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Best VPN for China (still working in 2024)


Introduced in 1998 by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, the Great Firewall of China has evolved to heavily restrict online content, blocking access to platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook. However, top VPNs for China can effectively circumvent these restrictions by using obfuscated servers to connect to servers abroad and spoof users' locations.

I tested 42 VPN services to determine the most suitable ones for bypassing online restrictions anywhere worldwide. Here are the top 5 China VPNs that will lift all restrictions and enable you to enjoy the freedom of the internet on your travels across China.

Please remember that using an ineffective VPN could lead to government surveillance, censorship, and legal consequences. It's crucial to choose a reliable VPN to keep your data private and access the internet securely.

Best VPNs for China – tested in 2024

Recent update
I updated the article to reflect the latest test results and findings. After conducting new tests, I changed the provider list (adding ProtonVPN, Astrill, and Mullvad) and adjusted some of their rankings. I assessed their capabilities to work in China, evaluated their customer support quality, and examined user reviews to understand their experiences.

7 best VPNs for China – regularly tested in 2024

When picking the best VPNs for China, I, with the research team, tested 42 providers and focused primarily on how secure they are. The final 7 VPNs provide the most stable connections and can consistently unblock geo-restricted content. Here are my top recommendations for bypassing the Great Firewall.

Please keep in mind that you must download a VPN before you travel to China because you will not be able to download it otherwise.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for China

NordVPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries:6400+ servers in 111 countries
No-logs policy:Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now up to 72% OFF + free travel data!

NordVPN is the best VPN to use in China in 2024 because it combines an impressive arsenal of features, provides excellent performance in China, and offers 6400+ servers in 111 countries, including Taiwan, Hong Kong (73 servers), Vietnam, Mongolia, and other nearby locations. Combined with NordVPN's extensive server network in nearby regions, its obfuscated servers excel at bypassing the Great Firewall by disguising VPN traffic as regular internet traffic. This makes it difficult for Chinese internet filters to detect and block the connection.

NordVPN notes that apps might not connect or work due to heavy restrictions, so they have a manual workaround. This involves downloading and installing certificates on the device, with Android, iOS, and macOS tutorials available. They mention that their service does not work for Windows and are looking for ways to make it functional. Additionally, NordVPN provides alternative URLs to access support if the main one is blocked in China.

NordVPN is the safest VPN to use in China

NordVPN follows a strict no-logs policy that has been audited by independent auditors multiple times. This means the VPN doesn’t record data about your activities and doesn’t share it with anyone, including governments. Moreover, NordVPN employs strong encryption methods (AES-256 and ChaCha20) to ensure your activities are completely unreadable. Other notable NordVPN benefits include Double VPN and Onion over VPN servers, Threat Protection, and two kill switches.

NordVPN's performance in China is as good as anywhere else

During my NordVPN tests, it retained 90% of the original internet speed – which makes it one of the fastest VPNs on the market. Here’s how to set up NordVPN in China for best results. When I tested NordVPN, it had no trouble unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other popular streaming platforms. Because the provider offers servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other nearby locations, you should be able to unblock Facebook, TikTok, and other popular sites that are banned in China.

With NordVPN’s proprietary protocol NordLynx, you should have no trouble bypassing all geo-restrictions in China. Moreover, the VPN has special obfuscated servers that are specifically built for bypassing online censorship.

NordVPN offers the best value proposition in China

You can purchase NordVPN with different plans: monthly, 1-year, and 2-year options. The 2-year plan costs $3.39/month. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial for Android, which you can use on other devices. For extra privacy, you can pay for NordVPN using prepaid cards and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, etc.

NordVPN customer support is easy to reach

NordVPN makes it straightforward to get real human assistance. Initially, the chat starts with a bot providing suggestions, but clicking "Other issue" lets you quickly connect with a human agent. This ensures you receive personalized help, which is especially crucial if you encounter connectivity issues in China due to heavy restrictions.

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

Surfshark banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries: 3200+ servers in 100 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get 83% OFF Surfshark + 3 months FREE

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs with blazing-fast connection speeds for visiting China. Aside from Ivacy VPN, Surfshark offers the best deals for budget-conscious users, but it comes with more beneficial features, which is why this VPN has earned one of the top spots. Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 100 countries, including Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan. However, support noted that the app might not work properly and recommended manual configuration, with tutorials provided. Some Surfshark users also report it won’t work in China.

Surfshark grants maximum security in China

Surfshark implements AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers, includes an audited no-logs policy, and has 100% RAM-only servers. That means that all data is frequently wiped to ensure maximum security. And, while reviewing Surfshark VPN, I found all the extra features like the ad blocker (CleanWeb), stealth VPN (Camouflage Mode), and split tunnelling (Bypasser) to be of the highest quality.

Surfshark states it unblocks every tested service outside China

During in-house testing, Surfshark had no trouble unblocking torrenting and streaming platforms while connected to servers close to China. I was able to access Netflix, YouTube, AppleTV+, and various other platforms and websites, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Google, and other sites normally blocked in China. This is ensured by top-notch tunnelling protocols (WireGuard and OpenVPN), and while Surfshark doesn’t use NordLynx and cannot surpass the speeds of NordVPN, it’s still pretty fast – it maintained 86% of original speeds during testing.

Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN for China

You can purchase Surfshark for as little as $2.19/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 macOS, iOS, and Android devices. To maximize privacy, you can pay using cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin).

Surfshark's China support can be a bit challenging

Surfshark's support is well-regarded for responsiveness, it was challenging this time. When I asked about using Surfshark in China, the chatbot asked numerous questions before connecting me to a live agent, often providing irrelevant answers. Eventually, it said no live agent was available, delaying resolution.

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

ProtonVPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries:5200+ servers in 91 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get up to 55% OFF Proton VPN!

Proton VPN offers excellent security and privacy. With over 5200 servers in 91 countries, including servers in Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, you’ll be able to use the internet freely. The greatest perk of using Proton VPN is that it offers a pretty great free version; however, whether or not it will work during your trip to China is highly questionable.

Proton VPN is a secure and anonymous China VPN

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. In this regard, Proton VPN is pretty much up there with ExpressVPN, and other great VPNs on this list.

Proton VPN offers stable speeds in China

You should have no trouble unblocking Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and Max using Proton VPN – I didn’t during in-house testing of this VPN. With the WireGuard tunnelling protocol, you can expect stable download speeds while browsing the internet in China. During my tests, Proton VPN managed to retain 85% of the original internet speed, which is an amazing result, comparable to that of Surfshark – one of the top VPNs on this list.

Proton VPN has a free version to test before visiting China

Proton VPN subscriptions start at $4.49/month, which is pricier than some of the other China VPNs the research team tested. On the other hand, it offers an unlimited free version if you want to bypass the GFW at no expense. However, I recommend using the 30-day money-back guarantee to test the powerful premium version. You can make an anonymous payment using Bitcoin.

Proton VPN offers responsive support

Proton VPN offers responsive customer support, with live agents available during working hours. The agent suggested trying the OpenVPN TCP or Stealth protocol when I contacted them. If these tips don't resolve the issue, they mentioned the 30-day money-back guarantee. Chat support is reserved for registered users, and you can directly start chatting with a human without first interacting with a bot. This ensures quick and efficient assistance when you need it.

4. PureVPN – China VPN with torrenting servers

purevpn-banner-new
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries: 6500+ servers in 65 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited always-on no-logs policy
Current deal:Get PureVPN, now 82% OFF + 2 FREE months!

PureVPN is a fast and reliable VPN for China, and it is often chosen by users who want to share files and enjoy unrestricted torrenting. The VPN has specialized servers for torrenting, and while they’re not available everywhere, PureVPN has 6500+ servers in 65 countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, so you should be able to find the right server.

Secure your data in China with PureVPN

With market-standard AES-256 and modern ChaCha20 data encryption, as well as a reliable kill switch, PureVPN ensures your data is protected. Additionally, PureVPN has a strict no-logs policy with an always-on audit, which means the provider can be audited at any time. And, if you look into PureVPN’s pricing, you’ll notice it offers various extra cybersecurity perks if you need them, including a Secure Password Manager and a Personal Privacy Manager.

PureVPN offers moderate speeds for China

During my streaming tests, PureVPN successfully unblocked Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. And with servers near China, you can expect it to unlock Google, YouTube, Facebook, and other popular banned sites. PureVPN employs the speedy WireGuard tunnelling protocol for seamless and lag-free browsing. When I reviewed PureVPN, it retained 67% of the original speed. While this isn’t very fast – at least when compared to NordVPN, Surfshark, and a few other VPNs on this list – that should be enough to stream and browse lag-free.

PureVPN offers solid value for China

The only real flaws for me 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 $2.14/month with a 2-year plan for the best deal. Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) is available as a payment option.

PureVPN customer support: slow but steady

Interacting with PureVPN's customer support can be a lengthy process. Initial queries are handled by a chatbot, which creates a support ticket for a live agent. This ticket is redirected to email, and further communication occurs through this medium. Eventually, you get connected with a live agent, which often takes almost a full day. While speaking to a real person is possible, the process is time-consuming and not as straightforward as other VPN providers.

5. ExpressVPN – versatile VPN for secure browsing in China

ExpressVPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
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. It has 3000+ servers across 105 countries, which suggests you should have no trouble finding a server closer to China (e.g., Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan). On this list, only NordVPN has servers in more countries, with Surfshark right behind.

ExpressVPN is a secure and anonymous choice for China

ExpressVPN ensures anonymity with AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers, an audited no-logs policy, and RAM-only servers. The VPN’s perks also include protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. Plus, there’s a strong kill switch to prevent IP address exposure, and stealth servers to hide your VPN connection better. Overall, ExpressVPN is considered to be a safe choice when connecting from China.

ExpressVPN excels at unblocking streaming content in China

ExpressVPN is pretty good at unblocking streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Max. So, if your main objective for a China VPN is to unblock streaming content, ExpressVPN is a great choice. As for other blocked websites, you should be able to bypass the censorship of news portals, social media sites, and other platforms too. Just like NordVPN, ExpressVPN has its proprietary protocol called Lightway. Although it’s not as fast as NordVPN’s NordLynx, it can offer lag-free browsing by retaining around 77% of the original speed.

ExpressVPN is a pricier option for China

Compared with other providers on this list, especially Surfshark and Ivacy VPN, ExpressVPN is one of the priciest options. You can purchase a 1-year subscription for $6.67/month and take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee. For private payments, you can use Bitcoin.

ExpressVPN offers direct human support

When seeking help with ExpressVPN, you won't have to deal with chatbots or AI. Instead, you are directly connected to a live agent, ensuring prompt and personalized assistance. ExpressVPN claims their service works well in China, and their human support team is readily available to assist with any issues.

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

Ivacy VPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries:5700+ servers in 55 countries
No-logs policy:
No-logs policy
Current deal:Get Ivacy VPN, now 88% OFF + gift!

Ivacy is one of the cheapest VPNs for secure and anonymous browsing in China. In fact, no provider on this list can beat Ivacy VPN’s pricing. With a vast list of 5700+ servers in 55 countries, including servers in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, you’ll enjoy internet freedom at low prices.

Ivacy VPN offers anonymity and security in China

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, and a strict no-logs policy. Ivacy VPN also offers reliable leak protection to ensure that your virtual identity remains private at all times.

Ivacy VPN in China: great for unblocking but slow

On the plus side, Ivacy VPN allows P2P connection on all servers, and I managed to unblock YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google, an other popular sites. It even unblocked Netflix. Although Ivacy VPN has great security benefits, a vast server fleet, and great prices, it’s not very fast. Even with the market-standard WireGuard tunnelling protocol, I observed around 32% of speed retention. It should be all right for browsing, but torrenting or streaming might be laggy.

Ivacy VPN offers affordability in China

If you wish to purchase Ivacy VPN, the best deal comes with a 5-year subscription costing you only $1.17/month. All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee and permit connecting up to 10 different devices simultaneously. You can pay for Ivacy VPN anonymously using BitPay.

Ivacy VPN customer service: a mixed experience

Ivacy VPN's customer service starts with a chatbot offering setup instructions similar to NordVPN's OpenVPN protocol without the app. There are many articles about Ivacy working in China, but it seems they lack real research. If the bot's solutions don't help, you're redirected to a human agent, which can take 60-120 minutes. The chat then continues via email, which can be frustrating for users needing quick assistance.

7. Astrill VPN – pricy but effective for bypassing China's censorship

Astrill VPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries:3000+ servers in 57 countries
No-logs policy:
Collects some info, no independent audit
Current deal:Get 50% OFF with 1-year plan!

With its 3000+ servers in 57 countries, Astrill VPN is renowned for its effectiveness in bypassing China's Great Firewall. Its StealthVPN technology is designed to evade strict censorship, ensuring access to popular platforms like Facebook and TikTok. With numerous servers in Asia, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, Astrill VPN provides reliable performance for users in China.

Astrill VPN offers strong security features with some concerns

Astrill VPN employs strong encryption methods, including AES-256 and ChaCha20, to secure your online activities. It also features a kill switch, DoubleVPN, and dedicated IP options to enhance privacy. However, it's worth noting that Astrill VPN does collect some session data, such as bandwidth used and IP addresses, which are claimed to be removed after disconnection. Unlike top competitors, Astrill VPN’s no-logs policy has not been independently audited, which may concern privacy-focused users.

Astrill VPN is not the fastest VPN in China

Regarding performance, during Astrill VPN testing, it retained about 66% of the original internet speed on average, which is sufficient for most online activities, including streaming and browsing. However, the upload speeds can drop significantly, up to 80% on average, which might affect tasks requiring higher upload bandwidth.

Astrill VPN has a high cost for premium access

Astrill VPN is one of the pricier options, starting at $12.50/month, which might not be ideal for budget-conscious users. While it offers a range of security features and reliable access in China, the high cost may be a deterrent for some.

Astrill VPN customer support is prompt and helpful

Astrill VPN's customer support is responsive and efficient. Users can connect with a live agent almost immediately without navigating through extensive chatbot interactions. The support team is knowledgeable about the service’s capabilities in China and provides effective assistance.

8. Mullvad VPN – expensive but secure China VPN

Mullvad VPN banner
Works in China:
Yes
Servers/countries:784 servers in 38 countries
No-logs policy:
Audited no-logs policy
Current deal:Get Mullvad VPN from 6.00/month

Mullvad VPN prioritizes user privacy with robust security features. The service employs AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20 encryption through the WireGuard protocol, ensuring strong data protection. Additionally, Mullvad is open-source and does not require an email for registration, enhancing user anonymity. The VPN has 784 servers in 38 countries and a strict no-logs policy, verified by third-party audits, ensuring that no personal information is stored.

Mullvad VPN is capable of bypassing China’s Great Firewall

Mullvad VPN is known for its effectiveness in bypassing China's Great Firewall. Mullvad VPN review shows it features obfuscation techniques that disguise VPN traffic as regular internet traffic, making it harder for Chinese authorities to detect and block. The VPN’s built-in kill switch and multi-hop servers further enhance its ability to maintain secure and uninterrupted connections, even in regions with strict censorship.

Mullvad VPN offers a flexible yet pricy subscription for China

Mullvad VPN offers a straightforward pricing model of $6.00/month, with no long-term commitments. This simple pricing structure can be advantageous for users who prefer flexibility. However, the lack of long-term discounts makes it pricier compared to other providers.

Mullvad VPN’s offers email-only support for China

Mullvad VPN lacks live customer support and relies instead on email-based assistance and extensive online resources. While this can be a drawback for users needing immediate help, the comprehensive guides and tutorials can be useful, especially for setup and troubleshooting in China.

Best China VPNs comparison

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

BrandAverage speedSecurity featuresLoggingServer locations in countriesUnblocking capabilitiesAnonymous paymentsPrice
NordVPN353 MbpsAES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, obfuscation, Double VPN, kill switch, Threat ProtectionNo-logs independently audited by PwC and Deloitte111 countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $3.39/month with a 2-year plan
Surfshark326 MbpsAES-256 encryption, antivirus, RAM-only servers, kill switch, multi-hop, obfuscationNo-logs, independently audited by Deloitte100 countriesNetflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $2.19/month with a 2-year plan
Proton VPN210 MbpsAES-256 encryption, kill switch, NetShieldNo-logs, independently audited by Securitym91 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+Accepts cryptoFrom $4.49/month
PureVPN342 MbpsAES-256 encryption, obfuscation, kill switch, always-on audit.No-logs, always-on audit65 countriesNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTubeAccepts cryptoFrom $2.14/month with a 2-year plan
ExpressVPN389 MbpsAES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, ad blocker, obfuscation, leak protection No-logs, independently audited by PwC105 countriesNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreAccepts cryptoFrom $6.67/month with a 1-year plan

I 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

The research team and I tested 42 VPN providers to ensure our final list of the best VPNs for China only includes apps that effectively bypass geo-restrictions in China and can guarantee top-notch security while using them. Here’s how we came up with the final list:

  1. VPN selection. Before we even initiated in-house VPN testing, we carefully selected the top providers based on security features, regional server availability, and the presence of obfuscated servers. It was crucial to select VPNs with servers close enough to China to ensure optimal performance.
  2. In-house testing. To finalize the top list, we performed tests on different operating systems. On Windows, for example, we used a VM with Windows 11 installed on a Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen2 device. Additionally, I tested the VPNs on mobile devices such as Android smartphones and tablets, which is essential for travelers. The VPNs' performance was continuously checked for several days to ensure consistency and reliability.
  3. Performance analysis. To ensure that our top VPNs for China list only includes the top-performing VPNs, we conducted rigorous tests. We ran a speed analysis and checked how well the VPNs can unblock streaming content and blocked sites. We also tested all the most important security features, including kill switches, leak protection, encryption, obfuscated servers, no-logs policies, and secure tunnelling protocols. We not only checked whether these features function but also if they can guarantee privacy and protection since China is very strict about VPN usage. Additionally, we checked for bandwidth limitations and found that all these VPNs have no bandwidth limitations.
  4. Customer support. I talked to the customer support teams of each provider and managed to get their best tips on how to use VPNs in China. They provided valuable insights, including manual workarounds and tutorials for different devices. Some VPNs have direct connections to live agents, while others start with a bot before connecting you to a human.
  5. Ranking. In the final step, we used the collected data to determine which VPNs are better than others. While all providers on this list are considered great for using in China, the top VPNs represent the perfect combinations of performance and security. We also considered the overall value-to-ratio.

Why do you need a VPN in China?

In China, the government's Great Firewall blocks many popular websites and services like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and WhatsApp. Without a VPN, you’ll miss out on sharing your experiences, accessing global news, and using essential apps. Moreover, the government actively monitors internet activity, posing significant privacy concerns. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, keeping your data private and allowing you to bypass censorship, ensuring secure access to the content you need.

When your internet traffic is encrypted, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the government will not understand what websites you’re visiting. For example, instead of www.netflix.com showing up in the log, a random string of letters and numbers will appear instead.

obfuscated-servers

Since VPN usage is highly restricted in China, it’s a good idea to use obfuscated servers when connecting. This will ensure that your traffic is not only encrypted but also hidden – your ISP and the Chinese government will not be able to detect you’re using a VPN.

Expert comment
Content editor and security expert

Is VPN illegal in China?

VPNs aren’t illegal in China. However, they are heavily restricted by the Chinese government which blocks access to many of the VPN providers' download pages, which makes installing them a hassle. Overall, VPN legality often ends up in a gray zone.

If the IP address of a VPN server isn’t associated with the Great Firewall of China restrictions, it should allow you to access blocked websites. This is why it’s crucial to pick a VPN with plenty of servers – in case one of them is blocked, there are others you can use to connect to the internet.

Another thing to note is that 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 do I access and use VPNs 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 because some VPNs are banned in China, which means you will not be able to download them. If you set a VPN up before your travels, you will have tools to bypass the restrictions as soon as you land.

  1. Get a VPN with servers in or near China before arriving. We recommend NordVPN, now 72% OFF, as it has a great track record for bypassing the Great Firewall of China
  2. Sign up for the service
  3. Download and install the software to your devices
  4. Log in to your account
  5. Find obfuscated servers on the server list to mask your VPN connection and connect to one which is close to China when you get to the country

Which is the best free VPN to use in China?

Free VPNs don’t really work in China for one simple reason: they do not invest in their server fleets. Because the government in China is very strict about VPNs and is notorious for blocking them, it is very important that a provider can offer plenty of servers just so you have options in case some are blocked.

Moreover, free VPNs are unlikely to offer specialized (obfuscated) servers and features built to combat censorship. Ultimately, free VPNs may put you at risk because if the government discovers you are using the technology, they could potentially invoke legal action.

Therefore, I suggest utilizing free trials of premium VPNs and, if necessary, using their 30-day money-back guarantees, which should be enough if you are not planning to stay in China for long. If you’re happy with the results, you’ll have a strong and secure VPN for bypassing the Great Firewall of China. Here are my top recommendations:

  • NordVPN – enjoy a 7-day free trial that you can register on an Android device and then use on any compatible device. Pricing starts at $3.39/month, and you can take advantage of a fuss-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Surfshark – register for a 7-day free trial on Android, iOS, and macOS devices. If you end up liking the service, pricing starts at $2.19/month, and you have a 30-day money-back guarantee to figure out if this is the tool for you.

Social media and streaming platforms blocked in China

The list of websites unavailable in China is extensive and changes constantly. Below are a few popular sites currently blocked in China:

  • Facebook
  • X (formerly Twitter)
  • TikTok
  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Wikipedia

A few other notable websites blocked in China include Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Skype, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, BBC News, The Washington Post, Dropbox, OneDrive, Zoom, Roblox, Vimeo, HBO, and ChatGPT.

As you can imagine, this list is by no means complete. Generally, any website containing information the Chinese government wants to hide is likely to be blocked.

Things to remember before travelling to China

Online regulations from Beijing are said to be implemented for the protection of Chinese residents. Not only the country’s visitors but also local people themselves are forced to meet vigorous privacy requirements.

A non-Chinese VPN is the first thing to acquire before flying to China, as it doesn't have servers physically based in the PRC to bypass the Great Firewall. Once in China, you won't be able to find VPN apps on the Apple App Store, and Google's products, including the Google Play Store, are blocked. This means you cannot download VPN apps directly while in China. To ensure you have unrestricted internet access in China, you must download and set up your VPN before you arrive.

Here are a few other boxes to check to stay as secure as possible while visiting China:

  • Use a VPN at all times. No matter your goal when 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 a restaurant, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. There have been instances when people in China were robbed and tracked while using publicly accessible networks.
  • Avoid local apps. Even though testing Chinese applications may be tempting, I strongly recommend against it. The majority of applications in China belong to the government . Consequently, programs like WeChat collect large amounts of personal data and share it with the government.
  • Prepare an eSIM card. Get the best China-suited eSIM card, as your regular card may not work in China. Make sure that your device model will work to avoid buying some local brands.
  • 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, I recommend using one of the most reputable password managers.

Conclusion

A VPN for China offers the best way to access geo-blocked websites, protect your information, and keep you anonymous online. It presents strong security features, unblocks geo-locked content, including streaming platforms, and allows you to bypass state censorship. Ultimately, a good VPN ensures, your ISP won’t be able to track your activity online and log it.

Unfortunately, tourists aren’t the only ones dealing with the heavy restrictions and censorship. Chinese citizens have to deal with stringent government restrictions as well. They are cut off from accessing many websites, social media, and other information sources freely available to the rest of the world.

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. NordVPN can help you access major streaming platforms, social media sites, news publishersand other popular sites that are currently blocked in China.

Moreover, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs, which means it can offer optimal performance while protecting you. 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 and a 7-day free trial which would be just enough for a few-week trip to China.

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