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The Best VPNs for China (Free and Paid)

The Best VPNs for China (Free and Paid)

Written by Candice SongUpdated Nov. 14, 2023

You've probably heard that Internet access can be a little tricky in China, with the websites you're used to using at home not being accessible in China. Getting a VPN like Astrill, Express, or Vypr can circumvent the problem (the China firewall) and make your trip a little easier. Find below our recommendations on the best 5 VPNS for China:

VPNFacebook requires a VPN

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, which extends a private network across a public network, enabling people to send and receive data from shared or public networks as if they were on private networks. In a nutshell, when using a VPN in China it will reroute your internet traffic so that your Internet connection behaves like you are in a different location than you are. It also allows you to stay anonymous while you are surfing the web.

Why get a VPN

VPN use makes it possible to access websites usually blocked on the Chinese Internet, including social media and search platforms such as Facebook, Google services (like Gmail, Google Search, Google+, Google Docs, etc), YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, as well as news sources like The New York Times, Bloomberg, and Le Monde.

If you need access to your email while you are in China and you use Gmail, a VPN is required. The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter: if you require use of these you will have to come prepared.

How to get a VPN

CensoredGoogle is blocked in China.

To use a VPN, most people living in China purchase a subscription. You can get these per day, per week, per month, per year, or even for multiple years (with subscriptions getting cheaper the longer your commitment, naturally).

Because most VPN providers' websites are also blocked, you generally have to set up the software before you come to China. This is a bit of a Catch 22. Get what you need set up on your laptop, tablet, or phone before departure: make sure all devices have the apps downloaded and working ahead of time.

We suggest having two (or more) VPNs... in case one fails to connect, as you often need a VPN to download a replacement VPN or updates.

Top 17 VPNs to Use in China

  • Shadowrocket: Paid iOS proxy tool, be used with other VPNS.
  • ExpressVPN: Paid, a classic and reputable VPN service.
  • Lets VPN: Paid.
  • Surfshark: Paid.
  • PureVPN: Paid.
  • FlowVPN: Paid.
  • CMlink: Chinese VPN service provider
  • NordVPN: Paid.
  • VyprVPN: Paid.
  • AstrillVPN: Paid.
  • Private Internet Access: Paid.
  • Hotspot Shield: Paid/partially free with limitations.
  • CyberGhost: Paid/partially free with limitations.
  • Windscribe: Paid/partially free with limitations.
  • ProtonVPN: Paid/partially free with limitations.
  • TunnelBear: Paid/partially free with limitations.
  • Hexatech: Paid/partially free with limitations.

Visit China (worry-free) with us

The Great WallBe worry-free on the Great Wall with China Highlights.

Who needs social media in China anyway! You'll be seeing so much in China that you don't have time to post on Facebook multiple times a day, but if you do, we can help you decide which VPN to get before you arrive. That way you won't be dealing with any Great Firewall-related issues while you're in China.

Contact us to tailor-make your unique China tour. You may want to have a look at our most popular China itineraries for ideas:

  • The Golden Triangle — the classic first-timer's 7-day journey through Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai — your way
  • Classic Wonders — the above with beautiful Guilin, all in 10 days, and fully-customizable

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