These are the best VPNs for China. This list has been very carefully compiled ensuring these VPNs satisfy everything you need from a VPN you wish to use in China.
China, as I’m sure you know, isn’t the most privacy-friendly or democratic country. Hence, everything you know about VPNs or privacy gets thrown out the window.
It has its own rules and hence requirements. The same hold true when selecting your VPN as well.
Picking a VPN just because it says it works in China doesn’t work! Hence, here’s a list what should work in China. “Should”? Yes. Any VPN list that claims to give you 100% working VPNs in China is just bluffing. I’m just being honest and transparent here.
Let’s get started then?
Is a VPN legal in China?
Before I give you this list, it’s very important to answer this question, isn’t it?
The short answer is- “Yes”. VPNs are legal in China! (But, wait!).
One fine morning in 2017, the Chineese govt. decided all VPNs will now require a “license” (by offering backdoor access) before they’re allowed to operate.
Of course, if the govt. has backdoor access to your VPN, there’s no point in using it anymore, is there?
Not just that, the govt. can now also shut down any VPN that doesn’t comply with what the govt. wants (sweet, eh?).
Why aren’t VPNs Banned in China?
This is another aspect you should understand when you’re trying to find the best VPN for China.
The govt. clearly hates VPNs, why don’t they just ban these outright then?
That’s because VPNs are very important for most businesses. Banning them outright would actually be counterproductive for companies as well as the economy.
Now, do understand that it’s generally VPN sellers/manufacturers the Chinese govt. hates more than the individual user. Hence, while using an approved VPN is still illegal, you may not be in massive trouble. At least that’s what history suggests. The govt. generally bans and fines the companies and their founders.
That been said, there have been cases of individuals being fined or even imprisoned for using unauthorized VPNs. In fact, there’s a pretty simple law that fines individuals $145 for using unauthorized VPNs.
What Factors to Look for in The Best VPNs for China?
Choosing a VPN for literally any other location is simpler than choosing a VPN for China.
You’re at the risk of persecution, jail time or worse if your VPN isn’t strong or private-enough.
So, here are the primary factors I look for when selecting a VPN for China-
Obfuscated servers: Your VPN probably won’t even work in China without Obfuscated servers. It’s a technology which hides the fact that you’re using a VPN from your ISP. Hence, the Great Firewall (Chinese anti-VPN body) wouldn’t be able to detect that you’re using a VPN.
Secondly, the VPN must NOT HAVE a backdoor for it to be truly effective, right? Hence, an “independently verified no logs policy” is the second most important factor I’m looking at.
Third, the VPN must be subject to jurisdictions that China can’t influence or obtain data from.
Live-chat. This is very important! I get it; it’s not a driving factor when you’re selecting a normal VPN. But, a VPN in China may often require additional tinkering for it to work properly. Hence, you must choose a service that offers fast and well-informed responses.
The Kill-switch is extremely important as well as it protects you from accidently leaking your IP address. That’s available with every single VPN mentioned below.
Apart from these, other advanced features such as Double VPN, anonymous signing up & anonymous payments, advanced security protocols etc. are paid attention to.
Let’s get you the best VPNs for China then.
Features that help you in China (this isn’t a full-feature list, just the features that are most helpful or desirable in a VPN for China):
- Obfuscated servers
- No-logs policy (verified)
- Panama Jurisdiction
- Dedicated IP addresses
- Best live-chat ever
- Unblocks 11 Netflix libraries
- “Onion over VPN” servers
- Cloud Storage and Password Manager
NordVPN is one of the very few VPNs that has confirmed that it’s working in China. The first feature we look for, Obfuscated servers are totally offered by NordVPN. The Chinese govt. won’t know that you’re using a VPN.
Backdoors are just not possible with NordVPN because it got itself independently audited. Hence, there are “no logs” and this has been proven.
The VPN doesn’t require any data when signing up. You can absolutely pay using Cryptocurrencies as well. No traces whatsoever.
NordVPN is also one of the extremely rare VPNs that offers a “Double VPN”. Your IP address is changed twice before connecting to the web.
Netflix in China is another reason why I’m recommending NordVPN here. This is a two-tier problem. First, Netflix is banned in China. Second, Netflix bans all VPNs by default.
So, you need a VPN that can circumvent not just the Great Firewall, but also Netflix’s VPN-detection. NordVPN does exactly that, in fact, it’s probably one of the 4 or 5 VPNs out there capable of pulling the Netflix stunt.
You can use NordVPN on 6 devices simultaneously. The VPN even protects you from ads/malware or being fingerprinted on the web!
As far as live-chat goes, there aren’t many VPNs that offer support as good as NordVPN does.
Some other features, while not China-specific but certainly desirable are its Meshnet, Dedicated IP and dark web monitor.
The Meshnet basically lets you access your system remotely, host game sessions, share files securely etc.
The dark web monitor would alert you if your data/credentials are up for sale somewhere.
The dedicated IP comes in handy when you’re staying in China but you must use a specific IP for any reason.
Split Tunnelling lets you pick & choose which apps/browsers you’d like to use the VPN for. This makes sure you can skip the VPN when accessing Chinese govt. websites just to be safe.
It’s the first VPN that brought in “Onion over VPN” servers. This lets you access .onion websites without Tor and adds massive privacy to your connection.
You can try NordVPN for China risk-free for 30 days, there’s a 100% refund policy. The cheapest plan sells for just $3.49/month.
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Features that help you in China:
- U.S. jurisdiction
- Live-chat available.
This is an interesting case. AtlasVPN’s biggest weakness is actually its greatest strength in context of a VPN for China.
So, it’s a U.S-based VPN. In any other case, I’d run away from AtlasVPN. However, I’m pretty sure the Chinese govt. can’t force a U.S company to share data.
Of course, AtlasVPN has a no-logs policy that’s independently verified. Now, there are no obfuscated servers with AtlasVPN, however, it does offer a ton of additional features that even NordVPN lacks.
For starters, it has a feature that constantly rotates your IP address so that you’re impossible to trace. All these IP addresses are from the same location if you’re doing something that’s location-specific.
Another feature does the same thing (Multihop+) but in this case the IP addresses change countries/locations as well.
Of course it also blocks malware, adware, fake websites and other such threats as well. You can also use AtlasVPN on literally any number of devices at the same time, without limit.
AtlasVPN, despite its extremely-advanced feature is actually the cheapest VPN on this list. It only costs $1.83/month.
It also has a live-chat for you once you become a paying member.
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Features that help you in China:
- Obfuscated servers
- Twice verified “no logs” policy
- Dedicated IP
- British Virgin Island jurisdiction
PureVPN is on this list simply because it offers Obfuscated servers and a massive arsenal of servers. In fact, it offers more servers (6500+) than any other VPN in the industry. This ensures you’ve enough options and no competition for bandwidth when using the VPN in China.
In fact, the VPN used to operate directly out of Hong Kong before shifting to British Virgin Islands for added anonymity! Does fit the bill for a good China VPN, doesn’t it?
Talking of anonymity, yes there’s a “no log policy” and yes it has been verified. Twice! The Chinese govt. has no backdoors, guaranteed. It’s the only VPN that accepts “anytime audits” that further backs my statement.
Need the dedicated IP despite being in China? PureVPN has got your back! Each PureVPN account can be used with over 10 devices.
You can start using the VPN for a low $2.29/month. And, yes. Signing up is anonymous! You also can pay using Cryptocurrencies. There’s even a 31-day refund policy.
Features that help you in China:
- Proprietary obfuscated servers (StealthVPN/OpenWeb)
- Split Tunneling
- Onion over VPN servers
- Dedicated IPs
AstrillVPN isn’t a VPN that I have a lot of experience with to be honest. However, when tried, it actually came back with impressive results and features.
There’s obfuscated servers for starters. It calls these StealthVPN and OpenWeb. These are developed by Astrill purely for bypassing restrictions such as the Great Firewall.
Then, it has “Smart Mode” which automatically uses the VPN only for international websites. Local websites are accessed without the VPN. Less suspicion, eh?
Of course a manual Split Tunnelling feature is available as well. DoubleVPN too is available and is called MultiHop.
It’s the only VPN after NordVPN that offers “Onion over VPN” servers. You can connect unlimited devices to the VPN. It offers dedicated IPs as well. A 24X7 live-chat is available as well.
Yes, anonymous signing up(with the help of Anonymous Email) and payments are supported. It’s pretty expensive though (one of the reasons why it’s low on this list) and the entry-point is set at $15.00/month.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some of the questions you almost certainly have if you’re searching for a VPN in China.
Which VPNs are approved by the govt. in China?
So, note that none of the VPNs mentioned above are “officially approved” in China. That’s because these VPNs refuse to grant the Chinese govt. the backdoor access required for “approval”.
Of course, a few VPNs which did bend over for the govt. are:
- Hyoyun VPN
- Green VPN
- China Unicom VPN
- China Mobile VPN
- Chongqing Telecom VPN
Do note that using these VPNs will grant the Chinese govt. complete access to your activities.
Why is your VPN not working in China?
Despite the above VPNs being the best VPNs in China, it’s possible that some of these do not work for you.
Well, that’s just because the Chinese govt. does try real hard to block VPNs.
Worry not, there are a few tweaks that let you use these VPNs in China despite the government’s censorship.
- If your VPN supports it, switch to the IKEv2 protocol.
- NordVPN has this advanced protocol called “NordLynx” that helps in most cases.
- Of course, the simpler solution is to just switch to a different server. Chances are, the specific server is blocked and switching may solve it.
- At times, you may need to download security certificates to get the VPN to work.
- Switch devices. At times, some VPNs work on some devices while not working on others.
Point being, connect to your VPN’s live-chat or customer support in any other way for the exact fix.
Hey, I’m not saying it’s easy! But you’re trying to fight one of the most conservative regimes on the planet, a little struggle is expected, isn’t it?
So, which VPNs are the best for China?
NordVPN seems pretty promising. With its obfuscated servers, DoubleVPN and IKEv2 protocols, it’s one of the few VPNs capable of bypassing the Great Firewall.
AstrillVPN is an extremely feature-rich China-compatible VPN as well, however, it’s expensive. If budget isn’t your primary issue, this sure is worth a try.
Do note that nothing is guaranteed when you’re dealing with the Chinese government. What works today may not work tomorrow!
Hence, the best option for now in my opinion is you try some of these VPNs out first-hand. NordVPN is a decent VPN to start with as its 30-day refund policy protects your wallet.