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Best VPN for China (still working in 2024)


China is one of the most famous examples of extreme country-wide internet restrictions. Locals and travelers can’t access numerous websites and services the Chinese government deems inappropriate. Thankfully, that’s hardly a problem if you have one of the best VPNs for China in 2024.

These services will reroute your connection through countries where your desired content is freely available. Additionally, you’ll be invisible to prevalent mass surveillance in China.

We conduct frequent tests on around 42 VPN services to determine the most suitable ones for circumventing online restrictions. And as of February 2024, these 7 VPN providers are the best for China. They’re fast, reliable, and offer excellent tools for dealing with online censorship anywhere.

Best VPNs for China – tested in February 2024

How to choose best VPN for China?

Uncovering the best VPN for China requires considering a fair number of criteria, such as:

  • Tools for bypassing censorship. A robust VPN that works in China requires special features specifically for curbing DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) and similar online censorship measures used by the Great Firewall.
  • High-quality server network. You’ll benefit from a VPN with thousands of servers worldwide across countless countries if your goal is bypassing geographical restrictions. Another vital perk is specialized server categories (Double VPN, obfuscated, Tor over VPN) that grant extra options for avoiding online roadblocks.
  • Strong encryption. A secure VPN must include AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption to keep your activities invisible to unwelcome onlookers, such as ISPs and Wi-Fi network administrators.
  • Effective tunneling protocols. Modern tunneling protocols like WireGuard ensure secure and blazing-fast connections while surfing the web.
  • No-logs policy. The best VPN to use in China is the one that doesn’t store any logs about your online activities. You can be confident that’s the case if the service has conducted third-party audits of its no-logs policy.
  • Reliable reputation. It’s vital to avoid VPN services that are secretive about their origins and lack independent verification because they may be Chinese government sock puppets.
Bypass China’s firewall using NordVPN
You won’t be obstructed by China’s Great Firewall when you have NordVPN, the best VPN for China. Its obfuscated servers can easily circumvent online censorship measures while keeping connection speeds wicked fast.
cybernews® score
4.9 /5

7 Best VPNs for China – regularly tested in 2024

To find reliable VPN for China options, we monitored how well 42 VPN providers performed over two weeks while traveling around China. The final 7 VPNs provided the most stable connections and could consistently unblock geo-restricted content. Here are our top recommendations for bypassing the Great Firewall.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for China

NordVPN banner
Based in: Panama
Servers/countries:6000+ servers in 61 countries
No-logs policy:Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now up to 67% OFF + gift!

NordVPN is the best VPN to use in China in 2024 because of its impressive feature arsenal. It provides excellent performance in China, which is backed by over 6000 servers in 61 countries. Additionally, the fleet includes special obfuscated servers specifically for bypassing online censorship.

Speed. The proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol can retain around 90% of the original internet speed, which ensures that you can stream and browse lag free. Moreover, the OpenVPN protocol has been updated for better performance with stealth servers.

Security. NordVPN uses AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers, has a quadruple-audited no-logs policy, and supports anonymous payments with cryptocurrencies. Other notable NordVPN benefits include Double VPN and Onion over VPN servers, Threat Protection, and two kill switches.

Pricing. You can purchase NordVPN for $3.39/month with a 2-year plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s also a 7-day free trial for Android devices.

2. Surfshark – budget-friendly China VPN with blazing-fast speeds

Surfshark banner
Based in: The Netherlands
Servers/countries: 3200+ servers in 100 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get 79% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs with blazing-fast connection speeds for visiting China. This VPN ensures online anonymity and offers a vast fleet of 3200+ servers in 100 countries, including 4 in Macau and Hong Kong.

Speed. This VPN for China offers great performance and lag-free browsing with the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol, which, during our tests, retained 86% speed.

Security. Surfshark runs on AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers, includes an audited no-logs policy, and has 100% RAM-only servers. And, while reviewing Surfshark VPN, we found all the extra features like the ad blocker (CleanWeb), stealth VPN (Camouflage Mode), and split tunneling (Bypasser) to be of the highest quality.

Pricing. You can purchase it for as little as $2.29/month with a 2-year plan. If you want to try it risk-free, there’s a 30-day money guarantee and a 7-day free trial on Apple and Android devices.

See how the top two best VPNs for China fare in our Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison.

3. Norton VPN – safe access VPN for China with antivirus available

norton vpn banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries: 1000+ servers in 29 countries
No-logs policy:
No-logs policy
Current deal:Get up to 58% OFF Norton VPN!

Norton VPN is another VPN that works in China. It has servers in Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, so you can unblock local content and ensure your anonymity. Even though Norton VPN doesn’t disclose a specific number of servers in each location, it has over 1000 servers in 29 countries overall.

Speed. While reviewing Norton VPN, we were surprised that it includes only a single tunneling protocol – OpenVPN. Thankfully, our hands-on tests showed relatively good connection speed results that didn’t cause issues when browsing, so you can enjoy daily online activities without buffers.

Security. Known for its Norton antivirus suite, this VPN is secure and reliable. It implements market-standard AES-256-bit encryption, a kill switch to protect you from accidental data leaks, and a no-logs policy to ensure no data is compromised.

Pricing. Norton VPN has pretty good deals – you get the best value for money with a 1-year subscription for $3.33/month and 5 simultaneous connections, or get 10 simultaneous connections for $4.99/month. If you want a trial – Norton VPN offers a 7-day tryout or a 30-day money refund.

4. ExpressVPN – versatile VPN for secure browsing in China

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries: 3000+ servers in 105 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

ExpressVPN is another great VPN provider for safe browsing in China. This is a secure and speedy VPN that accepts anonymous payments, and has a vast server fleet in 105 countries, including servers in two Hong Kong locations.

Speed. ExpressVPN uses the proprietary Lightway protocol, which ensures lightning-fast connections and lag-free browsing by retaining around 77% of the original speed.

Security. This VPN ensures anonymity with AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers, an audited no-logs policy, and RAM-only servers. Naturally, ExpressVPN perks also include protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. Also, there’s a strong kill switch to prevent IP address exposure, and stealth servers to hide your VPN connection better. If you’d like to know more, consider reading our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.

Pricing. Compared with other providers on this list, ExpressVPN is one of the priciest options. You can purchase a 1-year subscription for $6.67/month and get a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you seek a cheaper premium option, we recommend NordVPN.

5. PureVPN – China VPN with a large server fleet

purevpn-banner-new
Based in: British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries: 6500+ servers in 65 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited always-on no-logs policy
Current deal:Get PureVPN, now 83% OFF + 3 months FREE!

PureVPN is a fast and reliable VPN option for China that can secure your online activity from prying eyes and offers over 6500 servers in 65 countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.

Speed. PureVPN employs the speedy WireGuard tunneling protocol for seamless and lag-free browsing. During our tests, this VPN retained 67% of the original speed.

Security. With market-standard AES-256 and modern ChaCha20 data encryption, as well as a reliable kill switch, PureVPN ensures your data is sufficiently protected. Additionally, this VPN has a strict no-logs policy with an always-on audit, so you can be certain that your data is stored securely. And, if you look into PureVPN’s pricing, you’ll notice it offers various extra cybersecurity perks if you need them.

Pricing. The only real flaws for us were the few connection issues and that with the WireGuard tunneling protocol, you do not get all the features available. However, if that’s not a dealbreaker for you, you can purchase PureVPN for $2.08/month with a 2-year plan for the best deal.

6. Ivacy VPN – secure VPN to bypass China’s internet restrictions

Ivacy VPN banner
Based in:Singapore
Servers/countries:5700+ servers in 55 countries
No-logs policy:
No-logs policy
Current deal:Get Ivacy VPN, now 90% OFF + gift!

Ivacy is one of the cheapest VPNs for secure and anonymous browsing in China. With a vast list of 5700+ servers in 55 countries, including servers in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, you’ll enjoy internet freedom at meager prices.

Speed. This isn’t one of the speediest VPNs on the market. Even with the market-standard WireGuard tunneling protocol, we have experienced around 32% speed retention. It should be all right for browsing, but torrenting or streaming might be laggy.

Security. The Ivacy VPN benefits package includes everything you need for anonymous browsing in China. This VPN offers AES-256 and ChaCha20 (with the WireGuard tunnel) encryption ciphers, a secure kill switch, leak protection features, and a strict no-logs policy.

Pricing. If you wish to purchase Ivacy VPN, the best deal comes with a 5-year subscription costing you only $1.00/month. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee and permit connecting up to 10 different devices simultaneously.

7. Proton VPN – a reliable VPN service to browse anonymously in China

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:3000+ servers in 71 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Holiday deal! Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN!

Proton VPN offers excellent security and privacy that will easily circumvent digital borders in countries like China. With over 3000 servers in 71 countries, including servers in Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, you’ll be able to use the internet freely.

Speed. With the WireGuard tunneling protocol, you can expect stable download speeds while browsing the internet in China. During our tests, Proton VPN managed to retain 85% of the original internet speed

Security. The Proton VPN feature set is well-stacked with tools for bypassing restrictions while staying anonymous. For starters, the service is based in privacy-friendly Switzerland, comes with AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption protocols, is open-source, has a strict no-logs policy, and a reliable kill switch. So, you can be certain your online activities are secure and anonymous.

Pricing. Proton VPN subscriptions start at $4.99/month, which is pricier than other China VPNs we tested. On the other hand, it offers an unlimited free version if you want to bypass the GFW at no expense. However, we recommend using the 30-day money-back guarantee to test the powerful premium version.

Best China VPNs comparison

After testing each VPN’s performance in China, speed, features, and other factors, we decided to compare providers.

BrandRatingAverage speedPerformance in ChinaSecurity featuresLoggingServers/ countriesStreamingAnonymous paymentsPriceReview
NordVPN
4.9
353 MbpsThe most secure and stable VPN for China.AES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, obfuscation, Double VPN, kill switch, Threat ProtectionNo-logs independently audited by PwC6000+ servers in 61 countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $3.39/month with a 2-year planNordVPN review
Surfshark
4.7
326 MbpsOne of the fastest VPNs to use in China. AES-256 encryption, antivirus, RAM-only servers, kill switch, multi-hop, obfuscationNo-logs, independently audited by Deloitte3200+ servers in 3200 countriesNetflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $2.29/month with a 2-year planSurfshark review
Norton VPN logo for tables
4.2
276 MbpsSecure and reliable connection for daily use for China.AES-2556 encryption, antivirus, a kill switch, ad blockerNo-logs, not audited1000+ servers in 29 countriesBBC iPlayer, MaxDoesn't accept cryptoFrom $3.33/month with a 1-year planNorton VPN review
ExpressVPN
4.3
389 MbpsStable connection speeds for lag-free browsing and streaming in China.AES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, ad blocker, obfuscation, leak protection No-logs, independently audited by PwC3000+ servers in 105 countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $6.67/month with a 1-year planExpressVPN review
PureVPN
4.2
342 MbpsExcellent data protection and all the needed features to browse safely in China.AES-256 encryption, obfuscation, kill switch, always-on audit.No-logs, always-on audit6500+ servers in 65 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTubeAccepts cryptoFrom $2.08/month with a 2-year planPureVPN review
Ivacy VPN
4.1
166 MbpsGreat security features for anonymous browsing.AES-256 encryption, leak protection, kill switch, anti-malware tool.No-logs, not audited5700+ servers in 55 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YoutubeAccepts cryptoFrom $1.00/month with a 5-year planIvacy VPN review
Proton VPN
4
210 MbpsAnother option to consider for China due to its feature-richness, security, and reliability. AES-256 encryption, kill switch, NetShieldNo-logs, independently audited by Securitym3000+ servers in 71 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+Accepts cryptoFrom $4.99/monthProton VPN review

We nominated NordVPN as the winner due to its impeccable security and swift connection speeds in China. It employs robust encryption, reliable leak protection, and respects users' privacy. On top of that, it delivers great speed and streaming capabilities at a reasonable price.

How we tested VPNs for China

To offer you the best VPN that works in China, we regularly monitor news from reputable VPN providers regarding their connection status in China. However, we first had to select the services to keep an eye on. So, we evaluated each VPN out of 42 using the following criteria:

  • Security. We picked the providers with AES-256 encryption, a no-logs policy, leak prevention (DNS, IPv6, WebRTC) features, secure tunneling protocols, and a strict kill switch as the basis for our list.
  • Speed. All VPN services will slow down your connection to some degree. That's why picking from the fastest VPNs is advised to ensure you still have some bandwidth left for streaming or torrenting after beating the Great Firewall.
  • Customer support. China is hard on VPNs, so you might expect some issues you've never had before. Therefore, 24/7 customer support becomes indispensable. Don't settle for anything less than a live chat option to avoid waiting days before your issue is solved.
  • Streaming. Plenty of people in China simply want to watch Netflix US. So if a VPN cannot bypass geo-blocking, check the competition. Also, consider that some providers unblock even more worldwide Netflix librarie, meaning more movie and TV show variety for you.
  • Torrenting. P2P blocking is a nuisance worldwide, and China is one of the worst places for torrenting. Luckily, with a reliable VPN, you can download swiftly, freely, and securely.
  • Price. When choosing a VPN for China, saving money shouldn't lead to a less secure or private option. That being said, some top-notch providers are pretty reasonably priced.

Why do you need a VPN in China?

Here’s a general overview of why a VPN in China is vital:

  • Bypassing the Great Firewall. A VPN allows you to access websites and services the Chinese government prohibits. This includes benign social media sites (Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat), streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Max), various Google services (Maps, Gmail, Docs), and many more.
  • Privacy from surveillance. China is notorious for tracking everything citizens and visitors do to ensure everyone stays in line with the status quo. Luckily, a VPN can encrypt your traffic, making it unreadable for unsanctioned monitoring. However, note that using a VPN doesn’t make illegal activities legal.
  • Overall security. Whether you’re visiting China for business or pleasure, securing your activities against intrusions is critical. Threat actors can lurk on public Wi-Fi or try to fool you using phishing emails, scams, and other cyber attacks.
  • Accessing international content. Having a VPN with thousands of servers worldwide unlocks global content no matter where you travel. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows without restrictions.

Is VPN illegal in China?

No, VPNs aren’t illegal in China in most cases, but some factors must be considered because VPN legality is a slippery slope.

For starters, foreigners can use VPNs to access social media, streaming sites, and other harmless websites. However, you mustn’t view information the government doesn’t approve of. Additionally, using a VPN if you’re a Chinese citizen could cause trouble if you’re not careful because the authorities might assume you’re hiding something.

On the flip side, promoting and selling VPNs is illegal in China. That’s because, technically, only government-approved VPNs should be available in the country. Unsurprisingly, no one wants to use those because they provide zero privacy.

Disclaimer

The legality of VPNs in China is complicated, and you should consult an actual lawyer for up-to-date information regarding this topic.

How to use a VPN in China

The best advice you'll ever get regarding VPN usage in China is to plan in advance. If you're not already in China, it's best to download, install, and set up VPN software before landing in the country. That way, you'll already have tools to bypass the restrictions.

  1. Get a VPN with servers in or near China before going to China. We recommend NordVPN as it has a great track record for bypassing the Great Firewall
  2. Sign up for the service
  3. Download the software to your devices and install it
  4. Log in to your account
  5. Locate obfuscated servers to mask your VPN connection and connect to one which is close to China when you get to the country

Don't forget that tunneling protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP are blocked in China. So, your best bet is to use other methods to unblock restricted websites.

Which free VPN is best for China?

Proton VPN is one of the best and most reliable free VPNs for bypassing China’s Great Firewall. The provider is based in Switzerland, includes an audited no-logs policy, and is pretty fast using WireGuard. Crucially, its free plan offers unlimited data, meaning you can use it in China for as long as you need.

On the other hand, the free version isn’t as effective as the paid variant because it’s missing some features, such as Secure Core servers and the Stealth protocol. Moreover, Proton VPN is slightly more expensive than NordVPN, our nominated best VPN for China.

Therefore, we suggest utilizing NordVPN’s free trial before committing to Proton VPN’s paid version. If you’re happy with the results, you’ll have a cheaper VPN for bypassing the Great Firewall.

Websites that are blocked in China

The list of websites unavailable in China is extensive and changes constantly. Below are a few site and category examples to illustrate this.

  • Social media platforms (Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Snapchat)
  • Google services (Google search, Gmail, Maps, Drive)
  • News websites (The New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, BBC News, The Washington Post)
  • Messaging apps (WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal)
  • Cloud services (Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive)

As you can imagine, this list is by no means extensive. Generally, any website containing information the Chinese government wants to hide is likely blocked. For example, informational sites like Wikipedia are also unavailable in China.

Things to remember before travelling to China

Online regulations coming from Beijing are said to be here to protect Chinese residents' well-being. However, not only the country’s visitors but also local people themselves are forced to meet vigorous privacy violations.

A non-Chinese VPN is the first thing to acquire before flying to China, as they use servers that aren’t physically based in the PRC to bypass the Great Firewall. In fact, subscribing to a few VPNs is recommended, as even the most reliable providers can be taken down temporarily.

However, there are more checkboxes to fill in to stay as secure as possible while visiting China.

  • Use a VPN at all times. No matter your goal of visiting China, a VPN should always be enabled. Better yet, install and subscribe to a couple of reliable providers, like NordVPN or Surfshark, and connect to nearby servers for optimal connectivity.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or want to scroll online at the restaurant, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi network. Numerous people in China who use publicly accessible networks get robbed online, and their online activity is also tracked.
  • Avoid local apps. Even though testing Chinese applications may be tempting, we strongly recommend against it. The majority of applications in China belong to the government itself. Consequently, programs like WeChat collect large amounts of personal data and share it with the government.
  • Use a password manager. Anyone going to China, especially students or professionals, should protect their credentials with advanced encryption and multi-factor authentication. For this, we recommend using one of the most reputable password managers.

Conclusion

A VPN for China is the best way to access geo-blocked websites, protect your information, and keep you anonymous online. So, your ISP won’t be able to track your activity online and log it.

In addition, Chinese citizens have to deal with stringent government restrictions. They are cut off from accessing many websites, social media, and other information sources freely available to the rest of us.

The best VPN for China is NordVPN. This VPN provider offers excellent data protection tools, has an obfuscation feature that helps to bypass the Great China Firewall, and, in turn, works really well in China.

More so, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs and unblocks all popular streaming sites. So, you can enjoy lag-free browsing and unlimited content libraries. You can also try this VPN provider with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


More VPN guides from Cybernews:


FAQ

Comments

Zelin
prefix 2 years ago
I’m a vpn user in China. Until now , strong vpn can be used fluently in China. VyprVPN ,however , doesn’t work as well in China as it does abroad.I think strongvpn might be a better choice for users in China.
Edward
prefix 2 years ago
Saw many people on Reddit recommending not only Nord VPN or express von for china but also Astrill. Do you know anything aboout it? Would you recommend it as well? I believe here I could get more reliable information than reddit though people have been saying they used it for years and the performance is amazing. .Thank you!
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hello, Edward. Astrill is a good VPN for China, but we don’t recommend it for the following reasons. One, it’s even more expensive than ExpressVPN. Two, it no longer has a money-back guarantee. So if you can get the same result by paying less, Astrill automatically goes down the list.
she is.
prefix 2 years ago
Many Chinese websites are not available back here but I’d like to visit them out because I’m learning mandarin. Thank you so much for any iOS VPN China server recommendations<3
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hello, she is. You can try CyberGhost or Hotspot Shield – both have apps for iOS. Good luck with learning the language!
There's Suard
prefix 2 years ago
I’m planning a business trip and would need a fast vpn in China. What’s the speed difference between Surfshark and Nordvpn?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, There’s Suard. Both VPNs are really fast, and it’s hard to say which one will perform better in China. I’d choose NordVPN, though, because it’s our best VPN for China, and its NordLynx protocol shows better results than a direct WireGuard implementation.
Fowler
prefix 2 years ago
hi! interesting review. buuuut I missed one of the top providers. How would you rate how good is nordvpn vs express vpn for china ?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear Fowler,
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are great for China. However, I haven’t included the former because of its high price.
cerber
prefix 2 years ago
How do I setup android phone vpn for China? I read I need to download apk files but I’m not sure how to proceed. I also read my phone might have a built-in vpn so does that mean I don’t need to install anything?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Dear cerber,
Thanks for stopping by. Some smartphone models have a built-in VPN, but its quality is nowhere near what any of the providers above can offer. You can download the .apk files from a mirror website in case the official one is blocked in China.
HARSH MAC
prefix 2 years ago
What’s best MAC vpn for china internet surfing? I have macOS so need compatible service. Thank you.
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, HARSH MAC. I’d say it’s NordVPN. It has a macOS app that’s as good as the Windows version.
Jame sat
prefix 2 years ago
What a good tip to get a vpn for china before entering the country! I just realised that probably nothing would be working as you come into this absolutely different space on internet. I can’t even comprehend trying to google something and it wouldn’t pop up! We got so used to that!! But what would happen if you don’t take care of some detail regards your safety and try to contact some vpn provider? How would that be possible?
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 2 years ago
Hi, Jame sat. You’re totally right! That sounds like and IS like being on another planet 🙂 If you haven’t set up your VPN before entering China, you can still find mirror sites of some providers, such as NordVPN, that aren’t blocked yet. There’s also an option to write an email to your customer support.
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