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