Best VPN to use in China

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Best VPN to use in China

BEST VPN

Whether you’re visiting China on vacation or plan to spend an extended period of time there, chances are you’ll want to maintain access to the Western sites and services you use in the USA, whether that’s Netflix, Hulu or HBO. There are many VPNs out there to choose from, but that doesn’t mean they’re all high quality. Plus, some won’t work too well in China. Despite the fact that China’s VPN ban came into effect in March 2018, these services can still be used, so it’s important to get clued up on the best VPN to use in China before you go.

By Imogen Groome | 19th May 2019
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It’s increasingly common for people to use VPNs in China – in fact, over 31% of the population there use this type of service. This is due to the advanced online censorship system in place. Referred to as the Great Firewall, this setup blocks sites and apps like Facebook, Tinder, Netflix and news media in Western locations. Many VPNs will also be blocked in China, even though it will work, so make sure you do your research before hopping on a plane and get set up with the best VPN before you get to China. Here’s a handy list of the best options for you.

ExpressVPN

If you’re looking for the best free VPN to use in China, this isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s definitely worth the investment if you’re looking for a reliable service. You’ll find that many people residing in China have chosen ExpressVPN as their provider for accessing Western services. Its plus points are numerous – there are many VPN server locations, three connections can run at once, the uptime is claimed to be 99.9% and the live chat support is available 24/7.

That isn’t all; it works on all of the main desktop and mobile platforms, which means you won’t have to purchase a new device if you want a VPN that works in China. In other words, you can use ExpressVPN on Android, Linux, Fire TV, MaxOS, iOS and Windows. You can even torrent using this VPN, and there are servers which work with Netflix.

To get more into the technical details, there are over 3000 servers and these are located in 160 places. There are also 30,000 IP addresses, ensuring your connection is secure and private. Although it’s a little more expensive than its rivals, the quality cannot be ignored. The provider is proactive in its monitoring of the network for accessibility in China and endeavours to make sure it stays a step ahead of any efforts from the censors to block VPN connections.

NordVPN

NordVPN is a great choice if you want several connections running at once, as it allows for six connections to be active simultaneously with its competitively priced subscription. There are servers available in over 60 countries, and you can enjoy video streaming sites such as Hulu and Netflix with this service. Those wanting high levels of privacy and anonymity can enjoy strong encryption standards, as some servers have speed and security optimizations such as anti-DDoS in place. Furthermore, no user activity logs are kept, meaning you can browse the sites you want to without leaving a trail.

To use NordVPN on your device, it’s recommended to go for the Windows or MacOS desktop app. If you have an Android device, then go for the beta version of the newest app. The service is still working on getting around the Great Firewall for its iOS app.

The plus points with this service are clear – there’s a great choice of server locations, over 5300 servers and a high quality performance. There isn’t live chat support, but the online query submissions are monitored constantly so you shouldn’t be waiting too long for a response.

Chinese Dragon
Find the best VPN for use in China (Picture: iStock by Getty)
VyprVPN

Another option for users when it comes to a VPN to use in China is VyprVPN, which is unique compared to most of its competitors in that it’s a tier-1 VPN network. This means the provider doesn’t rent any servers, as it owns servers which are used. The good thing about this is that the uptime is excellent and users can expect consistently speedy connections. You can opt for a Pro version, which includes a ‘Chameleon’ protocol. This masks VPN traffic to make it less vulnerable to the deep packet inspection technology seen with the Great Firewall. While this service is pricier, one payment option which is beneficial for those residing in China is Alipay. This is a popular payment gateway in the country with similarities to PayPal.

There are over 700 servers and more than 70 server locations available, plus a whopping 200,000 IP addresses. You can use up to five devices at once with this VPN connection, which comes in handy if there’s more than one family member or friend wanting to access Western services. There is 24/7 live chat available if you encounter any issues, plus high quality support for mobile operating systems.

PrivateVPN

This is a VPN that works in China, as you can activate a feature called ‘stealth mode’ in the settings. Upon switching this on, you will have a layer of obfuscation added to your connection, which makes encrypted traffic look unencrypted. The net result is that the Great Firewall will have additional difficulty detecting the VPN. PrivateVPN specialises in providing high speeds and unlocking location-specific content such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Netflix.

There are no usage details stored, and users won’t find that their online activity is detailed in any metadata logs. Furthermore, there is a live chat support available, should you have any queries which require answering. Six devices can be connected at any one time, and you’ll find this service compatible with Android, iOS, MacOS and Windows. The downsides are that the server network isn’t as big as those you could access with competitors, and the live chat isn’t 24/7.

Buffered VPN

If your aim is to steam video and games while in China, then Buffered VPN could be the ideal option for you. It’s available exclusively on desktop devices, and there are several servers located in Asia. It’s not 100% guaranteed that you will access a consistent service in China, but the Windows client has a Test Firewall element, which helps with getting past the Great Firewall. This is because the function allows running a port discovery, therefore revealing all of the ports on the network which a customer is using to connect.

The plus points with Buffered VPN are the performance and support levels, the fact up to 5 devices can be supported simultaneously, and the range of server locations. As every service will have some downsides, those seen with this provider are that some believe it to be a little expensive, and it doesn’t provide as reliable a service on mobile devices.

Chiang Mai, Thailand - April 26, 2016: man hand holding screen shot of Netflix application showing on Asus Zenfone 2 mobile phone. Netflix is a global provider of streaming movies and TV series.
A VPN can let you use services like Netflix in China (Picture: iStock by Getty)
PureVPN

This established provider has ensured it’s head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to using a VPN in China. There are over 2000 servers, and these are located in over 180 places – 120 are in Asia, and four are in China. What’s more, there are over 300,000 IP addresses on offer and 5 devices can use the service at once.

Getting set up with PureVPN before heading to China is a breeze, as the user interface is designed for a range of tech skill sets. You can Choose a Purpose, which involves selecting from a list of tasks that you may want to carry out using a VPN. This makes it easier to figure out how to get connected, and is worth playing around with before you depart.

Unlike its competitors, PureVPN has a support page which is dedicated to users in China, providing tips, tricks and information for evading the Great Firewall and getting the most out of the service while residing in this location. The downside with this provider is that several reports across the web detail issues customers have had while using it.

Summary

It’s clear that there are several options available when it comes to finding a VPN to use in China. Paying for a subscription will provide you with a higher quality service than using a free VPN, and it’s worth deciding what you will be using the service for before heading to China. Getting the system set up before leaving will also prove to be a useful advantage, and using a service which offers round-the-clock live support will save you any stress if you encounter technical issues. Always make sure you read reviews for the best VPN services out there, as this will ensure you can weigh up your options and don’t go for the first offer you’re presented with.

Written by
Imogen Groome
Imogen is editor-in-chief of Hot5. She is also a lifestyle blogger, author and freelance journalist, with particular interests in music, politics, psychic readings and dating. She is usually found at home with her collection of animals, drinking iced tea. Read more.
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