The Best VPN For China (Updated May 2016)

by Grey One •

Best VPN For 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.
  • VPN.AC: They have many optimization for Chinese users (including the ability to make OpenVPN traffic appear as normal SSL traffic). They have iOS apps though, 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. The Great Fire website (English version) lists which sites are currently blocked in China.

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

The Details: The Best VPN For China

Update: The Chinese government implemented new more sophisticated VPN blocks. The firewall is now using machine learning to block IPSec, PPTP, L2TP protocols.

Basically, they are continuing to 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 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.


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.

Comments 275

  1. ArlineRed

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    At most I need BlogsPlugin – it’s automate blogging with captchas bypass and works with a TOP-10 Blogs platforms…
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  2. Shadman

    Hi, can you please give a review regarding bstrill.com service, specially their shadowstock server. Seems like it’s very stable, but I am not sure about the security issues.

  3. ArlineRed

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  4. George

    Great blog, please consider a review on our VPN service: INFINITUMVPN.COM (Home Router with free VPN optimized for China Mainland browsing). Thank you.

  5. Scott

    Try OneVPN to bypass GFW of China. Multiple protocols will offer you ease to bypass GFW. It costs just $1 per month. FREE trial is available as well.

  6. I was tricked

    Astrill is the worst. I can’t be the only person they’ve tricked into buying a years VPN service only to then later tell me I need to pay them $60 more dollars to actually use it in China. it’s pretty shady business practice.

    1. Gladiator

      Don’t waste your time with those suppliers. Create your own vpn it is faster than all of them because you are the owner of the server you rent.So only you in the pipe. Use shadowsocks… it is free you just have to setup it. google it…

    2. Manuscope

      Never heard additional fee… I been using StrongVpn for the last 6 months just fine but I would not recommend it because there customer service really went downhill. Problems I encounters were:

      – I referred a user, and did not get the credit. I contacted their customer service, and they said they can not “manually” provide this, but my friend used the refer link I provided! I’m also 100% sure this link was used since I set it up for her.
      – There was a time my friend could not use StrongVPN for about 5 days I set it up, so I requested a refund before the 7 days, but they did not reply to my request till the 7 day passed, and stated they cant refund me because it passed 7 days. WTF?
      – They use to have 24hr customer service, but now a days sometimes they are online, sometimes they are not
      – Iphone has a hard time using StrongVPN. Almost impossible even contacting them about this problem.

      They have been working for me most of the time, but because their customer service got so poor, I would not recommend their service.

      1. Manuscope

        Opps… I mean Astrill… not StrongVPN…for some reason I thought they were the same company then realized I had Strong 3 years ago, and I switched to Astrill. Astrill was good until the last few months.

  7. Jones

    I’m on various VPN providers, paid a hell lot finding the fastest vpn in china but with disppointment, i need it badly for my new social media marketing project working with tencent. I’m using China Telecom for ISP and needed for linux too, can anyone recommend the fastest vpn in china? I came across http://www.51chinavpn.com from my colleague that its the fastest, does anyone have experience with them before I do the free trial?

    1. Mr. P

      Hey Jones im also currently have trouble with connection speed, im a gamer so speed kills. If I find a good one ill let you know. But hey how’d you become a media marketer working for tencent? Its awesome. Any tips? Virtual/video resume maybe?

  8. James Dairian

    I’ve been a loyal PureVPN user for years. It’s very easy to set up with the detailed tutorials they provide. They also offer excellent customer support, if you do run into a problem. I reccomend it to everyone, especially those who may be a little “technically challenged”. 🙂

  9. Charli

    Argh!!! I am so frustrated! I have just moved to Wei Hai in China from Australia!

    I was advised to use ExpressVPN, as I run an online business that involves live webinars and i need decent speed! My first two weeks, not matter if I connected to HK, Taiwan, Seoul, or the US, my speeds were horrible and impacted my business.

    My speeds without VPN (an no access to run my business) are: Download = 25.08mbps and Upload = 9.89mbps.

    The BEST speeds I had with ExpressVPN were: Download = 1.12mbps and Upload = 0.96mbps. 🙁

    Does anyone have ANY recommendations? I just cannot run my business, (or even study!) with such slow speeds!

    Has anyone tired Astrill???


    Ms Charli

    1. web master

      I’m sorry your are having a bad experience. However, as I stated in the article, the blocking mechanism in China changes daily, so there is no magic bullet solution. Blocks also differ, depending on your ISP

      You may want to look intto creating your own VPN — How To Hide OpenVPN Connections In China.

    2. brewer1

      I completely agree Ms Charli, ExpressVPN has been useless for me in the last few weeks. Horrible. Useless.

      When I actually DO connect to a server, it MAY work for 10 minutes or so, then it drops off into internet hell, and I’m at dial-up speed. Sometimes I think it is literally a few bytes per second. If that.

      And then I tried the “speed test” again today, and it gave me Taiwan 1 as the highest speed. I tried it immediately after the test…. nothing. It timed out after trying to load for about two minutes. San Jose was #2. Zippo when I connected.

      I’m sick of it, and will never use Express VPN again. Just need to get out of the country to load something else.

      1. web master

        In China you have to change protocols and ports fairly regularly while using a VPN. Did you talk to ExpressVPN about your issue?

    3. sammy dolphen

      hi, This is sammy I am living here in China for more than 5 years I tried many VPN services and apps then finally Igot a vpn Router called CustomrouterVPN . Believe me this is the one of best thing I had got in China. I would like to recommend you all who have problem with VPN speed, security and storage.
      you can find it in here



  10. ZCG

    I’m Chinese.
    I’m using several VPNs such as ExpressVPN, hide.me, HMA, and so on.
    hide.me was very fast, but a month ago it does not works in china.
    So I purchase ExpressVPN, but speed does not fast as much as hide.me, also does not works well.
    sometimes failed to connection.
    When using HMA, often failed to connect to VPN server, but it’s stable than hide.me and ExpressVPN.
    So I ‘m using HMA now.
    Please let me know better VPN than HMA in China( I do not recommend ExpressVPN. )

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  12. James

    Tor has never worked for me in China without using a VPN. How did you get it to work? I have tried an Android App called freebrowser that was working.

    1. Sky

      Hi Xiaoguang,

      Great! Thanks for sharing your experience. I am going to Beijing next week. I am lost in which one to use since PureVPN did not work for me at all when I was there last year. I use a MacBook Pro which doesn’t seem to need special setup for VPN connection.

      Perhaps, I will try VyprVPN when I get there this time.

      1. Luke

        Don’t go with Vypr, it is useless in China, i tried it for 1 year. I have used astrill and have lived here in China for 9 years. I’ve had the occasional bug, but 99% of the time it works fine and i can access all sites and stream as needed.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          I have to agree with this post, I signed up to Vypr before coming out to China and I have nothing but issues. I still cannot install it on my Chinese phone and the connection success ratio is about 1 in 60, and then it lags or drops out again.

          I have now also purchased Express VPN and I have to say a massive difference. Okay it costs more than Vypr but, most importantly, IT DOES WORK.

          It’s also installed on my Chinese phone, well worth paying the extra for a service that works.

          In fairness to Vypr, their support team are very good and extremely helpful but sadly their actual VPN does not back up their hard work.

          1. expat

            There is a reason why VPN fail in China. Its the Chinese ISPs. They throttle VPN and poison the DNS. If you want a solution that works in China, try this


            100% guaranteed to work and here is why.

            1. They have VPN Anti Throttling technology. This is something new and never heard of before. Apparently it cancels the Chinese ISP’s VPN throttling. Isn’t it obvious unless the source of the problem is removed, how can you expect VPN to work?

            2. Eight VPN protocols to get out of even the toughest of situations in China.

            There are other reasons but above standout. Unless you see something different about a VPN company like I mentioned above, its simply not going to work well in China.

  13. Hans

    There is one big problem: all this VPN for iPhone which have “VPN” in the name must be installed outside of China. If it is installed in China you can’t get in connection with the HP because it is already blocked. So also ExpressVPN is completely useless if not installed before – or leave China to install in Taiwan, Singapore….

    1. Nigel

      A simple solution is to find someone with a VPN on their phone. Have them connect their VPN, then make their phone a hotspot. Connect your device to their wifi (now you will be connected through their vpn). Then you can download a vpn. I just had to do this today in Shanghai as I upgraded my Macbook Air to El Capitain and had to upgrade my VPN.
      By the way, Astrill is toast the last few days in China, but Express VPN still working well. Have not had good luck with Vypr and would not recommend it. Express VPN is consistently the most reliable and most expensive!

  14. DX

    This is not true about Astrill !!!
    – Astrill gives 2 devices at the same time ( 1 computer & 1 phone )
    – Astrill gives FREE Stealth as well with 1 years & 2 years plan.
    – OpenWeb now tunnels apps as well ( Astrill version 3.0 released in Jan’ 2016 )
    – Mobile app has OpenWeb mode, which is fastest VPN mode & it’s not slow at all.

    Plus the customer support is 24/7 human support, they’ll give you remote desktop assistance so fix your issue for you ASAP …

    1. web master

      That’s great — however, the providers I list offer the equivalent services, and don’t require you to verify yourself by receiving a SMS message. I also hope Astrill’s customer service has improved since I last checked.

      1. Ponchero

        Astrill customer service is never online China time. And the connections are almost non exixtent the last few weeks. Thye need to compensate people fro this terrible service!

    2. Manuscope

      StrongVPN customer service is crap!

      I actually been using them for 2 years… but looking for a new VPN because:

      – They do not have 24hr service anymore. Sometimes they open, sometimes they are not
      – They do not honor there 7 days full refund.
      – Their customer service email replies have been as long as 1 week, and they did not resolve the problem. I kept telling me the solution has not been resolved, and they just closed the case.
      – I referred a user, and did not get the credit. I contacted their customer service, and they said they can not “manually” provide this, but my friend used the refer link I provided! I’m also 100% sure this link was used since I set it up for her.
      – Yes, they work most of the time, but there are times, internet speeds are soooo slow.

      StrongVPN lost a loyal customer that referred many friends… no more!

      1. Manuscope

        Opps… I meant Astrill… not StrongVPN…for some reason I thought they were the same company then realized I had Strong 3 years ago, and I switched to Astrill. Astrill was good until the last few months.

  15. Steven

    Hi Admin, if I am in China and connect through Remote Desktop to a server in Canada, will they detect it and eventually block my connection?


  16. Jake F

    Unlike a hosted VPN service I use PrivatePackets.io. PrivatePackets.io allows users to automatically provision and configure a dedicated VPN server in their choice of 7 locations around the world. Allowing you to simply bypass location restriction and encrypt all traffic. You keep the server; It’s yours forever.

  17. Chai

    Many VPNs works well in many countries but not well in China. Maybe nillink.net is a good chooice for China network.

      1. cterminal

        Yes. It supports Mac and have a OS X client. But you can use chrome and install the chrome plugin provided by VPNAC( in Chrome App Store), this is a more easy way.

      2. Milos

        I use a Mac (living in Wuhan) and had a similar experience with Vypr as Luke – it worked well for me for my first four or so months, but it then went completely haywire – effectively useless. I tried it again a year later and it was so useless I couldn’t even connect for longer than five minutes without getting disconnected. I don’t really understand this, as basically every site has it ranked right in the top two or three for China VPNs. I guess it depends on where you are?

        Express used to be my go-to, but it stopped working so well for me in Wuhan last year. It’s still pretty good, and for most people probably the best, but in my experience I have to strongly second Xiaoguang – Vpn.ac is peerless, and it’s not even close. I use their Japan connections and they’re basically the only service I can use and still stream YouTube, Netflix, etc., without much hassle (I have, nominally, a 10mbs connection with China telecom, sans Vpn).

        It isn’t that expensive – you can pay for a three month package, which is what I do, in case it stops working and you can cancel without paying for a full year (as 12VPN forced me to do). And I get the feeling VPN.ac is kind of flying under the radar right now, so it’s less likely to get targeted heavily by the lords of the firewall.

  18. Kunming Yunnan

    So many free VPNs available for Android devices… Lucky Patcher eliminates ads for rooted devices… albeit popular ones like MasterVPN, Hola, Hotspotshield, ect are unable to connect in China… many others could, which i will not list here in case GFW vultures lurk.

  19. Vin

    Hello I am going to china in 3 weeks for a 2 year course
    I was reading about internet censorship in china… I use facebook twitter instagram and play mmorpgs on EU server also CS on local Indian servers… I want to know will i be able to continue using these?
    And If not what could be the best choice

    I will install insta etc on my macbook so I can still use it if its accessible
    I have seen posts about
    VPN AC, and while browsing I also came accross 2VPN which one would be better?

    Or should i just go with ExpressVPN

  20. blabla

    About to relocate to shanghai. Mac user. Need robust connection to work remotely. Looking at Hardware VPN/ Router solution. Had bad experience with Astrill ( poor customer service, abysmall performance) and wish to find alternative. Considering ExpressVPN Anyone in Shanghai on MAC have recommendations to make for robust connection. Willing to pay higher monthly costs for reliable service.


    1. VPN for China

      Mac OS doesn’t have much choice in China. We would like to give you 7 days trial on our new technology. Please visit our official site and quote GreyCoder.

    2. Dan

      As there are lots of Websites that promote Express Vpn as the most reliable and fastest speed, I just dropped the subscription cos the speed is slow and sometimes cannot be connected. Nonetheless email support is responsive within 2 hours and given many advices but still fails to get the speed up. Not sure am I the only one facing this issues and I am staying in northern China near Dalian.

      1. web master

        Speed will greatly depend on the telco you are using in China. My advice is to experiment with different ports and protocols, or build your own VPN.

    1. PeterJ

      I am also thinking whether to get ExpressVPN or Vypr. Do you use any particular router? (Sabai OS, Asuswrt-Merlin, Shibby…etc) What ISP do you use?

  21. justjoe

    I’m in Beijing since July, using vpn.ac as per your recommendation. Never had any problem and support was very helpful. Speed can be slower during night, but that’s the way it goes with the shitty ISP here. Everything is so slow in peak hours. Their browser extension works very well, pretty much all day long. They have lots of servers in Japan and West Coast. Past 1 or 2AM I reach speeds of over 50 mb/s to US either with their extension or software. That’s like 10 times better than what I’ve got with Astril and some other services.

  22. John

    We have been working hard to create a VPN service specifically tailored for our members in China . We are currently looking for a new group of people residing in China to try out our new service.

    If you are interested please send me a email and I’ll send you the invite login.

    1. gmsh

      I am living in Harbin, China. currently using expressvpn. please don’t hesitate to invite me in. Thanks.

    2. Random Dude

      “hello. i am Canadian and i am trying to find something more suitable for a female friend of mine who lives in China. She is currently paying money for a VPN that is slower than molasses. I have been reading up on everything trying to educate myself and your offer sounds lovely. I would be happy to ask her to check it out if you send a link the E-mail provided. I will go to my friend directly. thank you so much!

    3. Ophelia

      I’ll be traveling to Xi’an in February 2016 and I’ll have to connect to the internet for work purposes every night so a VPN would be helpful as my company directors use gmail as a mutual communication hub. Thank you.

      1. laurence

        Hello Mr John ,

        I at Shanghai now,

        If you don*t mind, please invite me to try your projet!

        thank you

    1. Tina

      Hello there,

      just arrived in Shanghai and would love to find a reliable VPN. Feel free to contact me.


  23. Mihail

    I am in Xiamen, China at the moment and I can confirm that the PureVPN works fine on PC and Smartphone connected via Wi-Fi. It also works on a phone connected via Mobile Data but my phone has connection over Edge only ’cause it is not purchased in China (the reason I found out recently) so I do not have very good monitoring.

  24. A long time HMA user from CHINA

    As a long time user of HideMyAss I can tell it used to be a good choice for CHINA users but not any more. The speed during peak hours often dipped below 100kbps. The reason very likely is over-capacity. As of today, all it’s Hong Kong servers are not connectable anymore.

    1. Al

      I can back up this comment.
      HMA was the best that I had used in the past but now most of the servers are being blocked and the speed has dramatically decreased. The support are useless and dont seem to understand basic explanations. I am assuming that they just have call centre style support agents who have a standard list of answers.

      I’m now on the lookout for a new VPN so any suggestions would be appreciated

  25. Joe

    I travel to China extensively and just got back from Shanghai. Confirmed, ExpressVPN worked a lot better than Private InternetAccess. For some reason, the censors in Shenzhen are even more aggressive than in Shanghai but ExpressVPN worked great.

  26. robgrune

    vyprvpn is NOT secure. they LOG everything you do. they are a US company, so they must log. you trust a US company to “protect” you?

    1. web master

      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. Benett Freeman

        Can you tell me more about this please? How do you know about it?

        I read your above comment to say that mobile apps are never going to work in China. Is this the case? Should I just go for a cheap desktop application?

        1. web master

          The trouble with mobile devices in China is that VPN obfuscation techniques are generally not available on them. So desktop computers are always a better choice. Also, as I emphasized in the article, the solutions I list here are not “magic bullet” solutions. It is not possible to predict or detect what type of blocks are being implemented by your region or ISP at any time.

  27. Yon

    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 ??

    1. web master

      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.

    2. web master

      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.

  28. Shadow

    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 ShadowPath.net !

  29. Hako

    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.

    1. Dotty

      Hi guys,

      I used to use Astrill. They have an excellent service support but are regularly blocked by China.

      Since yesterday I’m using Express Vpn and it works fine so far.

      I have one question though: I had the wifi installed at my new place yesterday. Even though I’m paying for 100M my connection is very slow and I’m not sure I really have 100M. Any tricks to make it faster?! I’m with China Telecom.

      Thanks in advance if you have any tips!

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  31. twood

    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.

  32. James

    i currently have

    1. vpn.ac 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

    1. Dudley

      Long Term in China and have run the gamut of different VPN’s.

      1.vpn.ac, 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.

  33. William Adair

    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!

  34. Mike Ruby

    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.)

    1. Freedom of Speech

      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.

    1. Beth


      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?


      1. Alex

        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.

  35. fangxu

    I used ExpressVpn for about a month in Guangzhou, it works well on PC, very unstable on Android phone and tablet, and doesn’t work at all on my iPod.

  36. Dzseki

    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.

  37. Hans

    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.

  38. Poor Bastard

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

    I’m using this ExpressVPN to bypass censorships, including accessing blocked sites and hulu.com. 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!” (http://hola.org/referral_signup?referrer_uid=basic%2Fhan86351%40gmail.com&ref=my_account&medium=manual). Turn on ExpressVPN, then turn on Hola for Hulu.com, 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.)

  39. linda

    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!

    1. web master

      The three VPN providers I list in the article are still working in China, as of March 2015.

  40. Tre

    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!

    1. Juson

      Hi I’ll be moving to Shanghai next week And want to know which VPN Are you using right now And do you recommend It?

  41. Beijing_Sting

    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 vpngfw.com). 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 speedtest.net (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.

  42. Stephanie

    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!


    1. web master

      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: http://www.greycoder.com/tips-for-using-vpns/

  43. JamesSmithh

    Hi guys!
    I can help you setting VPN
    You can buy my elite VPN
    In all countries(Netflix,Hulu,Fb,Tw and many others service,all work)
    On Windows 8-100%
    Contact with me via e-mail jamessmithh@yandex.com
    also you can try free my servise!

  44. Pat

    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.

  45. kai

    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

  46. web master

    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.

  47. PSingh

    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

  48. Jay

    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.

  49. VPN blocked at protocol level

    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.

    1. web master

      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.

    1. James

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

  50. Doobs

    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.

  51. nick

    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.

    1. Ashgrimm

      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.

  52. Jay

    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.

  53. Lydia

    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”?

  54. Sarah

    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.

  55. jiangxi user

    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..

    1. Louis

      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.

  56. Bob

    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.

  57. Puhemo

    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?

  58. cvdrei

    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 http://www.server4you.de, 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.

    1. nota

      Hi cvdrei! Can you please tell how did you do it with the Server? is vpn additionally or ist all together=?

  59. Carla

    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!

    1. Darin

      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.

      1. Sho

        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?


        1. Jackie

          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.

        2. DJShanghai

          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

  60. Alexander

    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 http://vpnprivacy.com
    I can’t say that they are the best, but at least their support is friendly.

  61. Bowen

    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.

  62. Anna

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

    1. GreyOne

      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.

  63. Christopher


    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

  64. Mike Spencer

    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.

  65. Meg

    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.

  66. PureVPN Review

    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.

  67. Syed

    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…


  68. linda

    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 http://saturnvpn.com 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)

  69. Lee gunn

    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

  70. あきな

    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.

    1. GreyOne

      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.

  71. Wong

    I have been using vpn.ac 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.

  72. -_-

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

  73. Ivan Stin

    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.

    1. Hk

      Hi – I have lived in and out of Sh for 10 yrs and have seen vpns get knocked off one by one. I’m interested in this “Asia based vps” service approach. Do you just detup sn Openvpn server as you eould on any VPS aka Digital Ocean. Do you port forward via TCP 443? I’d appreciate your advise as you offered in your post if you have the time. Tks. Btw – my email is legit despite its appearance – just masked.

  74. Philipp K

    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 http://www.speedtest.net
    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

  75. xNinjaCatx

    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: http://www.pandapow.co
    Note: yes, it’s .co, not .com. They did this on purpose to avoid getting blocked in China.

  76. Michael

    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!

  77. asajji

    I tested Seed4.me and VPN.ac 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.

    1. Dimitry

      Hi @ asajji,

      Sorry to hear that our service didn’t work out well for you in China. I’ll frankly say that we have both happy and unhappy customers from China, due to the fact that our services works very well in some regions and for some Internet connections and it doesn’t in others.

      I’ve often heard how no other VPN service (that the user tried, I won’t list names) would work except ours. It all depends on many factors. I’ve heard the opposite as well.

      I can also tell you that we’ve hired an expert from China to test out our service and consult on how we can improve it so that it get’s less detected by the firewall. One such improvement will be a feature in the next software version that will automatically change server profile settings in order to find a way to establish a connection.

      @asajji if you’ve not requested a refund, please do and I will see to it.

  78. Alice

    We like ClearVPN http://www.clearvpn.net, 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.

  79. Mole

    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 🙂


  80. nick

    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!!

    1. John

      @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. pandapow.com is blocked but I can go to .co, and expressvpn.com 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.

  81. Jhon Mere

    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 switchvpn.asia, have seen good reviews .Admin please help me

  82. L.Poulin

    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.

  83. Eddie

    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.

      1. Anonymous

        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.

        1. GreyOne

          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.

        2. Amelia

          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).

  84. Derik

    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.

    1. GreyOne

      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/views_handler_filter.inc 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/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.

      1. Tony Luce

        Sounds like you had a bad experience with VPNinja – which is rare. Great customer support and an office in Shanghai.

  85. Eric

    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).

  86. Josh

    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!

  87. Eddie

    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.

    1. GreyOne

      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.

      1. Dan

        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.

  88. Morgan

    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 🙂

  89. masgarro

    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?

    1. chowder

      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.

      1. Multi-VPN user

        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.

  90. Ron

    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.

    1. GreyOne

      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.

    2. Kristin

      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

    3. Rick

      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.

  91. rain

    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.

    1. houston

      Astrill is good. Unicom has increased their Net speed. They now offer 20/20 cable net. I have used punchvpn routers (www.punchvpn.com) 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.

    2. GreyOne

      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.

      1. Frank

        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.

      1. QQ

        I have been using Strong VPN for a 10 months and I am still using it only because I have already paid a 1 year subscription. It is really unstable, I would not recommend it.

  92. JonoR

    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+

  93. GreyOne

    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.

  94. Estebanero


    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.


    1. andy doglas

      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.

        1. Me

          That would be CMCC = China Mobile, CT = China Telecom, and CU = China Unicom. These are the biggest ISPs in China.

  95. Jeremy

    It seems that http://citizenvpn.com 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.

      1. Rachel Farland

        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.

    1. Takiki


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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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