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Best VPN for China

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated

China has the most heavily censored internet in the world. A VPN, if you live there or are just visiting, is essential.

We tested 93 VPN services and the five below will successfully bypass the Great Firewall.

They will unblock websites like Google, Twitter and Instagram, and hide your web activity from the Chinese government.

Here are the Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN

  1. Bypasses Chinese censorship
  2. Has servers in nearby countries
  3. Reliable and fast speeds
  4. Useful privacy features
  5. Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
  6. Well-designed and easy to use apps

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

See More Detailed Information on Our Top 5 VPNs for China

Ranked #1 out of 93 VPNs for China

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Unrivaled speed & reliability
  2. Choice of Asia & west coast US servers
  3. Minimal logging policy
  4. Instant setup on all devices
  5. Full-featured browser extensions
  1. Price could be lower on shorter plans
  2. Three simultaneous connections only
The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN continues to be the most reliable VPN in China even following the latest VPN ban.

Its server network is huge and has tons of options across Asia plus multiple servers in LA, critical for best performance in China.

The simple custom apps work effortlessly in the country – no need to fiddle with settings. It’s a fantastic all-rounder that’s worth every cent.

Ranked #2 out of 93 VPNs for China

Works with

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Two proprietary protocols to beat censors
  2. Well-established VPN for China
  3. City-level server choices in Asia and US
  4. Highly customizable apps
  1. No free trial for China users
  2. Strict refund policy
  3. Decreasing reliability & performance
The Bottom Line

Astrill made its name as the VPN for China but it’s no longer as reliable an option as ExpressVPN.

Its two stealth protocols are usually effective at beating the censors, and city-level server choices in Asia and the US are great for performance.

Less appealing is the ineligibility of China users for the free trial and a consumer-unfriendly refund policy that doesn’t allow for change of mind.

Ranked #3 out of 93 VPNs for China

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Obfuscated servers for China
  2. Solid speeds in China, much faster globally
  3. Lots of servers in nearby Hong Kong
  4. Strict zero-logs policy
  5. Well-designed custom apps
  1. No obfuscated servers for iOS app
  2. Obfuscated servers don't always work in China
The Bottom Line

NordVPN is a great choice for China as long as you’re not an iOS user.

Users report that the obfuscated servers work in the country most of the time but unfortunately, they aren’t available on iOS.

Performance is solid, and NordVPN maintains a strict zero-logs policy. It’s not as reliable as our top two picks, but it’s far cheaper.

Ranked #4 out of 93 VPNs for China

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Works in China with stealth protocol
  2. Servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and west coast US
  3. Advanced privacy features such as Tor over VPN
  4. Strict zero-logs policy
  5. Simple, user-friendly apps
  1. Small number of individual servers
The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is an inexpensive VPN that offers a proprietary stealth protocol to bypass censorship.

Servers in nearby Hong Kong and Taiwan will allow you to experience its fast, reliable speeds.

A strict zero-logs policy, quick access to Netflix, and a 30-day money-back guarantee are added bonuses too.

Ranked #5 out of 93 VPNs for China

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sky, Now TV, HBO, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Chameleon protocol bypasses Great Firewall
  2. Many Asian servers, inc Macau & Hong Kong
  3. User-friendly apps. Instant set-up.
  4. Independently audited zero-logs policy
  1. Best features restricted to the Premium plan
  2. Less reliable since VPN ban
The Bottom Line

VyprVPN makes the grade thanks to its proprietary Chameleon protocol, but it’s less reliable than our top picks.

There are loads of nearby server locations to choose from, but speeds lag behind our other recommendations.

Why choose VyprVPN over our top picks? It’s a more configurable experience than ExpressVPN and more user-friendly than Astrill.

How We Picked the Best VPN for China 2019

The number one priority for all of our picks is its ability to guarantee a way around the ‘Great Firewall of China’ (or GFW) – the nickname for China’s authoritarian means of digital censorship.

This often means looking for a VPN service with out-of-the-ordinary extra technology specifically designed for beating blocks.

After that we look for the availability of servers placed in Asian nations around China – without them you won’t get top speeds.

The very best will also grant you access to websites and streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

Do I Need a VPN in China?

Never has the answer to this question been such an emphatic ‘yes’.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Wikipedia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to popular websites banned by the Chinese government – make sure you aren’t caught short.

The constant intrusive monitoring of Chinese web users is a further problem. The Chinese government has even started banning VPN providers themselves, which makes picking the correct one even more important.

We recently conducted an original investigation into the legitimacy of some of the most popular free VPNs on the market, and discovered that a number of most highly-downloaded apps have questionable links to the Chinese mainland – you can read all about it here.

How to Choose a VPN for China: 5 Tips

  • Is it blocked in China?

    A VPN can be working one day and blocked the next, only to return later as VPN providers constantly try to outwit Chinese government censorship.

    It goes without saying, but dependable access within China is the first and most important thing to look out for.

    This page is regularly updated to make sure you can count on our recommendations.

  • Does it offer some kind of 'stealth' protocol?

    With so many VPNs banned in China it’s critical that your choice offers some kind of stealth protocol. These are additional layers of obfuscation that help hide the VPN traffic from the censors.

    This kind of information can be buried on the provider websites or lost in the marketing speak, so look to our picks on this page to highlight them.

  • Does it have servers in locations close to China?

    Ordinarily you’d want to be connecting to servers within the same country as you, but that’s not an option when you’re trying to bypass government censorship.

    To get around China’s Great Firewall while maintaining browsing speeds, look for VPNs with servers in neighboring nations like Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and India.

  • Does it offer automatic reconnection on mobile?

    Mobile signal dropouts can be frequent in China. To avoid having to constantly switch between apps, look for a VPN that automatically reconnects for you.

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.

    Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.

    We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.

    Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.