Best VPN for China 2018 – how to get round the Great Firewall

There are deep-rooted historic and culture links between the two countries and many Taiwanese people have friends and families living in China. It is a popular holiday destination for Taiwanese people too. And of course, many Taiwanese businesspeople and companies choose to work in China too.

But going to China is a pain. And one of the biggest reasons is the online censorship regime of the Chinese Communist Party. This is best known as the Great Firewall. The Great Firewall stops many of the world’s most popular website from being accessed in China. And this is a massive problem for Taiwanese people visiting or living and working there.

What’s blocked in China?

It’s hard to know where to begin. China censors websites which mention all sorts of different topics which it thinks could threaten the Communist Party’s control over its people. It also completely blocks any site that refused to comply with its censorship regime. The list of blocked sites runs into millions, but some of the biggest names include:

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LINE
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube
  • Yahoo Taiwan
  • Wikipedia
  • Instagram
  • Rakouten
  • and many, many more.

China does offer its own versions of some of these sites such as WeChat. But these are hardly used outside China because of the huge security risk they pose. Not only will everything on these app be under Chinese surveillance, but if you download them onto your device, everything else you do probably will be as well.

A number of people have detained by Communist Party officials because of content they posted online. Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che being the most prominent.

We strongly advise readers not to use any of these Chinese social media apps and websites. Instead, the best way to stay in touch is to get around the Great Firewall and access sites like Facebook, LINE, and Instagram in China as usual.

And to do this, you will need a VPN.

Do VPNs work in China?

Yes. The Communist Party has tried to block access to VPNs in China. They have managed to block some successfully. But many more remain available and they are working hard to make sure that remains the case.

To use a VPN in China, it is advisable to sign up and download all the VPN software onto your device before you leave. You need to be sure you have chosen a VPN which will still work in China. All of the recommended VPNs in this article work in China at the time of writing. We will keep the article updated if that ever changes.

Once in China, open your VPN app and connect to a server outside of China. Once that connection has been made, all of the websites that China routinely blocks should become available.

What is the best VPN to use in China 2018?

Choosing a VPN to use in China is hard. Lots of VPNs don’t work in China at all. Others admit that their service comes and goes. But if you are heading to China from Taiwan, you need a VPN which is reliable and fast to allow you to use the internet as usual. Ideally, you want a VPN which can deliver the following:

  • Fast connection speeds
  • Strong encryption
  • Effective privacy protections
  • A wide range of international servers, including in the East Asia region.
  • Good customer support – in case something does go wrong

And most importantly:

  • Fully functional in China

Fortunately, there are still some VPNs out there that can offer all of this:

  1. ExpressVPN

  • Mandarin service: No
  • VPN Servers: 1500+ servers in 94+ countries
  • Taiwan Servers: Yes
  • Work in China: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 3
  • Price: $99.95 a year (NT$3,050)

ExpressVPN have kept their VPN service operational in China, despite being targeted by the authorities there for years. They have done this by creating China-optimized servers, located in neighboring counties, including Taiwan, which are designed to remain accessible in China.

ExpressVPN’s encryption and privacy protections are as good as they get too. They use 256-bit encryption as standard and have a guaranteed no-users log. They also own their own servers too, making them extra secure.

Connection speeds are good behind the Great Firewall too, meaning you can even stream content with confidence. And if you do encounter any problems, their customer service is second-to-none. Their apps are available for almost all devices but are not yet in Mandarin unfortunately. They are a little pricier than some other VPNs too, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try their service with no risk.

2. VyprVPN

  • Mandarin service: Yes
  • VPN Servers: 700+ servers in 64 countries
  • Taiwan Servers: Yes
  • Work in China: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Price: $60 a year (NT$1,835)

VyprVPN is high on this list thanks to their unique Chameleon protocol. This offers an extra level of security against the Deep Packet Inspection techniques used by Chinese authorities to monitor online activity. And the good news for users in China is that Chameleon is now available for all users in China, regardless of which package you sign up for. If you want to use it elsewhere you will need to sign up for their Pro package.

As well as Chameleon, VyprVPN also offers a fantastic no-user logs guarantee which ensures you online privacy. Their connection speeds in China are excellent and reliable and their have a large server network, all of which can be accessed behind the Great Firewall. Their multiple apps are available in Mandarin and they also have a great support service if you have any problems.

3. NordVPN

  • Mandarin service: Yes
  • VPN Servers: 4480 servers in 62 countries
  • Taiwan Servers: Yes
  • Work in China: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Price: $69 a year (NT$2,110)

NordVPN has recent got its service working in China again after a period of darkness. That’s great news, because their service is one of the best and cheapest around. They get around the Great Firewall by using obfuscated servers. These are servers which are undetectable to the Chinese regime’s surveillance programs. You have to enable them through the settings on your NordVPN app. And for now, they only work well with Windows and Android and some Mac users. iOS users have to set things up manually. If you find you can’t connect, contact their excellent customer support who will advise you on any other settings changes you might need to make.

It might sound a bit fiddly, but NordVPN is worth the effort. It has a huge server network, state-of-the-art encryption, and excellent privacy protections. Connection speeds are good too, even in China. NordVPN are also one of the most affordable VPNs around too with the added bonus of a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied.

4. Private VPN

  • Mandarin service: No
  • VPN Servers: 100+ servers in 56 countries
  • Taiwan Servers: No
  • Work in China: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Price: $50.40 a year (NT$1,533)

Private VPN has a slightly different way of encrypting user’s data. And it happens to be perfect for getting around the Great Firewall. They use a unique dynamic dedicated IP address system which gives every user a unique IP Address which changes every time. This makes it almost impossible to detect that you are using a VPN at all. As well as this great feature, they use 256-bit AES encryption as standard and offer a guaranteed no user logs promise.

Connections speeds are good and while their server network isn’t huge, 100 servers in 56 different countries is enough. They have great apps for iOS and Android devices which work in China too. This is a fairly new VPN which is simple to use and perfect for internet users in China.

5. Astril VPN

  • Mandarin service: No
  • VPN Servers: 356 servers in 62 countries
  • Taiwan Servers: No
  • Work in China: Yes
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Price: $99.90 a year (NT$3,050)

Astril VPN used to be one of the best VPNs to get around the Great Firewall. They have been targeted by the Chinese authorities a little of late. But, if you don’t mind paying a bit more, they are still a good choice. Their regular service is a bit hit-and-miss. It doesn’t always work, and some users have complained about speeds. But they also offer an OpenWeb mode, which works well and offers fast speeds. But this won’t work on other apps, only for internet browsing.

Their Stealth mode still works to get all traffic round the Great Firewall. And you can also opt to pay for their VIP add-on, which will connect you directly to special servers in China. But both of these features do cost extra. Once you get Astril working, it does a pretty good job. Security and privacy protections are strong, and speeds are good. Their mobile apps are basic but do still work in China too. If you are already in China, you will need to go to their mirror site to sign up and download.

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