The Best VPN For China (Updated August 2015)

Best VPN For China

In A Nutshell

Update: Currently, China is blocking all VPNs at the protocol level (including corporate VPNs). However, the VPN providers listed here use stealth techniques to hide their VPN traffic.

The Great Fire website (English version) lists which sites are currently blocked in China.

I recommend these VPN services for China:

  • ExpressVPN: Engineered to be fast and reliable in China. Servers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the US West Coast. Many apps available. They have a 30 days “no quibble” money-back offer. They accept many forms of payment — Paypal, major credit cards, Bitcoin, Unionpay, Alipay, Webmoney and CashU.
  • 12VPN: Headquartered in Hong Kong, and they have experience with the Great Firewall, many Chinese customers. 7 day money back policy. But no P2P downloading/torrenting.
  • VPN.AC: They have many optimization for Chinese users (including the ability to make OpenVPN traffic appear as normal SSL traffic). They have three servers in Hong Kong, one in Singapore and three on the US West Coast, with peering with China Telecom and China Unicom.

Chinese internet blocks appear to change daily. Even if you use the VPNs listed below, you may find that your connections are blocked in some circumstances.

If you don’t mind getting technical see this article — How To Hide OpenVPN Connections In China.

The Details: The Best VPN For China

The easiest way to bypass Chinese Firewall is to use a VPN that serves China. A VPN or “virtual private network” is a service that encrypts and redirects all your internet connections. The Chinese government has never stated that using a VPN to circumvent the Great Firewall is illegal, and nobody has been prosecuted for using a VPN. Despite this, China blocks the websites of most major VPNs.

When in China, you want to connect to a VPN server in Asia (e.g. in China, Hong Kong, Bangkok). The next best option is to connect to a server on the West Coast of the US (e.g. Los Angeles, San Francisco).

Which VPN Protocols To Use?

  • OpenVPN: Strangely, this is the least reliable protocol/client to use — you’ll find most ports are currently blocked (connection reset). The main cause appears to be spoofed RST packets.
  • L2TP: This is a fast protocol for China and currently it works quite well
  • PPTP: Use only if L2TP doesn’t work for you — slower and less reliable than L2TP
  • SSTP: Establishes a connection over secure HTTPS (Port 443) — this allows clients to securely access networks behind NAT routers, firewalls and web proxies, without the concern for typical port blocking issues

For a more details on hiding your VPN connections from Deep Packet Inspection, see my article How To Hide Your VPN Connections In China, Iran, United Arab Emerites, Oman and Pakistan.


ExpressVPN: Best All Round VPN

Note: The ExpressVPN.Com domain was blocked in China on September 22 2014. However, the links to ExpressVPN below are smart links, that will correctly to the ExpressVPN website in China.

ExpressVPN is engineered to be fast and reliable in China. They have servers in Japan and the US West Coast. They offer a “no quibble” 30-day money back offer. They are slightly more expensive than other VPNs, but worth if you need a reliable network. The monthly rate is $12.95.

ExpressVPN allows local payments like Unionpay, Alipay, Webmoney and CashU. This will help customers in countries like China, where not everyone has an international credit card or a Paypal account.


Update: The Chinese DNS is now blocking the domain name “”, if you are in China you can use “” instead.

12VPN are headquartered in Hong Kong, and they have experience with the Great Firewall. They also have a huge Chinese user-base. 12VPN gives you the choice of four server locations for OpenVPN, all of them based in the UK and US. The West Coast of the US is the best choice if your are in China, due its (relative) proximity to Asia. 12VPN provides you with a file of pre-configured settings for the to use with the OpenVPN app (Windows), or the Tunnelblick app (Mac OS X). You simply drop these in the correct location (as 12VPN’s site wiki explains very clearly) on your computer.

12VPN‘s service cost $9.95 per month or $79 per year. They accept Credit cards, Bitcoin, Paypal, CashU, AliPay, PerfectMoney, Skrill.


VPN.AC has three servers in Hong Kong, one in Singapore and three on the US West Coast, with peering with China Telecom and China Unicom. They also have a “Secureproxy” extension for Chrome, which works very well in China.

They have optimizations for China, including a recently rolled out Obfuscation for OpenVPN. Here are the details:

Obfuscating the OpenVPN protocol makes it look like regular SSL traffic — making it harder to be blocked by Firewalls with DPI capabilities relying on protocol signatures to identify known VPN protocols. This is the case in China, where default OpenVPN implementations are blocked almost immediately. While our AES 256-bit implementation is still stealthy and working in China, we added one more protocol-type to bypass the GFW. It runs on several ports including TCP port 443 (HTTPS), replacing an instance of OpenVPN Blowfish 128-bit we used with port TCP/443. With this method, the handshake packets are obfuscated so it’s not possible to identify the traffic as being part of an OpenVPN tunnel. Encryption relies on RSA 4096-bit + ECDHE for key-exchange, AES 128-bit for data channel.

VPN.AC accepts Chinese-friendly payments such as Alipay and Unionpay. They also accept Paypal, BitCoin, CashU, Paysafecard and UKash.

More Info: Best VPN For China


You must also avoid Chinese DNS servers — your local ISP provided DNS server. China corrupts DNS and implements a lot of filtering through their DNS servers, returning bad data or no data at all for a lot of requests.

You can check what DNS servers you are using here:

If you’re still using a Chinese DNS, change your DNS settings to the servers provided by your VPN. Or use one of the DNS listed on this page (if they are not currently blocked).

If just want to browse the uncensored internet in the short term, you can use the free Tor Browser. Note that, while using Tor, your web page will be somewhat slow to load, and your other internet connections will still be blocked. Also, make sure you use a Tor Bridge.


    • web master says

      Generally, VPN obfuscation is not available on mobile devices in China. You want to ask VPN.AC support if they have a work around.

  1. Yon says

    Grey, how do you like VyprVPN, despite that they do keep your original IP info for 30 days not support illegal downloading and will fully cooperate if receiving a summons ??

    • web master says

      I don’t like the VyprVPN/Giganews service. I don’t like the way in which the services are bundled. They also seems suspect for the reasons you outline.

    • web master says

      I don’t like the VyprVPN/Giganews service. I don’t like the way in which the services are bundled. They also seem suspect for the reasons you outline.

  2. says

    Hello guys, I’m seeking for chinese people that want to try out my service, it’s free and I think it will bypass the great firewall pretty well.

    its !

  3. Hako says

    I am in Shanghai on a China Telecom glass fiber which also carries my HD IPTV.
    Over the years I have tried a number of VPNs. Until 2012, the free VPNs were working (Packetix, CyberGhost, HotSpotShield, etc.), I only had to use them when in a different area (hotels, factories, airports, etc).
    In 2012, most of these VPNs got blocked, and I had to find a decent paid service.

    I tried many, VPNSwiss was working for some time, JulyRush, using an SSH tunnel, fast, but stopped beginning of 2014. In extreme cases, where nothing else worked, I used Freegate on Windows and Linux PCs, filtered, slow, but reliable.

    Since then, I am using Astrill. Its OpenWeb nearly works always and everywhere at high speeds (up to 700 KB/s). If you set the system proxy to the Astrill server, the VPN also can also be used for other programs than the browser. Unfortunately, only PPTP for Android, and only one connection allowed.
    Since the Google playstore is blocked in China since end of 2014, VPN for Android becomes more important.

    PandaPOW also seems to be working, but it is more expensive.

    Recently, I tried PIA and SolidTunnel, but they only do PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN, slow and un-reliable, but cheap.
    So, I am still looking for a VPN which can, at moderate costs, support my 2 PCs with Windows and Linux, and my Android.

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  5. twood says

    I have used Astrill for 7 years.
    It was good till 2014,
    Service became very unstable.
    Support has deteriorated, perhaps they are now encountering problems they cannot handle, so there is no use for detail communication, wasting time on something they cannot handle.
    It is true they provide robo replies over and over, asking same questions or repeating same instruction.
    It invariably end in ” Astrill is working fine and has no problem in China”, implying you are an idiot and should
    fix your own computer.
    I will not renew my subscription.

  6. James says

    i currently have

    1. doesnt even works. avoid

    2. purevpn constant disconnection, high ping and overloaded server. rubbish

    3. expressvpn some days are bad but most are fast and stable. expensive but it works

    • Dudley says

      Long Term in China and have run the gamut of different VPN’s., l2tp works for me in beijing, but only for a certain amount of time, and it is very server dependent.
      2. PureVPN the apps are total garbage. Ikev2 doesn’t connect at all on my iPad, but on my android if i use manual input l2tp i get connect for a while before the GFW kills it.
      3. Express I tried for a while, but could not get it to connect consistently on my mobile devices, my android phone, and my iPad. It worked ok, on my computer but laggy connections.
      4. Astral works well on my iPad for some reason, spotty on my macbook and android, but on and off stealth seems to work.
      5. Pandapow has actually been my most consistent, although lately even it is getting shot down after a few hours of connection, and i have to do some server jumping to connect. TCP seems the most reliable, although the udp connection is the fastest, i ve hit 5 to 6 MB download with it. Fantastic.
      6.PIA hasn’t worked here for a long time.
      7.AirVPN was good for my macbook, using the connection over SSH or SSL but the app would freeze up, and I couldn’t connect my iPad or Android phone with it.
      8.mullvad uses obfs but lost the ability to connect last summer
      9.Vypr vpn was sketchy, didn;t work well, and felt like a spy agency would not recommend.

      Interested in NordVPN with their masking, anyone have experience with that. I know there probably won’t be a golden arrow but looking for a vpn that has support for 3 devices, uses stealth or obfs to bypass, and works on mac, iOS, and android consistently. Happy with panda, and AC is ok, Astrill is hit or miss, the others not so much.

  7. William Adair says

    I just returned from a five month trip to China and used Pure VPN for the entire trip. It worked without any glitches the entire time, which is truly incredible when comparing to the other VPN services I’ve had in the past. No constant dropping or timing out. I also felt the speed was decently good. I mostly just use basic email, social media, and videos which it worked great for! I would highly recommend them!

  8. Mike Ruby says

    The last time I visited China I had a terrible time accessing my email. I think one reason was because my ISP is suspicious of China IP addresses. So making it look like I have a US IP address should solve that problem. But I also noticed that most of my trouble was in getting past the Captcha, which is a Google service. I suspect the Great Firewall was irritated by the Google feeds. I’m headed back now and need to get a solution into place. Given that all I want to do is spoof the IP to the US and avoid any interference with using Google or a Google service, which of the VPN options would be best for such simple needs? I really don’t care if anyone is reading my email (maybe I should be – Malwarebytes went totally nuts when I tried to log in to the hotel’s wifi. I had to turn it off to be able to get on the internet.)

    • says

      Hey Mike,
      Those older vpn providers are probably blocked in China.
      Try some new service providers like this one 2VPN.Co This has not been blocked yet. This provides USA IP and also some very unique technology on bypassing internet blockade such as SOCKS SSH Tunnel, Microsoft SSTP, Quasi-dedicated IP VPN, sending password and IP by SMS etc.

      Even if you have been cut throat inside China, you can still receive your IP and password through international SMS.

    • Beth says


      Does anyone know if Astril is working OK now in China? Will be in Beijing and possibly over near Inner Mongolia. I used it last year without problems. Any thoughts?


      • Alex says

        I’ve been using Astrill and it has worked okay for me. It really sucked for a couple months last year, but has been fine since then. I’m browsing for something thats cheap, reliable, and will support multiple simultaneous connections. We want to be able to have a few devices connected at once without having to double the cost of our service for the year.

  9. Dzseki says

    It seems worthless changing DNS settings on the computer to Google’s or OpenDNS’s as these are banned in China, so your all traffic stops, you cannot even build the VPN connection. You can change them after you have the VPN connection built, but not sure if this helps anything.

  10. Hans says

    Can confirm that Expressvpn is working in xian and nanjing (but very slowly). But only with using their android or windows app. It’s not possibl to get any connection from a linux pc.

  11. says

    Here’s my experiences using ExpressVPNfor the last few months.

    I’m using this ExpressVPN to bypass censorships, including accessing blocked sites and Occasionally, it’s hard to connect, but by waiting a bit longer or switching services, it’s always worked out. It’s fairly good considering lots of other VPN services didn’t even work once for where I am when it’s a hard time. I used it for months without having any big problems.

    It worked for my DD-WRT router, so I can setup two Wi-Fi access points, one for VPN, one for direct connection, it’s worked good. Also when on the go, there’s an official Android app available, the app updated often for what I saw, and included a Gadget, so you can turn it on or off handy.

    Hulu is blocking IP ranges, but also blocking VPN services, and last I checked, ExpressVPN is one of them. But lucky, there’s a free tool called “Hola!” ( Turn on ExpressVPN, then turn on Hola for, it’s worked for me, and the speed is good here. You can enable Hola only for sites you choose, and can edit this list anytime. Besides using Hola, you can of course using a smart DNS service, like StrongDNS, to access Hulu. (If you live in a place where Hola is not blocked, you can using Hola only to access Hulu. And if you living in a place don’t have heavy Internet censorship, you can use StrongDNS only to access Hulu and other geo limited streaming services.)

  12. linda says

    Can anyone please tell me which vpn services are working in shanghai as of march 2015? I will be going there in 2 days and would like to get connect on fb, instagram while there. Thank you!

  13. Tre says

    11 year china expat and used Astrill for 3 years. I do not recommend their service as the service has become very unstable from dec 2014 to mar 2015 / now – support offers robo replies as solutions as well as a layer of arrogance that i grew tired of.

    Try out some of the other options suggested here and stay away from astrill!

  14. Beijing_Sting says

    I’ve lived in BJ, China for five years next month. I lack little patience for no access to live sport, facebook etc, educational sites, news services, google apps etc.

    Have tried and used a lot of vpn’s over this period. The only major one I haven’t used is Astril as for the others:

    12VPN (anuson) – still owe me from their failure to work for a long period of time in 2011, they may have improved, but once I’m burnt badly, I tend to put them into the never again. They are the reason I now always have two vpns. Yep – It’s that important to me.

    Strong VPN – quite good for quite a while, then in 2012’s clamp down they stopped working. Their customer service dept told me that I simply needed to move to another country … at the time they were also advertising as the number one solution for China. I’ll never use them again and received a partial refund (better than Anuson’s 12vpn at least).

    Overplay – successfully used for a long time, but they have recently been less reliable as of 2014/15 and their speedier servers (Japan) seem to knock me off after not too long on line. Their site has also never been easily accessible without a vpn. It is now my backup vpn and I probably won’t renew my account with them when my next pay period is up.

    Gfwvpn or vpngfw – Is a relatively unknown one I picked up out of frustration while dealing with 12VPN. I got their site from an ad on the android site XDA. I used for ages as my second cheap back up vpn. I never had any problems that weren’t fixed immediately (changed it’s address once from gfwvpn to Just wasn’t the speediest of vpn’s, but strangely (especially for android) super reliable. For a long time it was my backup vpn for when Overplay bumped me off or my work were messing around with its Internet connection. I stopped using them in October 2014 due to some privacy concerns relating to their HK ISP – otherwise I’d probably still be paying them their 5 to 7 bucks a month.

    Express VPN – Seem to be the best in my opinion, but I haven’t had to test their customer service yet -Like all of the other main vpns not all of their advertised servers work. I sometimes have to muddle around to pick the most suitable and working. Strangely, the site (that indicates download speed) tells me they’re quite slow compared to some of the others I have tried, but I’ve had no problem with watching my live sport using express vpn – not the case with some of the other supposedly faster ones.

    I have also had a myriad of others that were great for a week or two, but ultimately sucked. The latest of these was vypervpn – it worked brilliantly for the free trial and then … stopped working two days after I paid for it. Had to pay for the whole first month’s use (non-use) but did receive the majority of refund.

    If I haven’t mentioned any other – probably no need to go near it.

  15. Stephanie says

    Moving to Hangzhou in July so of course, new situations may arise by then.
    Am I understanding correctly that I will probably need different services for Apple products and my PC?

    Would it benefit me to download a few different options before I get to China?
    I’m guessing that once I’m there I’ll be out of luck if I haven’t set things up beforehand?

    I would LOVE a really clear tutorial on the DNS settings combined with VPN. It appears that there are at least a few “planted” (fake) recommendations in the comments here. Need reliable info!


    • web master says

      You can install the same VPN software on both a Mac and PC.

      Having more than one VPN service can be useful.

      You should be able to set a VPN up in China, most VPN providers offer alternative web adddresses for use in China.

      Regarding DNS, some VPN services provide their own DNS settings. If not, see this article on DNS leaks:

  16. JamesSmithh says

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  17. Pat says

    I went back to China in 2012 and I’ve been using Astrill since then. It appears that it runs quite smoothly on PC almost all time. It worked on my Android phone until late 2014. My company uses Express VPN and sometimes it doesn’t work on PC. So I’d suggest using Astrill on PC. For portable devices, I do not yet find a way to bypass. BTW, from my experience I also believe that your ISP also plays a role, meaning that your VPN may or may not work depending on which ISP you choose.

  18. kai says

    i am going to live in GZ for a year, wondering which VPN is good. Can tell me what’s the good and bad of: VPN Express, VPN in touch, Astrill. i found the one called VPN in touch but seems like no one talked about it

  19. web master says

    As I stated in the article, the situation is China is very problematic right now — and it differs from teleco to teleco. Every VPN has issues.

  20. PSingh says

    I recently traveled to China in five different cities: Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Shanghai.. I had purchased ExpressVPN as this site had suggested and am glad that I had done so. Without a VPN google (and all of its other applications), social media, and a number of other sites do not work. I had used ExpressVPN and had almost no problem the entire time. There were times when I had trouble connecting to a server but usually by trying a few more times I was able to fix this problem and the one time I couldn’t, I spoke with a representative and they helped me out and I got it to work. In terms of service I was highly satisfied and in terms of customer support I was more than satisfied. For anyone looking into which VPN to purchase for China, please go ahead and buy ExpressVPN, 10/10 would recommend

  21. Jay says

    First, I find this site very helpful, so thank you for the great information.
    I’m in China and have used StrongVPN for years. I find their service and customer care very good! However, for reasons already discussed, the recent changes in China have put an almost halt to internet here. Strong, by their own admission, is over loaded with customer queries and have posted information on things to try before chatting with customer services. I tried the recommendation to change to their New York servers and so far that has worked very well. Have also help friends using StrongVPN to do this. Though speed (and, yes, I do understand the distance difference from China to San Fran vs NYC) in China is still a problem… at least we are online and in contact with the world again!
    At your suggestion, I am trying VPN.AC for my Android pad and Private Internet Access on my Iphone. I’m not techie, but would be happy to report my findings on those services in the future.

  22. VPN blocked at protocol level says

    VPN traffic blocked at protocol level. Even corporate VPN’s are affected.
    Solutions are not publicly available.

    So forget all the advertisements like:….Our VPN X services are still working….use X its the best for now.

    ‘The Great Firewall is blocking the VPN on the protocol level’.
    It means that the firewall does not need to identify each VPN provider and block its IP addresses. Rather, it can spot VPN traffic during transit and block it.’ An upgrade of the Great Firewall of China is blamed and China appears to be backing the need for the move to maintain cyberspace sovereignty.

    • web master says

      Thanks for the news. The VPNs listed here use various stealth techniques to hide their VPN traffic, in order to avoid this kind of blocking.

    • James says

      The VPN providers listed in the article implement stealth technology for China. I’m sure does not.

  23. Doobs says

    I also started with Astrill, then tried Vpninja (which was a joke) and most recently used Expressvpn. But probably will leave that as I keep getting a “limited connection” on my Win8 computers where I cannot use internet without logging into vpn…this is on top of the other China VPN issues that others have. However, when their service does work- for example, off peak hours, I find their service fast. Their customer service is responsive and helpful and I think has the easiest to use mobile solution.

  24. nick says

    From Shanghai, with 20Mbps china unicom, strongvpn is solid but slow, HideMyAss is clearly the best with no reduced speed, MoleVPN is also pretty good, PureVPN is to avoid with very low speed (Japan, HK, Taiwan, West US) and they refused to refund, even partially because I registered 3 days + a few hours, whereas they could clearly see that I did not use their services much with the logs. I will try ExpressVPN also.

    • Ashgrimm says

      I am with Express VPN since March 2014. It seems most of their VPN servers are not accessible from Shanghai as of Jan 2015. Japan, HK and West coast servers used to be rather reliable. Now it only allows me to connect through one of their LA servers and the speed isnt very pleasing. Connection goes dead frequently. I can not recommend Expressvpn for users in shanghai at this point.

      Anyone knows a solid VPN that really works in Shanghai? I prefer faster connection to US so I can watch Netflix movies.

  25. Jay says

    Does anyone here have a stable router setup? I’ve been using mine with strongvpn with dowrt but it seems to have gone blacklisted along with the rest of them. I tried setting up the router with expressvpn but to no avail.

  26. Lydia says

    jiangxi and cvdrei, I am observing what you mentioned in your posts. Past few weeks since the goggle block, I can barely connect to StrongVPN. I get better luck connecting to FlyVPN n Vypr but connections are unstable and speed hopelessly slow. I really need to get a more workable solution then adding yet another VPN service. Keen to learn abt these VPS / VServers solutions but I m not a techie so can someone make a simple “how to”?

  27. Sarah says

    Writing on Jan. 20th 2015. all VPNs are currently blocked. I have: Astrill, VPN express, Open VPN, Green VPN, Hotspot VPN on my iphone and not a single one is working. I hope this ends soon, there is no point to this, its unbelievably frustrating. Keep fighting the good fight VPN companies! I need you in order to communicate with my family. When I moved here, only Facebook was blocked and that was doable, since then: instagram, pinterest, gmail, NYtimes, digg, google maps/google docs. Its like they want to push foreigners out.

  28. jiangxi user says

    i’ve been in china for ten years and used astrill for a good part of it. almost no problems with it, except for some rare events during government meetings and such.

    however, for the past couple weeks astrill has been terrible. i switched to google dns, which improved the situation a little. but download speeds are still extremely slow no matter which server i choose. customer service has not been helpful. today i added the stealthvpn package (special encryption for china) which doesn’t seem to help any.

    so based on your article i just signed up for one month expressvpn service. i’ve only been using it a couple hours, but it’s definitely not as fast as i was hoping. i cannot connect to many of the servers- only los angeles has worked so far. and although i haven’t accurately measured download speed, youtube homepage takes forever to load and i haven’t gotten videos to load at all. i have tried connecting multiple times from two internet connections.

    i’m on china telecom 8mb connection, best i can get in my area. without vpn, streaming hd from chinese video sites like youku is all quite fast.

    it really seems like the gfw has been improved significantly in the past couple weeks. seems to have happened around the same time gmail was completely blocked. perhaps none of the vpn’s will work as well as in the past..

    • Louis says

      My experience in China : I use Astrill since a few months now. At home, my internet provider is TOPWAY (I choosed the 100mb connection subscription which is supposed to be the fastest one, also the most expensive).
      I have bought a router on which I have installed the astrill VPN settings, according to the procedure that is described on astrill website. So far, my VPN is still working fine this way, even though the chinese web is more and more blocked these last days. I can surf all webpages, and even watch TV’s program from my country (France), very smoothly.
      However, it is becoming difficult, or even impossible, to connect through astrill VPN from my iphone when I am not at home.
      I would suggest you to install (if you can) astrill on a compatible router, or to buy the astrill router. I am using the TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1.x, bought in HK.

  29. Bob says

    ExpressVPN was either slow or blocked most of the times for me. VPN.AC works better, sometimes slow on mobile but their Chrome VPN extension is awesome. It never failed and speed is great.

  30. Puhemo says

    It’s not easy for me to find a vpn for my blackberry and iPad ,I try most of the vpn you mentioned, none of them work well . Any suggestions?

  31. cvdrei says

    I’m currently in Shanghai and the VPN situation is quite bad. Connections brake down and sometimes even impossible. I tried alot of different provider. My company provides also a VPN which works well and fast all the time, but I don’t want to use it for personal stuff.
    My solution was to rent a Vserver in germany, it’s about 5 Euro with a 100 MBit flatrate. You can get tutorials how to do the setup.
    My own VPN is fast (about 7MB/sec up and down) and reliable all the time.

  32. Carla says

    I just got back 2 days ago from China. I used ExpressVPN in June 2014 and it was great. On this trip, it connected only about 50% of the time. Very frustrating!

    • says

      I am going to Guilin in April and I am also wrapping up my last online Graduate Class in my Master’s Program during that timeframe. Is it worth dicing it and going with a VPN or using a 4 Star Hotel’s WiFi? – The 4 Star Hotel WiFi function came from someone in our International Student Affairs department whom is from China and studied there, but this was a while ago. Also, does Guilin have Internet? Part of the charm is that it is a very old city that has not been updated for historical preservation purposes from what I hear.

      • Sho says

        There is internet everywhere in China. Guilin is a huge city with many very modern parts. You will be surprised. It has been updated and not for the better imho. The historical parts usually tend to be rebuild. No too much charm for me.

        Since the beginning of this year 2015 the intensity of blockage has increased significantly. Almost anything foreign works if at all very unreliable. Any updates which VPN services work still in Beijing and Shanghai? And please NO comments like google it or youtube links. All not accessible. Now even gmail, yahoomail etc. all are gone. How can anyone still work?


        • Jackie says

          Hi Sho,

          Sorry for your bad Internet experience in China.
          We are the seller for PureVPN in china,it has the China servers and it can work well.If you have any problems,please contact me ,i can help you.If you are using the ExpressVPN,I think that it can work well too.Don’t use the google public dns,and please use the china good dns.

        • says

          The internet is everywhere in China and usually much better/faster than in the US.
          Our house in Austin still uses copper twisted pair (Until Google brings in their Fiber).
          My Wife’s (ours) house in a small village in Sichuan province…Population 500 people…has a 100MBps Fiber connection. VPN blocking is the same/similar to Shanghai (lived there 10 years) and Shenzhen (1.5 years).

          Astrill has been great for the past 5 years, but lately, not so great and yes, I got the robo tech support suggestion to deactivate my Mcaffee virus protection and reinstall Astrill…Really Astrill, thats the best you can do? I just installed VYPRvpn (Literally its my first day using it) and it “seems” great. Watching youtube while downloading Adobe 2015 app updates…but am concerned about previous post in regards to after 3 day trial all went to crap…

          I have Astrill on my router and it has been working but with less and less throughput for my Netflix and HBO Now services. I have not tried ExpressVPN…maybe I will try that next…

          Great Article Grey…please keep the info flowing

  33. Alexander says

    It’s hard to talk that this VPN operator is the best for you.
    It’s a China….
    You need to test VPN in advance for your current location. But (!) if it is working good now there is no guarantee that it will work good tomorrow.
    I tried many VPNs and now I am using
    I can’t say that they are the best, but at least their support is friendly.

  34. Bowen says

    I have just bought Astrill service, is it very poor? But I think the speed is pretty good when I was watch 1080P video. I lives in China.

  35. Anna says

    I would Like to ask you, what is the best VPN for using in Shenzhen, for android mobile telephone and Tablet ?

    • says

      That discussion took place in March. The situation is China changes daily. there is no magical fix for the Firewall. Your best bet is try out one the VPN solutions listed above, and keep in touch with their support for the latest recommnendations.

  36. Christopher says


    I have been using ExpressVPN for over two months now. I’m located in Shanghai

    The thing is the VPN works wonder when you use on PC or Android, but when you use an IOS device, there is a problem. I got MAJOR difficulties to connect, and it is often disconnected after few minutes, but sometimes it works flawlessly as well. They tell me that the solution to that problem is just try connect to different server and keep trying until it connects. The problem is, its very-very difficult to connect

    I try to ask the ExpressVPN customer service, they tell me that IOS device doesnt support stealth mode as android, pc, or mac

    Has anyone got the same problem as me? or its just my unfortunate condition

    Thank you

  37. Mike Spencer says

    I just returned from Daqing up in Northern China and successfully used ExpressVPN and Pure VPN. Pure worked perfectly right from the start after clicking on their China location. I had to make one minor setting change in Express but that worked well also. Private Internet Service worked only after I followed a several step workaround plan and even then it occasionally had a problem connecting. I also tried Express VPN with in Shanghai with success.

  38. Meg says

    Hi GreyOne…as a long time resident of Shanghai, we’ve recently run into a number of issues with Astrill so have been looking for a replacement service. THANK YOU for such an informative article…we’ve just signed up with ExpressVPN and are really pleased with the ease of use and responsive customer service….so far, so good.

  39. says

    Secrete your identity: While you approach a VPN provider to use its services, you get hidden from your all world outright. The network permits you to select a server as per your individual liking and allocates an IP address accordingly. Since this IP differs from a original one, hence the likelihood of your presence being tracked online get negated.

  40. Syed says

    I am going to Guangzhou this November. First time in China. I need to make sure I can access google map/FB/gmail etc. from my iPhone. I will buy a prepaid card and use internet there from my iPhone. I need someone to tell me whats the best VPN currently working in China. After reading this thread I think it is ExpressVPN. I don’t care about the price. I am only going to be there for few weeks, so I only need to buy it for one month. Please help..
    Need to work with iOS devices…


  41. says

    I have tried many ways, free and paid ways to open blocked websites, I think vpn works better than others, this is what I can recommend,try the service before you pay for it!
    I ordered my account from the price is great. 1Months $3.3 , 3Months $7 and 12 Months $16
    It has free test account and you can try the service for free.
    It supports all protocols(PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN,CiscoVpn), And you don’t have to buy different accounts for different devices(use 1 account to connect on your computer and your mobile at the same time)

  42. Lee gunn says

    I’m out of my league in offering any advice. I would like some help in knowing what to install on my iPad mini for my upcoming three month trip to China. I will be located in Shanghai and would like to access my online life and family while I am there. I’d like to access google, fab,LinkedIn,YouTube etc. all advice great fully recieved

  43. says

    Importantly, IKEv2 protocol is supported by Astrill who also has an exclusive StealthVPN that makes my connection stable. ExpressVPN supports fewer protocols, but is more expensive. In addition, I have bought other vpns provided by Chinese companies such as OpenerVPN, JoyVPN and VPN Tech. They’re all disappointing products with regard to my needs.

    • says

      I don’t like Astrill — it’s one of the oldest VPN providers, but it has not kept pace with other providers (such as the one listed on this page). I found their customer support to be very unresponsive. They also require you to reveal a phone number when signing up to their service.

  44. Wong says

    I have been using for a month already after moving from Astrill (which gave me tons of headache before and very unstable recently). Surprisingly, I dont face any problems at all on all of my iOS devices. The speed is decent, but drop sometimes depend on the chosen server. However, this vpn gives me a little nag as sometimes you need to refresh an unloaded page.

    I am currently living in GZ.

  45. -_- says

    Also, and lots of other vpn sites are blocked, also when you try to download the Facebook app it fails too

  46. says

    Hi everyone.
    I travel to Shanghai every year for a month.
    In the past, I could just use any HK VPN to avoid the Golden Shield (Great Firewall of China).
    By 2013 it was already quite difficult to keep a VPN on. The connection would drop often.
    Right now, September-2014 all VPN services I’ve tried get randomly unstable and disconnect, sometimes after a while, sometimes often. From 4pm to midnight the latency doubles, and the bandwidth goes sometimes to dialup speeds.
    I own a web hosting company in Argentina, and I need to be connected to my business.
    My workaround was to use a VPS* in Los Angeles, USA and get a PPTP server configured there.
    In this way I make sure my VPN is used only by me, and won’t slow down by other users as it would happen if it was a popular VPN service.
    I didn’t use just any VPS, I picked one that has “Asia optimized”.
    All this while local chinese internet is as fast as if it was in my own computer.
    If you need help with all this, I can give you a hand. Just drop me an email.

  47. Philipp K says

    Hi all,
    thank you for the review and thanks to all that have spent time and effort on comments – very helpfull to get a qualitative picture.

    However I have no clue what to do with someone writing “works well” or “great connection”. For people using their internet connection on forums and websites such as this one an up/download speed of 200/200 kbps may be considered “great” but for a techie like myself, who had the fastest possible internet connection money can buy at home its painfully slow.

    Never state a problem without a solution. So here is mine: To make all these quantitative comments a little more usefull. do the following:

    1. go to the VPN you currently use and go to this website
    2. VERY important to level the playing field – DO NOT use the automatically chosen server for the test, but this one: US, San Francisco server, Hosted by Monkey Brains.
    3. post your result like this: YOUR ISP – TESTED VPN: PING/DOWNLOAD SPEED/UPLOAD SPEED

    This test will show how well your connection ACTUALLY performs.

    Here my result:
    Unicom – VyprVPN: 177ms/0.39Mbps/5.02Mbps

  48. xNinjaCatx says

    I have lived in Beijing for the past five years and have been using PandaPow VPN. They have servers all over the world, US East/West, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong etc… Connection speeds are quite decent too. Price wise, it’s at $84 per year, or $9 per month and $24 for three months. Here is the link to their website:
    Note: yes, it’s .co, not .com. They did this on purpose to avoid getting blocked in China.

  49. Michael says

    Greetings all —

    As a long term China resident, I’ve been through the ringer with various VPNs. Express failed in December 2012 (seems they may have recovered), Strong started having issues in late 2013 (connections compromised, it seems), and now it appears that Astill is suffering from a similar fate. I’m guessing that DPI is root cause here — and would like to know whether there may be a reliable VPN service out there that addresses the DPI capability underlying the Great Fire Wall.

    For specifics, I keep getting “sub route” notes in my log file for my current VPN, and the extended DNS test does show, among many, a Shanghai Telecom server.

    All thoughts and comments welcome!

  50. asajji says

    I tested and whilst in China last week and they both worked great!

    VPNArea is disappointing …

    Hope this info will help anyone going to China soon.

    Please get your vpn before you go there.

  51. says

    We like ClearVPN, their support is always helpful and can usually come up with a solution if you have any issues to get your up and running in the 7 day free trial period. If not they will cancel your account and honer their full refund policy.

  52. says

    Hi All –

    We run a VPN service, basically trying to make a decent service that users can have some control over what they get, we’re all about support and feedback to improve.

    Anyways theres a 3 day free trial if you want to give us a go.

    This comment will probably be deleted for advertising but I’m not going to do what everyone else does and pretend to be a user saying my service is great – it is though :-)


  53. nick says

    Based on reading the comments it sounds like ExpressVPN is the way to go in Beijing? The wife and I are headed to China, and she’ll be living there for 5 months. She’s running Max OSX Mountain Lion, any issues? If we have issues will their support help us resolve them. Can I access their and other VPN sites while in China, or is it something I should try and purchase before we come? Thanks so much for the great article and discussion all!!

    • John says

      @nick, I use ExpressVPN on my Mac, Android tablet, and iPhone. It’s a lot easier if you buy it before coming, as most VPN’s primary domains seem to be blocked here (i.e. is blocked but I can go to .co, and is blocked but I can access .ws etc.).

      Their Mac app is really easy to use and live chat is helpful. There seems to always be someone online and I’ve never had to wait longer than 1 min for help. Connectivity in China can be really finicky, VPNed or not, but I’m pretty happy with my subscription after having tried numerous others.

  54. Jhon Mere says

    Thanks for publishing this article, Recently I will be traveling in china for few months . I cant able to access Google and youtube , then I have gone though this article and get to know if I use VPN , they I can access all of the sites . Now I am using expressvpn but still facing many issues as a new user. Should I switch to, have seen good reviews .Admin please help me

  55. L.Poulin says

    I am very unhappy today to be honest, I am very upset.

    I decided to try Astrill as a VPN and I thought that it would be easy to install and use even though I am not technically incline.

    I had some issue with the installation therefore I contacted the online support. I spoke with Anna, Eva and Ted.

    Due to the issue with the installation, a support personnel took over my computer using a remote control.

    Upon resolving my issue with Astrill another issue arose and they did not want to take responsibility.

    I was left to deal with it on my own without any assistance. The issue was that they changed my desktop image. It was no longer there and my desktop went black. A friend installed when I live in Canada because I am not technically incline.

    I kept asking them to return my setting to the original one but they refused telling me that it was not them who did it.

    Who could have change my setting? I was not in control when they used the remote control. They were in control. I just sat and watch.

    They kept asking me many technical questions to which I was not able to answer and when I asked for the name of their supervisor, I was getting no answer, I got no where or all of a sudden they could no longer help me.

    Who change my original setting? Who?

    There were only two people involved here, Astrill and myself. I did not touch the computer because they needed access. Therefore who changed my setting?

    I am extremely displease and upset with the way Aprill dealt with me.

    I asked several times Anna (over 20 times) for her superior and got no where. She made up excuses and even terminated our conversation with chat.

    This is not right, you do not go around and change the configuration of people’s computer while assisting them.

    At no point, was an effort made to resolve this second issue created by Astrill.

    I am extremely disappointed in the way this was handle, very unprofessional upon their part and I was the one to be blame for their error.

  56. Eddie says

    Funny. ExpressVPN isn’t working for me AT ALL. Unable to connect to any of their servers. I’d call this article a big lie. I’m still waiting for their refund. Will update on that in a couple of days.

      • Anonymous says

        Funny (again). That’s exactly what I did and the solution they offered? Refund, as they cannot figure out a way to make it work.

        • says

          I sorry the VPN did not work out for your configuration. I’m glad they gave you full refund, as per their policy.

          However, calling my article a lie is misguided, because ExpressVPN has many happy customers using the service in China.

        • Amelia says

          I use ExpressVPN and have been really happy with it. I initially had problems connecting via UDP/TCP (i.e. I couldn’t connect to ANY of their servers, or, when I did connect, I couldn’t load any sites). So I would stick to L2TP and PPTP which was kinda slow.

          When I’d finally had enough, I got in touch w/ customer service on livechat, they walked me through how to update my computer’s DNS servers (from my ISP’s to Google’s + OpenVPN) and now I can use TCP/UDP just fine 😀 😀 😀

          Anyway I’m interested in hearing what your issue was!! That sucks that it happened to you. But at the same time, I just wanted to weigh in and let people know that, as someone in Beijing, I’ve had a great experience w/ them.

          And like Morgan said on 4/23, the Japan server is the fastest! (Though they recently added a Taiwan one, which also gives me really good speeds).

  57. Derik says

    i just arrived china 5days ago and found out i cant access to many websites not even to Google. its kinda weird. so i want to know which is the best vpn that i can use for free when i am here in china.

    • says

      I’m not impressed by VPNinja. When I clicked to sign up, it told me I had nothing in my shopping cart. I assume because I’m blocking cookies. Cookies should only be required to login. Also, your website has errors on it like this:

      strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/vpninja/drupal_home/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
      strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vpninja/drupal_home/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/ on line 607.
      strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/vpninja/drupal_home/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/ on line 607.

  58. Eric says

    I’ve bounced back and forth between Astril, Express, and Strong VPN, and recently came back to Express. Except during heavy internet lock down periods, I find it to be reliable and fast. But, they could really stand to add more bandwidth in HK (the fastest for me when its not over loaded, but unusable during peak times).

  59. says

    I’ve had quite a few problems personally with Astrill and I know many others who have as well. They have a good thing going, but their customer service has been terrible.

    ExpressVPN and 12VPN have worked beautifully for me. I actually did video reviews of each of these that I think you and those reading this might find useful – adds a visual element to what you read here:

    Hope that helps. Great to read some honest reviews here. Thanks Greyone!

  60. says

    I am currently living in Shanghai for 2 years. The VPN i am curently using Strongvpn. It works quite well but the connectivity not as fast like before. You could use sf77 which works more stabilized recently. Thus, i also found another VPN called VYPR VPN, they found a new protocol “Chameleon” which would have higher security to hide most of your online traffic while using this connection.

    • says

      Thanks for posting the info.

      I left out VyprVPN because they ask for your bank info during registration. I also did not enjoy my interactions with their customer service representatives. They declined comments about privacy. They also lock your account immediately if you get a DMCA notice.

      • says

        I have to agree with the horrible customer service at VyprVPN. I signed up for a 3 day trial and they locked my account within 1 day — without telling me — because I didn’t answer some security email questions they never sent me.

        I wasted an entire day trying to troubleshoot my computer before contacting them and being told my account was suspended. I told them I never received their security questions so please send them if you need to but don’t charge my credit card (my 3 day trial was getting eaten up).

        Customer service writes back and says they will “escalate” the issue to a superior. Really frustrated, I said go ahead and “escalate” and ask “questions” but don’t charge my credit card.

        Some dick wrote back and they declined to open my account.

        What jerks. Avoid VyprVPN — there are much better companies who are friendly and helpful, and who appreciate their customers.

  61. Morgan says

    I’m using ExpressVPN from Beijing… and I’ve found that connecting to their Japan server is way faster than their HK and LA servers! Just a tip to anyone in Beijing muddling about :)

  62. masgarro says

    Can I ask Ron and the others, what server are you using on Astrill?
    I’m trying different ones, but seems I can’t find the ideal one
    USA (Denver) or Hong Kong?

    • chowder says

      I have been using Astrill for 2 years now, just recently having issues with connection from China as well. I am also wondering which server do you guys connect to to get an ideal speed. I have tried LA 1~4, denver, Dallas1, even tried HK / Japan servers but they are all slow…

      I live in Shanghai.

      • Multi-VPN user says

        Same here. I live in Shanghai. Astrill was reliable and fast at the beginning, then many servers stopped responding and became very very slow, especially servers in Asia. The “OpenWeb” feature is still working fine at the moment (it allows most browsers to connect through VPN, but it cannot be used for others applications/protocols such FTP, messenger, Skype, etc.), while Open VPN does not work at all. Stealth VPN (which cost an extra…) is not so efficient. Some servers on US west coast are working, but not all of them. The speed test feature provided by Astrill application does not work properly, so it’s hard to find the right server. Astrill has also several interesting options (NAT firewall, etc.) but they’re all a bit expensive.

        Something more disturbing with Astrill: privacy policy is not clear at all and they ask for a real cell phone number to let you register (you need to receive a code by cell phone text message to complete your registration)… Not exactly what you would expect from a service protecting your anonymity & privacy.

  63. Ron says

    I am sitting in China right now and using Unicom with Astrill and I can watch Full HD1080p video on youtube without lags. I dont know of any other VPN provider who is offering this kind of speed in China. Most of them just try to make you happy with 3 Mbps download speeds. 1080p requires download speed close to 10 Mbps.

    • says

      I’m glad you are getting good throughput from Astrill. I asked them to fix a simple issue on my test account last month, and they never provided an answer or closed the ticket. I can’t recommend a VPN provider with such poor customer support. I’m sure the other VPN providers mention in the article can match Astrill’s speed.

    • Kristin says

      HI Ron , can you tell what exact r you using cause i have tryed a lot of VPNs and no of them can open normaly page and watching video

    • Rick says

      Astrill has a very long history of planting comments as well. Check other reviews of astrill and the second something is mentioned, some guy pops up with semi-fluent English talking about how awesome and fast it is. I’m sure they have Google alerts set up to do this.

  64. rain says

    Just a note that I’m in China now and as of Feb 2014, cannot access Private Internet Access.

    Also, 2 vpns that seems to work and not listed here are: Astrill VPN and Vypr. Would love to hear what you think of those two.

    • houston says

      Astrill is good. Unicom has increased their Net speed. They now offer 20/20 cable net. I have used punchvpn routers ( with Astrill service. Works great. I can use one astrill account and share the net from three different locations (my home, my office and my restaurant) including my cell phone and I have to pay for only single account. The router has remote access feature which allows the VPN account to be shared when you are away from home, even in different city. Another problem you will face when using VPN in China is that the VPN servers will go slow periodically. i.e the same server working good when you connected, runs slow after an hour. Punchvpn router has this cool feature that it can track the speed of vpn servers using latency and bandwidth measurements. If a server goes slow, the router will auto switch to next best server. This is specially useful feature when you are away from home using cell phone. The router takes care of finding the best server so I can stream videos over youtube without lags. My last test using Astrill and Unicom 20/20 was awesome. I got 20/20 speed with one of the astrill servers. Which means I can watch 1080p videos without buffering problems.

    • says

      I don’t recommend Astril because their service is unreliable, especially recently. Slow customer support, and they require a phone number during registration. ExpressVPN is better for example.

      All that Astril has going for them is that they are one of the oldest private VPN providers.

      • Frank says

        Astrill sucks beyond measure. Crashes all the time and the support serivce is less than useless. They just copy and paste the same replies over and over again or ask me 3 times what OS I am running. They are very rude too! I tell tehm I have problems connecting to the internet and the reply is “Astrill works fine in China” – just bought another VPN and I am much more happy with it.

  65. JonoR says

    I’ve had a lot of sucess using EzyVPN. The speed’s are very good when I travel to china and I have set up on my iphone too. They also offer a free trial. Recommended A+

  66. GreyOne says

    Also, if you haven’t already, you should use an alternate DNS instead of the default from your ISP. This is because China sometimes uses DNS Poisoning as a part of their blocking process.

    To do this, do as follows : (This is for Windows 7 users. WinXP users should have to follow a similar process. Just find your main connection properties. Mac users, try to Google where OSX users can find their connection properties. Sorry but I know close to nothing about Macs, I’m one of those guys that rebel it with a passion just because).

    Open “Network and Sharing Center”

    Open your current connected network’s status window (not the VPN network, your main network)

    Open “Properties”

    Double-click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”

    Both IP and DNS should be automatic by default. Leave IP alone.

    For DNS, choose “Use the following DNS Server Address”.

    Use one of these DNS servers to fill in the blanks (or any you might know of and trust more, I just know these. I use Google’s since I figure they’re probably the fastest and most reliable) :

    Google DNS :
    Preferred DNS Server :
    Alternate DNS Server :

    StrongVPN DNS :

    Preferred DNS Server :

    Alternate DNS Server :

    If you had some instability issues before and were using default DNS, this will probably help.

  67. Estebanero says


    I am disappointed in some of the most popular VPN’s for Asia as even for e.g. StrongVPN I have recently cancelled a subscription since the minute after I paid and registered my account on the opening page they announced that they were having problems reaching Facebook from China. They then recommended to go into a separate set of settings to try and bypass this.

    Ideally a reliable VPN service should straight forward give you the situation and make it clear what is the situation. Further it was rather complex to handle and when logging my ticket to unsubscribe it took 2 weeks to get a reply.

    I am hence now looking into a VPN Router for China so I bypass the complete Client Setup and can subscribe all my Network Connected devices. Any recommendation you may be able to share for VPN Routers? I know Astrill has them but you mentioned that their Customer service was poor so I am a bit uncertain now.


    • andy doglas says

      its true that u cannot open such web like youtube or facebook by only use VPN swich, most web block system in china is blacklist block , so even use software to change ur VPN, is the same result. you need find a subcontractor of CMCC or CT or CU, they will have their private band width its much more secure and stable compare to the VPN software. but its little bit expensive for individuals but its really handy for business.

  68. Jeremy says

    It seems that works well in China. Their customer service helped me get it working again after OpenVPN was also blocked recently (I had to make a simple change). I can also connect with PPTP on my iPad but this can sometimes be blocked though. I haven’t tried the new OpenVPN app on iPad yet, but will definitely give it a try as it should also work with CitizenVPN.

      • Rachel Farland says

        First of all, free VPN record your data and sell it to advertising companies – maybe they may even sell it to the government. Never use Free VPN!
        I switched to PureVPN 2 years back and it’s been wonderful so far. They even offer 2GB per month free limit with their iOS and Android apps. Their latest iOS app comes with IKEv2 protocol that works wonderfully fast in China.

    • Takiki says


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      Since HideMyAss is much more complete than VpnTunnel, and are now the same price, do not deprive yourself icon wink Promotion on vpn offers HideMyAss

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