Update June 2019: As
you may know, China spent a good portion of last year cracking down on VPN usage
throughout the country and even threatened to ban all non-state sanctioned
VPNs. Obviously, that hasn’t happened (expats are still using VPNs today).
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 this website, like many others, has been blocked
in China since 2009 under what is affectionately referred to as “The Great
Firewall” (i.e. China’s censorship). Some websites, Like Facebook, Twitter and
even Instagram in China, are blocked
because the government can’t control the sharing of ideas on the platforms.
Others, like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, are blocked because
they are labeled “western media”.
I have no idea why FarWestChina 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
The only way I’ve been able to work online from in
China is through what is known as a VPN, or a Virtual Private
Because I have over
8 years 10 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 the
best VPN for China in 2019. 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 recommendations.
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
VPN for China 2019 | Video Reviews
Click below to hear my thoughts and see each of these
best VPNs for China in action.
VPNs for China 2019
|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 guarantees
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, they’ve been reliable and consistent over the past 3
years (that’s important), they all offer hundreds of servers
across the globe and they all have unlimited bandwidth.
ExpressVPN in China (Editor’s Choice + 3 Free months)
is my go-to VPN for China in 2019. I’m a huge fan of their overall design (which
was just updated in January) – the website, desktop app and mobile app are all
beautiful, quick to install and easy to use.
I always recommend ExpressVPN
to anybody I know who doesn’t consider themselves tech-savvy for a couple
- It’s super easy to set
- 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 you 3 months free on any annual plan!
NordVPN in China (w/ Discount)
has been a surprise addition to my VPN arsenal over past two years. 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 & mobile devices.
- They allow 6 simultaneous connections (most
VPNs give 3-5)
- They also offer a no-nonsense, 30-day money
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. They’re very competitively priced and run specials throughout
the year. I always keep this link up-to-date so click here to learn about the
VyprVPN in China (68% Discount)
I was turned on to VyprVPN about
4 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” connection protocol
for added security
- Transparency and honesty
- 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 even longer than that 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
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!
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
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.
12VPN in China (10% Discount Code)
I’ve been a 12VPN customer since 2013
and in many ways it’s been my go-to VPN on my phone. Why? It’s 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, two years ago
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 (ExpressVPN does as
well). I won’t go into details about what SmartDNS is (read about Smart DNS here), but suffice to say I
use it to watch Netflix on my Apple TV in
China and it is so much faster than connecting on a
Best of all, I have a 12VPN Discount
Code that you can use! Just enter FWC10 to get 10% off your
to Avoid in China
Here’s the thing about the relationship between China
and VPNs – every year China 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
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
| Best VPN for China 2019
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
If you’re here in China and using a VPN, leave a
comment below to let me know what you use.