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5 Best VPNs for China That Still Work in 2018

The Chinese government does its level best to censor content it considers politically, culturally, or morally undesirable. To that end, China has developed the most extensive and sophisticated internet censorship system in the world.


China VPN

The Best VPNs for China: Summary

Here's our list of recommended VPNs for China. For a more in-depth list, keep scrolling:

  1. ExpressVPN - A great VPN for streaming with fast speeds
  2. CyberGhost - A robust VPN for China that's also easy to use
  3. NordVPN - A VPN that offers great security features
  4. VyprVPN - This VPN offers Chameleon technology for China users
  5. PrivateVPN - A solid VPN service for China that won't break the bank

The good news for anyone living in or visiting mainland China, is that the Great Firewall is a long way from perfect. Indeed, it can usually be evaded by the simple measure of using a VPN.

Over the last 5 years, our experts have reviewed over 150 VPNs and have been able to compile a list of the very best VPNs that are able to evade China's great firewall. Before we look at using a VPN in China, here is a look at our top picks for best VPN in China.

Top VPNs for China

1. NordVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
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Editor's Choice

Arguably, NordVPN’s biggest selling point is that it is based in Panama. This puts it comfortably outside the direct influence of both the NSA and copyright holders. It backs up this privacy-friendly stance by keeping no logs at all, using great encryption, and accepting potentially anonymous payment in bitcoins. Although I have to be convinced of its utility, many also value NordVPN’s support for “double-hop” VPN chaining. When it comes to China, NordVPN supports uses XOR obfuscated servers to defeat the Great Firewall. Additional features include P2P permitted, and great OpenVPN encryption.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 62
  • Average Speed 56.06 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Panama

Likes

  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Dedicated IPs (cost extra)

Dislikes

  • IPv6 leak in macOS IKEv2 app

Features

Total servers 4568
Countries 62
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers Combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Raspberry Pi Tomato Synology DD-WRT AsusTOR AsusWRT AsusWRT-Merlin pfsense D-Link Linksys TP-Link OpenWRT belkin DrayTek Qnap Arris TOTOLink Mikrotik Huawei Tenda WD MikroTik IPFire TRENDnet EdgeRouter GLiNet NetDuma Fortinet Sabai ubee
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Panama
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 206.23
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 56.06
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 3 Days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

2. ExpressVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.7 out of 10
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ExpressVPN provides a world-leading VPN service. Key to this is superb customer relations, which includes a genuine, no-quibble, 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. This focus on user-friendliness can also be seen in the design of ExpressVPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and routers. These are very simple to use, yet hide powerful VPN features. These include a firewall-based kill switch, DNS leak protection, and superb OpenVPN encryption. ExpressVPN operates “stealth” servers in Hong Kong that are purpose-made for defeating the GFW. ExpressVPN is not the cheapest service out there, but it is arguably the most polished. It even throws in a Smart DNS service for free! Additional features: three simultaneous connections, DNS leak and WebRTC leak protection, great OpenVPN encryption with perfect forward secrecy.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 94
  • Average Speed 69.4 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 3
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

Likes

  • Super fast - great for streaming!
  • Very secure 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 5* 24/7 customer support
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today

Dislikes

  • IPv6 WebRTC leaks (fixed by browser extension)
  • A little pricey
  • BVI jurisdiction is not ideal

Features

Total servers 2000
Countries 94
Simultaneous connections 3
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Asus RT-AC56R, Asus RT-AC56S, Asus RT-AC56U, Asus RT-AC68U, Asus RT-AC87U, Linksys EA6200, Linksys WRT1200AC, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J1, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J2, Linksys WRT1900ACS, Linksys WRT3200ACM, Netgear R6300v2, Netgear Nighthawk R7000
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? N/A

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 141.39
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 69.4
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

3. CyberGhost

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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CyberGhost has more than 800 servers & global coverage. The CyberGhost app is really funky and will appeal to a fashion-conscious, young crowd. CyberGhost are based both in Romania and Germany, the latter being responsible for most of the software development. With both teams united by a common credo for internet anonymity, CyberGhost is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture. They offer excellent speeds and unblock key global content such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer at a very reasonable price making this an excellent choice for any VPN user.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 61.67 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 7
  • Jurisdiction Romania

Likes

  • Private: Great logs policy
  • Based in Romania so no government spying!
  • Good looking and easy-to-use software: Seven simultaneous connections
  • Friendly Live Chat support
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Total servers 2750
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 7
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Any router with VPN capabilities
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Romania
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Trackers used

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 139.14
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 61.67
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

4. PrivateVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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Sweden-based VPN provider, PrivateVPN, is an excellent choice for a China VPN, especially after winning BestVPN.com’s “Best Value VPN” of 2018. Not only do you get a full service VPN at an affordable price, but you get 54 server locations, excellent customer service, super fast streaming speeds, and great encryption - extremely useful when you reside in China. PrivateVPN is particularly ideal for getting into Netflix. PrivateVPN also offers six simultaneous connections, WiFi protection, and a 30-day money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 58.9 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Sweden

Likes

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in 56 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Zero logs
  • 24/7 customer support

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Total servers 100
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols IPSec, Shadowsocks

Privacy

Jurisdiction Sweden
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 310.16
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 58.9
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Proxy
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

5. VyprVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.4 out of 10
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Thanks to owning and maintaining its entire infrastructure, VyprVPN is one of the fastest and most secure VPN services out there. Encryption is fantastic on all its plans. For users in China, the most important of these is “Chameleon” stealth technology (premium plan only). This is specifically designed to defeat the GFW. VyprVPN also uses UDP ports in its apps to help defeat port blocking and other throttling issues. Like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a free Smart DNS service for all customers. One drawback, however, is that VyprVPN does not permit torrenting.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 70
  • Average Speed 47.99 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Switzerland

Likes

  • Strong encryption protocols and policies
  • Worldwide server network
  • 24/7 customer support
  • PayPal now a payment method
  • Proprietary Technology & exclusive features

Dislikes

  • Connection logs stored for 30 days
  • No P2P

Features

Total servers 700
Countries 70
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols Chameleon

Privacy

Jurisdiction Switzerland
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 74.82
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 47.99
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 3 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer
Amazon Prime
Hulu

Why do I need a VPN in China?

Chinese citizens enjoy the dubious pleasure of having the most restricted internet access in the world.  The far-reaching mechanism used to achieve this is often referred to as the Great Firewall of China (GFW).

It has been widely reported that China has “cracked down” on VPNs, but this only really applies to domestic VPN services. A number of international VPNs continue to work just fine on the mainland. These all use various obfuscation technologies to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. VPN services that do not offer such technologies are unlikely to work, and ones that do will only work if you actually take advantage of their anti-censorship features.

If you are visiting China then you can make life much easier by signing up for a VPN service and downloading its software before setting foot on the mainland. If this is not possible, or if your VPN does not work when you are there, then please see How to Bypass VPN Blocks for various tactics that are worth trying in China.

What can I unblock with a VPN for China

Interestingly, Chinese censorship focuses very little on domestic content. The GFW is mainly concerned with preventing citizens from accessing international content.

Take a look at the table below for a list of blocked websites:

websiteWhen was it BlockedBlock status
Google services2014All services are blocked
DuckDuckGO2014Blocked
Youtube2009Only Available in cities Haikou and Sanya
Facebook2009Only Available in cities Haikou and Sanya
Twitter2009Only Available in cities Haikou and Sanya
Instagram2014Blocked
Pinterest2017Blocked
Tumblr2016Blocked
Flickr2014Blocked
Whatsapp2017Blocked
Pornhub2012Blocked
Xvideos2011Blocked
Xhamster2011Blocked
BBC2014Blocked
HBO2018Blocked
BestVPN2017Blocked

Quick view

Accessing the internet from mainland China can, without doubt, be a bit of a pain. The GFW is the most extensive and sophisticated internet censorship system ever devised! With a little trial, error, and patience, however, it usually possible to use a VPN to access the internet unrestricted.

Editor's Choice 1. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 10 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
2. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
3. From $3.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.4 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
4. From $4.17 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.4 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
5. From $2.73 / month
BestVPN.com Score 7.4 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

Written by: Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

93 Comments

  1. Louis Coleman
    Verified User on July 27, 2018
    Reply

    I went to china months ago and I used VPN free application to still access my SNS accounts while in there. It's quiet cool how it works and I did enjoy accessing my accounts using it. Anyway, thank you for this informative article, I learned what are the best VPN apps to use aside from what I'm using.

  2. Al
    Verified User on April 26, 2018
    Reply

    I live in China and been here for a while and now and have tried just about every vpn to see which one works. First you have to understand with VPNs in China they are very location and ISP specific. You need to try out which one works for your work or home. I actually use two one for work and one for home. Different ISPs so different results, even though my home and my work are only a few Km apart. Take advantage of the trial periods. Make sure they work and get good speeds where you need them. Even then you may have difficulties a few months later. China is always adapting against VPNs, so what may work now might not work later. I know it sucks. Different areas in China will have drastically different results. Even building by building. China's internet infrastructure is very chaotic. When I first got here I found a fantastic VPN worked wonderfully but I don't use it now, because China blocked it and after I couldn't get the same speeds and connection stability I had before. The one I would recommend is ExpressVPN. In my experience, and out of all the expats I know, around 80% use it. I work with a few hundred expats, and that is the go to VPN for most. It is very reliable and stable. Also it is a larger company so they have the resources to adapt quickly to China's ever changing Firewall. The smaller VPN companies usually have difficulties in that area. You have Vypr ranked best in China, I would rank it one of the worst for China. I had it for a year no matter where I was at or what city it wouldn't connect or if it did was very slow. Almost all expats download tv/movies from their home country and Vypr will suspend your account if caught. Right there is huge con against Vypr in China. Some tips if you are going to China and will be there a while get a VPN before you go, just a monthly sub. Just a monthly sub because if doesn't give you speed or stability you need you can cancel and not be locked into a year. When you get there use that VPN to download other VPNs, only ones with a trial, preferably at least 7 days. Try them all out so which one works the best and go with that one. Remember to uninstall ones you tried, they may interfere with each other. I wouldn't pay for more than a year. Because if it gets blocked or slows down you aren't stuck for two or more years of a useless VPN.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Al
      on April 27, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Al, Thanks for that great post, which, I think, confirms much of what I have said in this article. You make a good point about VyprVPN's policy on copyright infringement, although it is my understanding that it works well in China.

  3. qx
    Verified User on March 29, 2018
    Reply

    I have used Vypr for a month. Actually, the connection speed is fine(I'm not in Beijing, fortunately). However, just like some users mentioned above, it might have some issues with privacy, etc. It seems kind of creepy that I have used it for a month, logging onto all kinds of accounts. Besides, it does not allow users to change their subscription plan once they paid. That means that after a user paid for a month, he/she can't switch to a yearly plan afterwards. That's ridiculous...The customer support is 24/7, but often they don't help much. I'm using freevpn.pw on my Mac now, which is free and stable. However, I'm not sure whether it is safe. Does anyone mind sharing some info about this software? I'm not sure now which VPN I should use. I have tried ExpressVpn, however, it is sometimes not very stable. I guess it is because it's so famous that it gets the attention of GFW...

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to qx
      on March 29, 2018
      Reply

      Hi qx. - Can you please explain what you mean by "it might have some issues with privacy." - When your 1 month subscription is fished, what is stopping you from simply taking out a new 1 year sub?

  4. A.S
    Verified User on March 9, 2018
    Reply

    Just came back from China last week. Tried Vyrl, Express, and Nord and none of them worked in Beijing. But as soon as you got out of Beijing, they started to work.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to A.S
      on March 12, 2018
      Reply

      Hi A.S Thanks for that insight - we value on-the-ground reports.

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