Guide to Access VPN in China (Only 7/51 Work)

The Internet is restricted in China. Most popular blocked websites include Google, Facebook, and more than 10 000 domain names that the Westerners are using freely.

The best way to gain access to the World Wide Web is to use a VPN.

However, even VPNs in China are mostly restricted. After the government banned most of the VPN providers by March 31, 2018, it has become extremely difficult for Chinese to use international services and tools.

Despite, there still are methods that allow using VPN and access international websites The goal of this post is to reveal those services and get an overlook of how many VPNs are affected by the ban. We did this by testing the 51 most promising services.

Our step-by-step process

  1. Subscribed for more than 90+ VPNs to find the highest quality providers
  2. Chose 51 promising services for testing process
  3. Tried to access VPN websites
  4. Ran tests with each service with China Unicom Shandong ISP
  5. Documented every single test with screenshots

Only 12 of 51 Websites Are Accessible

Unblocked websites:

Blocked websites:

7 of 51 VPN Services Work in China

Unblocked VPNs:

  • ExpressVPN
  • Astrill
  • Le VPN
  • Strong VPN
  • VyprVPN
  • HotSpotShield

Blocked VPNs:

  • AirVPN
  • Astrill
  • Avast SecureLine
  • Avira Phantom
  • Betternet
  • Browsec
  • Buffered
  • CrypticVPN
  • CyberGhost
  • EarthVPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • FastestVPN
  • FlyVPN
  • F-Secure Freedome
  • Ghostpath
  • HideMyAss
  • Hola
  • HotSpotShield
  • ibVPN
  • IPVanish
  • Ivacy
  • Le VPN
  • LimeVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Norton WiFi Privacy
  • OneVPN
  • Overplay
  • Perfect-Privacy
  • PIA
  • ProtonVPN
  • Psiphon
  • Pure
  • ShadeYou
  • SmartVPN
  • Steganos
  • Strong
  • SumRando
  • ZenMate
  • TigerVPN
  • TorGuard
  • Trust.Zone
  • WindScribe
  • VPN Gate
  • VPN Unlimited
  • VPNinja
  • VPNSecure
  • VyprVPN

It seems Impossible to Use VPN Unless:

  1. You register and install a VPN account in a different country or parts of China where laws are looser (Hong Kong, Macau)
  2. You already have a ready-to-use VPN account

However, There Are Other Methods

There are 3 common methods to temporarily access the global internet to register and install a VPN.
(You should use these methods only for scientific research)

  1. Use Shadowdocks software
    Shadowdocks is an open-source encrypted proxy made by a Chinese programmer. It uses SOCKS5 similarly to SSH tunnel. Only difference is that it can also proxy UDP traffic.
  2. Use a hotel with a VPN
    Some international hotels in China provide clients with VPN. However, more hotels are giving ourselves to tight government regimen.
  3. Use your friend’s hotspot (who already has VPN)
    Third and probably the fastest option is to ask your friend (if you have one) to create a hotspot while connected to VPN.

Is VPN in China legal?

It’s a gray area. As a foreigner, you are probably not going to get in trouble using a VPN.

State-run news site: The statement from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says that “authorized” VPNs will be allowed to conduct business as usual, and that the new restrictions only apply to companies using unauthorized VPNs, a policy that the ministry notes has been in place since January.

VPN Services in China are Under Pressure

There are very few services that work in China.

You can click one of the available VPN links to start an account.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers, this is an informative article for educational purpose only with no intention to encourage bypassing China restrictions. Citizens and travelers should always follow the local law. 

Full infographic:

Infographic based on tests conducted with China Unicom CHINA 169 Backbone ISP in September 2018

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4 thoughts on “Guide to Access VPN in China (Only 7/51 Work)

    • Great question!

      We didn’t conduct a test with Surfshark so unfortunately, I don’t know the truth.

      However, as I did a quick research on it, it seems that Surfshark has worked for some people in the past month.

      If you will give it a try, let us know as well! 🙂

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