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you. Weve tested over 300 of them and compiled the very best VPNs here. Our in-depth reviews give you all the information you need, covering all the important criteria you need to make the right choice.
Two crucial aspects of a top VPN are privacy and security. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a provider that doesn’t offer them on paper – but things can be different in reality.
A VPN with a verified no-logs policy ensures that your digital footprint is secure. No-logs policies mean none of your data is collected, stored, or shared while you’re browsing. It protects you from prying eyes and preserves your privacy, making it one of the leading criteria in our VPN rankings.
Another must-have ingredient in the recipe for the best VPN is speed. Using a VPN means your traffic is sent through additional servers, affecting your speed. Every VPN will slow you down in some way; the real question is by how much. The fastest VPN services have the smallest impact on your connection quality. They’ll let you browse, torrent, and stream without annoying lag or buffering.
A really fast VPN can also help you help you overcome ISP throttling. You may end up with faster speeds than you started with.
Speaking of streaming, VPNs are a popular solution for accessing the full range of content on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and DAZN. Such platforms limit their service depending on your region, but connecting to the right VPN server can open the door to your favorite shows.
VPNs are also useful for torrenting fans – especially in countries where torrents are prohibited. Even if you follow the rules (we recommend you do), torrenting without extra protection can expose you to greedy copyright trolls and hackers.
P2P connections aren’t secure, but you can change that with a good VPN for torrenting. By masking your real IP address and hiding your traffic behind a layer of encryption, you’ll avoid all the threats that come with downloading torrents while enjoying the benefits. In our VPN comparison, we checked out torrenting features like P2P profiles, SOCKS5 proxies, and easy setup with torrent clients.
Last but not least, let’s talk censorship. You know you’ve landed on a reliable provider when your VPN works in a country that actively tries to block it. During our research, we looked at special features and settings for extra obfuscation. The top VPN services in our overall list have proven themselves in censorship-heavy regions like China, Iran, and the UAE.
Many other factors played a significant part in our final rankings. These include server network size, encryption, security features, ease of use, and of course – price. We spared no expense in exploring every detail for our VPN reviews and tests.
The Best VPN Services: Frequently Asked Questions
Free vs. Paid VPN: Are Free VPNs Safe?
One could argue that you shouldn’t have to buy your right to online privacy. While we agree with this in theory, we also need to face reality.
VPN providers offer a service in exchange for something. And when that something isn’t money, it’s usually much worse. There’s no such thing as truly free: chances are, if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.
Sadly, most free VPNs have serious limitations, and pose serious threats to user privacy and security. From slow speeds and bandwidth restrictions to annoying ads and even selling your data, there are plenty of valid reasons to avoid free VPNs.
Not all free VPNs are bad. We rigorously tested dozens of free services, and found some free VPNs which are safe to use. But is that enough?
When you look at the extra value paid VPNs offer, you probably won’t want a free service. It’s simple – if you want a provider that will guarantee your privacy and give you the servers and features you need, it’s better to pay a few bucks than end up disappointed with a free VPN.
Keep in mind that you can bring down the overall cost of a paid VPN considerably by taking advantage of discount deals and coupon codes. That way, you can get a premium service for pocket change – a win-win situation!
Many top VPN services also offer free trials so you can test out their service for free. Most offer money-back guarantees as well, so you can have a risk-free test period to make sure you’re happy with the service.
Is a VPN Legal to Use?
Because VPNs can be used to facilitate illegal activities, many believe the software itself is against the law. This isn’t true.
It’s legal to use a VPN in 95.9% of countries. Using a VPN is illegal (or falls in a gray area) in:
Using a VPN is a common practice. Many companies use them to protect sensitive data, decrease the risk of hacking, and to perform market research in different countries.
Hiding behind a VPN while engaging in criminal acts is illegal. But this isn’t a problem with the VPN itself – especially when millions are using these services for security and privacy.
Is it Safe to Use a VPN?
VPNs are safe to use in most countries. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure you follow the rules and stay out of trouble.
However, you may be taking a risk if:
- You use a non-government-permitted VPN in a country where the government mandates which VPNs are allowed
- You torrent copyrighted material with a VPN that keeps logs or doesn’t have a kill switch.
How Do I Use a VPN?
Using a VPN is easy. Just download the software to your computer or mobile device and follow the setup guide. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.
Most VPN services are user-friendly, with intuitive interfaces and straightforward instructions. All you need to do is select a secure server from the list – or let the VPN app choose an optimal location if it has a quick-connect feature.
If you don’t have any experience with VPNs, don’t worry! It’s much easier than it sounds
How Much Does a VPN Cost? Can I Get a Good Cheap VPN?
Thankfully, premium VPNs don’t come at premium prices. While monthly subscriptions are expensive, investing in a long-term plan means you’ll probably pay the equivalent of $3 – $7 per month.
In fact, you can actually get a top-quality VPN service for less than $5/month!
It’s also worth noting that many VPNs offer free trials, so you can test if their service meets your safety and streaming needs.
Most also have money-back guarantee refund policies. Depending on which service you choose, you’ll have between 7 – 45 days to cancel your service risk-free if you’re not happy.
You can also save on your subscription by using our deals and coupon codes.
Can I Use Tor or a Proxy Instead of a VPN?
Tor, proxies, and VPNs are three completely different types of software that sometimes serve the same use. Let’s take a closer look.
Tor (short for The Onion Router) utilizes an anonymizing network that bounces your connection through several volunteer servers. While this process makes you (and your data) much harder to track, it will slow you down. Tor is a very complex topic, so check out our ultimate guide to Tor if you’re curious for more info and tips.
Compared to VPNs, Tor has its drawbacks. While it’s free to use, it provides weaker encryption and slower connections. The best move is to use both Tor and a VPN together and reap all the benefits. A stable VPN removes Tor’s weaknesses, while Tor improves your privacy even further.
That said, not all VPNs are compatible with Tor. To make it work, you need a VPN like NordVPN which offers specialized Tor over VPN servers.
Proxy services have one advantage over VPNs: they offer fast speeds (and hide your IP address). However, they have no other security features, don’t encrypt your data, and don’t even offer an interface.
These features mean proxies are not secure or easy to use. However, they can improve your connection speeds if privacy isn’t a concern for you.
There are hundreds of proxies out there, so it”s important to choose the right one. Better yet, invest in a fast, cheap VPN and benefit from extra protection and privacy on top of great speeds.
What’s the Best VPN for My Device/Software/Operating System?
The same VPN service can have several different versions depending on which platform it’s designed for. For example, even if your VPN is flawless on Windows, its mobile app may be broken and unstable on your phone.
In truth, there isn’t a VPN provider that’s universally best for every device, software, or operating system. In order to make the right choice, you’ll need to do some research and find the top-rated VPNs for your needs.