Best VPNs for China – Get Around the Great Firewall

What is the best VPN for China? A VPN that you downloaded before you arrived in the Mainland!

VPNs are essential for traveling around China. With the Great Firewall surrounding the internet in China, foreigners often find their access to their most important online tools cut off if they arrive sans VPN. If you’re a gmail user, you won’t be able to access your email account – so you won’t be able to access your confirmation emails for your favorite food tours. Sites and Apps like Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Google Translate, Twitter/X, TikTok, YouTube and Western news sites are all blocked in China, as are VPN websites, so you won’t be able to download one once you’ve entered China.

We have two recommendations for VPNs in China, depending on how long you’re here for and what you need to use it for. As long-term residents of China, we have subscriptions to both (just in case one goes down or is running slow for a few hours, we have a back-up!), so we can vouch for both of them personally. Please note that we do receive a small affiliate commission if you click the link to sign up for either of these.

For the Short-Term Traveler: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day, risk-free trial. You pay upfront, but if for any reason you’re not 100% satisfied, you get a full refund. They offer server locations in 105 countries, so you’ll always find a fast one near you, and they have live, 24-hour customer support to help you with any issues. This is a great VPN option for a low-maintenance traveler.

For the Long-Term Traveler (Or If You Need to Upgrade): Astrill VPN

Astrill offers a great basic service, but it’s the add-ons that make it worth buying. If you’re planning to be in China for awhile, Astrill is worth the investment. Some of the options include

  • Smart Mode: Tunnel only international websites through VPN and access local websites directly with your real IP for faster browsing. This is great in China as you often can’t access the local websites with a VPN on.
  • Private IPs: A Private IP is not shared with any other users and on selected servers. So if you really need to be “in London” to watch BBC iPlayer (who *always* knows you’re on a VPN and blocks your international viewing of Eurovision), then this is the option for you.
  • VPN Sharing: Not all devices can run VPN software. But this does not limit you with Astrill VPN. With simple configuration of network settings, any device in your local network can use VPN to secure its Internet traffic, including things like your Smart TV.

Here’s our recommendation for a VPN (please note that this is an affiliate link, but one we use ourselves and has a 30 day money back guarantee).

We independently review everything we recommend, from restaurants to VPNs to travel gear – and we only pick the stuff we would use ourselves. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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