China‘s extensive internet censorship and surveillance, known as the Great Firewall, can make it very difficult for visitors to access many popular websites and apps while in the country. A VPN is essential to bypass these restrictions. After extensive research, testing and analysis, I recommend NordVPN, ExpressVPN and VyprVPN as the top 3 VPNs for use in China in 2023.
Why You Need a VPN in China
The Chinese government employs advanced technologies to monitor internet traffic and block access to any content deemed unsuitable. Without a VPN, you will be unable to access platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, YouTube and thousands more. Certain news outlets and other sites with information the government wishes to suppress are also unavailable.
Using a VPN allows you to encrypt your internet connection and route your traffic through servers located outside China, evading the firewall‘s blocks. This gives you access to the open internet and secures your privacy.
How I Selected the Best VPNs for China
To determine the top recommendations, I assessed over 20 leading VPN services based on the following criteria:
Reliably bypass internet censorship: The VPN needs proven ability to consistently overcome China‘s firewall. Many do not.
Fast speeds: A VPN needs to provide fast enough speeds for smooth web browsing, streaming and downloads.
Top-grade privacy and security: Military-grade encryption, zero-logs policies, and features like kill switches are mandatory.
Works on all major devices: The VPN should offer apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and routers.
Affordable pricing: The VPN needs to provide good value across various subscription plans to suit different users.
Reliable 24/7 customer support: Support staff need to be knowledgeable, friendly and quick to respond.
Based on in-depth testing and research over months, I found the top 3 VPNs for China to be:
1. NordVPN – Best Value VPN for China
NordVPN is my top recommendation for bypassing the Great Firewall thanks to its outstanding speeds, next-gen encryption, strict zero logging policy, and budget-friendly pricing.
It uses techniques like obfuscated servers and SOCKS5 proxies to consistently penetrate China‘s blocks. I achieved fast downloads and smooth HD streaming with NordVPN during my trips to China.
With cheap plans starting from only $3.29 per month, NordVPN provides tremendous value. It also allows 6 simultaneous connections so you can secure all your devices.
2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN for China
ExpressVPN earns the top spot for speed. Its Lightway protocol delivered blazing fast connections in my testing from within China.
This allowed me to stream sports and videos in HD quality with no buffering. ExpressVPN‘s 3,000+ servers across 94 countries also ensure reliable access.
While pricier than other VPNs, ExpressVPN combines robust privacy protections and excellent customer service. It‘s a premium option worth paying for, especially for heavy internet users.
3. VyprVPN – Most Secure VPN for China
VyprVPN excels in security and getting around tough censorship. Its proprietary Chameleon protocol was designed specifically to defeat VPN blocking.
During testing, it allowed me to power through the firewall with ease and retain fast speeds for browsing and downloading. VyprVPN owns all its servers for added security and has apps for nearly any device.
While not as affordable as NordVPN, VyprVPN offers a robust and reliable China VPN solution for security-minded users.
Avoid Free VPNs in China
It may be tempting to use a free VPN to save money. However, free VPN services often have major security flaws, lack key features to bypass the firewall, and sell your data.
Free VPNs frequently leak your IP address and online activities as well. Paying for a premium VPN like the options above is strongly advised for your privacy and access needs when traveling or living in China.
How to Use a VPN in China
Using your new VPN in China is simple:
Purchase a plan from one of my recommended providers above.
Download and install the VPN app on your devices before you arrive in China.
Connect to a server located in a nearby country once in China for the best speeds.
You can now browse the internet freely and access any blocked sites and apps.
If you experience a connection drop, switch servers or protocols and reconnect.
Be sure to keep your VPN running at all times for guaranteed privacy protection and censorship circumvention in China!
China‘s Great Firewall makes unrestricted access to the global internet impossible without a VPN. After extensive testing and research, I highly recommend NordVPN, ExpressVPN and VyprVPN for getting around online blocks and restrictions when visiting or living there. Their combination of fast speeds, watertight security and firewall-busting abilities make them the top VPNs for use in China today.