Let’s talk about the best VPN to use in China. I live here in China, have done for the past 11 years. Over on Instagram, I teach 21,000 expats the everyday Chinese they need to communicate what they want. Want to be one of those expats? Follow me on Instagram now, or subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I asked my followers what VPN’s they used and their opinions.
Mirror mirror on the firewall, what is the most popular VPN of them all?
I’ll share with you opinions from 11 of my followers. I know in the video it says 9 — oops. They’ll give you honest insider advice on how VPNs really works here in China. I will also share with you what VPN I use.
I’m going to tell you right now, no VPN is perfect here in China.
The Chinese government does actively block Google, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, and even iTunes sometimes through the great firewall.
Isn’t using a VPN illegal?
Maybe your next question is “how can you use a VPN in China, isn’t it illegal?” Well, yes and no. It’s a gray area. Right now the Chinese still lets VPNs in. There are over 300,000 foreigners in China. So China isn’t going to block the internet, at least the free internet. It hasn’t done it yet.
What do local expats in China say about VPNs here in China?
This way, you can make your own decision about which VPN to buy, for how long, whether you have two VPNs (in case one goes down) and who your back-up human is when you need to thumb through your Instagram feed. That’s a true friendship there, sharing VPNs.
This is the first VPN we’re going to talk about. It’s the most popular here in China. I did a poll of what my followers used and Express VPN is by far the most popular.
Gabriella says “Don’t go for it. It’s slow to connect. Even when it’s connected, the connection will often fail.”
She uses Express combined with Astrill depending on which one is working better.
The VPN’s and how they work depend on what city you’re in.
Josh says “Express VPN is very reliable and good value for money. Their 24/7 help service is great.”
Morena says “Most of the time it works well. I’m happy with it.
Government meetings happen anywhere from 3 to 4 times a year and VPNs often get blocked and go down during these time periods. Most people use Express in China, so the fact that it’s still up and running kinda tells you how good the company is.
Tom White in Beijing says “Express VPN is very reliable. It doesn’t work when political events happen, but other than that it’s fast and has a good support team.”
Let me tell you the prices of all three top VPNs so you have a benchmark of what you’re likely to pay per year or per month.
$8.32 per month
$8.33 per month
$6.99 per month
Astrill VPN is the VPN I use, and the only VPN I’ve used since I quit my day job last year to start bringing you content full-time.
Let’s talk about Astrill
This is the VPN I use. It’s super stable for me here in Tianjin. Sometimes it cuts out when I travel to Beijing. Not stable for everyone.
Odembo says “Express and Astrill are the most popular. Express in general but many people have been decamping to Astrill. Astrill takes less than a second to connect and connects every time. Express is the opposite.”
Sydsargent says “Astrill is awesome. You pay $99 for a year and it doesn’t fault.”
Rozel says “Don’t get Express. Every time there are government meetings, Express is the one VPNs who’s issues last the longest.” When I asked her what she’d recommend she said: “She hasn’t used other VPNs but a lot of people recommend Astrill.”
What about Nord VPN?
Tieren says “I’ve only heard good things about Nord VPN.” She uses Nord VPN and hasn’t heard anyone complain about it.
JWIBI had a completely different experience with Nord VPN. Since July 2018 Nord has been working on her Windows laptop and iPhone. Around December 2018 it stopped working on the phone and they told her to connect manually to servers and do techie stuff that was kinda annoying. Eventually, it just stopped working and she had to get a different VPN on her phone.
Yehia3z says she used Nord VPN for around half a year and sometimes it didn’t work even though she was using a premium version of Nord, not a free trial.
Feel free to browse each of the companies respective websites, compare prices, test out their free trials and make your own decision about what your favorite VPN in China will be.
Comment below what VPN you use and whether you’d recommend it to friends or newbies in China?
A quick and important disclosure:
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend them because they are helpful and useful.