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 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 government blocks individual websites and entire online services – nothing is safe. You may lose access to your favorite tools, your communications with friends and loved ones, and even certain global news sources. A VPN for China is your best bet to avoid these blockages.
The most popular webpages in the world, used by millions of users every day, are blocked in China. These include sites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Google and most of its products. Your favorite apps won’t work in China either: WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat are all blocked.
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 a lot of 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 they legal? The short answer is “sort of.” VPNs have not been publicly declared illegal, but a lot of them are banned in China, and the government threatens to ban all VPN services for good.
Officially, the Chinese government has banned the use of VPNs not approved by the government (VPNs must provide the government with backdoor access to be approved, which renders them unsecure). However, this law applies to companies and corporations rather than individuals. Chinese citizens found creating or selling unapproved VPNs have received fines and prison sentences anywhere from three days to more than five years, but these are applied inconsistently.
What about visitors who bring VPNs for China? Right now, it looks like you can use a VPN while you’re visiting the country. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t run into any trouble if you have one. During random phone searches, the police may ask visitors to delete VPN apps on their phones. Some people entering the northwestern Xinjiang region have reported that authorities have installed surveillance apps on their phones.
TL;DR: Individuals can use VPNs for China, but they should exercise a basic level of caution..
Need a safe VPN for China? Use NordVPN for security wherever you go.
Will a free VPN work in China?
No. VPN providers must use obfuscated servers, double VPN technology, and various encryption protocols to be able to bypass the restrictions China has put into place. Free VPNs do not offer any of these features, and it’s highly unlikely they ever will. Their basic encryption methods and connection protocols are easy to detect and therefore are no match to the large forces of China’s internet police.
Another problem with free VPN providers is that they are unreliable. Their connections often drop, leaving you exposed online. They usually don’t offer any customer support, so no one will help you if you face any issues. And even if you manage to establish a stable connection, your data won’t be safely encrypted, and the internet speed will be slow.
In short – you get what you paid for.
Using a VPN while staying in China
Not all VPNs can get through the Great Firewall of China. However, NordVPN works in China.
- Choose the NordVPN subscription that best suits your needs and create your account;
- Download and install our VPN app for your device;
- Connect to NordVPN.
It’s possible to just run the app and connect to a VPN server. However, the strength of China’s internet restrictions may vary regionally and from year to year, so you may want to use one of our advanced security features. The Obfuscated Servers feature will drastically improve your chance of connecting to a VPN server in Hong Kong.
This tutorial will let you select the best VPN servers created specifically for heavily restricted countries. If you ever have issues when trying to connect to a VPN server in China, contact our support team so they can help you access the free internet.
NOTE: NordVPN also provides up to 6 simultaneous connections, meaning that you can easily secure multiple devices while in China. Connect your phone and laptop or protect your whole family.
The internet was meant to be free
We at NordVPN believe that private internet access, free of any surveillance or censorship, is important. If you’re traveling to China or know someone who lives there or is visiting, spread the news about NordVPN. Everyone deserves to have unrestricted and secure access to the internet, and this can only be achieved through a reliable VPN.
Access the sites you love while traveling in China – get NordVPN.