Using a VPN Service in China

If you live in China, or travel to China often, you’ve probably heard of the phrase “The Great Firewall of China”. It refers to the censorship of internet content, managed by the Chinese government and operated by the Ministry of Public Security. Many sites that are widely used around the world are blocked and can’t be accessed locally without a VPN.

Websites Blocked in China

Thousands of websites are blocked and can’t be accessed in China without a VPN, including very popular social networks, news sites, and even search engines.

Social Networks

The most popular social networks in the world are blocked in China, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat among many others.

Blogging Platforms

Blogging, or micro-blogging platforms are also blocked, including Blogger, Blogspot, Tumblr, and WordPress.com.

Search Engines

Pretty much anything related to Google is blocked, including its search engine, Google+, Google Hangouts, and the Google Play app store.

News

There are many blocked news sites that have millions of visitors worldwide. This includes The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Google News, Daily Motion, and even Wikileaks and Wikipedia.

Media

Sites like Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo can’t be accessed in China without a VPN.

This doesn’t mean that there are no news sites, social networks, or search engines in China. There are millions of websites you can access in China, including social networks like TenCent QQ, WeChat, Sand in a Weibo, and the search engine “Baidu”. One of the only globally used social networks used in China is LinkedIn, which expanded to the country in 2014 following a lengthy and costly negotiation with the government. Being available today, however, doesn’t say much about the future. Let’s not forget that Google was once available in China after it entered the market in 2006 following agreements to censor the content in accordance with Chinese Regulations. By 2010, Google was unable to meet government demands and had to leave the market and enter the “blocked” list.

 

Using a VPN to Access Blocked Content

A VPN is the only way to access blocked content in China. Some websites, like Netflix, block VPNs, so it is important to check that you’re buying a VPN service that can solve your specific content needs.

A VPN masks your Chinese IP address with that of another country, allowing you to access blocked websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google without any trouble.

The Best VPNs to Use in China

Not all VPNs work the same way, offer the same features, or even provide the same list of countries you can connect to. If you’re looking for the best VPN for China, here are three great options to consider:

ExpressVPN

An easy VPN to install and setup with 24/7 support via live chat and email, ExpressVPN is known for its high speeds, efficiency, ease of use, and reliability. If you’re not sure or want to try it out first, you can purchase the VPN service and get a full refund if you’re not happy after 30 days, no questions asked. The interface itself is very straightforward and easy to understand, while still offering very useful VPN features, including DNS leak protection, OpenVPN encryption, and a firewall-based kill switch. It offers over 130 locations, and you can connect from three different devices simultaneously. ExpressVPN operates “stealth” services in Hong Kong, in addition to dozens around the globe, making it an excellent option for Chinese users.

ExpressVPN ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
Servers in nearly 100 countries and wide device compatibility should please seasoned travellers. ExpressVPN may be a little pricey but it’s a solid choice – home or abroad.
  • Use on up to 3 Devices simultaneously
  • Loads of VPN protocols to choose from
  • 256-bit SSL encryption to protect your data

Price: From $8.32 per month (annual subscription) – SAVE 35%!

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VyprVPN

VyprVPN has its own VPN services and doesn’t use third parties at any stage, including owning the DNS and the hardware, managing their network, and writing 100% of the software themselves without any outside sources. This makes it one of the most reliable choices out there, especially when it comes to privacy. VyprVPN has been around since 2009, created by Golden Frog, a company in the Internet industry since 1994, so it is safe to say that this company is well established and experienced when it comes to internet encryptions, online privacy, and high-speed connections. When it comes to VPNs in China though, the main emphasis is not always on privacy but rather on accessing blocked content, which this service does easily, though torrenting is not permitted. The VPN offers over 70 server locations and over 200,000 IPs and a 30-day money back guarantee.

NordVPN

Launched over 10 years ago, NordVPN claims to provide military-grade protection and has servers in Panama, where there are no mandatory data retention laws so users can benefit from added security. They offer 24/7 chat and email support and have over 550 services in 49 countries around the globe. The technology they use is very effective in evading censorship blocks, and have even been used successfully with known VPN blockers such as Netflix. A trial is available if you contact their support team and ask to try it out before making a purchase.

NordVPN NordVPN
NordVPN
Panama-based NordVPN has lots to recommend it, including exceptional privacy provisions. As an added bonus, it shouldn’t break the bank for cash-strapped students.
  • Works on up to 6 devices simultaneously
  • The DoubleVPN system encrypts data twice
  • Strict ‘No-Log’ Policy

Price: From $3.29 per month (2-year subscription) – Save 72%!

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It is important to note that not all VPNs work in China. The government is constantly taking measures to block VPN use and protect the “Great Firewall”. Before choosing a VPN for China, make sure to check and contact support to be sure that it works in China. Even then, a VPN that works today may not work tomorrow due to constant changes made by the Chinese government, so choose a VPN with responsive support services and guarantees in case these problems come up in the future.

VPNs Are Popular All Over Asia, and Not Just in China

It makes sense that VPNs would be popular in China, considering how much content is blocked, but it seems that VPNs are widely used throughout Asia. When looking at the top four countries with the most VPN users, all four are Asian countries. At the top of the list is India, followed by Vietnam, Thailand, and China. VPNs in Asia are gaining popularity every year, as more users want to access blocked content and use the internet securely and anonymously without being tracked or monitored by their governments.

Andrew Marsden
Andrew is an experienced IT consultant who specializes in internet security. Despite being much in demand by corporations across the globe, his passion for discussing the latest technology means Top 5 VPN users get the benefit of his vast knowledge and experience.
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