While Freedom House has not as yet ranked Hong Kong’s internet freedom, the country’s 2020 freedom status is rated as “Partly Free,” with a freedom score of 55/100 (0 = Most Free, 100 = Least Free).
There’s very little online censorship in Hong Kong, other than laws criminalizing the distribution of obscene images and unlicensed, copyrighted materials, such as music and movies.
Most popular sites and services are available in Hong Kong, including social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Netflix and other video streaming services are also available in Hong Kong, although the content offered in the country is different from the content offered in other countries, such as the U.S. Meanwhile, some streaming services, such as Hulu and BBC iPlayer, only grant access to viewers in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively.
Keep in mind that since Hong Kong is a Chinese possession, their online-freedom-friendly approach to internet usage could change at any time.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) users will be ready for this if it ever happens and will be able to protect their online activities from the prying eyes of the Chinese government, their Internet Service Provider (ISP) and that person in the hoodie using the free Wi-Fi down at the coffee shop.
A VPN also makes it possible to access online content that isn’t normally available to users in Hong Kong. This includes streaming services, gaming servers, financial services and other websites and services.
In this article, I’ll share information about the top 5 VPNs to protect and enhance your online activities while you’re living in or visiting Hong Kong.
How to Use a VPN From Inside Hong Kong
It’s easy to use a VPN to protect and enhance your online activities while you’re in Hong Kong. Simply do the following:
- Subscribe to a reliable VPN provider of your choice. (ExpressVPN is my recommendation.)
- Install the VPN provider’s app(s) on your connected device(s).
- Log into the VPN service.
- Select a VPN server located outside of Hong Kong to access content based in other countries, or a server inside of Hong Kong if you simply want to protect your online activities from observation while accessing Hong Kong-based content.
- Connect to your favorite sites and services!
Best VPNs for Use in Hong Kong
The 5 VPN providers below have proven to be the best VPNs for use from inside of Hong Kong. The summarized version is:
- ExpressVPN: This top VPN provider offers the most reliable online security and privacy protections, both inside and outside of Hong Kong. The provider also delivers fast connection speeds, excellent global server coverage and much more.
- NordVPN: This is my top choice for budget-minded VPN users who are looking for champagne service on a beer-bottle budget. The provider delivers an above-average level of service for a below-average price.
- Surfshark: While this provider offers fast download speeds, a fast-growing global server network and excellent online security, its main attraction for many will be its unlimited simultaneous connections policy.
- CyberGhost: This provider is my top choice for first-time VPN users. The provider offers an array of easy-to-use apps that deliver one-click access to VPN protection. The provider offers servers that are optimized for streaming, file sharing and more.
- VyprVPN: This provider offers HD-capable download speeds and good multi-platform app support. It also offers privacy protection that no other provider on this list can offer. VyprVPN owns and operates its entire global server network.
When ranking the providers on this list, I considered the following factors:
- Global server network (which includes servers in Hong Kong)
- Security and privacy protections
- Connection speeds
- Multi-platform app support
- Customer support
Note: While this article concentrates on using a VPN from inside Hong Kong, I only included providers that have servers stationed inside the country as well, so that you can access Hong Kong-only content when you’re outside of the country.
Here is my list of the 5 best VPNs for Hong Kong users.
ExpressVPN is my top choice for best VPN service to protect and enhance your Hong Kong-based online activities.
This provider has an extensive global server network made up of over 3,000 servers that are spread among 94 countries around the world, including Hong Kong.
ExpressVPN covers your online security well thanks to military-level encryption, kill switch protection, and IPv6 and DNS leak prevention. A split tunneling feature allows you to select which apps operate inside or outside of the provider’s encrypted VPN tunnel.
A strict no-server-logs policy, as well as a Bitcoin subscription payment option, protect your privacy.
ExpressVPN also performs well in the connection speeds department, providing the fastest download speeds of any provider in my latest round of connection speed tests. HD and 4K streaming, gaming, and downloading and sharing large files will not be a problem when using this provider. Plus, no data caps are ever imposed.
Multi-platform support is strong with this one thanks to apps for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux and Chromebook device platforms. Chrome and Firefox extensions are available to protect your browser sessions.
Comprehensive router compatibility keeps all of your connected devices protected. 5 devices can connect at once using the same login info.
Customer support is an around-the-clock proposition here thanks to 24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket system and a searchable knowledge base.
- Offers reliable access to blocked services and websites
- Excellent global server coverage, with servers inside Hong Kong
- Super fast download speeds
- Top-notch privacy and security protections
- Comprehensive multi-platform app support
- Priced a bit more expensively than other VPN providers
BEST VPN FOR HONG KONG IN 2020:ExpressVPN is my #1 choice for Hong Kong users looking for a reliable way to protect their online activities. In addition to offering comprehensive privacy and security, the provider also offers reliable access to blocked content around the globe. A 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN will likely prove to be the most attractive VPN provider on this list for the budget-minded among us. The provider offers excellent service for a low price.
NordVPN currently has 5,500+ servers based in 58 countries around the globe. The provider has servers based in Hong Kong.
A no-server-logs-ever policy, along with a cryptocurrency payment option, has the privacy end of things neatly covered.
Admittedly, this provider’s connection speeds are not the fastest in this gang of 5. However, its connections are by no means slow. The speeds are easily up to handling HD video streams, online gaming, and the sharing of large files.
NordVPN’s native app offerings cover all the most popular device platforms, including Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Android TV and Linux. Chrome and Firefox extensions protect your web browsing.
Extensive router support can help protect all of your connected devices through a single access point. You can connect up to 6 devices concurrently on a single set of login credentials.
Customer support is always available thanks to 24/7 live support chat, email support and a searchable support library.
- Servers stationed in Hong Kong and 58 other countries
- Always-available customer support
- Excellent privacy and security protections
- Budget pricing
- Slowest connections in this roundup
BEST BARGAIN VPN:NordVPN is an attractive online protection option for users on a budget. The provider’s comprehensive global server coverage, top-notch online security and extensive privacy protections belie its low price. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
While Surfshark may not have been around as long as the other VPN providers in this roundup, it’s quickly gaining a good reputation in the industry.
The provider’s global server count is lower than others on this list, although they do a good job of spreading them around. The provider currently has 1,000+ servers in Hong Kong and 59+ other countries. That server count has almost doubled since just one year ago.
A strict no-server-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option have the privacy end of things well covered.
Surfshark’s connection speeds fall in the middle of the pack this time around, which means they can handle any of your favorite online activities. No data caps to worry about here.
App offerings from the provider include Linux, iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Fire TV apps. Plus, Firefox and Chrome browser extensions are available. Router support also makes the scene. There’s no limit to the number of simultaneous connections on a single set of login credentials.
Customer support is available any time of day thanks to a searchable support library, a support contact form and a 24/7 live chat option.
- Growing global server network
- Unlimited concurrent connections (that’s fun to say)
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Global server numbers still have a ways to go.
- 1-month subscription is rather expensive
PERFECT FOR LARGE GROUPS:Surfshark users will appreciate the provider’s fast-growing server network, and users looking for protection for large groups will appreciate Surfshark’s unique unlimited simultaneous connections allowance. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
CyberGhost is a great Virtual Private Network option for users who have little to no experience in using a VPN. The provider’s easy-to-use apps offer an excellent way to begin using a VPN.
CyberGhost has an impressive global server network, covering the globe with over 5,800 servers in 89 countries, Hong Kong included. Many of those servers are optimized for streaming video from various services, while numerous others offer optimized connections for P2P file sharing.
Online security is never a worry when using CyberGhost thanks to government-level encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and ad and tracker blocking. Plus, the provider can force websites to serve up secure versions of their web pages if they’re available.
Privacy is also nothing to fret over, as the provider has a strict no-logs policy and accepts Bitcoin in return for its considerable services.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are some of the best I’ve seen, providing plenty of bang for the buck. HD and 4K streaming, online gaming, and file sharing are never an issue. Plus, the provider never spoils the fun with data caps.
Remember those easy-to-use apps I mentioned? They’re available for the Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows device platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available, as is support for various router makes and models. Up to 7 simultaneous connections can be made using the same username.
24/7 live support chat, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable troubleshooting library have your support needs covered any time of day.
- Servers in Hong Kong and 88 other countries
- Speedy downloads
- Easy-to-use apps for all popular platforms
- Servers optimized for specific online activities
- Advanced users might miss some advanced options
BEST FOR FIRST-TIME VPN USERS:CyberGhost is the best option for Hong Kong citizens looking for easy-to-use, yet reliable online protection. This provider’s simple apps and specialized servers make it an optimal choice for users looking for an easy way to protect and enhance their online activities. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
VyprVPN, while offering protection that is on par with other providers on this list, also offers privacy protection that no other provider on this list can.
The provider has over 5,500 servers stationed in Hong Kong and 57 other countries.
Here’s where that extra bit of privacy comes in. VyprVPN owns and operates its entire global server network. (Most other VPNs lease theirs.) The provider’s self-owned and -operated server farms mean no third-party contractors ever have access to your personal data.
Privacy is well covered thanks to a strict no-logs-ever policy and a cryptocurrency payment option.
VyprVPN’s connection speeds came in second to last, but they can still handle most online activities, including streaming high definition content, gaming online and sharing files. No data caps are ever imposed.
While VyprVPN makes apps available for the Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Android TV device platforms, it does not offer browser extensions at this time. Compatibility with numerous brands of routers is available. The basic subscription tier offers only 3 simultaneous connections.
Around-the-clock live support chat, a support request form and a searchable knowledge base have your support needs covered 24/7.
- Owns and operates its server network
- Wide-ranging global server coverage
- Comprehensive security and privacy
- HD-capable connection speeds
- More expensive than other VPN providers
- Only 3 simultaneous connections with basic subscription level
EXTRA BIT OF PRIVACY COVERAGE:VyprVPN provides an extra level of privacy not offered by anyone else this time around. Its owned-and-operated server network keeps third parties away from your data. Plus, the provider offers HD-capable connection speeds and optimal online security. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of VyprVPN.
Won’t a Free VPN Work in Hong Kong?
Sure, you could be able to find a “free” VPN that works in Hong Kong, but you won’t be happy with the experience.
First, let’s take a look at how inconvenient it is to rely on a freebie VPN. When you attempt to connect to a free VPN’s server network, you may find that you’ll be forced to wait in a queue before being allowed to connect to one of the provider’s “free” VPN servers.
Once you’re given the green light to connect, you’ll likely either find that only a limited number of servers are available, or that you’ll be automatically connected to a server. Either way, you may not be able to connect to a server in the country you’re wanting to.
Once you finally connect, you could find that the “free” provider greatly throttles your connection speeds. Plus, you may have to deal with a daily or monthly data cap. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can butt up against a data cap.
Privacy and security also suck when you’re using a “free” VPN. Notice how I keep putting the word “free” in quotes? That’s because even a “free” VPN provider has to pay its bills, and many “free” VPNs do that by tracking your online activities and then selling that information to advertisers and other interested parties.
Other sans-cost VPNs (aren’t you glad I didn’t say “free” again?) have been known to inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browsing sessions. (And those tracking cookies still track you even after you’ve disconnected from the VPN provider’s servers.)
What Can I Do With a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network offers more than just encrypted protection for your online activities. It also offers other ways to enhance your online activities.
A VPN can make it appear as if you’re in another location. So, while you and your device may be located in Hong Kong, you can make it appear as if you’re connected to the internet from Paris, France (or nearly anywhere else around the globe).
This opens up access to content from geo-controlled services like streaming services, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more, as well as gaming servers, financial services and other services and websites.
A VPN’s encrypted connection protection has the ability to prevent your Internet Service Provider from monitoring your online activities. That means your ISP can’t throttle or block your internet connection simply because you’re engaging in “unauthorized” activities, like streaming from certain video services or sharing files via BitTorrent.
That same connection encryption can also keep your online activities undercover when you’re using an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot at a hotel, coffee shop or other public location.
Those hotspots usually lack protection, meaning your online activities are left open to observation by unsavory types. This is especially important if you use a hotspot to pay bills, shop online, do your banking or engage in other sensitive online activities.
Hong Kong residents and visitors will do well to use a Virtual Private Network to protect and enhance their online activities.
ExpressVPN offers top-notch online security and privacy for all of your favorite connected devices’ online activities. The provider’s fast connections provide reliable access to geo-blocked content from around the globe, ensuring your entertainment, gaming and business needs are fulfilled.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.