Best VPN to Unblock Apps and Sites in China

best vpn china

You'll never consider searching for the best VPN for China until you find yourself in the following situation.

You’re heading to China for a business visit. As you land from your flight, you turn on your mobile for a quick email check. To your horror, you have no access to Gmail. And it took you less than 5 minutes to realize that Facebook, Youtube, Dropbox, and almost every app on your mobile are blocked.

Welcome to the Great Firewall of China and a few frustrating weeks of stay as you try to keep up with work or entertainment. Without the familiar apps and websites, going for a business trip to China is torturous.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In this article, we’ll be covering the following:

Why Does China Block the Internet? 

China has been zealously keeping its citizens away from the “outside world” since the Internet crept into the country in 1994. The country is run by a communist government, and efforts to protect it are motivated by political motives to regulate access to information.

As a result, legislative actions and technological measures are taken to restrict internet access from the country. If you’re visiting China, you’ll find that some sites and apps that are non-offensive are still blocked. 

Top apps that are blocked in China

  • Google apps
  • Facebook
  • Whatsapp
  • Dropbox
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Telegram
  • Spotify
  • Vimeo

Top sites that are blocked in China

  • Youtube
  • Slack
  • Medium
  • Reddit
  • Google
  • Amazon
  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Reuters
  • Blogspot

This list is only a few of the apps and sites that are blocked. It won’t be surprising if your smartphone is reduced to a classic telecommunication tool, as many of the apps will be unusable. The Internet will be an unfamiliar landscape when you’re in China, as most of the websites and apps that you’ve been using will be off-limits.

China does have its version of Google, Facebook, and Whatsapp, but unless you’re well-versed in Mandarin, or your clients are, they aren’t going to be of much use.

Is there a way to circumvent China’s highly-restrictive firewall?

Yes.

Installing a VPN on your mobile phone or computer helps to bypass Internet censorship in China. A VPN cloaks your IP address and makes it seem as if you’re accessing the Internet from another country.

Theoretically, all VPNs should function the same way in China, but the Great Firewall proves to be a massive hurdle for most VPNs.

The government of China has been clamping down on VPN providers, leaving only a few VPNs that can provide reliable access past the geo-restrictive firewall.

Best VPNs for China

There is only a handful of VPNs that are still accessible in China. Here are some of the best VPNs that you’ll want to subscribe to if you’re flying to the country. 

1. NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs on the market and for good reasons. It offers competitive pricing and has more than 5,500 servers in 59 countries. Connection speeds are decent, and users can opt for additional anonymity with the DoubleVPN feature.

The real deal with NordVPN in bypassing China's firewall lies in its obfuscated servers. These servers are specially engineered to bypass the strictest censorship on the Internet. Also, you can bank on NordVPN’s team of engineers to continually improvise and outsmart their counterparts on team China.

Subscribe to NordVPN for :

  • $3.49 per month for 3-years (billed $125.64)
  • $4.99 per month for 2 years (billed $119.76)
  • $6.99 per month for 1 year (billed $83.88)
  • $11.95 per month.

2. VyprVPN

VyprVPN lives up to its claim of no-logging policy by having public audits from independent parties. It offers user-friendly apps and owns all of the VPN servers spread over 70 countries. This gives VyprVPN perfect control of security and privacy.

Thanks to its proprietary Chameleon protocol, VyprVPN has no issues in bypassing internet restrictions in some countries, including China. The Chameleon protocol not only prevents data from getting blocked but also ensures high VPN speeds.

Access to the Chameleon protocol is only available on VyprVPN premium plans.

Subscribe to VyprVPN Premium for:

  •  $6.67 per month for 1 year (billed $80.00)
  • $12.95 per month

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN packs a serious punch in the speed department. Its servers are designed only to store data in RAM, ensuring that nothing is ever permanently stored. Your privacy is further protected by a strict no-logging policy.

As for breaking through China’s Great Firewall, ExpressVPN has got the upper hand thanks to its years of experience in the VPN industry. Using ExpressVPN will allow you to connect to apps like Gmail and Facebook when you’re in China.

Subscribe to ExpressVPN for:

  • $8.32 per month for 12 months (billed $99.95)
  • $9.99 per month for 6 months (billed $59.95)
  • $12.95 per month

Best Free VPN for China

If you’re tight on budget and wouldn’t mind speed or data limitations, these free VPNs work equally well in China. 

1. Windscribe

Windscribe offers classic-like VPN software on the computer. It ticks all the necessary boxes for a decent VPN and has a vast network of servers in over 60 countries. The VPN has a solid reputation for protecting its users’ privacy with no IP or DNS leaks reported.

What’s interesting about Windscribe is that it’s functional in China and has a free version. If you’re using less than 10GB of data per month, you can use Windscribe without upgrading to its paid plan in China.

Get Windscribe for FREE

2. TunnelBear

TunnelBear takes security and privacy safely on its VPN network. It’s published audited security reports by 3rd parties to ensure the interest of its users is protected. TunnelBear employs GhostBear, a form of encryption that reduces the chance of the connection being picked up by China’s firewall. 

You can download TunnelBear for free, but it’s limited to 500 MB of data usage per month. It’s sufficient for sending quick emails when you’re in China.

Get TunnelBear for FREE. 

Summary

You don’t want to make the mistake of not using a VPN when you’re in China. Having no access to your favorite apps can make your stay miserable in an otherwise pleasant country. Sign up to one of the recommended VPNs for China and enjoy your trip to the culture-rich nation.

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