In a hurry? Here’s the best VPN for China in 2024:

🥇 ExpressVPN: Works in China without any issues since it refreshes its server IPs very fast, and it also supports obfuscation on all servers and via all protocols. It also provides high-end security and privacy features, it has super fast speeds, and it comes with servers in 100+ countries. In addition, it backs all purchases with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

I travel through China very often, and I know how annoying the Great Firewall is. Not only does it stop me from accessing my favorite streaming and news sites, but it also prevents me from using online tools that I need for my vlogs. 

A VPN is the best solution, but not all VPNs work well in China. Most of them actually can’t circumvent the Great Firewall — and out of the few that can, many don’t provide good value since they have slow speeds, poor security, and buggy apps. 

But all the VPNs on my list get around the Great Firewall without any issues. I’ve been using VPNs while traveling through China for the past 10+ years, and can confirm all of the providers I mentioned here can get around the online restrictions enforced by the Chinese government — though ExpressVPN is my favorite since it’s also super secure and very fast.

IMPORTANT: VPNs are a sensitive legal issue in China, which unfortunately remains unclear. However, I and all of the expats that I know have been using VPNs for daily life purposes for over a decade with no issues. So you can rest assured that using a VPN for tourism purposes in China will not be an issue.

Quick Look at the Best VPNs in 2024:

🥇 1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN Service for China in 2024 ExpressVPN

  • Approved by our experts
  • Most readers pick ExpressVPN
Server NetworkServers in 100+ countries
Key FeaturesLightway protocol, industry-leading speeds
Works in China
Apps
Number of ConnectionsUp to 8
Free Plan
Money-Back Guarantee30 days

expressvpn.com

ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for China in 2024 — it circumvents internet censorship in China without any issues, it provides industry-leading security and privacy features, and it has super fast speeds for all online activities. 

I never experienced any issues with ExpressVPN while traveling through China. It always allowed me to access all the online services I need to use for my vlogs. Even better, I was always able to circumvent the Great Firewall on my first try — I never had to connect to different servers until I found one that worked. 

I think ExpressVPN is such a good VPN for China because it refreshes its server IP addresses very fast. I can’t say how often, as its reps couldn’t disclose this information, but I ran 10+ leak tests on 1 VPN server, and the results always displayed a different VPN IP address. 

In addition, the provider also supports obfuscations across all VPN protocols and servers. Obfuscation hides your VPN traffic, which helps you circumvent Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) — a network traffic analysis method that detects and blocks VPN connections. 

Plus, this China VPN also comes with high-end security and privacy features. It has an audited no-logs policy, and it also secures your data with advanced features, such as RAM-only servers (every reset wipes all server data), full leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy, which changes the encryption key for each VPN session. Also, it comes with a tool that blocks shady sites, and it also provides free access to a great password manager. 

ExpressVPN also has servers in 100+ countries, including many locations near China — Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailands, and more. This makes it super simple to connect to a nearby server to get the fastest speeds. And speaking of speeds, I always maintained blazing-fast browsing, streaming, and torrenting speeds when using this VPN in China. 

And this China VPN also has other amazing perks — it works with 100+ streaming services (like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer), it has excellent P2P support across all of its servers, and it has very intuitive apps for all desktop, mobile, and smart TV devices. 

ExpressVPN is pretty affordable, with plans starting at $6.67/month. Some people say it’s pricey, but I think it’s worth the money since it provides the best value out there. Plus, it backs all of its plans with a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: ExpressVPN is definitely the best VPN for China on the market right now. However, I highly recommend using a backup VPN in addition to ExpressVPN, because the Chinese government is in a constant whack-a-mole battle with VPN providers, and it would be a shame if your VPN is all of a sudden unusable. Plus, it backs all of its plans with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

🥈 2. PureVPN — Great China VPN With High-End Security PureVPN

  • Approved by our experts
  • Most readers pick PureVPN
Server Network6000+ servers in 65+ countries
Key FeaturesHigh-end security & privacy
Works in China
Apps
Number of Connections10
Free Plan
Money-Back Guarantee31 days

purevpn.com

PureVPN is an excellent VPN for China, as it works in that country without any issues. It does so because it refreshes its server IPs very fast, and also because it provides obfuscation — plus, I like how obfuscation is supported across all of the provider’s servers. 

I also like that PureVPN is a very secure VPN for China — it has advanced security features, such as RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection. On top of that, it has a strict no-logs policy that has passed several independent security audits. And the VPN provider also releases regular transparency reports that showcase how PureVPN doesn’t comply with user data requests from third parties. 

It’s also great that this China VPN has Quantum-Resistant servers. These are VPN servers that are configured to future-proof user data against potential quantum threats in the future (once quantum computing becomes the norm). 

The VPN provider also has a large server network, numbering 6000+ servers in 65+ countries. This makes it simple to avoid overcrowded servers, and also use nearby servers to get the fastest speeds — in my tests, the VPN always provided me with fast speeds for all online activities. Still, if you think the server network is too small, try ExpressVPN instead since it has VPN servers in 100+ countries.

PureVPN also provides access to other benefits — it has user-friendly mobile and desktop apps that make it very simple to find and connect to servers, and it works with all top streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube TV. Plus, it has other useful extras such as split-tunneling (choose which apps use the VPN and which apps use your local internet connection) and dedicated IP addresses that are only assigned to you. And, finally, it provides very good gaming support.

PureVPN has tier-based subscriptions, with plans starting at $2.11/month. In addition to being really affordable, this China VPN also comes with a risk-free 31-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: PureVPN is a very secure VPN for China, as it provides access to high-end security tools, including full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and even Quantum-Resistant servers. It also has a pretty large server network, it provides fast speeds, and it has other perks, such as great streaming and gaming support. The VPN provider backs all purchases with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

🥉 3. PrivateVPN — Good, Minimalistic China VPN for Beginners PrivateVPN

  • Approved by our experts
  • Most readers pick PrivateVPN
Server Network200+ servers in 60+ countries
Key FeaturesBeginner-friendly apps, excellent P2P support
Works in China
Apps
Number of Connections10
Free Plan
Money-Back Guarantee30 days

privatevpn.com

PrivateVPN is very simple to use, as all of its apps feature a minimalistic design. This means people new to VPNs won’t feel overwhelmed when using the provider’s apps. Plus, the apps also have an interface that’s really simple to navigate, and I really like how there are helpful explanations for all settings.

This is a very reliable VPN for China, as it consistently bypasses the Great Firewall. That’s because it refreshes its IPs really fast, and also because it comes with obfuscation (enabled via the Stealth VPN feature). PrivateVPN’s obfuscation works on all servers, but it’s only available on its Windows and Android apps — if you need to use obfuscation on other devices, try ExpressVPN or PureVPN instead. 

And this China VPN is really secure as well. It uses perfect forward secrecy, and it also provides strong leak protection (I never experienced any leaks in my tests). Plus, I like how the VPN has an app-based kill switch, called Application Guard, in addition to its regular kill switch. Application Guard will shut down selected apps if the VPN disconnects — I tested it with a P2P app and Steam, and it always successfully closed those apps when I disconnected from the VPN. 

PrivateVPN also comes with other cool perks — it has 200+ servers in 60+ countries, it’s compatible with popular streaming services (such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV), it allows torrenting on all of its servers, and it maintains fast browsing, streaming, and gaming speeds across all of its servers. 

PrivateVPN is one of the most affordable VPN providers on the market, as its plans start at only $2.00/month. What’s more, the VPN provider also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: PrivateVPN is a really user-friendly VPN for China, mostly thanks to its intuitive apps. Plus, the provider also supports obfuscation via its Stealth VPN feature on most of its apps, and it comes with very strong security features (including a really good app-based kill switch). PrivateVPN also has good streaming support, fast speeds, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. Astrill VPN — Good VPN for China With Fast Speeds Astrill VPN

  • Approved by our experts
  • Most readers pick Astrill VPN
Server NetworkServers in 55+ countries
Key FeaturesVery good for users in restrictive countries
Works in China
Apps
Number of Connections5
Free Plan
Money-Back Guarantee

astrillvpn.com

Astrill VPN works without issues in China, and also maintains fast connection speeds. Whenever I use it while traveling through China, it always provides me with smooth speeds for browsing the web, streaming HD videos, and playing online games. This isn’t surprising, as the provider has servers in 55+ countries, including locations near China like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan. 

The VPN supports obfuscation via 2 proprietary protocols — OpenWeb and StealthVPN. In addition to obfuscation, Astrill VPN also comes with other useful extras, including split-tunneling, an ad blocker, and a built-in speed test. 

And Astrill VPN is also a secure VPN for China. That’s because it comes with advanced security tools, including full leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and RAM-only servers. And for an extra cost, you also get multihop VPN connections, which add multiple layers of encryption to your connection. 

Still, I have to mention one drawback — the fact that Astrill VPN’s mobile apps lack a kill switch. A kill switch is an essential VPN security feature, so I’d really like to see the provider add it to its mobile apps in the near future. If this is a deal-breaker for you, try ExpressVPN instead, as it has a kill switch on all of its apps.

Astrill VPN’s prices start at $12.50/month, making it one of the most expensive VPN providers on the market. That said, it might be worth the hefty price for some users, as it provides good value. However, I still think it’s a shame that the provider is missing a money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: Astrill VPN is a reliable China VPN with fast speeds for all online activities. It also hides VPN traffic with obfuscation via 2 proprietary protocols, and it provides access to really strong security features (though it’s a shame its mobile apps lack a kill switch). Overall, the VPN provides good value, but it’s pricey and it doesn’t have a refund policy. 

5. TunnelBear — User-Friendly VPN for China With Decent Free Plan TunnelBear

  • Approved by our experts
  • Most readers pick TunnelBear
Server Network5000+ servers in 45+ countries
Key FeaturesBeginner-friendly & fun apps, good free plan
Works in China
Apps
Number of DevicesUnlimited
Free Plan✅ (2 GB per month)
Money-Back Guarantee

tunnelbear.com

TunnelBear is one of the most user-friendly VPN providers out there. Its apps feature adorable digital bears that make it really fun to use the apps. Also, when you connect to a VPN server location, an animated bear digs a tunnel to the server’s location, which is really cute. In addition, all settings and features come with helpful explanations. 

Also, the provider has a pretty good free VPN plan. It lets you use all servers, which are located in 45+ countries, including locations near China, like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. It also provides access to all of the provider’s features, including its obfuscation features (called GhostBear) — and the obfuscation tool works very well, as it consistently gets around internet censorship in China. 

And the free plan is also very secure since it comes with full leak protection — I tested it by running leak tests on servers in 10+ countries, and I never experienced any leaks.

That said, the free VPN plan limits you to 2 GB of data per month, which is only enough for a few hours of secure web browsing. To get unlimited data, you need to upgrade to the provider’s paid plans.

TunnelBear’s paid version starts at $3.33/month, which is pretty affordable. Unfortunately, this VPN service doesn’t back its plans with a money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line: TunnelBear has user-friendly VPN software that actually makes it fun to use the provider’s apps. In addition, this is one of the few free VPNs that actually work in China — and the free plan also includes access to all of the VPN’s features, including obfuscation. The paid version is affordable, but there’s sadly no money-back guarantee.

Read my full TunnelBear review

Comparison of the Best VPNs for China in 2024

Starting PriceObfuscationServer NetworkNumber of DevicesFree Plan
Money-Back Guarantee
🥇 1. ExpressVPN$6.67/monthServers in 100+ countriesUp to 830 days
🥈 2. PureVPN$2.11/month6000+ servers in 65+ countries1031 days
🥉 3. PrivateVPN$2.00/month200+ servers in 60+ countries1030 days
4. Astrill VPN$12.50/monthServers in 55+ countries5
5. TunnelBear$3.33/monthServers in 45+ countriesUnlimited

How to Choose the Best VPN for China in 2024

  • Pick a VPN that actually works in China — You need to get a VPN that works in China 24/7. The only way a VPN can achieve this is by refreshing its server IP addresses very fast, and by providing access to obfuscation. All the VPNs on my list work without issues in China.
  • Choose a VPN that provides strong security — I strongly recommend getting a VPN that has industry-standard security features, including military-grade encryption, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, or DNS leak protection. 
  • Go for a VPN that has fast speeds — When you use a VPN, you’ll always experience slowdowns due to the added encryption. But the best VPN providers on the market (like the ones I mention) optimize their services to minimize the speed loss.
  • Get a VPN with server locations near China — The distance between your device and the VPN server also affects your VPN speeds. So you should ideally get a VPN service that has server locations near China, such as Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, or Malaysia.
  • Opt for a VPN with responsive customer support — Most top VPNs have live chat support, but that won’t be available in China. So you should get a VPN that provides good alternatives. All of the VPNs I mention in this article have responsive email support (it takes less than 48 hours to get a response).
  • Choose a VPN that provides good value — I recommend going for a VPN that also has great streaming and torrenting support, provides access to useful extras (like split-tunneling or an ad blocker), and has affordable plans. Also, bonus points if it’s a free VPN service or if it’s a paid provider with a generous money-back guarantee.

Why Use a VPN in China?

  • Freely access the internet — The Chinese government restricts access to tons of websites, including popular ones like Instagram, Gmail, YouTube, Wikipedia, Quora, Slack, and more. It restricts access to such sites via the Great Firewall. With a VPN, you can circumvent such blocks by communicating with the web through the VPN’s IP address, which doesn’t have any Great Firewall restrictions linked to it.
  • Protect your privacy — It’s perfectly normal to worry about someone spying on your web traffic when you use the internet in China. But if you surf the web via a VPN, all your traffic becomes encryption, meaning nobody can monitor it. 
  • Secure your torrenting — VPNs encrypt your P2P traffic and hide your IP address, which protects your privacy when you download torrents. Plus, with a VPN, you can access P2P sites that might be blocked by the Great Firewall.
  • Stop bandwidth throttling — Internet service providers (ISPs) in China might throttle connections to foreign sites that are not blocked by the Great Firewall to discourage people from accessing them. Or they might just selectively throttle speeds for data-heavy online activities, like torrenting, streaming, or gaming. In either case, a VPN can prevent bandwidth throttling by encrypting your data, so that your ISP can’t see your online traffic.

How Does China Block VPNs? 

The Chinese government usually relies on 3 methods: 

  1. IP Blocks The government uses the Great Firewall to block IPs belonging to VPN servers from known VPN services. Once a VPN IP address is blocked, you can no longer connect to it. That’s why VPN services need to refresh their server IPs very often to consistently work in China. 
  2. DPI Blocks — The Great Firewall also employs DPI blocks, which analyze network traffic to detect and block VPNs. Essentially, DPI can spot VPN traffic, and then block the VPN connection. To circumvent this type of block, VPN services employ obfuscation, which is a security feature that hides VPN data, making the VPN connection look like a regular internet connection.
  3. Port blocks — This method involves blocking ports that are used by VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, or WireGuard. The only way for VPN services to get around this is to use protocols that support TCP port 443, as it’s the port that routes HTTPS traffic, so the government can’t block it.

If you need a VPN that circumvents such blocks, try ExpressVPN — it’s without a doubt the best VPN for China since it works in that country without any issues. That’s because it changes its server IP addresses very often, it supports obfuscation on all servers and via all protocols, and it automatically uses TCP port 443 via the OpenVPN protocol. In addition, it also provides blazing-fast speeds and high-end security features.

How to Use a VPN in China

  1. Get a VPN that actually works in China. I recommend ExpressVPN since it’s the best VPN for China — it refreshes its server IPs very often, it supports obfuscation to hide your VPN connection, it’s super secure, and it has the fastest speeds out there.
  2. Download and install the VPN on your device. If you plan to visit China, I strongly recommend doing this before you arrive in the country.
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server. You can now access the web through a brand new IP that doesn’t have any Great FIrewall restrictions linked to it. I recommend connecting to a server location near China to get the fastest speeds. 

What to Do If Your VPN Is Not Working in China

  • Connect to a different server — The most likely scenario is that the government has blocked the IP address of the server you were using. To fix this, simply connect to a different server. 
  • Update the VPN app — If the VPN client is out-of-date, this could cause issues that prevent the VPN from working well in China. If you’re traveling to China, make sure to do this before you arrive.
  • Enable the VPN’s obfuscation tool — Obfuscation is a security feature that’s needed to bypass DPI blocks. All the VPN services I recommend in this article come with obfuscation, but how you enable it varies from provider to provider.
  • Use TCP port 443 — The government could use the Great Firewall to block ports associated with known VPN protocols. The solution in this case is to switch to a VPN protocol (usually, it’s OpenVPN) that uses TCP port 443, as the government can’t block it without disrupting access to HTTPS traffic across the country. 
  • Contact customer support — If nothing works, your best bet is to contact the provider’s customer support team. In China, this will usually be done over email, so it might take 1–2 days to get a response.

VPNs That I Recommend Avoiding

  • Private Internet Access — This is a top VPN that provides high-end security, fast speeds, excellent P2P support, and it even allows unlimited simultaneous connections. However, it unfortunately doesn’t consistently work in China.
  • Surfshark — Surfshark has really good security features, it provides very fast speeds, it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, and it’s excellent for streaming since it works with 100+ streaming platforms. But it unfortunately doesn’t work in China at all.
  • NordVPN — The provider comes with very strong security and privacy tools (it even includes malware protection and obfuscation), it has really good speeds, and it’s great for gaming and streaming. But it sadly only works in China 50% of the time. 

Frequently Asked Questions

ExpressVPN is definitely the best VPN for China — it works in that region without any issues since it refreshes its server IPs very fast, and it also supports obfuscation on all servers and via all protocols. In addition, you get excellent value since the VPN has ultra-secure features, provides super fast speeds for all online activities, and it has very intuitive apps. Also, it backs all purchases with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Yes, though I don't really recommend using free VPNs in China. That’s because the Chinese government can easily block free VPNs since most of them don’t refresh their server IP addresses fast enough. On top of that, using a free VPN is also inconvenient, as it usually has slow speeds, buggy apps, and it might even log your data and share it with third parties. 

Still, if you insist on using a free VPN, try TunnelBear. It’s one of the only VPNs with a free plan that actually works in China — and its free plan even provides access to obfuscation. What’s more, the free plan gets you access to servers in 45+ countries and strong security features. The only downside is that the free plan limits you to 2 GB per month, which is only enough for a few hours of web browsing.

Yes, but make sure to not use a VPN with physical servers in China. If you do that, always assume the provider logs the data on that server and shares it with the Chinese government, as the law in China requires VPNs that operate physical server locations in the country to do that.

Instead, make sure to use a VPN with virtual server locations in China — that means the server provides you with an IP address from China, but the physical server is actually located in a different location (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan in this case). PureVPN is a good pick if you need a Chinese IP address, as the provider has virtual server locations in China, provides high-end security and privacy, and has very fast speeds. 

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for China when it comes to torrenting. It works in China without issues, and it also supports P2P traffic on all of its servers, which are located in 100+ countries. On top of that, it also provides very strong security features for protecting your torrenting traffic, and it also has the fastest download speeds on the market. Plus, it comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

This is a somewhat legally gray area — to my knowledge, most tourists that use a VPN in China don’t really risk any legal repercussions if they’re caught using the VPN. However, there’s a risk that Chinese citizens might get in legal trouble if the authorities catch them using a VPN. 

What I do know to be fully illegal is to operate and run a non-government approved VPN in China. Doing that could land you in jail, or you could face huge fines. Also, while government-approved VPNs are legal in China, I don’t recommend using them since they very likely log your data and share it with Chinese authorities. 

Ultimately, I strongly recommend you do your own research on this matter. Check the local laws and regulations of the Chinese province you plan on visiting to make sure you don’t risk facing any serious legal repercussions if you’re caught using a VPN. 

Yes, but doing this is pretty tricky — most VPN websites are blocked, so you’ll need to either use a mirrored link (a copy of the provider’s site hosted on a different domain) or contact the provider’s email support to see how you can get access to the service. Alternatively, you could ask a friend from overseas to sign up for the VPN for you, and send you the installation files. 

You can download government-approved VPNs, but I strongly advise against it. They’re not secure at all, as they’re required by law to log user data and share it with Chinese authorities. Otherwise, they can’t operate in China. 

Your best option is to download the VPN before you leave for China. If you’re not sure which VPN to use, I recommend ExpressVPN — it works without any issues in China since it refreshes its IPs very fast and supports obfuscation, it has super fast speeds, and it comes with high-end security and privacy features. 

Ideally, you should use the closest server to your location. This normally includes nearby countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. I recommend doing this because, this way, you’ll get the best speeds since your data won’t need to be routed over long distances. If you need a VPN with tons of locations near China, I recommend ExpressVPN.

Most VPNs will recommend using the OpenVPN protocol, as they usually support obfuscation via that protocol. That said, I recommend asking your provider which VPN protocol to use, as this can vary from VPN to VPN. For example, ExpressVPN supports obfuscation on all protocols, but recommends using its proprietary Lightway protocol in China for the best results.

No, as Chinese authorities are able to detect and block most VPNs. It’s actually pretty hard to find a great VPN that consistently works in China, but — in my experience — ExpressVPN has always performed very well. The provider works without issues since it supports obfuscation on all servers, and it also changes its server IPs very often. Plus, it has industry-leading security and privacy features, and it comes with ultra-fast speeds for all online activities. 

Best VPNs for China in 2024 — Final Thoughts: 

ExpressVPN
PrivateVPN

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TREVOR JAMES

Full Time Digital Nomad

About The Author

Hi! I’m Trevor James, a Canadian YouTuber who travels the world full-time. I make videos about food, travel, and cybersecurity. I have been traveling the world and making videos for over 10 years. You can read more about me here.

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