Best VPNs for China
After a long flight, you’ll want to be the first to get to your hotel, connect to free wifi and check your phone for WhatsApp messages or emails.
However, if you are traveling to China, this is not possible.
The “China Firewall” maintained by the authorities imposes strict censorship on many of the world’s most popular websites and apps, including Facebook, Gmail, WhatsApp and YouTube (click here to see if your favorite sites are blocked). This means that a VPN is virtually mandatory on a trip to China, even for the simplest things – such as finding a nearby restaurant using Google Maps.
We understand that a free VPN that saves travel budgets seems appealing, but it’s important to choose wisely – especially in a country like China, where VPNs are constantly being blocked. Below is a list of the best VPNs in China that have not yet been blocked and that minimize security risks during use.
Best VPNs for China
Is a free VPN the right choice for your trip to China?
The Chinese authorities take their online legislation seriously, which means you need a VPN that keeps you anonymous and protects your data from prying eyes. Free VPNs may be one-time mugs, but they are less reliable for the entire trip.
Many free VPNs compromise your online security and degrade your online browsing experience. According to a recent study, some free VPNs included advertising-related malware, and 72% of free VPNs included third-party data tracking tools. The data collected was later sold to advertisers, who were then able to blame users for even better targeted ads.
The most unpleasant thing about these facts is that instead of protecting your cyber security, free VPNs are actively doing the exact opposite, which can be very dangerous in China.
What’s even worse, free VPNs don’t provide an ideal browsing experience because they limit your access to data and significantly slow down your Internet connections. You probably don’t want to spend your time in China staring at a blank white screen when Gmail refuses to download.
The best free VPNs in China
If you still want to use free VPN in China, you should choose from the list below. All of these VPNs have been tested by our experts to make sure they can actually cross the Chinese firewall without compromising your privacy and security.
And don’t forget that all VPN sites are blocked in China, so you need to download and install the VPN of your choice before entering the country.
NordVPN - safe and secure surfing
NordVPN is not actually free, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee that allows you to use NordVPN free of charge if you are leaving for China for less than a month.
NordVPN is a complete VPN to China. It easily bypasses the Chinese firewall and unlocks virtually all popular sites. Its extensive network includes more than 5,200 servers in 60 different countries, including nearby areas like Hong Kong – meaning you can enjoy high-speed internet access throughout your trip.
Most importantly, the service takes network security seriously and offers military-grade AES 256-CBC encryption, IPv6 and DNS leakage protection, split Tunneling mode, and a built-in kill switch.
NordVPN unlocks the following services:
Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV.
HotSpot Shield - affordable and light
The free version of HotSpot Shield offers 750MB of data per day, which isn’t enough for streaming, but is barely enough to check emails or browse your local language. The free version can only connect to a server located in the US, which can slow down your browsing speed.
On the positive side, the service takes care of users’ privacy and security. HotSpot Shield offers 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, as well as a built-in kill switch that ensures your data stays secure even when disconnected.
ExpressVPN - long term solution
This cheap and extremely secure old VPN provider is able to give you the security and ability to surf in the internet that you need. It is compatible with all devices and platforms. You can give it a try and use the 30 day trial period while you are visiting China. If you like it you can buy it later and get it to use.
Summary for VPNs in China
China’s strict censorship laws mean you need a VPN to enjoy even the simplest of online activities on your trip – whether it’s browsing Facebook, chatting with family and friends through WhatsApp, or checking Gmail. Free VPNs can do the job if you need the Internet only minimally, but there are undoubtedly a significant number of risks and limitations. On the other hand, if you want a truly reliable VPN service for use in China, your number one choice is NordVPN.