What Is The Best VPN for
China in 2018?
NordVPN is the best VPN for keeping your online activities under wraps in China. The service provides high-speed encrypted connections, excellent privacy protections and top-notch customer support. All of this makes NordVPN the best choice to protect your China-based online sessions.
NordVPN also protects your internet connection no matter where you are. That includes in your hotel room, an open Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop or restaurant, or anywhere else you might access the internet while on the go. Total kill switch protection ensures your internet connection won’t be exposed to the prying eyes of hackers or the Chinese government.
China, which is officially known as the People’s Republic of China, is located in East Asia and is the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.4 billion citizens. The country covers approximately 3.7 million square miles (9.6 million square kilometers). The country is governed by the Communist Party of China.
China’s economy is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. As of 2016, it is the world’s second-largest economy when measured by nominal Gross Domestic Product, and is the largest by purchasing power parity.
Although the Chinese government has eased economic and social controls, political freedom is still tightly restricted. This has led to censorship of personal and political speech and information, particularly on the internet.
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in China
Why Do You Need to Use a VPN in China?
China has long attempted to control their citizens’ access to the outside world via the internet. The Chinese government actively works to block websites and online services located outside of its borders. Sites and services blocked include Skype, Google, Gmail, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, YouTube and many others.
The government accomplishes this by using a combination of technology and legislative actions that has become known as the “Great Firewall of China.” Chinese officials use the Great Firewall to regulate and limit access to online services that they consider improper for access by their citizens (or visitors to China, for that matter).
The Chinese government also blocks some e-commerce websites located outside their borders, preventing residents of China from purchasing items from vendors located in the free world. The main reason for this is believed by some to be to encourage purchasing goods from China-based sellers.
China’s blocking of the websites listed above and many others can severely restrict access to much-needed information while you are visiting the country on business or pleasure, especially if you’re visiting the country for an extended period of time.
Users who are planning to visit China in the near future are advised to find out if their favorite websites will be accessible from inside the restrictive country. The best way to do this is to visit the Great Firewall of China website.
There, you can enter the URL of the website you wish to test. The site will let you know if the website in question is accessible from inside China’s borders.
The most reliable way to break through the “Great Firewall of China” is to use a VPN, which encrypts your internet connection, keeping the Chinese censors from easily detecting and blocking your online activities.
Choosing the Best VPN for Use in China
When considering which VPN provider to use while inside China’s borders, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. You’ll want to find a provider that offers excellent privacy protections, fast connection speeds protected by a kill switch and great customer support.
In addition, you’ll want to keep in mind that to gain true internet freedom from inside China, extensive global server coverage is also an important factor to take into account.
In this section, I’ll be sharing information about each vital VPN feature you should consider, and explain why each feature is an important one. In addition, I’ll also discuss other features that can make your VPN more useful and more enjoyable to use.
In each category, I’ll include a table ranking my top 10 VPN providers according to how well they perform in that category.
Privacy is always an important consideration when researching a VPN provider. However, when considering a VPN to protect you while you’re in China, a provider’s privacy protections become even more important.
Use of a VPN inside China isn’t technically illegal (although the government there has required Apple and Google to remove VPN apps from their respective app stores). The Chinese government isn’t likely to bring charges against a foreign visitor for using a VPN unless it’s used to commit an illegal act, although usage of a VPN is still strongly frowned upon by Chinese officials.
It should be noted that when we’re discussing “privacy” in relation to a VPN provider, we’re not talking about the encryption they use on their connections (though we will discuss that in the top 5 section, where I’ll list the types of encryption some of these providers suggest for use in China).
Instead, we’ll be looking at whether the VPN provider is located in a privacy-friendly country (definitely not China). We’ll also look at whether or not they save and retain any logs containing information about their customers’ online activities and if they accept privacy-protecting payment options, such as Bitcoin or merchant gift cards.
The 10 VPN providers listed in the table below are ranked in order of best all-around privacy protections to worst.
No matter what online activities you’re planning to use your VPN connection for, connection speed is always an important consideration. The speed of your encrypted connection is particularly important if you’re planning on streaming audio or video, or competing on online games.
The table below lists my top 10 VPN providers, ranked according to connection speed, from the fastest down to the slowest. I calculated the rankings by testing my unprotected ISP-provided connection’s speed and then connecting to each VPN service to test their encrypted connection speeds. The speed percentage was calculated by comparing the 2 speed readings.
Never consider any VPN provider that doesn’t offer a “kill switch” option in their VPN apps.
A kill switch automatically disconnects your internet connection in case you lose the connection to your VPN provider’s servers. Kill switch protection ensures your internet connection isn’t laid bare to the prying eyes of hackers, governments or even your own ISP.
“Kill switch” is strictly a “yes/no” type of feature, so the providers are listed alphabetically in the table below, with a “Y/N” indication of whether or not the provider offers kill switch protection.
Other Factors to Consider
If we lived in a perfect world, we would never experience any connection or billing issues with our VPN services. (We would also ride unicorns and eat cotton candy for every meal, but I digress.) However, chances are better than 50/50 that you’ll need to get in contact with your provider’s customer support agents for one reason or another.
The list below shows the VPNs ranked from first to worst as to how well they perform in the category of customer support. The companies are ranked according to what types of support they offer (most providers offer live support text chat, a trouble ticket submission form and a searchable support library), as well as the timeliness and accuracy of their answers.
Note: None of the VPN providers listed below offer support over the phone.
The price of a VPN subscription is another category where it would be great if it didn’t really matter. However, I’d venture to say that many of my readers are on a budget and are looking for a VPN provider that offers great service at a reasonable price.
No matter what your bank balance, there is no reason to pay more for a VPN provider than you have to. But while you’re looking for a deal, make sure the provider you’re considering hasn’t cut corners in important categories like connection speed, customer support and global server coverage in order to offer a low price.
It should be noted that many providers regularly offer special deals, which can substantially reduce the chunk taken from your checking account. Be advised that many of the deals require you to commit to an annual, or even longer, subscription term. Visit the providers’ respective websites for their latest deals and pricing. (They’re linked in the table.)
Most companies also offer month-to-month subscription options, which can be an attractive option for users on a tight budget. Keep in mind that opting for a month-to-month subscription term will almost always cost you more over time.
The providers in the list below are ranked from the lowest-priced to most expensive.
*The prices in the table reflect the monthly cost when paying for an annual subscription. (Annual Subscription Price / 12 Months.)
Global Server Coverage
When using a VPN from inside China, selecting a provider with comprehensive global server coverage will greatly improve your online experience.
The larger number of countries a provider has their server farms located in, the more content that is opened up to you. This includes content that is definitely blocked in China due to geographical restrictions, such as Netflix, Hulu or Spotify.
Always look for a VPN provider that has a large number of servers placed in strategic locations around the globe. The screenshot below is an excellent example of the type of global server coverage you’re looking for.
The providers listed below are ranked from best global server coverage to worst.