What is the best VPN for China?

The Great Firewall of China restricts users from accessing the free and open internet. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be used to browse freely, but few actually work in China, making the best VPN for China hard to find. However, if you plan to travel there, then NordVPN is a great choice.

Why you need a VPN in China

In China, the internet is controlled by the government. The Great Firewall regulates inbound and outbound Internet traffic between China and the rest of the world. Users are blocked from many popular websites and social networks, and some keywords are filtered from search engines.

You’ll need a reliable VPN for China to get unfettered internet access. It will help you access blocked content, communicate with loved ones in other countries, and protect your internet traffic from snoopers and government surveillance.

What is the Great Firewall of China?

This term is used to describe the legal and technological censorship tools used by the Chinese government to restrict internet access in the country. Officially, it is called the Golden Shield project. Since the government owns all internet service providers (ISPs), it can monitor and control what information people in China access online.

How does the censorship work?

The government uses several different tactics to restrict users’ access to certain websites and online platforms. The most straightforward one is IP blocking. All Chinese ISPs block the IP addresses of undesirable websites. In addition to this, they use various DNS tampering methods. These include DNS poisoning and intentionally misconfigured DNS servers so that they return false IP addresses to the users.

The government also uses keyword filtering to track other online content, like search engines, forums, and messaging apps. They scan internet traffic for undesirable keywords and block users and websites that don’t adhere to the rules. Part of it is automatic, but a large internet police force also constantly monitors the internet, banning controversial content.

How to check if a website is blocked in China

The most popular webpages in the world, used by millions of users every day, are blocked by the government in China. These include sites like Wikipedia, and apps like Google Suite, and Instagram. As a result you may lose access to your favorite tools, your communications with friends and loved ones, and even certain global news sources. Using a trustworthy VPN in China is your best bet to avoid these blockages.

Here are some of the major sites and apps that are blocked in China.

  • BBC
  • CNN
  • Facebook (and Messenger)
  • Gmail
  • Google Apps (e.g. Calendar, Docs, Hangouts, Maps, etc.)
  • Wikipedia
  • Instagram
  • OneDrive
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Spotify
  • Wall Street Journal
  • New York Times
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • Twitch
  • Slack

VPNMentor offers a great tool for checking whether any given site is blocked in China. Click here to check.

Is it legal to use a VPN in China?

China has blocked many VPNs, and many providers don’t work there. However, there are some that can go around the Great Firewall undetected – NordVPN is one of them.

But are VPNs legal in China? The short answer is “sort of.” Using a VPN in China has not been publicly declared illegal, but a lot of them are banned in the country, and the government threatens to ban all VPN services for good.