Update October 2018: As
many of you know, China has already cracked down on VPNs throughout the first
half of 2018 after doing so multiple times over the past couple years. Not only
that, but the Chinese government threatened to ban
all non-state sanctioned VPNs. Obviously, that hasn’t happened (I’m
using a VPN to write this). So what’s the deal? Do the best
VPNs for China still work? As an expat who has spent
over a decade in China, I’d like to offer my thoughts and
Sadly, FarWestChina has been unreliably accessible here
in China since 2009, blocked by the “Great Firewall” (i.e. China’s censorship).
I have no idea why it was blocked – other than the fact that I’m talking about
Xinjiang, one of the most sensitive regions in China – and there’s nothing I can
do to unblock the site. Trust me, I’ve tried everything short
of knocking on a government official’s door.
The only way I’ve been able to work on this site from
my home here in China is through what is known as a VPN,
or a Virtual Private Network.
Because I have over 8 years of first-hand
experience with over 20 different VPN services, I get more than a few
emails every month from people asking me what I recommend as
VPN for China in 2018. It’s an obvious need for anybody living in
China but more and more people are realizing that online security is something
netizens in every country should consider.
I’m not trying to hard-sell anybody here…more than
anything I just want to provide some helpful information for those people
who need to get a new VPN. A few of the links here and in the video are
affiliate links which means that at
no additional cost to you I will be compensated if you purchase the
service. I have continually used each of these services from my home here
in China over the past year, so I’m confident about my
When it comes to the best
VPNs for China, I’ve given you three ways to hear my thoughts: watch
the video, check out the comparison chart or read my person reviews for each VPN
Best VPNs for China | Video Review
Click below to hear my thoughts and see each of these
best VPNs for China in action.
*Click to watch the video and then subscribe to the
FarWestChina Youtube channel!
Best VPNs for China | Comparison
||Other Excellent Virtual Private
*Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer generous 30-day
money back guarantees.
**VyprVPN and PureVPN offer 7-day and 14-day money back
As I mentioned in the video above, there are
literally hundreds of
VPNs to choose from on the market and there are quite a few good ones that
didn’t make this list.
These, however, have stood the test of time (they are
all at least 5 years old), have made a specific effort to reach the China
market, all offer hundreds of servers across the globe and they all have
ExpressVPN in China (Editor’s Choice + 3 Free
my go-to VPN for China 2018. I’m a huge fan of their overall design – the
website, desktop app and mobile app are all beautiful, quick to install and easy
I always recommend ExpressVPN to
anybody I know who doesn’t consider themselves tech-savvy for a couple of
- It’s super
easy to set up!
- Their software is some of the best in the
- They offer a no-hassle, 30-day money back
For those who desire simplicity and ease, ExpressVPN
has been a solid option here in China for the past few years. You
can check out their pricing here and
if you use this link (which is an affiliate link), they’ll give
months free on any annual plan!
Click for 3 months
FREE on ExpressVPN
NordVPN in China (66% off Discount Code!)
been a surprise addition to my VPN arsenal over past year. They’ve purposefully
entered the China market and are aggressively tackling the blocking issues that
plague all the best VPNs in China.
There are a number of reasons I’ve come to like the
NordVPN software and service.
- The software is well-designed, both on computers &
- They allow 6 simultaneous connections (most VPNs give
- They also offer a no-nonsense, 30-day money back
In many cases, I often tell people to purchase both
ExpressVPN and NordVPN (I have both) to figure out which one works best in your
China location. Best of all, right now they’re running a special where you can
get 66% off a 2-year plan with NordVPN.
Get up to 66% off
Using VyprVPN in China (68%
I was turned on
to VyprVPN a
couple years ago and have been incredibly impressed with the transparency of the
company (just compare their about page with any other VPN).
Here’s what I love about VyprVPN:
- Proprietary “Chameleon” protocol for added
- Simple-to-use software
- A 3-day FREE trial (but no 30-day money back
VyprVPN has been around since 2009 but their parent
company, GoldenFrog, has been around for more than a decade providing online
services. I’ve spoken at length with some of their representatives and really
like their focus on the China market, which is comforting considering how much
the Chinese internet landscape changes.
If all of this sound good to you, they have given me a
special link that will allow you to give them a try for free for 3
days and then get 68% off their 2-year plan.
Click for 68% off
Using PureVPN in China
consistently offers some of the lowest prices. Currently you can
get two years of VPN for the price of one with
PureVPN, which includes up to 5 devices connected!
PureVPN is another popular option here in
China. They boast over 1 million users world-wide and their market share in
China seems to be growing at a rapid pace.
While I wasn’t a big fan of their software at first,
thankfully they have since updated the design and it functions much better.
Their speeds are excellent and I found them to be the best in terms of streaming
– at least for me out here in western China.
What you might find useful is their “Server Selection
Tool” where you tell the software what you want to do (download, stream US
content, stream UK content, etc) and it will tell you which servers best suit
Considering the price – which is often one of the
lowest around – PureVPN is an excellent VPN
option for the price conscious buyer.
Click for 73% off
A Look at 12VPN in China (10% Discount
a 12VPN customer
since 2013 and in many ways it’s been my go-to VPN on my phone.
simple and it just works…every time.
The software isn’t flashy and they don’t have a
dedicated iPhone or Android app but setup for both was an easy download of
one file that took me all of 5 minutes.
One of the things I’ve truly appreciated about 12VPN is
their commitment to communication. I get periodic emails informing me of changes
in the VPN and changes in the Great Firewall. For example, last year one of
the submarine cables that connects Asia with North America was severed. Out of
the 10 VPNs I had running at the time, 12VPN was the only one that let me know
what was happening and why I should expect slower speeds on the Los Angeles
In addition to VPN services, 12VPN is also one of the
few companies that offers SmartDNS as part of their package. I won’t go into
details about what SmartDNS is, but suffice to say I use it
to watch Netflix on my Apple TV in
China and it is so
much fasterthan connecting on a VPN.
Best of all, I have a 12VPN
Discount Code that you can use! Just enter FWC10 to
get 10% off your order.
Click for 10% off
VPNs to Avoid in China
Here’s the thing about the relationship between China
and VPNs – China is always making changes that affect the landscape of VPN use
within the country. If the VPN you choose doesn’t devote resources to adapt
to these changes, that spells trouble for you.
This rules out most small VPN services such
as Buffered or
all the free services such as Hotspot
Shield. Neither seem to have the manpower or resources to play the
constant game of cat and mouse with China’s internet censors. I’ve had a
difficult time connecting to their servers from within China.
Finally, despite its popularity in China, I
personally don’t recommend Astrill
VPN. My biggest problem was their customer support but the deal breaker
was that they require users to provide their phone number for authentication. In
China, that kind of connection between my VPN and my phone number is a big
Conclusion | Best VPN for China 2018
So that about covers it! Obviously there are plenty of
VPN services which have been left out of this list, but I stand by the fact that
if you’re coming to Asia, these are the best
VPNs for China in 2018.
If you’re here in China and using a VPN, leave a
comment below to let me know what you use.