China is no friend to internet freedom. Known as the ‘Great Firewall of China’, the first blocking of websites in China happened way back in 1996, just six months after the internet first arrived in China. In the 20-plus years since, China has continued its crackdown on the internet. In 2016, China was rated last on the list of countries for internet freedom by the Freedom on the Net survey. China is not the only country with strict internet censorship, however with its population of nearly 700 million internet users, the internet ban in China affects a huge proportion of the world’s users.
The Great Firewall of China affects not just Chinese citizens, but also expats, tourists, and visitors to the country. And it’s not just political or extreme content that is banned in China. Many of the world’s leading news, information and communication sites are blocked in China, including:
- The New York Times
It’s all part of the Chinese government’s attempts to prevent dissent among its vast population.
Use a VPN for Online Privacy
Fortunately there are ways to circumvent China’s internet censorship. It’s called VPN – Virtual Private Network. A VPN gives you access to a secure private server. If you connect to a VPN with servers located outside China, it allows you to bypass government watchdogs so you can access the blocked websites and content you need. Take a VPN to China, and you’re all set, right? Not so fast. It seems that the Chinese government is catching up, and China will completely block VPNs from February 2018. Even so, there’s some time to go before the VPN China ban. It is important to find out all about the best VPN for China, so you can take full advantage while you still can.
Best VPN for China to Access Websites
When searching for the best VPN for China, there are a number of features that simply can’t be overlooked. Getting past the China VPN ban is hard enough. An effective VPN will go a long way to making your VPN China experience the best it possibly can be. Here’s what you need to look for:
It works in China: This may seem obvious but with VPNs being blocked all the time, it is critical to choose a VPN that has a good range of overseas servers and uses sophisticated protocols to overcome China’s advanced blocking technologies.
Speed & Reliability: If you want regular access to blocked websites in China, you want a VPN that can be relied on. No VPN in China is perfect, however a VPN that performs well most of the time will make your web surfing easier and less frustrating.
Customer support: When things go wrong with your VPN in China, it is good to have 24/7 customer support to fall back on. Particularly when it comes to the VPN China issue, solid customer support is a must.
Free trial: It’s wise to choose a VPN with a free trial period. In the worst case that your VPN doesn’t work in China, you won’t be out of pocket.
#1 ExpressVPN – Your Best Choice to Use in China
If you’re looking for a VPN to China download that is reputable and popular, ExpressVPN is a top choice. It meets all the criteria for the best VPN in China, including:
- Over 145 server locations, including special servers in Hong Kong specifically designed to overcome the Great Firewall of China
- Highest levels of encryption security
- Excellent customer support
- Reliable 99.9% uptime
- Pricing: $12.95 for 1 month / 30-day money back guarantee
For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
#2 Cyberghost VPN – Online Privacy Advocates
Your VPN China adventure is made as simple as possible with CyberGhost’s stand-out, user friendly interface. In addition, you get great security, and great server selection, with customer service another important feature.
- Over 1000 servers worldwide
- Simple one-click installation
- Excellent encryption protocols
- Chat or email support
- Pricing: $10.99 for 1 month / 30-day money back guarantee
For more information on IPVanish features, read our extensive CyberGhost VPN review.
#3 NordVPN – Optimal Speed and Security Mix
Keeping your internet connection private and hidden is what you need to bypass the China VPN ban. Security is one of NordVPN’s strongest features, making it a good choice to use in China.
- Extra privacy via double VPN feature that passes through two servers in different locations
- Servers in over 60 countries
- Good coverage of blocked sites, such as Whatsapp
- Performs well in speed tests
- Pricing: $11.95 for 1 month / 30-day money back guarantee
For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.
#4 Zenmate – Fair Speed for a Fair Price
If security is key to the best VPN in China, then Zenmate is a good option. Server coverage is good, but the privacy of their encryption protocols, combined with all-round compatibility of all your devices, makes Zenmate stand out.
- Ultra-secure and trusted technology
- Desktop and mobile, supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android
- Servers in over 30 countries
- Excellent customer support
- Pricing: $8.99 for 1 month / 14-day money back guarantee
For more information on Zenmate features, read our extensive Zenmate review.
#5 Hotspot Shield – Great Customer Service
HotSpot Shield is another fast and highly useful VPN service Thailand citizens or tourists can take advantage of. Providing high SSL encryption levels will allow you to effectively hide your online footprint from those who wish to spy on your activity or even intercept it; another great VPN for use in Thailand.
Additional features: HotSpot is another no-logs VPN and is so private, that it doesn’t even disclose to its customers how many server locations there are, or even the amount of Thailand IP proxy servers available. This can be seen as a disadvantage to consumers as if the service only has a few, it can affect the service quality, but it does highlight just how much the company values its privacy and security. One of the main cons however, is that the live chat customer service feature was never available when we needed it most.
For more information on HotSpot Shield features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.
WARNING – China Cracks Down on VPN Use
Although VPNs are a well-established trick to get past internet blocks in China, the Chinese government has wised up and is starting to phase out the use of VPNs. In fact, in a recent move, Apple was compelled to remove VPNs from the China Apple iStore. This means it is no longer possible to download a VPN for Apple devices from inside China. For people who want to use a VPN in China on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad, remember to download the VPN of your choice before traveling to China.
Get a VPN for China
If you want to access blocked websites and popular online content while visiting China, your only option is a VPN. It’s not just political or news websites that are affected. Imagine a two-week holiday in China with no access to Google, Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp! If you’d rather not, and if you want to keep in touch with what’s going in the world while you are in China, download the best VPN for China today.