Best VPN for China featured image

Currently, in China, the free Internet does not exist. It is constantly being censored and monitored by the government. If you are going to visit China in business or as a tourist you will encounter problems with access to many of your favorite sites including Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and many others. Not only sites are blocked. Two years ago the Chinese Government decided to ban Whatsapp. That’s why you need to take a good VPN app with you. Read on to check what is the best VPN for China base on my research.

As I am a frequent visitor to China, I always have to deal with Internet constraints. This article is a step by step guide on how to tackle this problem. Hints are based on my own experiences.

I’m going to give you a few tips on what to do to be permanently connected to the web and use the free internet without any limits even in China. I’ll tell you how to get internet access 24h a day without roaming charges and which are the best VPN for China to access whatever site you want

Before we will go through VPN software let’s focus on how to get the internet first.

Internet access with WiFi box

Let’s start with internet access. Some time ago, I was using the hotel WiFi connection and other hot spots to connect with the Internet. As a backup, I had a roaming package of 200 MB per week via LTE from my mobile operator and it cost me around 50 EUR… 

Keep in mind that 1MB of transfer in roaming in China (out of the package) could cost you around 10 EUR. This can quickly make you bankrupt if you exceed the limit so I had to be careful and keep an eye on these 200 MB to not overreach it.

This was driving me crazy… I was limited by roaming (200 MB) and I had to spare the connection via roaming and I was always look for hotspots.

Even then when I could connect to the hotspot, the speed did not satisfy me and I was continuously being automatically disconnected every 10 minutes. I had to find a solution with limitless internet access 24/7 and this has to be portable…

This brought me to companies like Roaming Man and Skyroam (I think best for US users). They offer a WiFi box which you can buy or rent. The advantages are:

  • They have a global coverage,
  • It’s a stand-alone solution – no SIM cards, no roaming charges
  • No transfer limits
  • You can connect up to 5 devices
Best VPN for China - Roaming Man wifi
WiFi box from Roaming Man

If you decide to go for the rent option, then you can pick the box by yourself at the airport or you can ask the company to ship the WiFi box where to the indicated adress. A week ago I’ve exercised the rent of Roaming Man – this was booked for me by my Chinese colleague and I’ve picked it up just after arrival at the Shanghai airport.

In case of Skyroam, it’s better and less problematic to buy it once and have the subscription. The advantage is that you pay only when you use it. 

Best VPN for China - skyroam pick point
Skyroam pickup point at PVG

Which are the best VPN for China?

To answer the question I decided to do my own research on that. 

I assumed that I’d like to buy 1-month access in a good price and quality (= works in China). Additionally, if somethings go wrong, I’d like to have the guarantee for moneyback.

Having above mentioned assumptions, I took the following criterion:

  • Number of servers worldwide
  • Price for 1 – month plan in $
  • Supported OS 
  • Money back guarantee in days since purchase
  • If it is optimized for Chinese firewalls = can I connect from China?
  • Trustpilot score

Below summary was created in November 2018 and the information collected by me are public and easy to find on the pages of each company. 

Important notice from my side. If you are going to use VPN in China, make sure to download the software before you will cross theChinese border.

Please take above seriously – it’s really challenging to setup all things on the spot.

And now let’s see the summary:

VPN companyNumber of serversMonthly price (One month plan) in $Supported OSMoney back guarantee (days)Optimized for China? Trustpilot rate (user reviews)
PureVPN213410.95Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux31Yes9.5
ExpressVPN200012.95Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux30Yes9.6
NordVPN520511.95Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux30Yes5.2
ZenMate29811.99Windows, Mac, iOS, Android30No7.9
Trust.Zone1646.99Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux10YesN/A
IPVanish110010Windows, Mac, iOS, Android7Yes 9.6

VPN which I’m currently using – PureVPN

Best VPN for China - Pure VPN

This is the VPN which I’m currently using and I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve made my decision base the research which you can find above.

It has mobile and desktop versions which are a must for me and is working in China (works even after China government tightened the control of the internet in 2018 – checked a week ago).

Just after payment is confirmed you will receive VPN login and password. Next, you have to install VPN app and provide previously received authentication information.

Next, pick “Internet Freedom” to surf Google, Facebook and other banned in China pages.

Best VPN for China - Pure VPN1
Select Internet Freedom to connect with banned sites in China

The last step is to pick the right server – select the “Purpose” and double click on one of the servers listed in category “Optimized for China (Alternative)”.

Best VPN for China - Pure VPN2
Select “Purpose” and pick “Optimized for China (Alternative) to surf the banned www in China

As I said I had an opportunity to use PureVPN in China a week ago. I had no problems with the desktop app, but I couldn’t connect with the Android app on my mobile. 

I’ve contacted with PureVPN support and they immediatelly replied to me with following instructions:

Best VPN for China - Pure VPN on Android
PureVPN troubleshooting for problems with connection on Android

The troubleshooting worked perfect and I had no problems with PureVPN for the whole week. Hopefully, this will work also for you. I can recommend PureVPN as one of the best VPN for China.

Free Internet in China

I hope that above gives you an idea of how to get a nice and stable internet connection with bypass of the Chinese government censorship.

Wifi Box and PureVPN together worked for me perfectly and I was online  24/7.

At the end, I’d like to add that I have an experience with ExpressVPN which is also cool and you can read a little bit more on that in my previous article about using WhatsApp in China.

So make your own choice and pick your best VPN for China and connect with the free internet. Drop me a comment what was your experience.

Featured image source: pixabay.com

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