8 Best VPN For China 2019 (Still Working in August 2019)

What is the Best VPN For China?

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 August 2019, I recommend the following VPNs below.

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 NordVPN
Unblocks websites well

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

#3 AstrillVPN
Another solid VPN for China

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

VERDICT
As of August 2019,  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.  NordVPN 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 Provider DL Speed
(MBps)
Server Locations
(Countries)
Summary
1. ExpressVPN 8 94 I’ve been using ExpressVPN for years. It’s one of the fastest and most reliable in the industry, especially for China.
2. NordVPN 7 62 Great connections in the bigger cities. Available for most devices. Unblocks sites and apps well. Quite fast. My main backup VPN.
3. AstrillVPN 7 60 I found it to have pretty good speeds in China. Solid and fairly reliable VPN for China. Over 300 servers in 63 countries. Slightly pricey.
4. VyprVPN 6 36 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.
5. IvacyVPN 7 50 Good all rounder. Fairly reliable for unblocking websites and general internet usage. Good prices.
6. BufferedVPN 6 37 Good customer service, and quite promising in the China market.
7. PIA 5 33 It's worked and connected successfully when I tested it in Guangzhou. I was able to watch YouTube with pretty good speeds and I was able to upload a video to YouTube without any issues. Sometimes need manual config.
8. TorGuard 4 55 I found it possible to bypasses censorship without issue but not the fastest connections compared with the others. And the settings are a little confusing.

VERDICT
ExpressVPN is the clear winner in terms of speed (especially on Hong Kong 5  and LA 4servers, wow, fast!) and number of countries as well as 2000+ servers. The best part about ExpressVPN which sets it apart from other VPNs is their technology which can bypass the great firewall even during bloockages. Out of the past few years I’ve used it, downtime is less and less and speeds are getting faster and faster. NordVPN comes in close second with fast speeds and also offers very good prices. 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 $1.33 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! NordVPN comes in close second.

FULL VPN REVIEWS

My top recommended VPN for China.

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

>>PROS and CONS

  • Very fast download/upload speeds
  • Incredible reliability and uptime
  • Unblocks YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Instagram
  • More than 3000 servers in 160 VPN locations
  • 24/7 Live chat customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
  • 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 more than 2,000 servers spanning 94 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. 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 NordVPN below, which I use as well as a backup.

Get ExpressVPN now
(save 49% using this link)


 

An excellent backup VPN.

NordVPN is one of the best vpns for china

>>Pros and Cons

  • Huge list of high speed servers
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlocks US Netflix
  • Great 24/7 customer support
  • Connection not always reliable in China
  • Obfuscated servers don't always work in China

RELIABLE
I use NordVPN alongside ExpressVPN because I like to have two solid VPN options with different servers and speeds ready to use in case one is running slow or becomes blocked. I’m constantly trying to find the best servers and speeds for both uploading content as well as watching YouTube in China, and with ExpressVPN and NordVPN, I have the best and fastest servers at my disposal.

HUGE LIST OF SERVERS
NordVPN has great reliability and industry-leading customer service. As part of its server expansion in 2018, it’s gained an impressive total of more than 5,000 worldwide servers spread across 62 countries. That’s a big deal when you’re browsing from China, as you have plenty of options and will always be able to find a fast server.

NordVPN also offers a large list of servers, but fewer countries than ExpressVPN

SECURE
To me, what’s even better is the security it boasts. It has IP leak protection and a built-in kill switch, both of which are important when surfing from China. On a normal VPN connection, if the VPN server shut down for even a second, it would be possible for third parties to identify your IP address. With the kill switch, you can stay safe behind the VPNs anonymity.

24/7 CUSTOMER SERVICE
Its customer service guarantees you a real person on the other end of the connection 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NordVPN’s generosity extends you a 30-day, money-back guarantee. That’s a really good deal if you’re coming to China for an extended work trip or vacation as you can sign up before you arrive, pay the monthly rate, enjoy NordVPN’s prowess for up to 30 days,  and if you’re not fully satisfied with the service, you can ask for your money back.

NordVPN is also great when it comes to unlocking the US version of Netflix, and it excels with Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

GOOD PRICE
NordVPN is currently offering a VERY sweet deal, which I’ve personally used for the past 3 years. At $2.99 per month, it’s an excellent VPN to install and use for your entire time traveling through China. I am constantly either using ExpressVPN or NordVPN because they provide excellent speed and allow me to do my work and travel throughout China without worrying.
Get NordVPN now


 

A solid VPN that has had some ups and downs.

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

>>Pros and Cons

  • The VIP add-on is one of the best ways to increase your speed while using a VPN in China
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 5 Simultaneous connections
  • Slightly pricy
  • Need to pay for VIP servers

ONE OF THE ORIGINALS
Astrill is another of the best VPNs for China, although lately it hasn’t been voted the best VPN on Reddit. I have used it extensively and found it to be fine, but lately I still prefer ExpressVPN and NordVPN because Astrill has had a history of getting blocked. However, it is still usable with decent speed as long as you install Astrill VPN and choose the StealthVPN protocol prior to arriving in China.  Astrill also offers quite a large amount of server countries, shown below.

A healthy amount of servers, but sometimes can’t connect

NEEDS A PAID UPGRADE
Unfortunately, for users in China, in order to successfully bypass the firewall, it’s highly recommended to purchase for the StealthVPN protocol upgrade. While it’s not the best, it does give you SUPER FAST speeds.

STILL USABLE
There was a time when Astrill was the clear winner amongst the common VPNs to use for China. Nowadays, their status has slipped a little bit but they are still one of the better VPNs to use. One thing I don’t like is the need for all of the add-ons like StealthVPN and their VIP servers, but if you do pay for them, they are a massive help.

Get Astrill VPN now


Still working quite well in China. Sometimes goes down.

Another one of the BEST Vpn's for china

>>Pros and Cons

  • Owns their own servers
  • Does not limit bandwidth or throttle speeds
  • Supports large number of platforms
  • Free trial limited to 3 days
  • Will suspend your account if copyright laws are broken

EXTRA SECURE
Much like NordVPN, 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 apps for 10 supported platforms and more than 200,000 IP addresses spread across 70 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. 

WILL BAN YOU IF YOU BREAK COPYRIGHT LAWS
VyprVPN supports torrenting and P2P, but there’s a catch: The VyprVPN user terms of agreement states that if you are caught breaking copyright laws, your account can be suspended. This is likely just VyprVPN’s way of covering themselves, but if you are using VyprVPN, you should make sure you’re careful not to break any copyright laws.

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.

Get Vypr VPN now


A promising VPN that is performing well in China

BufferedVPN is another one of the VPNs that you can use in China

>>Pros and Cons

  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections per license
  • Excellent customer service around the clock
  • 30-day trial is limited by number of sessions and bandwidth
  • US version of Netflix is only reliable on one server

GOOD CHOICE OF SERVERS
BufferedVPN is based out of Hungary with really nice servers available in Hong Kong and on the West Coast of the United States that are ideal for VPN users located in China. It has apps available for iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android and allows you up to five simultaneous connections for the price of one license.  If the US or Hong Kong servers aren’t working for you, there are 43 other countries that BufferedVPN operates out of that will have you successfully using a VPN in China.

PROVIDES STANDARD FEATURES
While it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, there are limitations that you must be aware of if you want this to be a cost-free experience. The guarantee is only good if you stay under 100 sessions, 10GB of data, or 10 hours of usage with the VPN. So if you’re streaming or doing some heavy-duty downloading, you’re unlikely to get this one for free. For security purposes, BufferedVPN has 256-bit encryption and a standard killswitch. It offers up to five connections per license and has some success with Netflix, although anything outside of its US West Coast server has spotty coverage. Customer service is exceptional with live chat and a ticketed email system that are both online.

WORKS FINE
BufferedVPN has been working fine for me every time I use it, and it’s another of the better VPN’s to use in China. Check out BufferedVPN below.

Get Buffered VPN


One of the cheapest VPN’s for China

Ivacy VPN pricing

>>Pros and Cons

  • Low monthly price
  • Lots of platforms supported
  • Low latency speeds for Chinese users
  • 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 $40 per year and has 459 servers across 55 different countries. Also, they are currently offering a sweet deal of only $80 for 5 years! That’s only $1.33 per month!

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 open VPN and L2TP, SSTP or PPTP. 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.

Get Ivacy VPN


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:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google
  • Gmail
  • Vimeo
  • New York Times
  • GitHub
  • Google Maps
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Dropbox
  • Vimeo
  • The 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

    If you’re looking for the best free VPN to use in china, 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 500 MB of data every day.

    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 NordVPN is much more convenient and requires a lot less technical knowledge.
    4. PureVPN is too slow to use effectively in China. I don’t recommend it either.

    THANK YOU!

    I hope you enjoyed my comprehensive VPN review for the best VPN’s in China. 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!

    8 Best VPN For China 2019 (Still Working in August 2019)

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