Bonus: Astrill VPN Most Reliable China VPN
For as long as Ive been in China , Astrill has been a go-to option for expats wanting to access the uncensored internet in China.
As with each of these VPN services, its been through its share of times when its working well vs times when it hasnt.
In general, however, Astrill has a record of providing the most consistent, un-interrupted connection status for a VPN in China. I dont use it as my primary VPN, but it has made for an excellent backup that almost always works when my primary fails me.
Theyre not the cheapest, and they have premium add-ons that add even more to that price, but if ExpressVPN and NordVPN have failed you, this is definitely worth a shot.
Astrill generally doesnt provide discounts, other than the price break when you purchase an annual plan.
How Does China Block VPNs With The Great Firewall
Every bit of internet traffic going in or out of China is wiretapped. Seven backbone connections serve the country, and each connection is being monitored, logged, checked, and double-checked by farms full of servers for snooping in the name of the Party. What China has built is a nationwide stateful firewall a big, powerful tool for keeping track of each and every session created by each and every device across the entire country.
Chinas first line of defense is, and always will be, blackholing sites and services via border gateway protocol. BGP was designed to allow routers to communicate efficiently and tell other routers which resources are and arent available.
A TLS handshake cant be completed because the VPN server has been blackholed. China can and does restrict access to any server or website in the world by blackholing IP addresses and domains.
Changes made in Chinas biggest state-run routers propagate automatically via BGP, which puts the Chinese internet authority in every ISP in the country. The state enforces their blacklist by using the technology exactly as intended, just with the worst possible motivation. Sites disappear across the entire country when China updates their routers.
Most VPN providers have some or all of their server networks blackholed. VPNArea, Keenow, CactusVPN, and many others who failed have all of their servers blackholed you just cant connect in China. Corporate VPNs are hit and miss.
Will China Block All VPNs
In July 2017, a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources said the Chinese government has ordered the countrys three major internet and mobile carriersChina Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicomto block individual access to VPNs. If true and enforced, the crackdown would block all access to VPN services used to circumvent the Great Firewall.
Chinas Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and said it only blocks unauthorized VPNs used to conduct illegal business. Chinese telecom companies have confirmed that no such ban exists and they have not received any such notice from authorities. People in China continue to use VPNs safely and legally.
In truth, China already blacklists the IP addresses and domains of known VPN servers outside the country at infrequent intervals. In the past, these actions have caused multiple VPNs like Astrill to be almost completely shut down for users on the mainland. Most, however, only suffer temporary downtime until theyve had a chance to update their VPN software and server addresses.
All of our recommended VPNs in this list have been operating in China for a long time. They have learned how to evade blocks and other obstacles thrown at them by the Great Firewall. We dont see that coming to an end any time soon.
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Whats The Punishment For Using VPN In China
Many experts agree that the Great Firewall of China is built to discourage regular Web users from accessing censored websites. After all, bypassing the firewall is relatively easy and all you need is a reliable VPN. Therefore, the main goal of this action isnt to catch those using a VPN.
Using VPNs within legal limits will not get you in trouble. However, selling VPNs is a tricky business. There were reports of a man sentenced to nine months in jail for selling VPNs. Yet, we havent seen any other news of the authorities punishing individuals for using VPNs.
Will China Punish Me If I Use A VPN
One example of possible retribution occurred in Xinjiang at the end of 2015. The authorities in Xinjiang decided to shut down the cell phone service of any person, foreign or local, who was using VPN.
This happened to me personally.
One day while I was using my phone, all of the sudden it stopped working.
I couldnt make phone calls.
I couldnt text.
For days I would add money to my phone trying to figure out why it wasnt working.
When I brought it to my cell service provider they told me it had been shut down by the police and that I was required to go to the police in order to get it reinstated.
What happened next shocked me.
The police took my phone, went through all my apps and deleted all the VPNs and foreign messaging apps .
The police took my phone and proceeded to go through all of my apps and VPN services, telling me which ones needed to be deleted before we were able to unlock our phone.
Now, keep this in mind: I did not get in trouble.
Nobody that I know of went to jail.
This did not go on our record.
All they did was make it extremely inconvenient for us to use our VPN. Once I got my phone back, Ill be honestI reinstalled my VPN, and I reinstalled Skype and a couple of other apps that they had told me to get rid of.
I am still able to use these, and its very hard for them to legislate the use of a lot of these things.
Theres still every indication that it is legal to use a VPN in China for foreigners.
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Why Are VPNs Slow In China
There are two main reasons that VPNs are slow in China.
First and foremost, internet in China is slow, and VPNs cannot speed up your internet connection. China has some of the slowest internet speeds in the world, with an average download speed of only 2.4 Mbps. A VPN cannot help with this. This puts China in 141st place for global internet speeds.
Second, to use VPNs in China you will need to wrap your VPN traffic in HTTPS encryption. As discussed above, this is called obfuscation and it allows your VPN to go through the Great Firewall. Unfortunately, obfuscation will further slow things down, on top of already slow internet speeds.
Which VPNs Are Not Working In China
Here are the VPNs that are not working in China:
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost is a tool to unblock websites and enjoy your favorite content with no hassle. It is one of the best IP blocker software for streaming as well as bypassing geo-restrictions. This program helps you to surf the Internet anonymously without any restriction.
- IPVanish: IPVanish is an IP address blocker application that provides end-to-end encryption environment for your network. It offers the fastest virtual private network service for a variety of smartphones. This app helps you to protect your web browsing, file sharing, and video streaming.
- ZenMate: ZenMate is a free VPN that offers strong encryption to secure network traffic and hide your IP address. This VPN is available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera browser, and operating systems like Windows, Android, etc. However, like CyberGhost and IPVanish, this VPN software will not work for China.
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What Is The Great Firewall Of China
This term is used to describe the legal and technological censorship tools used by the Chinese government to restrict internet access in the country. Officially, it is called the Golden Shield project. Since the government owns all internet service providers , it can monitor and control what information people in China access online.
What Can A VPN Access From China
Get yourself the right VPN and you’ll soon be able to appear somewhere you’re not in this case, outside of China. That means you’ll then bypass the Great Firewall of China to gain access to content offered by the rest of the world.
For expats and business travellers this is near essential to access things like banking, information resources, messaging and of course the ever crucial access to Netflix.
Yup, tourists who want to navigate the cities and country using Google Maps or need to stay in communication using WhatsApp, a VPN is going to come in very useful indeed for you.
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Why Do You Need To Use A VPN In China
If youre traveling to China for business, then youre going to find it very difficult to get any work done without a VPN. There is a high chance that many of the standard websites you access are blocked, and without a virtual private network, there is no way to log into them.
A VPN is also beneficial if you cherish your privacy and dont want your internet history shared with anyone. When you log into a virtual private network, your IP address will get hidden, and your browsing history wont be logged with the ISP.
Even Netflix and Amazon Prime Video arent available in China. If youre in the middle of binging a TV series or youre halfway through a movie, then youre not going to be able to resume it when youre connected to a Chinese network. Youll need to activate your VPN and choose another country to continue viewing your content.
Finally, a VPN will give you peace of mind knowing that your data and information are secure. China ranks 81st on the National Cyber Security Index. This is a global measurement highlighting how prepared countries are to prevent cybersecurity issues. But by taking advantage of the security features of a VPN, you can rest assured that your personal information is invisible and protected against hackers.
The Cons Of Using A VPN In China
The most significant disadvantage of using a VPN to overcome the great firewall of China is that you need to apply for a license. Using a virtual private network to access websites that the government has carefully chosen to ban can land you in some trouble. While there are fines for using an unauthorized VPN, there is always the potential that the punishment can be more severe.
There are also concerns around choosing the wrong VPN service and your information getting compromised. Not all VPN companies work the same way. Some of the free VPNs dont offer the same security features as other services and can leave some of your information exposed to hackers or internet service providers. Free VPNs dont always provide leak protection or have a logging policy, meaning they dont give you complete anonymity and take note of what websites you visit.
There are also free VPNs that throttle your bandwidth. Some paid VPN companies may not give you fast speeds either. In these instances, you may not be able to watch videos or utilize streaming services due to server restrictions or data caps.
To avoid these issues, you need to understand what to look out for when choosing a VPN. It can help prevent your personal details from getting exposed and your internet becoming unusable.
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Which Is The Fastest VPN In China
Determining which VPN is the fastest is quite a complicated question, as it depends on a lot of factors .
To answer this question, every so often we test the connection speed of the four VPNs that we recommend in China. To do so, we calculate the ping, download speed, and upload speed while connected to different VPN servers while accessing websites located in the United States, Europe, and Hong Kong. While the results obtained are complicated to interpret due to the high number of parameters involved, we have been able to come to some conclusions:
- The four VPN offer good connection speeds: In general, tests show a ping of less than 250 ms and upload and download speeds which in the majority of cases are better than speeds without a VPN.
- ExpressVPN seems to be the fastest VPN: In the different tests that we carried out, in the majority of cases, ExpressVPN is the VPN that offers the best results for the three indicators .
- The values of the tests vary greatly: In China, the connection speed varies greatly depending on the day and time, and this affects the performance of the VPN. Besides, speeds can vary also depending on the server you are connected to and where the website or data source you are accessing is located.
With these results, you will be able to know if your VPN works well . You will as well find out the quality of your connection in China .
Are All VPNs Blocked In China
In 2017, a Bloomberg report revealed that the three major internet mobile companies, upon the instructions of the Chinese government, blocked individual access to VPN providers. However, the report was found to be false, but the concern over blocking VPN access was still there.
Chinas Ministry of Industry and Information Technology made it clear that only unauthorized VPNs used to conduct illegal business get blocked. Moreover, China also blocks the IP addresses and domains of many known VPN providers, which have caused several VPNs to be completely shut down or suffer from temporary downtime. By updating the software and server address, they can fix the issue.
The best VPN for China mentioned in this article works exceptionally well in China so, you should consider using them.
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Is It Legal To Use VPNs In China
Many VPN providers are blocked entirely in China.
Only the best VPN services that are extremely persistent and committed to getting past Chinese geo-blocks will get past China’s IP blocking and censorship.
So, are VPNs legal in China?
In short yes. But a soft “yes.”
No one has declared VPNs illegal in China, but because so many are banned or blocked in China, VPN companies are assumed to be forbidden – which sometimes seems interchangeable with “illegal.”
The difference is, there have not been any reports of foreigners arrested or even fined for using a VPN for China.
Though the government forbids the use of private VPN companies, there are some VPNs legal in China.
There are certain VPNs that the government has pre-approved for use.
Unfortunately, instead of providing advanced security features to users, these approved VPNs are actually screened by the government, letting the government scan internet traffic through those VPN servers.
Based on reports from China, citizens who have broken this no-outside-VPN rule and have been caught creating or marketing non-government-approved VPNs havebeen fined or jailed.
Is VPN Illegal In China Can I Use A VPN In China
Whether or not it is legal or illegal to use a VPN in China is a very grey area, and the government deliberately make it so.
In spite of the whether it is illegal or legal to use a VPN in China, using it as a individual in the country will not cause any trouble.
There are more politically sensitive areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang where you may come across certain issues.
You may have to delete your VPN or your may find that the provider has cut off your phone connection, but instances such as these are rare.
Elsewhere in China, using VPN as a foreigner is incredibly common. In fact, its more strange if you dont use one.
After all, most foreigners crave access to the aforementioned websites. China also has a habit of blocking websites as and when it feels.
The UK website bbc.com felt the pinch in recent years, but has since had the ban lifted. What China wants, China does!
If China censors their sites then why doesnt it just block all VPNs?
This is a very good point. The simple answer is that many businesses in China need VPN.
A VPN is essential for businesses, and without it, they cannot run as a business in China.
So, China would lose much of its business with international companies that use VPN on a regular basis.
Chinas VPN regulations from April 2018 are highly directed at companies using a VPN illegally.
As a company in China you may obtain permission to use a VPN.
Now youre clued up on what a VPN is, and why you need one, the next step is choosing your VPN.
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Solution #2 Utilize A Sim Card From Your Home Country
If youre using your SIM card from back home and its set up to roam, you have access to everything that your network provider allows. This means you should be able to get into the app store and download your VPN.
Once its on your device, you could switch to a Chinese SIM card without issue. Be prepared for this option to cost you a little more as it will depend on your mobile service providers roaming rates and how much data theyll allow you to have while overseas.
VPN Vs The Great Firewall Of China
It has been more than a decade since the Chinese government realized how powerful the Internet ishow a single thought could be instantly disseminated in one click how information could ignite political or social catastrophe. The Great Firewall of China was developed in 2003. Basically, it is a state-of-the-art project that inhibits the people of China from accessing websites that contain content that the government deems unfavorable. Over the years, China has tightened its grip on Internet censorship. Still, this GFW is far from perfect.
Since China has blocked almost all popular websites including Google, YouTube, Facebook, etc., people consistently find ways to bypass the GFW. The most effective way is through the use of a VPN. Whether youre travelling to China or residing there, a VPN is more likely a virtual necessity these days. A VPN enables us to access blocked websites in China, but more than that, it also protects users from the dangers of the Internet like hackers & DDoS.
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