What Sites Are Blocked In China
The list of sites and services blocked in China is a veritable who’s who of all the internet’s biggest names. We’ve mentioned a few above, but here’s a more comprehensive list:
What You Need To Know About VPNs In China Before You Travel
The first thing you need to know is that finding a VPN that works in China can be challenging. Most VPNs arent reliable there, and even the best ones could be blocked at any moment. The best way to avoid frustration and delays is by preparing well in advance.
Just by reading this article and doing your research, youre already halfway there! The next step is to . This is because the Great Firewall blocks every VPN providers website , as well as the Google Play store. The Apple App Store isnt blocked, but you shouldnt rely on it find out more below.
In addition to downloading at least two or three VPNs, I recommend that you test them out before going to China. Of course, you wont find out if they work there until you arrive, but you can at least see how they operate and get them up and running on your devices.
This might sound like an expensive strategy, but top VPNs offer money-back guarantees, so you can test them out risk-free for a limited time and get a refund if youre not satisfied. That means you can buy a subscription to several services, and then cancel the ones that dont work once youre in China to get a full refund.
Are VPNs Banned In China And Can You Still Use Them
Although difficult to access in China, VPNs are the only route to internet freedom
Its a confusing topic, and one which visitors and residents alike puzzle over when faced with Chinas draconian internet restrictions. However, the fact of the matter is that using the best VPN is the only way anyone on Chinese soil is going be able to , Facebook, and so many more staples of Western daily browsing.
So what are the rules, how are they enforced, and can you bend them? Thats what were going to be exploring on this page and if youre in need well send you in the direction of a couple of China VPN providers that youll be able to rely on.
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Hidden Dangers Of Using Free VPNs In China
There are free VPNs that work well in China, but you always have to compromise when youre not paying for a service. This includes small inconveniences, like limited data allowances, slower speeds, and no streaming or torrenting support.
You might even encounter more serious security and privacy risks. If youre in China and see a VPN service advertised, that means its government-approved. I would caution you not to use them its almost guaranteed that the VPN is sharing your browsing history and personal information with the local authorities. In China, the consequences of this can be dangerous. You could even face prosecution or jail time for accessing illegal sites.
A recent example is the Shadowrocket VPN app. A Chinese citizen was caught using Shadowrocket to illegally watch adult content . While its unclear how this happened, its very likely that Shadowrocket was leaking private user data to the local police. A quick online search confirms Shadowrockets shady background theres no official website but I found many questionable websites with free download links to the app.
Free is always tempting but its not worth risking your safety in China. If you dont want to commit to paying for a VPN right away, you could test ExpressVPN out risk-free. If you dont feel its right for you, you can get a full refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.
How To Use A VPN In China
Getting a VPN isn’t that big of a deal. However, there may be a couple of extra steps involved if you plan on using a VPN in China.
If you’re just visiting, you may want to get the VPN app from your provider’s website BEFORE you enter the country. Why? Well, as you’ll soon find out, VPN provider websites are typically blocked in China.
Follow the steps below, and you’re good to go:
- Visit your preferred provider’s site and sign up for their service. We recommend ExpressVPN, as it’s the most reliable VPN provider for China at the moment.
- Launch the app and sign in with your username and password.
If you haven’t followed the steps above, or are reading this from China, try looking for a China-specific version of the provider’s website. Alternatively, have a friend outside the country email you the installer file for the VPN.
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Will A VPN Keep You Safe In China
The short answer is that we don’t know whether a VPN can protect you in China. When confronted with a well-funded and state-backed organization thats determined to monitor your communications, it’s not likely you will be able to completely hide your activities. Which is why we stress: using a VPN in any region with repressive policies could put you in danger.
We also don’t know if a given VPN will work in China because PCMag does not have the ability to test in the region. To assemble this list, we looked through our top-rated services and singled out the ones that maintain servers in China or Hong Kong. These are not VPNs guaranteed to work or protect you in the region. In fact, elsewhere weve gone into great detail on why were not picking a specific VPN as our top choice for use in China.
When it comes to operating in China, most VPN providers offer additional tools. Some companies offer specialized servers for the region, designed to be accessible and secure. Some companies include a stealth or obfuscation mode in their apps, which disguises VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic, making it harder to identify and block. We’ve noted these additional features where available.
Similar to Tor are multi-hop connections. Instead of just going through one VPN server, a multi-hop connection routes your traffic through two servers. The goal is that even if one of these servers is somehow compromised, your privacy would still be assured.
Are VPNs Safe For Torrenting
Yes, VPN can help you to keep you anonymous and safe when you are torrenting using P2P. If you do not use VPN, then your IP address may be exposed to a third party, and your physical location can also be tracked.
A reliable VPN helps you to encrypt and hide your Internet traffic. Therefore, you can torrent as much as you like with no hassle.
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Why Would Someone In China Want A VPN
China has some of the strictest internet censorship laws in the world. Known as the Great Firewall, their protocols make accessing common websites like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and many more impossible.
This mass censorship makes it difficult to access the information you want from the internet. This could be news from home, access to your favorite streaming site, downloading a useful app not available through a regular internet connection, or simply looking something up on Google.
Another factor that might influence your decision to get a VPN before visiting China is the added security and privacy. Internet activity is closely observed in China, so if you want to retain your privacy, a VPN will help you to do so.
If streaming is a key concern for you, then make sure you choose a streaming VPN suited to the job, as many VPN providers claim to enable you to access sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, but fail to deliver. Other users might want to torrent, and in this case youll probably want to use the best torrenting VPN you can find.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
If you have an Apple device , first you have to manually configure the VPN , connect, and then later use the App Store to download the app. Keep in mind that if you try to download the VPN app directly from the App Store before connecting your VPN, you will get an error message. You can get more detailed information in this article.
Nonetheless, the large majority of VPN websites are blocked and their apps have been withdrawn from the App Store and Chinese app markets.
You dont need to buy a VPN for China as long as you dont use any of the websites and apps blocked in the country, such as all of Googles services, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter, among many others.
In any event, China has services that are equivalent to those that are blocked, such as Baidu, WeChat, and Weibo, among others.
However, its important to cancel recurring payments if you want to avoid automatically being charged the fee for the following month.
However, you should know that once in China, . If you want to use a VPN on your Apple device, you will have two options: downloading the app outside of China or configuring it manually .
Remember that once the VPN is connected, you will be able to download or update the app without any problem.
However, many apps arent available unless you use a VPN, such as VPN apps, WhatsApp, Skype, and many others.
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How To Set Expressvpn To Start Automatically
To keep your connection on at all times, you need to set ExpressVPN to start automatically. This is very important if you forget to turn on the VPN before you access a website, the firewall will block you. You can do this in 2 easy steps:
What Are The Most Popular VPNs Owned By China
Some of the most popular VPNs originating from China are – VPN Master, Turbo VPN, VPN Robot, Signal Secure VPN, and SuperVPN Free/Pro.
Know that VPNs made and distributed from China are mainly free of charge VPN solutions, and they try to earn by serving you ads and tracking your online whereabouts. With that said, know that we recommend avoiding free VPNs, as they can endanger your privacy.
Also, know that VPNs that come from China are typically designed for foreign customers . After all, China has strict VPN regulations that forbid individuals or companies from distributing VPN solutions unless they fully comply with the country’s laws.
To take a deeper look at today’s VPN landscape, we recommend reading our guide that explains which companies own today’s most popular VPNs .
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How To Use VPNac In China
To use VPN.ac in China, just follow these steps:
ExpressVPN remains a great VPN for people in China if you want to easily unblock websites and also achieve great speeds. While it is slightly more expensive than some other VPNs, it remains the best solution for those in China looking for fast and reliable connections.
If you want to stream your favorite media, ExpressVPN is easily the top choice. It is also currently the best VPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services. This allows you to watch all your favorite shows from China, without any blocks.
Another advantage with ExpressVPN is that you can use their VPN on all types of devices from computers and phones to tablets, routers, and TV boxes. Their customer service is also top notch with 24/7 live chat support and numerous information guides on their website. In China, you may be somewhat limited to desktop devices that can utilize the unblocking features but this is common with all VPNs in China.
Best VPN For China Reviews
For each of these VPNs, they reach a standard I set that includes:
- They are at least 5 years old. This means they have a history of working and serving the China market.
- Theyre reliable: All VPNs have had trouble in China, but not all of them work to resolve the issues quickly.
- They offer hundreds of servers across the globe. I like having choices from multiple countries.
- They offer money-back guarantees. Not every VPN works perfectly, so in those cases where it doesnt work well, I want you to be able to get your money back.
Here is a more comprehensive look at each of the recommended VPNs that meet this criteria.
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Recommended VPNs For China In 2022
As you can tell, I still use a VPN every day while living here in China.
I connect on my phone. I connect on my computer, I connect on my iPad. Heck, I even !
Over the 10 years that Ive lived in China, Ive tried dozens and dozens of different VPNs and I can confidently say that these have been the most reliable services for me:
Personal VPNs Vs Corporate VPNs
The legality of using a VPN is not black and white when it comes to individual use.
Despite the relief that comes with knowing that there have yet to be any foreigners on the record being jailed or fined in China for VPN use, there have been cases of locals imprisoned for using an unapproved VPN.
What is more clear to us is that China takes corporate VPN use more seriously than private VPN use.
Businesses in China are required to get clearance from the government in order to use VPNs for their activity.
The problem is, while many individuals wantto access blocked sites from inside China like their beloved streaming content, gaming sites, or their addictive social media apps, businesseshaveto use VPNs in order to do business in a private and professional matter with the outside world.
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Why Do I Need A VPN In China
If you want to access deep breath Facebook, Gmail, Google Search, Wikipedia, PornHub, Twitter, Slack, YouTube, Netflix, SoundCloud, the BBC, the New York Times, and literally thousands more websites, youll need to use a VPN.
What’s now known as the Great Firewall of China was first conceived in the late 90s, not long after the internet arrived in China, as the Communist Party sought a way of controlling what citizens could access on the web. Over the decades, this blocking developed into a force that tightly restricts what sites are available for public consumption.
Is The Gfw Strict Enough
Recently, the Chinese government has taken Internet censorship to yet another level it will soon require all VPN service providers to apply for a license and they will be subject to adhere to the Chinese governments rules and regulations, otherwise they will be forced to shut down. This means accessing blocked websites will no longer be possible with a VPN, and the new regulations will take effect around February next year. Similarly, in 2015, China tried to crack down on VPNs, but it was a hard battle to fight, hence there still are VPN providers available. However, this time, the Chinese government seems a lot more motivated and serious enough to officially win the battle for Internet censorship.
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The Basics Of Using A VPN To Get Past The Great Firewall
Most of the time, you can access a Chinese website from outside China. You just might not be able to see all the content on that site. For example, you can go to Youku, but certain videos are blocked if youre not in China.
If youre a Chinese native traveling abroad or a foreigner looking to access Chinese content there is a way in. Download a VPN, or virtual private network, and you can surf the Chinese web to your hearts content.
A VPN takes the necessary steps to protect your anonymity from the Chinese government. How? It sets you up with a Chinese IP address so it appears that youre surfing the web from within China. This way, you can access websites that only people in China can see!
If you plan on browsing Chinese sites regularly, youll probably want to select an annual VPN subscription. If you pay for a year upfront, each month will end up costing less.
Now you know the basics of how a VPN can grant you access to Chinese websites so you can watch Chinese TV, listen to Chinese songs and learn the language online. These restricted websites are especially useful for Chinese-language learners who want to access authentic materials!
Can I Use A Free VPN In China
However, I would always recommend opting for a paid plan, as most free VPNs are missing important features. Depending on the provider, that might mean more ads, no kill switch, or lower-level encryption. Plus, many free plans limit your browsing speed and data allowance.
If youre using the internet in China, security is especially important. You dont want to raise suspicion or draw unwanted attention to your activity, so its absolutely vital to get the best security features possible even if it means paying a little bit more.
The good news is that if youre only traveling for a short time, you can take advantage of one of the top VPNs money-back guarantee and use it risk-free. For instance, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee with a no-questions-asked policy, so you can buy it with confidence and claim a refund if you dont like it.
I would also strongly advise against using any free VPNs that arent on this list. Not only are they unlikely to work in China, but they may even put you at risk with subpar security measures. And when it comes to online privacy, thats not a risk worth taking.
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