[2023 Update] Best VPN for China (That Actually Work)


Hey fam! Just a heads up, some of the links I share may be affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through those links, I might earn a small commission. ☕️ Don't worry though, it won't cost you anything extra! Thanks for being a rockstar and helping me keep the content flowing! 😊

As you may know, China has some of the strictest internet censorship globally, with many popular international sites like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. blocked by the Great Firewall.

However, as a Chinese person living in China most of the time, I've had uncensored internet access for over 10 years – I'm very experienced in bypassing the Great Firewall.

I've tried countless VPNs, spending lots of time and money. Now I'm compiling my knowledge to tell you which VPNs truly work in China, so you don't have to waste time and money testing.

Let's get started!

Don't waste your money!

Based on my testing and Reddit user feedback, ExpressVPN no longer works in China. Even when occasionally able to connect, it is difficult to actually get work done.

If you don't have time, here are my top picks for you.


Best Availability

Best Overall

Astrill VPN

AstrillVPN image Pin
Favorite Feature99% Availability
Promotions:58% off for 2 years

Best Alternative 

Best Overall


letsvpn image Pin
Favorite FeatureEasy to use
Promotions:66% off for 1 year

Best Privacy Protection

Best Overall


protonvpn image Pin
Favorite FeaturePrivacy Protection
Promotions:57% off for 2 year

What VPN Actually Works in China?

1. Astrill VPN – Best Availability VPN in China

AstrillVPN Pin

Astrill VPN is a highly reputable VPN provider with 99% uptime in China. While it is more expensive than other VPNs, it's worth the price.

If you don't want to waste time fighting against China's Great Firewall and losing your VPN connection at critical moments, Astrill VPN is a must-have.

Key Features

  • Unlimited bandwidth & server switches: All of Astrill's plans come with unlimited bandwidth, so you can freely access YouTube, Facebook and other blocked apps within China.
  • Ultra fast: Astrill supports download speeds up to 50.9 Mbps and can unblock US Netflix in 4K quality.
  • Excellent client assistance: Astrill offers 24/7 customer support, so whenever I have any connection issues, I can always get help promptly.
  • Data transmissions are highly encrypted: Astrill uses multiple protocols to encrypt transmitted data, so privacy-conscious users can rest assured.


  • Highly reliable connectivity within China
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Great customer support
  • Extra features like ad blocker, leak protection and kill switch


  • Expensive pricing plans
  • No refund policy
  • Require phone number/ address during signup
  • Outdated UI


AstrillVPN Price Pin

Astrill VPN's price plan:

  • 1 Month: $30/mo, Best for short-term visitors to China
  • 1 Year: $15/mo, Best for foreigners working in China
  • 2 Years: $12.5/mo, Best for long-term residents in China

My Take

Astrill VPN is my top recommendation for visitors to China, with years of good reputation and loved by Reddit users.

This is not just for affiliate commissions – I would not recommend unproven junk to my readers. On the contrary, you can easily find ongoing proof of Astrill's effectiveness on Reddit.

China's Great Firewall is always evolving, and formerly good options like ExpressVPN no longer work. If you don't want to be stuck in an endless cat-and-mouse game, Astrill VPN is your savior.

2. LetsVPN – Best Alternative VPN in China

LetsVPN Pin

LetsVPN is a Hong Kong based company that is affordably priced and has risen in popularity this year for its extremely simple usability and fast connections within China.

It has become the ideal backup VPN for many foreign tourists in China.

Key Features

  • Very affordable: As low as $4.69 per month, with weekly plans to help you save big.
  • Very fast: With infrastructure based in Hong Kong, LetsVPN can access the global internet from within China with extremely low latency.
  • Apps covering all platforms: You can use LetsVPN on Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS – one account works across all platforms.


  • Affordable and fast
  • Super easy to use


  • Weaker privacy and security protections
  • Only 3 simultaneous links
  • Poor customer support
  • Can be unreliable


LetsVPN prices Pin

LetsVPN offers its service at an affordable price:

  • 1 Week: $2.99, Best for trial
  • 1 Month: $6.69, Best for short-term visitors
  • 3 Months: $15.49, Best for short-term visitors
  • 12 Months: $53.99, Best for people working or studying in China

LetsVPN offers Alipay as a payment option. You can check out my guide on setting up and using Alipay, which is very helpful for your trip to China.

My Take

LetsVPN is a newer company without the longstanding reputation of Astrill VPN.

Honestly, I can't guarantee how long they will last (there are always VPNs popping up and disappearing quickly).

For now, LetsVPN gets a lot of praise on Reddit for its affordability and China uptime, so it's still a solid VPN choice.

But I suggest going with short term plans that you can renew as needed, not long subscriptions.

3. NordVPN – Most Secure VPN in China

nordvpn Pin

NordVPN may be the most secure VPN for use in China, with its proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol providing bulletproof encryption while still enabling high-speed transfers.

It can help you bypass China's firewall censorship discreetly, and offers cybersecurity features to block malware, trackers, dangerous sites, malicious ads, and more.

Key Features

  • Bulletproof security, total privacy: The AES-256-GCM encryption protocol and NordLynx tunnel ensure 100% privacy for your data.
  • High-speed transfers: NordVPN is very fast, especially when using their proprietary NordLynx protocol. It's an upgraded version of the renowned WireGuard protocol, perfectfully combining speed and security.
  • Unblocks many geo-restricted streaming sites: NordVPN lets you seamlessly access blocked streaming sites like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video to enjoy shows while traveling in China.


  • Hides your IP address
  • Protects personal data from prying eyes
  • Solid, independently audited security features
  • Affordable price 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
cons2 1


  • No free trial
  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed
  • No unlimited free plan


nordvpn price Pin

NordVPN's price plan:

  • Monthly: From $12.99/mo, Best for short-term visitors
  • 1-year: From $4.99/mo, Best for people working or studying in China
  • 2-year: From $3.59/mo+3 extra months, Best discount

My Take

Given China's strict internet censorship (no need to worry for normal browsing), NordVPN is the best choice for anyone extremely concerned about privacy.

I suggest starting with a monthly plan so you can get a refund if you find it doesn't work (especially March, June, October in China).


Private Internet Access (sometimes abbreviated as PIA) is a renowned US-based VPN provider operating since 2010.

It offers unlimited connections at reasonable pricing, meaning if you're visiting China with family or in a group, you don't need multiple VPN accounts – PIA can fully cover everyone's needs.

Key Features

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections: PIA offers access for any platform and supports unlimited simultaneous connections, making it great for multiple users.
  • Good performance: PIA VPN offers a plethora of server options, and choosing one located in Hong Kong will give you the lowest latency for connections within China.
  • Low pricing: Starting at just $2.03 a month, PIA VPN can save you a lot of money.


  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Numerous server locations
  • Budget-friendly
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
cons2 1


  • No free trial
  • Mediocre customer support


PIAVPN Price Pin

PIA VPN's annual pricing plans offer steep discounts:

  • 1 Month: $11.95/mo, Best for trying out and short-term use
  • 1-year: $3.33/mo, Best for for long-term use
  • 3-year: $2.03/mo+3 extra months, You can get the maximum discount on this plan

My Take

PIA VPN is the best VPN provider for multiple users in China, offering unlimited simultaneous connections so you and companions don't need extra accounts.

It's also affordably priced with abundant server choices. When you encounter connectivity issues in China, PIA makes a solid backup option to have on hand.

Most importantly, it has a refund guarantee so you can try it out risk-free.

5. ProtonVPN – Best Privacy Protection VPN

protonvpn Pin

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, a country with the strictest privacy laws and not part of the Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes surveillance network.

They do not monitor your IP address or browsing history, maximizing anonymity. Most importantly, they also have sufficient reliability within China.

Key Features

  • Strong customer privacy stance: ProtonVPN operates a strict no-logs policy legally and leverages multiple security protocols to safeguard your data privacy.
  • Streaming media unlock: ProtonVPN can unblock streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+ and more, even in China.
  • VPN Accelerator: State-of-the-art VPN speed enhancements ensure quick connections globally.


  • Great free version
  • No data logging
  • Excellent access speed
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
cons2 1


  • Limited customer support


Protonvpn Price Pin

ProtonVPN's price plan:

  • Monthly: $11.49/mo, Best for trying out and short-term use
  • 1-year: $5.99/mo, Best for for long-term use
  • 2-year: $4.99/mo, Best deal

My Take

ProtonVPN is a reliable VPN popular with visitors to China. Per my VPN strategy, it remains a backup option for me.

Personally, I don't have strong privacy needs, so ProtonVPN is not my first choice, but it's still an excellent VPN that works in China.

With a free version and 30-day refund policy, I suggest trying it yourself.

How to Use VPN in China (From My 10+ Years of Experience)

1.Maintain at least 2 VPN subscriptions simultaneously

I've maintained at least two VPN subscriptions for many years – this is a lesson I've learned over time.

I do this for two main reasons:

1.VPN traffic recognized and blocked

Yes, China's Great Firewall has the capability to identify and block specific VPN providers, like ExpressVPN which barely works now.

I've used many VPNs that suddenly stopped connecting one day – that's when I know it's time to switch.

2.VPN strictly regulated during certain periods

During important conferences in China annually in March, June and October, or major public events like the previous Hong Kong protests, you'll often find VPNs becoming slower or losing connection entirely.

This means increased VPN blocking by the Great Firewall.

Having multiple VPNs raises your chance of staying connected.

2.Install and set up VPN before arriving in mainland China

Without a doubt, the websites of the majority of VPN companies can't be directly accessed from within China. If you plan on setting up your VPN after arriving in China, it might be too late.

I suggest installing and setting up your VPN on multiple devices simultaneously (including your phone, tablet, and computer).

Occasionally, I've come across situations where the VPN works fine on my phone but doesn't connect on Windows.

The reasons for this can be complex, but at least it gives me a chance to reach out to customer support and seek help.

3.Switch servers when you can't connect

This is a very simple trick but it seems many people don't realize it and might think the VPN stopped working entirely.

Generally, US-based servers are most prone to blocks. When encountering connection issues, try switching to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan or South Korea servers.

Overall, Asian country servers tend to have the lowest latency and most stability within China.

4.Set up your own private VPN network

Yes, I know this isn't suitable for most people, as it requires some technical know-how and long-term usage needs.

For short-term visitors, the VPNs I recommend above can satisfy your needs 100%.

But for long-term residents in China, a private VPN is a secret weapon (as it has been for me).

Here you can learn more!

VPN in China: Safe or Unsafe?

For regular usage, you have no cause for concern.

Did you know tens of millions in China use VPNs daily for international business?

Using a VPN for regular activities in China is safe(Yes, you can safely access Google,YouTube,Twitter,Facebook, etc), no police will suddenly knock on your door.

But it's best not to use VPNs to post political statements online or provide VPN services to others.

Is using VPNs legal in China? You can find out more about it here.


Which VPN Is Best to Use in China?

If I had to pick just one, without a doubt it would be Astrill VPN as the best VPN for China use.

Although pricier, it's worth it – while other VPNs may fail, Astrill always works consistently.

Can Foreigners Use VPN in China?

Yes, you have nothing to worry about.

It's very safe for foreigners to use VPNs in China. No one will come check your phone or laptop.

Unless you're a spy, lol.

Can VPN Bypass China Firewall?

Yes, of course.

I use a VPN daily to access Google, YouTube, and Reddit.

VPNs help me bypass the Great Firewall and stay in touch with many foreign friends.

About the author

Leave a Comment

Share to...