Looking for the best virtual private network (VPN) for China?

Well, from my experience in China, most VPNs don’t work here. And I’ve tried bucketloads.

The good news is that some VPNs still work, and I’ll share my personal favorites with you below.

(In case you didn’t know, the internet is censored in China and all major websites and apps, including Google, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, are blocked on Wi-Fi without a VPN).

So, here are the best VPNs in China for 2024 based on my experience traveling and working in China.

1. Astrill VPN

Best China VPN

Astrill is the best China VPN. Image by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.

Hands down, Astrill VPN is by far the best VPN for China.

Honestly, it’s the only one I use in China at the moment.

Whether you’re going to Shanghai or Suzhou, you’ll have a fast and reliable connection with Astrill.

This is because they’re committed to foreigners in China with dedicated servers (located in the US, Japan and Hong Kong) that are specifically built for China.

Astrill VPN is easy to use, even for technically challenged people like me. But if you do happen to get stuck, there’s 24/7 online chat support.

I’ve never used their support because I’ve never needed it!

Why it’s great for your trip to China:

  • Fast and most reliable
  • Servers focused specifically on China
  • Use it on multiple devices simultaneously
  • Option to upgrade to VIP for even quicker performance (I’ve never had to)
  • 24/7 live chat support in case you have a meltdown!

Disadvantage:

  • It’s a little pricier than the others.

Tap on the button below to get it.

Tip: Make sure you download the VPN before you arrive in China.

2. Ivacy

Access Facebook and WhatsApp in China

Facebook is blocked in China, but Ivacy can help. Image by Thomas Ulrich on Pixabay.

Ivacy is another good VPN for China. At the moment, this is my first ‘backup’ to Astrill (more on that below).

Ivacy’s Smart Connect feature connects automatically to the fastest server available within a few seconds. This is great for lazy travelers!

You can even use Ivacy on up to 10 devices. That’s enough for a whole family going to China.

Why it’s great for your trip to China:

  • It’s the cheapest (perfect if you’re on a tight budget)
  • Use it on up to 10 devices
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • Over 1,000 servers for fast performance
  • 24/7 online chat support – they’ve always been quick to respond to me

Disadvantage:

  • It usually takes time to find a connection for China, and you might need to constantly change servers to do so (this has resulted in me waiting up to 20 minutes just to use the internet).

Tap on the button below to get it.

Tip: Make sure you download the VPN before you arrive in China.

3. ExpressVPN

Woman using VPN while traveling

Using Google on Wi-Fi in China is impossible without a VPN. Image from Unsplash.

ExpressVPN used to be my favorite VPN in China.

But recently, especially in the second half of 2023, there have been too many times when I couldn’t get a reliable connection.

Hopefully that changes in the future, because ExpressVPN invests a lot in their encryption technology so you’re not traced as you access Western sites blocked by the Chinese government.

ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, and their support is outstanding (that’s been my personal experience, anyway).

Why it’s great for your trip to China:

  • World leader in VPNs
  • Use it on multiple devices simultaneously
  • Apps for every device
  • Thousands of servers for high performance
  • 24/7 live chat support and super-quick email replies

Disadvantage

  • It’s no longer as reliable in China as it once was (it often connects and then disconnects), which is why Astrill is my new #1.

Tap on the button below to get it.

Tip: Make sure you download the VPN before you arrive in China.

Need more detail?

If you’re a massive tech-head and want a thesis explaining all the security and privacy features, and you have loads of time, you could try a site like vpnMentor.

Otherwise, check out my article on which apps are blocked in China, and why they’re inaccessible.

The most important thing!

Great Wall of China on mobile phone

Get the VPN before you arrive in China. Image supplied by Mike Cairnduff.

I’ve repeated this tip a few times already. But it’s so important if you want unblocked internet access in China.

You must download and set up the VPN before you board the plane.

If you leave it until after you arrive in mainland China, it’ll be too late. Sadly, you’ll be one of the countless victims of The Great Firewall of China.

Having worked, studied and traveled in China numerous times, I can confidently say I’ve never forgotten my VPNs.

But I know people who have forgotten, and from what I’ve heard it’s technically possible to do in China but extremely hard for the average Joe. VPN sales are blocked in China, it’s as simple as that.

Trust me, tech issues are the last thing you want to be dealing with while you hike the Great Wall!

Don’t put all your VPN eggs in one basket

Even the best VPNs are susceptible to the Chinese government’s crackdowns (which are becoming more common), and at times you may find that you can’t connect to the internet at all.

Luckily, there’s a way around this.

If you’re planning a China holiday with family or friends, get each person in your group to buy a different VPN before departing (and don’t worry – using a VPN in China is legal).

If you’re heading to China solo for the long term, I recommend having at least two VPNs in case you have connectivity issues.

I have all three VPNs on this page, plus a handful of others that aren’t worthy of being included.

If you only choose one and you have connectivity issues, my troubleshooting guide called VPN not working in China may help.

So, what’s the very best VPN for China?

If I could only choose one, it would definitely be Astrill VPN because my personal experience with it in China has been outstanding.

So far, there has never been a time when I couldn’t get a connection. And my expat friends all say the same thing about Astrill.

The only thing is that it’s a bit pricier than the other two. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Have an awesome time in China!

I hope my review of the best VPN for China has helped you. If there is anything you need to know about traveling to China, just ask a question below. I enjoy answering them.