Published on: April 5, 2022
Short on time? Here’s the best VPN for China in 2022:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: Offers obfuscated servers that work in China 100% of the time, includes industry-leading security features, maintains the fastest speeds on the market, and has a large server network for connecting to servers in many countries near China. Allows 5 connections, offers affordable prices, and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
China’s Great Firewall regulates the country’s internet and controls the type of online content that its population has access to. The only way to bypass China’s firewall and access the open internet on your PC or mobile device is by using a good VPN. However, VPN use is banned both for residents and visitors to China, and the Chinese government has become really good at detecting and blocking VPNs.
Fortunately, there are still a handful of really good VPNs on the market for getting around China’s firewall. All of the VPNs that I picked for this list allow you to bypass China’s firewall, provide strong security measures to avoid government detection, maintain good speeds, and are easy to use.
Quick summary of the best VPNs for China:
- 1.🥇 ExpressVPN — Best VPN for China. Top security, best features, fastest speeds.
- 2.🥈 Private Internet Access — Flexible apps with fast speeds for accessing the web in China.
- 3.🥉 PrivateVPN — Minimalistic interface with a great obfuscation tool for working in China.
- 4. TunnelBear — User-friendly VPN good for beginners.
- 5. VyprVPN — Great VPN for large households.
- Bonus. Astrill VPN — Strong security features designed specifically for China.
- Comparison of the Best VPNs for China.
- How to Choose the Best VPN for China.
- Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut.
- Frequently Asked Questions about VPNs for China.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best Speeds, Security, and Reliability for Use in China
ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for China in 2022. It bypasses China’s firewall with ease, maintains fast speeds across all servers, and comes with a wide range of security features.
Thanks to its obfuscated servers, ExpressVPN is able to bypass Chinese government restrictions while keeping your traffic and VPN use completely hidden. You’ll feel secure using ExpressVPN’s advanced security features, which include DNS and IP leak protection and perfect forward secrecy. DNS and IP leak protection ensure that your location and traffic never get exposed to government agencies, while perfect forward secrecy changes your encryption key each time you connect to a different server, preventing any of your past or future transferred data from being deciphered by hackers and the Chinese government.
Some other useful security features ExpressVPN has are split tunneling and TrustedServer technology. Split tunneling allows you to choose which apps go through the VPN’s obfuscated servers and which don’t, while TrustedServer security means ExpressVPN’s servers run only on RAM instead of writing to hard drives. Each time a server reboots, all of its data is wiped clean, minimizing the risk of third parties (like the Chinese government) accessing your data and information.
When it comes to speeds, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market. It has over 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, allowing you to connect to the nearest server to your location to get the best speeds. In my speed tests, ExpressVPN only decreased my internet speed by 13%, which is excellent.
If you encounter any obstacles while trying to bypass the Great Firewall, it’s good to know that ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support. In my experience, the support representatives are responsive, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable.
ExpressVPN supports all major operating systems, allows up to 5 simultaneous connections, and offers several plans that start at $6.67 / month — it’s a bit expensive compared to some other VPNs, but ExpressVPN offers the best value, plus it usually includes additional free months with its longest-term plan. It accepts credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and international processors including UnionPay and AliPay. ExpressVPN’s plans all come back with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is able to bypass China’s firewall without detection and allows users to browse the web and stream content without any interruptions thanks to its obfuscated servers and fast speeds. ExpressVPN also comes with a wide variety of security features including DNS and IP leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, split tunneling, and TrustedServer technology. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.
🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great Security & Highly Customizable Apps
Private Internet Access (PIA) is secure, fast, and very good at bypassing government restrictions in censor-heavy countries. It uses its Shadowsocks obfuscation protocol to disguise your VPN traffic as regular traffic in order to get around government firewalls — Shadowsocks is very good at hiding your VPN traffic in restrictive countries like China, allowing you to visit any website you want.
Similar to ExpressVPN, PIA also has high-security features like its own DNS encryption service, a proprietary ad-blocking system in PIA MACE, and split-tunneling.
While many VPNs claim that they don’t log user data without backing up their claims, Private Internet Access’s claims of not logging user data have been tested in multiple court cases and verified to be true each time. PIA releases regular transparency reports where it proves that it doesn’t keep logs or produce them to regulators. Also, PIA’s apps are fully open source, meaning anyone can examine the source code to ensure they’re secure.
What’s more, PIA has the most flexible and customizable apps out of any other VPN on this list. All of its apps are well designed, intuitive, and offer tons of customization for users, including different levels of encryption (128-bit AES and 256-bit AES), IP and app whitelisting, local port connections, automation rules, and more.
PIA also has a good server network, with servers in 80+ countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Despite not being as fast as ExpressVPN, PIA provides very good internet speeds across and allows for seamless, uninterrupted browsing. In my tests, the average decrease in speeds across all of PIA’s servers was just 26%.
Private Internet Access has apps for all popular operating systems, allows up to Unknown simultaneous connections, and offers plans that start at just $2.19 / month. It accepts credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and even gift cards for payment in order to shield its customers’ identities. Private Internet Access covers each of their payment plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access is secure, highly customizable, and fully open source. PIA’s Shadowsocks obfuscation protocol disguises your VPN traffic as regular traffic in order to bypass China’s firewall and browse the web without detection. It maintains fast speeds, comes with a ton of security extras, and is very easy to use across all apps. All of PIA’s plans are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥉3. PrivateVPN — Simple Interface with Good Speeds
PrivateVPN is pretty good at getting around China’s firewall and ensuring your privacy online. Like Private Internet Access, it also provides a proprietary obfuscation protocol, known as Stealth VPN, which allows you to bypass VPN blocks in countries with censorship. Stealth VPN uses obfuscation to disguise your online traffic and make it look like regular traffic, so the Chinese government wouldn’t know that you’re using a VPN.
Whether you’re a new or experienced VPN user, you’ll have no problem getting familiar with PrivateVPN’s simple dashboard. It’s easy to find and enable Stealth VPN, manually connect to a server, and switch from Simple View (available on desktop), which keeps customization options to a minimum, to the Advanced View, which is good for more experienced users.
PrivateVPN has 200+ servers in 60+ countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore. Although it doesn’t have speeds as fast as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access, PrivateVPN still performed quite well in my speed tests, slowing down my internet speeds by an average of just 45%. I was able to browse, stream, and download content on the internet with little issue.
In addition to standard security features including 256-bit AES encryption, multiple connection protocols, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch, PrivateVPN also includes Tor support for adding an extra security layer while browsing the Tor network.
PrivateVPN works with all platforms and devices, lets you connect 10 devices simultaneously, and has very cheap prices that start at $2.00 / month. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, along with flexible payment options (including paying with cryptocurrency).
PrivateVPN is very easy to use and it maintains good speeds on all servers. It’s able to bypasses China’s firewall undetected while using its proprietary Stealth VPN protocol, and it has strong security features, extras like Tor support, and fast speeds for uninterrupted browsing, streaming, and downloading. PrivateVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. TunnelBear — Best VPN for beginners
TunnelBear is user-friendly, intuitive, and can also bypass China’s firewall while avoiding detection. It has an easy-to-use obfuscation tool (GhostBear) that you can enable with a single click and that is successful at disguising your VPN traffic as regular traffic in order to get around Chinese government restrictions.
TunnelBear has servers in 45+ countries, which is fewer than many premium competitors, but they’re spread out all across the globe in North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Australia, along with Singapore, Japan, and New Zealand.
When it comes to speeds, TunnelBear has decent speeds, but isn’t quite as fast as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access. In my speed tests, TunnelBear reduced my browsing and streaming speeds by an average of only 42%, but I was still able to browse and stream social media content with little in the way of lag or buffering.
TunnelBear has all of the standard security features, including a strict no-logs policy that is annually audited and certified by an independent cybersecurity company, a kill switch, stealth mode, and split tunneling (only available for Android). However, unlike top competitors like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, TunnelBear isn’t always able to access popular streaming services (and it can’t access Disney+).
TunnelBear has competitive prices (starting at $3.33 / month) and allows 5 connections, but it doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee — instead, there’s a free plan with only 500 MB available per month to test out the product.
TunnelBear is very user-friendly and intuitive, making it a particularly good option for new or beginner users. Its stealth mode (known as GhostBear) allows you to bypass China’s firewall with just one click. It also has decent speeds, all of the standard security features, and split tunneling (only for Android). TunnelBear doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, but instead has a free option with a 500 MB limit per month.
5. VyprVPN — Allows 30 Simultaneous Connections (Good for Large Households)
VyprVPN allows up to 30 simultaneous connections, meaning you can use it with all of your devices or if everyone in your household wants to access a free and open internet.
It bypasses China’s firewall without many issues, has fast speeds, and provides extra security features like its proprietary Chameleon protocol that hides your connection from your ISP or governments (like China). This way, the Chinese government can’t know that you’re using a VPN to bypass its firewall.
VyprVPN owns over 700 servers around the globe, including several located near China in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. While its internet speeds aren’t as fast as ExpressVPN, they’re still quite good — I only experienced a slowdown of 28%.
In terms of security features, VyprVPN also has VyprDNS, its own DNS service that protects all of your requests without involving third parties. Your DNS requests will never be recorded by government agencies, and neither will anything else, thanks to VyprVPN’s strict no-logs policy.
But with prices that start at $8.33 / month, VyprVPN is pretty expensive. It backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN allows a staggering 30 connections, which is great for big families or people with a lot of devices. Its Chameleon proprietary protocol masks your VPN traffic and allows you to get around Chinese internet restrictions undetected. It also maintains fast speeds and comes with its own DNS protection service. VyprVPN offers a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee with each purchase.
Bonus. Astrill VPN — Stealth VPN & Smart Mode for Bypassing China’s Firewall
Astrill VPN offers some pretty robust features for bypassing government restrictions. This includes a Stealth VPN obfuscation protocol to bypass automated firewalls and Smart Mode, which optimizes your speed through regional IP addresses. Both Stealth VPN and Smart Mode are designed specifically to bypass China’s firewall.
Astrill has over 100 servers available in 55+ countries, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan. While it’s not quite as fast as many of the other VPNs on this list, it reduced my internet speeds by an average of just 40% while browsing and streaming content on Netflix.
Unlike other VPNs on this list, Astrill VPN is not very intuitive and is much more complicated for beginners to use. However, Astrill does have customizable desktop clients, which are great for advanced users.
Astrill VPN allows for up to 5 device connections at once, has pretty expensive plans starting at $12.50 / month, and doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee on any purchases.
Astrill VPN is fast, works in China, and has industry-standard security features. Its Stealth VPN obfuscation protocol and Smart Mode are designed specifically for bypassing China’s firewall and both are able to do so successfully while remaining undetected. Astrill also maintains decent speeds, but it’s plans are pretty expensive and doesn’t have a money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best VPNs for China
|VPN||Starting Price||Number of Connections||Server Network (Countries)||Obfuscation Method||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1.🥇ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||5||90+||Obfuscated servers||30 days|
|2.🥈Private Internet Access||$2.19 / month||10||80+||Shadowsocks protocol||30 days|
|3.🥉PrivateVPN||$2.00 / month||10||60+||Stealth VPN protocol||30 days|
|4. TunnelBear||$3.33 / month||5||45+||GhostBear tool||None|
|5. VyprVPN||$8.33 / month||30||60+||Chameleon protocol||30 days|
|6. Astrill VPN||$12.50 / month||5||55+||Stealth VPN protocol and Smart Mode||None|
How to Choose the Best VPN for China in 2022:
- Bypasses restrictions. All of my VPN recommendations are proven to be able to bypass China’s firewall without detection (ExpressVPN is the best).
- Strong security. All of my VPN recommendations offer industry-standard VPN security features, including 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy.
- Fast speeds. While all VPNs slow down your internet connection by at least a little bit, my recommended VPNs reduced connection speeds by no more than an average of 45%, which is really good. (ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on this list).
- Good value. I only recommend VPNs that have easy-to-use apps that support multiple platforms and devices, offer competitive payment plans and payment methods, and allow you to connect to at least 5 devices at once.
Top Brands that Didn’t Make the Cut:
- IPVanish. IPVanish is a useful VPN for torrenting and gaming, but unfortunately it doesn’t work in China.
- CyberGhost VPN. CyberGhost VPN is a great, easy-to-use VPN with specialized streaming, torrenting, and gaming servers. But despite having servers in China, it’s not able to bypass the Great Firewall.
- ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN is an excellent VPN option with high-privacy features. However, this VPN doesn’t have obfuscation tools to bypass China’s firewall.
Frequently Asked Questions about VPNs for China
Is it legal to bypass China’s firewall with a VPN?
The use of a VPN is banned both for residents and visitors of China. However, while you could get fined for using an unapproved VPN while in China, there have been no reports of any foreigners in China being fined or punished for using outside VPNs.
What is the best VPN for China?
ExpressVPN is my top pick for bypassing China’s firewall in 2022. It can access all blocked web content by the Chinese government, it’s fast, it comes with excellent security features, it works with all of the top streaming sites, and it has a very user-friendly interface.
However, all of the other VPNs on this list are also able to safely and securely bypass China’s firewall. Private Internet Access offers tons of customization options, and PrivateVPN is one of the best VPNs for streaming. TunnelBear is a good VPN for beginners in China, VyprVPN allows 30 connections, and Astrill VPN is more geared toward experienced users looking to bypass China’s firewall.
How do I bypass China’s firewall with a VPN?Bypassing China’s firewall with a VPN requires only 3 steps:
- 1. Get a reputable VPN that can bypass China’s firewall restrictions before traveling to China. I recommend ExpressVPN because it has strong security, the fastest speeds on the market, and very inuitive apps.
- 2. Download and install the VPN. This process should only take a few minutes — just follow the installation wizard’s instructions.
- 3. Connect to a server. Open the app and locate the list of server locations in the server menu. Scroll down the list of servers until you locate the country where you want to browse the web without China’s firewall restrictions. Click on that country and start browsing.
Can I use a free VPN for China?
China’s firewall blocks most free VPNs — so you’ll probably need a paid VPN service for the fastest and most reliable browsing. While some VPNs may offer a free plan that is able to bypass China’s firewall, most are unable to access blocked web content, have slower speeds, and set a limit on your bandwidth.
The best option is to purchase a reasonably-priced VPN that will allow you to safely and securely bypass China’s firewall and browse the web with no restrictions. VPN brands like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access (PIA), and PrivateVPN can all bypass China’s firewall, provide fast speeds, and are affordable.