Whether you’re planning to visit or live in China, if you know anything about China, you probably know that in mainland China you need to use a VPN to access restricted websites [Google, Facebook, etc]. However, due to China’s strict regulatory policy, many VPN software does not work properly in China, so we did a long time test in Guangzhou and Shenzhen of mainland China [based on dynamic results, this article is updated continuously], hoping to help you find the best VPN to use in China.

If you’re in oversea and want to find a VPN that gets Chinese IPs to access to mainland websites such as Youku and Ai QiYi, check out the Best VPN to China list.

Based on Availability (uptime), speed testing, privacy protection and price, we think the following VPNs are the best VPN to use in China Mainland

  1. ExpressVPN [Best Choice]
  2. NordVPN [best value for money]
  3. PureVPN [Cheapest VPN]
  4. VyprVPN [Exclusive Chameleon Protocol]
  5. StrongVPN [Featured WireGuard Protocol]
  6. AstrillVPN [Speed and stability are good, but the price is too high]

First: Why you need a VPN in China

If you’re not sure what the Great Wall Firewall is, I suggest you do a search. The Great Wall Firewall is a collective term for the Chinese state’s censorship system on the Internet. The role of the Firewall is to monitor all communications passing through international gateways then jam, block what is deemed non-compliant. A significant portion of the blocked sites are the top sites that need to be used on a regular basis such as Facebook ,Google ect.

For Example:

  • You can’t access Facebook in mainland China.
  • You can’t use Google’s services in mainland China.
  • ….

Without access to these services, it is difficult to conduct work and life normally. So if you live or travel in China, you definitely need a VPN that works in China.

Content have been blocked in China.

  • Search site: Google.
  • Social and communication sites: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, KapkaoTalk, SnapChat, Viber, Line, Bloglovin, TikTok
  • Video: Youtube, Twitch, Viemo, etc
  • News: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, North American World Journal, etc
  • E-mail:Gmail
  • Games: Akinator, Secret Infiltration 2: Covert Action, Final Mobilization Order: General, Desperate Hour, and more
  • Shopping site: Etsy, Amazon JP
  • Storage site: DropBox

Second: Is it illegal to use a VPN in China

In China, there is no law that explicitly outlaws the use of VPNs. According to the principle that “no crime is committed unless expressly provided for by law, and no penalty is imposed unless expressly provided for by law”, to use VPN in China is not illegal.

So which VPN-related behaviors are illegal in China?

1. It is illegal to operate a VPN business in China without a license

It is illegal to operate a VPN business in China without administrative permission.

According to the Telecommunications Regulations, for those who do not obtain administrative permission to use VPN technology to operate the Directory A14-4, A24-1 and B13 services, the competent information industry department of the State Council or provincial telecommunication administration agencies shall order rectification on the basis of authority, confiscate the illegal income and impose a fine of three times the illegal income and up to five times the illegal income; if there is no illegal income or the illegal income is less than 50,000 yuan, impose a fine of 100,000 yuan and up to 1 million yuan; if the circumstances are serious, order the closure and rectification of business.

2. Violations in the use of VPNs

It is also illegal to use a VPN to walk through rumors and try to disrupt social harmony in China.

Article 5 of the Measures for the Administration of International Internet Security Protection of Computer Information Networks stipulates that no unit or individual shall use the international Internet to produce, copy, access and disseminate information that incites resistance, undermines the implementation of the Constitution, laws and administrative regulations; incites subversion of State power and overthrow of the socialist system; incites secession of the country and undermines national unity; fabricates or distorts facts, spreads rumours and disrupts social order, etc.

So, if you want to use a VPN in China, be sure to steer clear of these two rules that can lead to violations.

Third: In China, these VPNs you Must not use

1. The VPN with Operations Team in Mainland China

Although we mentioned above that it is possible to operate a VPN in China with an administrative license, this is limited to the VPN servers in China [i.e., only for the business to get a china ip unblocking mainland website, such as Malus from Shanghai xunmao technology co.,ltd].For the business of flipping the wall out of the country, there are currently only a few large telecom operators with licenses, and they only do the services of large enterprises , not for small businesses and individuals.

So, if you are going to buy a VPN with china mainland operation team, most of them are not reliable.

2. Owner of the VPN Server is in mainland China

This one is easy to get confused. Because sometimes the owner of the server where the VPN is located is not the same person as the VPN provider.
Many VPN operators will buy servers from the service provider to build the VPN and then split it among their users. If the operator of the server is in the country, then definitely do not buy it.

For example.
Company A rented Alibaba’s Hong Kong server to build a VPN and resold it to B for use.
B bought a year’s worth of VPN service from A, and then Alibaba would force a recall of the server, in accordance with China’s policy of not allowing VPN business violations, Which will make B to lose money.

3. Free VPN

The free VPNs here are different from the free trial VPNs offered by paid VPNs, and the free trial VPNs are still reliable, such as EXPRESSVPN and NORDVPN all offer free trials.

The problem with free VPNs

  • More advertisements
  • Limited flow
  • Speed may be poor
  • Poor information security
  • No anonymity, poor security.

4. VPN for unknown service providers

In my experience, there are a lot of small teams in the VPN business that run away after charging users for a few years’ worth of packages. If you come across a start-up VPN provider you’d better not to buy.Buying a large company’s VPN service is more secure and at the very least they are less likely to shut down the company.

5. VPNs that do not support multi-protocol connections

The use of VPNs in China is more stringent than in other regions, so supporting multiple protocols is especially important. Because you sometimes need to switch connection protocols depending on the situation.

For example, EXPRESSVPN supports UDP-OPENVPN /TCP-OPENVPN / IKEV2 / L2TP When UDP-OPENVPN cannot connect, you can try to connect using TCP-OPENVPN.

6. VPNs that do not support multi-device connections

I’m sure everyone has more than one terminal, cell phone, computer, ipad, etc. If a VPN doesn’t support multi-device connections, you will have a lot of trouble.

7. VPN with no free refund policy

Trust me, the free money back policy will give you extra equity protection.

Fourth: The List of Best VPN in China

1. ExpressVPN【The Best Choice】

expressvpn-logo

ExpressVPN is probably the best VPN to use in China, its speed is very stable and unlimited [including seed download], most important is the connection in mainland China is very stable [99% uptime]., correspondingly its price is moderately high.

ExpressVPN was founded in the Virgin Islands in 2009. As of March 2019, Express VPN has over 3,000 servers in 160 locations in 94 countries. The servers are concentrated in Brazil, Canada, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan.

Supported protocols: OpenVPN / IKEV2 /IPSEC/SSTP/PPTP
Support terminal: Windows,macos,Linux,Android,IOS,router,etc
Browser plugin login: Chrome ,Firefox
Refund Policy: 30-day no-excuses refund

Pros: 

  • Stable connection in China [99%+ Uptime]
  • fast
  • Support seed download
  • Support video unlocking [Nuffy, amazon primevideo, disney+, etc.]
  • Support browser plug-in login
  • No storage of personal data

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive compared to other VPNs

How to register and use ExpressVPN

Unlike other VPNs, ExpressVPN relies on an ExpressVPN license code rather than a username and password for installation, so a registration tutorial is necessary.

Video version of the tutorial:

2. NordVPN [best value for money]

NordVPN-logo

NordVPN is a veteran VPN service provider and is able to use in China.The advantage of NordVPN is that it is very cost effective, which can Download Seeds and unlock programs such as Netflix and Amazon primevideo as well.

NordVPN was founded in Panama in 2012. After 5 years of rapid growth, it was named VPN Provider of the Year by PC Magazine in 2017. As of November 2018, NordVPN has over 5200 servers in 61 countries [concentrated in the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, France].Enriched resources is a great guarantee of using stability

Supported protocols: OpenVPN / IKEV2 / IPSEC
Support terminal: Windows,macos,Linux,Android,IOS,Android TV,etc
Refund Policy: 30-day no-excuses refund

Pros:

  • Most cost effective
  • Support seed download
  • You can unlock programs such as Naifei and Amazon Prime
  • Can be connected in China
  • No user logs are kept.

Cons:

  • In the occasional case where China can’t connect, you need to set it manually.

3. PureVPN [the cheapest VPN]

purevpn_logo

PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based company that understands the mainland’s policy and specializes in providing low-cost, cheap VPNs that can be used by up to 10 terminals simultaneously.

PureVPN is a product launched by GZ Systems Limited [founder Uzair Gadit – Pakistani] in Hong Kong in 2007. To date, PureVPN has more than 2,000 servers in more than 140 countries, six of which are in China, located in Beijing and Shanghai, with more than 300,000 available IPs worldwide.

Supported protocols: OpenVPN / IKEV2 /IPSEC/LZTP/PPTP
Support terminal: Windows,macos,Linux,Android,IOS,etc
Refund Policy: 7-day no-excuses refund
 
Pros:
  • It’s very inexpensive.
  • The company is based in Hong Kong and understands mainland policy very well.
  • You can unlock videos like netflix
  • 10 terminals in use simultaneously

Cons:

  • Occasionally can’t connect and need to manually update settings
  • Seed download is not supported.

4. VyprVPN [exclusive chameleon protocol]

VyprVPN-logo

VyprVPN is also a long-established VPN service provider, and one of the company’s best features is that it has independently developed the chameleon protocol to ensure the stability of VPN connections in mainland China.

Vypr VPN was established in Switzerland in 2008 [Switzerland has a privacy law]. The company is called Golden Frog, and as of 19 years, it has over 700+ servers and 200,000+ IP addresses in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and even the Middle East.

Supported protocols: OpenVPN / L2TP / IPSEC / Chameleon™ [Chameleon protocol is exclusive to Vyprvpn].
Support terminal: Windows,macos,Linux,Android,IOS,router,etc
Refund Policy: 30-day no-excuses refund

Advantages:

  • Works well in China.
  • Independently developed chameleon protocol based on openvpn
  • Support Alipay, China UnionPay, China UnionPay, China User Friendly

Disadvantages:

  • Occasionally you need to connect to a specified server to stay connect in china
  • Seed downloads is allowed.

5. StrongVPN [WireGuard Protocol]

strongvpn-logo

StrongVPN was founded in California, USA in 1995, and by 2020, Strong Technology, LLC has been in the VPN business for nearly 16 years.By the end of 2019, StrongVPN has nearly 60,000 IPs and 650 servers. The servers are located in 46 cities in 26 countries, concentrated in U.S., France, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia, with some servers in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Supported protocols: IKV / WireGuard / OpenVPN / SSTP / L2TP
Support terminal: MAC, IOS, Windows, router, FireTV, FireStick, Kodi and other streaming media devices
Refund Policy: 30 days for no reason

Advantages:

  • 0 Logging of usage
  • 12 terminals in use simultaneously

Disadvantages:

  • The company is located in the United States and is regulated under U.S. law.
  • Slightly more expensive.

6. AstrillVPN [the most expensive VPN]

AstrillVPN-logo

Astrill vpn was founded in 2009 in the Seychelles and serves mainly individual users who are home users or travellers. It currently has more than 1 million users and will have its own servers in more than 60 countries by 2020.

Supported protocols: OpenVPN / IKEV2 /IPSEC/SSTP/PPTP/ OpenConnect/OpenWeb/StealthVPN/Wireguard modified
Support terminal: Windows,macos,Linux,Android,Blackberry,IOS, router (DD-WRT,Tomato,ASUS Merlin), etc
Refund Policy: 30 days for no reason

Advantages.

  • Very fast.
  • The connection is stable.

Disadvantages.

  • It’s more expensive.
  • Only supports 2 terminals connection at the same time

Fifth: List of VPNs that don’t work in China [continuously updated]

A list of VPNs that have been tested and do not work in China is as follows

  • Turbovpn
  • Betternet
  • VPNArea
  • VPN Unlimited
  • VPN Book
  • TigerVPN
  • SlickVPN
  • Speedify

In this article we shared why you need a VPN in China, how to use a VPN compliantly in China, a few types of VPNs that don’t work in China, List of Best VPN to use in China, examples of VPN connection methods and a list of VPNs that don’t work in China.