Study: VPN in China (Only 7/51 VPNs 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, VPNs in China are partially not available. After the government banned most of the non approved providers by March 31, 2018 it has become extremely difficult to use international services and tools.

The goal of this research is to make a list of fully-working VPNs.

Our Step-By-Step Process

  1. Subscribed to more than 90+ VPNs
  2. Chose 51 promising services for testing
  3. Tried to access VPN websites
  4. Ran tests with each service with China Unicom Shandong ISP
  5. Documented every single test with ScreenShots (SS).

If you are in hurry, You can do a quick search.

Does Your VPN work in China?

Enter Your VPN name. It’s just like Ctrl+F.

Only 12 of 51 Websites Are Accessible

Unblocked websites:

vpn.asia (SS), crypticvpn.com (SS), onevpn.com (SS), trust.zone (SS), vpngate.net (SS), psiphon3.com (SS), avira.com (SS), avast.com (SS), perfect-privacy.com (SS), us.norton.com (SS), f-secure.com (SS), SmartVPN (SS).

Blocked websites:

airvpn.org (SS), astrill.com (SS), betternet.com (SS), browsec.com (SS), buffered.com (SS), cyberghost.com (SS), earthvpn (SS), fastestvpn.com (SS), flyvpn.com (SS), ghostpath.com (SS), goldenfrog.com (SS), hide.me (SS), hidemyass.com (SS), hola.org (SS), hotspotshield.com (SS), ibvpn.com (SS), ipvanish.com (SS), ivacy.com (SS), le-vpn.com (SS), expressvpn.com (SS), limevpn.com (SS), nordvpn.com (SS), overplay.net (SS), privateinternetaccess.com (SS), protonvpn.com (SS), purevpn.com (SS), seed4.me (SS), shadeyouvpn.com (SS), steganos.com (SS), strongvpn.com (SS), sumrando.com (SS), zenmate.com (SS), tigervpn.com (SS), torguard.com (SS), windscribe.com (SS), vpnsecure.me (SS), vpn.ht (SS), vpninja.net (SS), vpnunlimitedapp.com (SS)

7 of 51 VPN Services Work in China

Unblocked VPNs: (Click to see the screenshot)

ExpressVPNAstrillLe VPNStrong VPNVyprVPNHotSpotShield, Seed4.me

Blocked VPNs:

AirVPN, Avast SecureLine, Avira Phantom, Betternet, BrowsecBuffered, CrypticVPN, CyberGhost, EarthVPN, FastestVPN, FlyVPN, F-Secure, Freedome, Ghostpath, Hide.me, HideMyAss, Hola, ibVPN, IPVanish, Ivacy, LimeVPN, NordVPN, Norton WiFi Privacy, OneVPN, Overplay, Perfect-Privacy, PIA, ProtonVPN, Psiphon, Pure, ShadeYou, SmartVPN, Steganos, SumRando, ZenMate, TigerVPN, TorGuard, Trust.Zone, WindScribe, VPN Gate, VPN Unlimited, VPN.asia, VPN.ht, VPNinja, VPNSecure.

Summary

  • 19% of VPN websites are accessible
  • 80.9% of VPN websites are not accessible
  • Only 13,7% of VPNs are working
  • Other 86% of softwares are not functioning.

It Seems Impossible to Use VPN Unless:

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

If You Are in China With No VPN…

There are two common ways to temporarily access the global internet to register and install a VPN.

  1. Use a hotel with a VPN
    Some international hotels in China provide clients with a VPN. However, more hotels are dropping this advantage due to strict governmental regimen.
  2. Use your friend’s hotspot (who has VPN)
    Probably the fastest option is to ask a friend to create a hotspot while connected to VPN.

VPN Laws

China VPNs are in legal grey-area.

A September report from GlobalWebIndex claimed the VPN crackdown was disrupting work and study for entrepreneurs, scientists, and students.

The firm’s survey of Chinese internet users found that 14 percent use a VPN daily. For China’s online population of 731 million, this means 100 million regular users.

However, some services are not approved by the government.

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 the new restrictions only apply to companies using unauthorized VPNs, a policy that, the ministry notes, has been in place since January 2018.

That said, the statement in The Paper doesn’t really clarify which users are eligible for approval or how that process will work, leaving plenty of room for additional restrictions if the government decides to go that route.

Fully-Working Services

According to our research. Top working services are:

  1. expressvpn.com (Preferred — the highest ranking VPN)
  2. astrill.com
  3. le-vpn.com
  4. strongvpn.com
  5. vyprvpn.com
  6. hotspotshield.com
  7. seed4.me

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. This is an informative article for educational purpose only. Citizens and travelers should always do their own research and follow the local laws.

Andy Michael

Andy Michael

Cybersecurity researcher for more than 8 years. Now contributing to journalism as a hobby.
Andy Michael

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2 thoughts on “Study: VPN in China (Only 7/51 VPNs 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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