8 Best VPN For China 2024 (Still Working in June 2024!)

The best VPNs for China are all included in this ultimate guide

If you're looking for the best VPN for China, this China VPN guide will help you get around the censorship and beat the great firewall, allowing you to access YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Gmail in China with ease. As of June 2024, I recommend the following VPNs below.

Update: Now that China has reopened to international tourism, make sure to choose the right VPN for China so you can travel to China again without losing access to all of the international services you're used to!

The best VPNs for China are all included in this ultimate guide
You're going to need to upload your street food photos to facebook, instagram, and check your Gmail! Read this ULTIMATE VPN guide to learn how!

I've been living and traveling through China for over 13 years now, and using VPN's to circumvent the great firewall has been a daily part of life. Since China has their own social media platforms and has chosen to disallow foreign social media like Facebook and YouTube from operating in the country, I have written this VPN guide for travellers to China who would like to access their Gmail and social media just like back home.

First, I'm breaking down all of the best VPN's for China, showing you which VPNs are best and giving you the fastest VPN's for China in a big list. Then, I'm reviewing all of the best VPNs one by one and comparing them. In each VPN review, I've also found some discount links that will help save you money! Welcome to the ULTIMATE China VPN Guide!

At the bottom, I'm also providing a resource of some of the best free VPN's for China as well.

SUMMARY: THE BEST 3 VPN'S FOR CHINA

#1 Recomended VPN for China

  • SPEED: 10/10 Super Fast
  • Reliability: Incredible
  • Netflix?: YES
  • Youtube?: YES
  • Torrenting?: YES
  • Platforms: All(Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, AppleTV, SmartTV)
  • (Save 49% using this link)

#2 Astrill
Another solid VPN for China

  • SPEED: 7/10 Fast
  • Reliability: Good
  • Netflix?: YES
  • Youtube?: YES
  • Torrenting?: YES
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry

#3 VyprVPN
Secure Option for China

  • SPEED: 8/10
  • Reliability: Great
  • Netflix?: YES
  • Youtube?: YES
  • Torrenting?: YES
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Android TV, Fire TV

VERDICT
As of June 2024,  ExpressVPN (49% off using this link) currently ranks #1 as the best VPN for China. It is the fastest and most reliable. I’ve been using ExpressVPN for years, mainly to watch YouTube in China and also upload videos to YouTube, both of which work fantastic in China.  Astrill VPN is my secondary VPN, which I also use quite frequently as a backup VPN, although lately ExpressVPN has been investing heavily in their server technology for China and I’ve barely needed to connect to other VPNs.

QUICK BREAKDOWN: THE 8 BEST VPN'S FOR CHINA

VPN ProviderDL Speed (MBps)Server Locations (Countries)Summary
1. ExpressVPN8100+I’ve been using ExpressVPN for years. It’s one of the fastest and most reliable in the industry, especially for China.
2. AstrillVPN755+I found it to have pretty good speeds in China. Solid and fairly reliable VPN for China. Has servers in 55+ countries. Slightly pricey.
3. VyprVPN 660+I’ve been using VyprVPN on and off for about 6 years now and love the speed and the excellent uptime. Note: lately VyprVPN has seen major interruptions in China, and Chameleon protocol must be used at all times.
4. IvacyVPN750+Good all rounder. Fairly reliable for unblocking websites and general internet usage. Good prices.
5. PureVPN765+Provides very strong security and privacy features, works well in China, and has a large server network.
6. TunnelBear645+Has some of the most user-friendly apps on the market. Also comes with a decent free plan, and a huge server count.
7. PrivateVPN560+Is user-friendly, and its apps make it easy to connect to servers to access the web in China. Also provides good security and fast speeds.
8. Hotspot Shield490+Has the best free plan for users in China, as it comes with obfuscation and unlimited data. And the paid version has good streaming support, fast speeds, and more.

VERDICT
ExpressVPN is the clear winner in terms of speed (especially on Hong Kong 5 and LA 4 servers, wow, fast!) and the number of countries. The best part about ExpressVPN which sets it apart from other VPNs is their technology which can bypass the great firewall even during blockages. Out of the past few years I’ve used it, downtime is less and less and speeds are getting faster and faster. Astrill VPN comes in second with very strong security and fast speeds too. Please note that these speeds are highly subjective to many different factors. Sometimes I get slower speeds, especially when uploading to YouTube. IvacyVPN is currently offering the BEST deal for a VPN on the list, coming out to $1.17 per month for a 5 year plan!

VPN SPEED TESTS IN CHINA

These speed tests were done on Speedtest.net while in China. Home usage was on both China Unicom and China Telecom networks as well as on mobile 4G  data.

VERDICT
ExpressVPN 
is best for speed on both downloading and uploading, which holds true to what I’m using 90% of the time I upload 4K videos to YouTube. After traveling to dozens of cities across China, and uploading Chinese food videos on YouTube while staying at hotels, I can confirm that 99% of the time I’m using ExpressVPN to both watch and stream YouTube and Netflix, but also to upload as well. The Los Angeles 5 server gave me a 10mb/s upload speed the other day! You can also read my full review for more information.

FULL VPN REVIEWS

1. ExpressVPN

My top recommended VPN for China.

the devices that can be used on expressvpn are all shown in this image

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Very fast download/upload speeds
  • Incredible reliability and uptime
  • Unblocks YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Instagram
  • Servers in 100+ countries
  • 24/7 Live chat customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Premium pricing

FASTEST SERVERS
ExpressVPN is the VPN that I use 90% of the time I’m online in China because I trust it’s speed and reliability. Throughout the VPN community, it is generally hailed as the fastest wide-release VPN in the world.  ExpressVPN clearly knows it has a large customer base in China and goes above and beyond to cater to that clientele and to ensure that blockages are rare and speeds stay fast. They have invested heavily to ensure that downtime is very very rare and this is the main reason I use them. In fact, ExpressVPN’s average mobile device speed is faster than nearly every other VPN’s desktop average.

FULL COVERAGE IN CHINA
ExpressVPN has servers strategically placed in Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan to offer nearby alternatives; part of a network of servers spanning 100+ countries. It has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android so no matter what your platform of choice, ExpressVPN has you covered in China. The only downside of this VPN choice is the price, which runs on the high end of most commercial VPNs. However, ExpressVPN is currently offering 49% off it’s 1 year plan, and giving 3 months free as well, which works out to about $6.67 per month, so it works out to be a pretty good deal. If you go month to month, it runs you $12.95 per month. The best news is that there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee when you sign up for a month, so you can try it first to see if the speed and reliability is up to your needs. For me, watching YouTube and uploading videos to YouTube, it’s definitely one of the best VPN’s for China.

Connect to any of their servers located around the world

BEST SECURITY
One thing I love about ExpressVPN is the Security. Security is important because if the connection slips, the data you are downloading and uploading is exposed to third parties. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, ExpressVPN has a kill switch in place to sever your Internet connection completely if the VPN connection fails. There is also a no-logging policy, meaning ExpressVPN doesn’t record any information from you such as your IP address or what information your are searching for or downloading. When it comes to streaming video content, ExpressVPN is successful at unblocking the US version of Netflix along with several others around the world. It is a great choice for P2P and torrenting as well.

SUMMARY
In summary, ExpressVPN is my long term favourite VPN for China as it’s the fastest and most reliable amongst all of the VPN’s on this guide. I’ve had great experiences on their Hong Kong (try LA5, it’s FAST!) and Los Angeles servers and amongst all the VPNs I use, ExpressVPN is the one I’m always connecting to. Not only does express VPN work in China, it is FAST! Coming in close second is Astrill VPN below, which I use as well as a backup.

(save 49% using this link)


2. Astrill VPN

A solid VPN with very strong security.

AstrillVPN supports macos, pc, ios, android, and as shown here, Xbox

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Works extremely well in China via proprietary protocols
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • High-end security features
Cons
  • Really pricey

ONE OF THE ORIGINALS
Astrill is another of the best VPNs for China. It works in China without issues via its proprietary protocols — OpenWeb and StealthVPN. In addition, the VPN also provides very good speeds.  Astrill also offers quite a large number of server countries (55+), shown below.

A healthy amount of servers, including locations near China

IS EXTREMELY SECURE
Astrill has high-end security features that keep you safe while accessing the web in China. I love that it protects against all types of leaks, and it also passed all of my leak tests. Plus, it provides access to advanced security via RAM-only servers (so that all server data is wiped with each reset) and perfect forward secrecy, which offers a different encryption key for each VPN session.

PRICEY, BUT WORTH IT
While Astrill is one of the most expensive VPNs on the market, the money is 100% worth it if you’re very focused on securing your data in China. But I recommend only getting the VPN if you’re completely sure it’s the one you want, since Astrill doesn’t have a refund policy.


3. VyprVPN

Still working quite well in China. Sometimes goes down.

Screenshot of VyprVPN's main page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Owns their own servers
  • Does not limit bandwidth or throttle speeds
  • Supports large number of platforms
Cons
  • Lacks a Linux app

EXTRA SECURE
Much like Astrill VPN, VyprVPN has layers upon layers of security designed to keep your connection secure when you’re logged on. Those features include 256-bit AES encryption and zero-knowledge DNS, along with VyprVPN’s own firewall to keep unwanted traffic out. What I love the most is the fact that VyprVPN writes and hosts their own servers. Most VPNs have remote servers all over the world, but they rent them from third parties. This means there is always a slight chance of your IP address or the pages you view/content you download being exposed or recorded by that third party. But since VyprVPN owns their own servers, no traffic is ever exposed to a third party.

LOTS OF SERVERS
They have more than 300,000 IP addresses spread across 60+ countries. If you’re like me and love streaming content on YouTube, note that VyprVPN does not limit your bandwidth nor does it throttle speeds. Like other VPN companies on this list, VyprVPN offers a 30-day refund, so you can pay for a month, get great VPN results, then get your money back when you depart if you’re not fully satisfied with the VPN. 

IT’S REALLY EASY TO USE
VyprVPN has easy-to-use apps for most platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. And its apps make it extremely easy to find and connect to its servers. Plus, I like how all apps provide helpful definitions for all settings. The only complaint I have is that VyprVPN lacks a Linux app.

STILL SOLID
VyprVPN is still one of my go-to VPN’s to use in China. I might not use it as much as I used to, but it’s still an excellent VPN when you’re using the chameleon protocol. It’s recently been having troubles if you’re not connected to the chameleon protocol, but once you’re connected, it’s fine, with the occasional disconnect as well. Other than that, it’s another one of the best VPN’s to use in China.


4. IvacyVPN

One of the cheapest VPN’s for China

Screenshot of Ivacy VPN's Features page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Super cheap long-term prices
  • Lots of platforms supported
  • Low latency speeds for Chinese users
Cons
  • Number of servers worldwide is low
  • Limited number of encryption methods

ONE OF THE NEWER AND BETTER VPNS
Ivacy has had a quick rise into the best VPN’s for China arena, starting out small and now taking a large chunk of the market because of it’s nice list of servers, locations, and cheap price. It’s just around $14 per year with the longest plans, and has 5,700+ servers across 50+ different countries.

SPEEDY
Since it’s based in Singapore, users in China will find it convenient and most of the servers quite speedy. Ivacy’s best feature is that you can choose different features based on what you want to use it for, like unblocking websites or for having a private IP. It has an OpenVPN connection too. I personally haven’t used it too much, but found it to be working fine whenever I do and it’s also quite speedy.

GOES UP AND DOWN.
Ivacy’s status of working in China sometimes fluctuates. However, you’ll have good luck if you switch between OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec. Sometimes this is something you have to deal with in China as VPN’s become blocked intermittently, meaning that playing with different VPN features to bypass the block is sometimes necessary.


5. PureVPN

A really secure VPN for users in China

Screenshot of PureVPN's main page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Provides great obfuscation
  • Offers very good security and privacy
  • Comes with a huge server network and fast speeds
Cons
  • Only allows torrenting on servers in 30+ countries

HAS HIGH-END SECURITY AND PRIVACY
PureVPN works well in China because it provides obfuscation via the OpenVPN protocol. Also, it’s extremely secure since it uses advanced features like RAM-only servers, full leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy. And its no-logs policy has been independently audited multiple times. Plus, it also has Quantum-Resistant servers that can protect you against quantum cyber threats in the future.

PROVIDES FAST SPEEDS
PureVPN maintains very good speeds for browsing the web, streaming videos, and playing online games. That’s because it has a huge server network, numbering 6,000+ servers in 65+ countries, including many locations near China. So, Chinese users have an easy time using nearby servers to get the fastest speeds.

IT’S GREAT FOR STREAMING
PureVPN is compatible with tons of popular streaming services. I’m always able to use it without issues with Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video when I’m in China. Its P2P support is decent too, though it only allows torrenting on servers in 30+ countries.

6. TunnelBear

One of the most user-friendly VPNs for China

Screenshot of TunnelBear's main page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Extremely intuitive apps
  • Good free plan
  • Allows unlimited connections
  • Has a huge server count
Cons
  • Doesn’t support torrenting
  • Isn’t good for streaming

HAS APPS THAT ARE FUN TO USE
I really like how beginner-friendly this VPN is. It has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and the app design is very intuitive. Plus, the apps are full of bear-themed puns, so they’re fun to use. Also, you can use a digital map to connect to servers, which is really convenient.

ITS FREE PLAN WORKS IN CHINA
TunnelBear is one of the only free VPNs that actually work in China. Plus, it’s great that its free version provides access to all of the VPN’s features. It also allows unlimited simultaneous connections. The only inconvenient limit is that you’re restricted to 2 GB per month.

HAS A HUGE NUMBER OF SERVERS
TunnelBear has 5,000+ servers, which is an impressive server number. Thanks to this, the provider maintains fast speeds since it makes it very easy to avoid overcrowded servers. Whenever I used it in China, I always enjoyed smooth browsing and online gaming speeds.

I DON’T RECOMMEND IT FOR STREAMING OR TORRENTING
The only issue I have with TunnelBear is that it doesn’t consistently work with many popular streaming sites, like Netflix, Max, or BBC iPlayer. On top of that, its servers also don’t support P2P traffic. So if you were interested in either of those activities, just pick ExpressVPN or Astrill VPN instead.

7. PrivateVPN

Easy to use, has good security, and is pretty fast

Screenshot of PrivateVPN's main page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Has minimalist apps that are good for beginners
  • Provides obfuscation and strong security
  • Has good speeds
Cons
  • Lacks extra features that you get with other VPNs

ITS APP DESIGN IS GREAT FOR BEGINNERS
PrivateVPN has apps for all major platforms, and the design doesn’t feel overwhelming. It’s very easy to find and connect to different servers, and it’s also simple to find and change different settings. I also like how all features and settings come with helpful explanations.

IT’S GOOD FOR SECURING YOUR WEB TRAFFIC IN CHINA
PrivateVPN makes it possible to bypass censorship in China because it has obfuscation. On top of that, it also protects your data with perfect forward secrecy. What’s more, it has strong leak protection, and I never experienced any leaks in my tests.

MAINTAINS FAST SPEEDS FOR ALL WEB ACTIVITIES
PrivateVPN has server locations near China, such as Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. This makes it simple to get fast speeds by using nearby server locations. On the few occasions I did use PrivateVPN while in China, I never experienced noticeable slowdowns while browsing the web.

IS MISSING SOME IMPORTANT EXTRAS, HOWEVER
My only issue with PrivateVPN is that it doesn’t have some additional features that usually come with most top VPNs, like ExpressVPN for example. The vendor lacks extras like split-tunneling, an ad blocker, or a smart DNS.

8. Hotspot Shield

Very secure, and also has an excellent free plan for Chinese users

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's main page on its site.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  • Has the best free plan for accessing the web in China
  • Provides very strong security and fast speeds
Cons
  • Pretty pricey

HAS AN EXCELLENT FREE PLAN
Hotspot Shield is actually the best free VPN for users in China. It works there very well via its Hydra protocol, and its free plan also provides unlimited bandwidth (many free VPNs limit how much data you can use). Plus, the free plan also provides access to free servers in Singapore, allowing users in China to connect to a nearby location to get fast speeds.

ITS HYDRA PROTOCOL IS VERY SECURE AND FAST
In addition to providing obfuscation via Hydra, Hotspot Shield also offers perfect forward secrecy via its proprietary protocol. What more, the vendor has very good leak protection — I tested it by running 10 leak tests, and Hotspot Shield never leaked my data. And the Hydra protocol was also designed to be very lightweight, which is why it maintains really good speeds.

PROVIDES GOOD VALUE, BUT IS ALSO EXPENSIVE
With Hotspot Shield, you also get many other great perks, including good streaming and torrenting support, easy-to-use apps, and 1,800+ servers in 90+ countries. The only downside is that its prices are pretty steep. But, on the plus side, there’s a 45-day refund policy.

FAQS

WHY DO I NEED A VPN FOR CHINA?

Living in China is much different than the Western world when it comes to Internet usage. If you are new to the country, you will need to get used to a different world of internet. China has a different world of internet full of their own local platforms, making the use of a virtual private network (VPN) essential if you want to continue using websites such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube. All of the main international websites and apps are not accessible unless you connect to one of the best VPNs for China.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD VPN FOR CHINA?

There are many different VPN’s that work in China. The most important thing is to find one with fast speed, solid uptime, and good customer service to assist you when things aren’t going the way they should. When choosing which VPN to use in China, there are three main things to consider:

  1. The VPN works in China. Not all VPN providers have a successful connection and sometimes the connection is patchy. Find a reliable and stable provider like ExpressVPN.
  2. How fast its upload/download speeds are. Low speeds can be a killer, particularly if you are into streaming content or uploading videos to YouTube. This is very important for me as I’m always uploading content to YouTube.
  3. What its customer service looks like. The more money invested in customer service, i.e. live telephone operators, 24/7 availability, the better the VPN generally is.  This is especially true in China, when VPN’s get blocked and you may occasionally need to contact the support team for assistance and workarounds.

WHICH WEBSITES ARE BLOCKED IN CHINA?

Because China has their own platforms and are pushing to support their local businesses, they have decided to block most major international competitors. If you wish to access these international sites and apps, you will have to use a VPN in China. The following sites are currently blocked in China:

YouTubeFacebookInstagramGoogleGmail
VimeoNew York TimesGitHubGoogle MapsWikipedia
TwitterPinterestDropboxVimeoThe New York Times

HOW DO VPNS WORK?

While Internet censorship might sound like a nightmare, the best VPNs for China are designed specifically to provide a workaround to content restrictions and blocked websites. VPNs work by creating an encrypted connection between your computer and one located in another geographic location – in another country for the purposes of using one while located in China. The encryption factor is what separates a VPN from a typical proxy.

No one, including governments or ISPs can see the data you are transmitting to or receiving from a VPN connection; all they can see is that you are connected to the Internet. Once the connection is secure, all requests that you send to the Internet are first passed to a remote server located outside of China, say in Japan. The server there decrypts your requests and assigns them a Japan-based IP address before sending them along to the Internet. Since the requests are being made from Japan, not China, they are not blocked by Chinese censorship protocol. When you download pages, images, or files, they travel back to the Japanese server where they are encrypted and send to your computer, which decrypts them via the VPN protocol installed on your device.

IS USING A VPN IN CHINA ILLEGAL?

This is one of the most common questions about using a VPN in China. The answer really depends on what you are using a VPN for and who you talk to. Luckily for you, using a VPN as a foreigner to connect to social media, read Gmail and watch Youtube is 100% safe as a means to get around the great firewall of China. It is a safe way to connect to Instagram, Gmail, YouTube, etc, in China. Selling VPN services in China is definitely illegal and promoting VPN services in China is also bound to cause trouble. That’s why I recommend whenever you travel to China, or any country in the world, to enjoy the beautiful parts and keep positive without getting into any politics or debates. This outlook has served me well for 10 years of traveling around the world. Keeping an open mind and a positive outlook has helped me make friends and not offend anyone. If you follow this outlook in China, you will not have any issue using a VPN. 

That being said, since 2012, China has deployed software to seek out and block VPN usage inside its borders. However, most of these are domestic VPNs or low-budget imports that don’t have the funds to install proper security protocol to avoid detection. Higher quality VPNs have more robust defensive mechanisms to work around censorship in countries like Russia and China. However, a huge thing to remember is that most of the VPN websites are blocked within Chinese borders. That means if you want to use one of them during your travels to China, you must download the VPN before you enter the country.

THE BEST FREE VPN'S FOR CHINA

Check out my full post on the best free VPN for China, but to summarize, there are also quite a few options. I haven’t used them extensively, because I need the premium speed and servers that most paid VPN’s offer, but if you want to try a free VPN, you can try these ones out below:

  1. TunnelBear offers a free version that is quite limited but allows you to bypass the firewall without problem. There has been some connectivity issues in the past.
  2. Windscribe gives users 10GB of data for free every month.
  3. Hotspot Shield gives every user unlimited bandwidth.

WHICH VPNS ARE NOT WORKING IN CHINA?

There are a few VPNs that I do not recommend using in China. I have tried most of them and also heard complaints from other users about connectivity issues and complexity.

  1. IPVanish VPN has had mixed results in China and in order to get around the great firewall, you have to manually connect and input their servers’ IP addresses in yourself instead of connecting to the server names. Even doing this may cause problem, as China has blacklisted many of their IP addresses, so I do not recommend using IPVanish in China.
  2. HideMyAss!  have said themselves that they aren’t able to bypass the great firewall of China and have lost many clients in the process. Many of their servers are no longer working and you would be better off choosing a better VPN from the list above.
  3. Shadowsocks. While technically still working, using and setting up Shadowsocks in China is quite difficult without advanced knowledge.  Therefore, I don’t recommend going this route because setting up Shadowsocks can be quite complicated for a traveler coming to China or even someone living in China full time. Even with marginally faster speeds, using ExpressVPN or Astrill VPN is much more convenient and requires a lot less technical knowledge.

THANK YOU!

I hope you enjoyed my comprehensive VPN review for the best VPN’s in China. If perhaps you're also looking for a premium VPN service while back home, check out this resource of best VPNs. If you find one of these not working, please leave a comment down below and I will update the reviews. I hope this guide is useful for you as you travel around China!

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that I will receive a small commission if you purchase from one of my recommendations (at no extra cost to you). In fact, for many of these, I’ve found exclusive deals that will save you money!

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