Best VPNs for China

Best VPNs for China

In order to help you find the Best VPN for those in China, we spent more than 40 hours analyzing every VPN on the market, graded each one on over 20 different features, and put together this list to help you narrow down your options.

Our Selection Criteria

Not all VPNs are created equal. We analyzed every single VPN service on the market rated them based on 24 different variables across 4 categories to pick the best VPN services.

  • shape-1 65
    VPNs Reviewed
  • shape-1 33
    VPNs
    Curated
  • shape-1 14
    Top Picks
  • 1. Reputation

    Great user reviews, testimonials, and recognition from other reputable outlets.

  • 2. Security

    Uses the highest available level of encryption and the most up-to-date-security features.

  • 3. Server Coverage and Speed

    Vast networks of servers in multiple countries and the fastest connections.

  • 4. Logging Policy

    Commitment to not collect your data to sell to advertisers or share with law enforcement.

Best VPNs for China

12VPN

The reviews of 12VPX are pretty clear: it’s not as comprehensive as some of the other offerings out there, but it does work well in China. If finding a VPN that you can use in China is your primary goal, then it may be worth a closer look.

12VPX has 30+ servers located in 20 different counties, with specialty servers designed for connecting from China. It doesn’t offer any mobile apps, though, so you’ll have to set this VPN up manually. It also doesn’t allow torrenting, except on one server, and doesn’t unblock major streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

In short, if you expect all of the latest VPN features, then you may be disappointed, but expats and other users living in China may find that it does the job. Subscriptions range from $5.99 to $10.99 per month, and come with a 14-day money-back guarantee. You’ll also get access to customer support via email, but no live chat.

Features
Price 1 month: $10.99
6 months: $8.99/month
12 months: $5.99/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 30 servers in 20 locations
Number of Devices 6
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —14-day money-back guarantee
—Customer Support: Email
—Encryption: AES-256

Astrill

Astrill VPN is one of the pricier VPNs on this list, with plans going for $20 per month, or $10 per month if you pay yearly. However, it has fast speeds, unblocks several popular streaming platforms, and allows for unlimited device connections, which may make it a good choice for some users. It also works well in China, and can connect to over 111+ cities in 59+ countries for comprehensive global coverage.

Astrill VPN is based in the Seychelles for strong privacy protections, and it has a strict no-logging policy, although it does keep track of active sessions. Astrill offers apps for Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, and more, and provides 24/7 live chat support. You can choose from several AES encryption methods and VPN protocols.

Astrill doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, but you can test it out with a free 7-day trial. This trial isn’t available in China, though, so if you want to make use of it, you’ll have to do it before you arrive in the country.

Features
Price 1 month: $20
1 year: $10/month
6 months: $15/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 111 cities in 59 countries
Number of Devices Unlimited devices
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —14-day money-back guarantee
—Customer Support: Email
—Encryption: AES-256

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN often tops the list of VPNs that work in China, because it regularly tests its network to make sure it can bypass China’s firewall. It uses advanced obfuscation tools to keep your VPN usage hidden so that censors can’t block your connection.

With over 160 servers in 94 countries —including other regional locations such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan —you’ll be able to access international streaming content and social media networks from within China. ExpressVPN relies on 256-bit AES encryption and has a strict no-logging policy to keep your internet traffic safe.

Plans cost $12.95 per month, or $8.32 per month if you sign up for a full year. You can download native apps for all of your devices, and connect up to five devices at once. All plans come with 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Features
Price 1 month: $12.95
1 year: $9.99
6 months: $8.32
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 160 server locations in 94 countries
Number of Devices 5
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, and Vivaldi browsers
More Features —Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.
—Encryption: 256-bit AES

Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield has a reputation for being a fast VPN, but the same features that give it its speed —such as a proprietary VPN protocol called Catapult Hydra —make it a great VPN to use in China. Hotspot Shield has over 3,200 servers in 80+ countries, making it easy to connect to a server near you for streaming, gaming, torrenting, and more.

Premium plans start at $7.99 per month for up to five devices, or $11.99 per month for the Premium Family plan, which supports up to 25 devices. There’s also a free option, but it only allows for a single device and has a 500 MB daily data limit. That won’t be enough for frequent use, but it may be worth trying it out to test out the Hotspot Shield app. If you do subscribe to a paid plan, you can cancel within 45 day for a full refund.

Hotspot Shield is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more, and comes with 24/7 live tech support if you need help getting set up.

Read our full Hotspot Shield review.

Features
Price Free: $0
Premium: $7.99/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 3,200+ servers in 80+ countries
Number of Devices 5
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —Customer Support: 24/7 live chat support
—Streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.
—Encryption: 256-bit AES

Ivacy VPN

Ivacy VPN offers several useful features for users in China, whether you want to access content from within China or without. You’ll be able to connect to over 1,000 VPN servers in 100+ locations, including servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, and more. Plus, you’ll get 256-bit AES encryption and a no-logging policy to keep your traffic secure.

Ivacy VPN offers apps for all major operating systems, with up to 10 devices connected at once. Plans cost $9.95 per month, or as little as $2.25 per month if you subscribe for two years up-front. You can also try it out for seven days for only $0.99. As with most of the VPNs on our list, it’s a good idea to download it before you arrive in China.

If you need additional features, you can add on a dedicated IP and port forwarding, and pay using credit card, PayPal, BitPay, and several international payment methods.

Read our full Ivacy review.

Features
Price 7 days: $0.99
1 month: $9.95/month
2 month: $2.25/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 1,000+ Servers in 100+ Locations
Number of Devices 10
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —7-day trial for $0.99
—Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Encryption: 256-bit AES

NordVPN

NordVPN has a commitment to supporting its users in countries with heavily restricted internet access, including China. In addition to obfuscated servers that make it harder for censors to detect that you’re using a VPN, they also offer a Double VPN tool that routes your traffic through two different overseas servers. All told, they have 5,300+ servers in 59 countries to help you access the internet without borders.

NordVPN’s other security features include 256-bit AES encryption, a built-in kill switch, and the CyberSec malware-blocker. It’s based in Panama, and has a strict no-logging policy to protect against government surveillance. It also allows for P2P downloading, and lets you connect up to six devices at once.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and range from $5.75 per month to $11.95 per month, depending on how long you subscribe for. You can download the NordVPN app on most devices, and access 24/7 live chat support for help.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Features
Price 1 month: $11.95
6 months: $9/month
1 year: $5.75/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 5,300+ servers in 59 countries
Number of Devices 6
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —30-day money-back guarantee
—Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.

PandaVPN

PandaVPN has been around for a while —1990 to be exact —and is based in Bilbao and Madrid, Spain. Along with antivirus software and other security products, they also offer a VPN as a standalone product for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more.

You can subscribe to PandaVPN for $9.99 per month (or less if you choose a long-term subscription) and connect up to three of your devices at once. PandaVPN actually runs on Hotspot Shield’s technology, so you’ll get access to the Catapult Hydra protocol, AES 256-bit encryption, and servers in 60+ countries around the world.

PandaVPN offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, and accepts payment via credit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, and more. Although this VPN lacks some common features, such as a kill switch, Windows users can use it alongside Panda’s antivirus software.

Features
Price 1 month: $9.99/month
3 months: $6.99/month
6 months: $3.99/month
1 year: $2.49/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 60+ countries
Number of Devices 3
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —7-day money-back guarantee
—Streaming Services: Netflix, YouTube
—Encryption: 256-bit AES

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is a Swedish-based VPN that offers a Stealth VPN mode, perfect for getting around network restrictions like those imposed by China’s Great Firewall. According to its support page, OpenVPN and PPTP may be blocked by the firewall, so it suggests using the L2TP protocol to connect from China.

PrivateVPN has 150+ servers in 60 countries, which is a relatively small network, but it claims to unlock Netflix, Disney+, and several other streaming platforms. Plans cost as little as $3.82 per month, and come with 24/7 live chat customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can download PrivateVPN for Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, and more, and connect up to six devices at a time.

Other features include a kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption, and a no-logging policy, giving you a well rounded VPN at a reasonable price.

Features
Price 1 month: $8.10
3 months: $5.03/month
13 months: $3.82/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 150+ servers in 60 countries
Number of Devices 6
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —30-day money-back guarantee
—Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.

PureVPN


PureVPN starts things off right with a 7-day trial offer for only $0.99, as well as a 31-day money-back guarantee on all paid subscriptions. You’ll get several useful features, such as a kill switch, split tunneling, and up to 10 simultaneous logins, plus access to 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries to help you get around any regional geo-restrictions.

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, which may worry some users in China, but it claims to have removed all of its Hong Kong servers and that most of its operations are overseas. It maintains a strict no-logging policy that’s been verified by an independent auditor, and uses 256-bit AES encryption so your data can’t be intercepted by third parties.

PureVPN is compatible with most devices and operating systems, and also offers a few add-on features, such as port forwarding and a dedicated IP.

Read our full PureVPN review.

Features
Price 1 month: $10.95
6 months: $8.33/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries
Number of Devices 6
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —7-day trial for $0.99
—Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.

StrongVPN

As with most of the VPNs on our list, the StrongVPN website is blocked in China, but if you download the app before you arrive, it reportedly still works in the country. You can also try downloading it from a mirror website if you’re in the country already.

StrongVPN uses the WireGuard VPN protocol and 256-bit AES encryption, with 950+ servers in 26 countries to help you get around geo-restrictions. Plans cost $10 per month, or $5.83 per month if you sign up for a full year. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 250 GB of encrypted storage offered by SugarSync®.

StrongVPN provides apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more, and allows you to connect up to 12 devices at once. It also offers a Scramble feature that can be used to obfuscate your traffic and get around network restrictions in countries like China, by making it more difficult for ISPs and censors to perform deep packet inspection.

Read our full StrongVPN review.

Features
Price 1 month: $10
12 months: $5.83/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 950+ servers in 26 countries
Number of Devices 12
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, Kodi, Torrenting
—Encryption: AES-256

Surfshark

Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that’s reported to work well in China, in part due to its Camouflage Mode, which obfuscates your traffic and makes it harder to detect. Its plans are relatively affordable, with one month going for $12.95, and its 2-year plan as low as $2.49 per month, all backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

One of Surfshark’s major selling points is that you can use it on an unlimited number of devices, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your connections. It also has a strict no-logging policy that’s been independently audited, and is based in the British Virgin Islands for added legal protection. Surfshark also offers a kill switch, a multihop feature, a malware blocker called CleanWeb, and a No Borders mode.

Surfshark is compatible with most devices, and provides a range of downloadable apps and browser extensions. Customer support is available by 24/7 live chat, and there’s a detailed knowledge base to help you get started or troubleshoot any issues.

Read our full Surfshark review.

Features
Price 1 month: $12.95
6 months: $6.49/month
24 months: $2.49/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 1,700 servers in 63+ countries
Number of Devices Unlimited
Compatible with Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera
More Features —30-day money-back guarantee
—Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.

TorGuard VPN

TorGuard offers a range of features to get around the Great Firewall, including Stealth VPN servers and a Stealth Proxy feature. It has a network of over 3,000 servers in 50+ countries, although none are located within China itself. TorGuard uses AES 256-bit encryption, supports multiple VPN protocols, and allows for eight connected devices.

You can try it out for free for seven days, with plans available in various lengths, starting at $9.99 monthly and maxing out at $99.99 biennially. TorGuard’s apps are available for most operating systems, and an encrypted email service is available too.

TorGuard isn’t as user-friendly as some of the other VPNs on our list, but its advanced DNS and proxy options may make it a good choice for some users. Keep in mind that it’s not related to the Tor Project web browser, even though the name is similar.

Features
Price Monthly: $9.99
Quarterly: $19.99
Semi-Annually: $29.99
Annually: $59.99
Biennially: $99.99
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 3,000+ servers in 50+ countries
Number of Devices 8
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —Free trial: 7 days
—Customer Support: 24/7 Live Chat
—Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc.

VPN.ac

VPN.ac is an affordable VPN that offers “elliptic curve cryptography” and obfuscation to help you get around the Great Firewall. It’s operated by a team of security professionals with over 15 years of experience in the industry, and they handle tech support in-house so you can talk to them directly instead of a third-party support team.

Pricing starts at $9 per month, or you can get a 2-year subscription for only $3.75 per month. You can also test it out with a 7-day trial for $2. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, and more, and you can connect up to six devices at once. VPN.ac has a network of over 117 VPN and proxy servers in 21+ countries.

VPN.ac is based in Romania, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and keeps no activity logs. They do log some connection data, but they erase this on a daily basis. They also use their own DNS resolvers for added security.

Features
Price 1 month: $9.00
3 months: $8.00/month
1 year: $4.80/month
2 years: $3.75/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 117 servers in 21 countries
Number of Devices 6
Compatible with Chrome, Firefox
More Features —7-day trial for $2
—Customer Support: Email
—Encryption: AES-256

VyprVPN

VyprVPN uses its proprietary Chameleon™ protocol to fight censorship by “scrambling” your metadata and making it harder for networks to detect your VPN use. It also owns and operates all of its own servers to ensure fast speeds and high performance.

VyprVPN is based in Switzerland and has an independently-audited no-logging policy to ensure the confidentiality of your data. VyprVPN’s network includes 700+ servers in 70+ countries, including 14 locations in Asia, so you can get around restrictions and unlock streaming content up to five of your devices at once.

You can pay as little as $2.50 per month if you sign up for two years up-front, or $12.95 paid monthly. VyprVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat customer support, as well as tutorials for dozens of popular devices.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

Features
Price 1 month: $12.95
1 year: $3.75/month
2 years: $2.50/month
Servers (#) in Countries (#) 700+ servers in 70+ countries
Number of Devices 5
Compatible with Chrome
More Features —7-day trial for $2
—Customer Support: Email
—Encryption: AES-256

How We Chose the Best VPNs for China

We’ve only included VPNs that currently claim to work in China, or that are reported to work in China by third-party reviewers. Along with these parameters, we’ve taken four other factors into account to help you distinguish the best VPNs from the rest.

Security

A VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic so that it can’t be deciphered by anyone along the way. For the best protection, you’ll want a VPN that uses the most up-to-date encryption methods (currently, 256-bit AES with PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA512), as well as other security features, such as multi-factor authentication and biometric logins.

Server Coverage

The more servers your VPN provider has, the more options you’ll have when you try to connect to a location outside China. All of the VPNs we’ve listed have a wide range of server locations in multiple countries around the world. We’ve also focused on VPNs that have obfuscated servers to help you get around deep packet inspection.

Logging Policy

In order to protect your internet usage from prying eyes, simply encrypting your data isn’t enough. The best VPNs have a no-logging policy, which means they don’t store any data or metadata about the sites you visit and when you connect to them. Since some cheap and free VPNs collect and sell this data, we’ve limited our list to those VPNs that have a strict no-logging policy, as determined by a third-party site.

Free Trial

One last thing to consider when looking for a VPN for China is whether or not it offers a free trial or a money-back guarantee. Since finding a VPN that works in China can be a bit hit-or-miss, it’s worth giving it a test run before paying for a subscription. We’ve only included VPNs that offer a free trial, or that will refund your money if it doesn’t work.

VPN for China Basics

Is It Legal to Use a VPN in China?

Many internet users are unsure about the legality of using a VPN in China. While it’s not technically illegal for individuals to use a VPN, the country does ban “unauthorized” use, and any businesses that want to use a VPN need to get permission first. Only a handful of individual internet users have been fined for using a VPN.

Why Do I Need a VPN in China?

China is known for having a heavily restricted internet, with many sites blocked by the “Great Firewall.” Some popular sites and services — such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and Google — aren’t accessible from inside the country without a VPN. If you’re trying to access social media, read news from overseas, or watch YouTube, then you’ll need to use a VPN. An effective VPN will also protect you from government surveillance.

Will All VPNs Work in China?

Most VPNs don’t work in China because the government uses deep packet inspection (DPI) to detect VPN traffic and block it. To get around this, you’ll need a VPN that uses advanced obfuscation tools and obfuscated servers to prevent your traffic from being detected in this way. Because of this, many VPNs have simply given up on trying to work in China, and even those that do work may not work consistently.

In short, it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game, since your VPN provider needs to be able to get around the latest attempts to block them. You might need to switch between multiple VPN providers or servers depending on where in China you’re located.

How Can I Download a VPN in China?

China has blocked the websites of most VPN services and removed their apps from the app stores, so your best bet is to download them before you arrive in China. If you don’t have the opportunity, you can download them from within China either by tethering your device to one that’s already using a VPN, or by using a dynamic link or mirror site.

China has authorized several domestic VPN providers, but since these companies must register with the government, they may be forced to block the websites that you want to access, and may be subject to close government surveillance.

Do I Need a VPN in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong and Macau aren’t subject to the Great Firewall, so you don’t currently need a VPN in order to access international news, social media, and other websites. Still, it’s a good idea to use a VPN in order to keep your internet traffic private.