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Top 3 VPNs for China (January/February 2018)

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How to stream that TV drama without geo restrictions, and what VPN is best to purchase for your travels? These are What’s on Weibo’s favorites.

“What VPN do you use,” is a question that we’re often asked here, especially now that services such as Whatsapp have also often become unavailable within the PRC without the use of a VPN.

Whoever is traveling to China and need to access Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, or other online tools that are essential for many – and are not accessible from within the PRC – will need to purchase a VPN.

But also for other reasons, a VPN can be a must-have tool; you want to watch that top drama, for example, but can not because of geo restrictions. Or you notice that when booking hotel rooms or flights prices fluctuate depending on from where you access the website.

Most China travelers and anyone living there will know, but if you’re not sure what a VPN is: websites detect your location due to the IP address that identifies your network connection. With a VPN you can “trick the system” by using a virtual network address located in another country.

Do note: if you access a VPN from within the PRC, it is always possible that there are interruptions and that some locations and services do not work. Having more than one VPN service installed on your devices is one way to stay safe – we’ve purchased multiple VPN services at different times and occasionally needed to shift between services to stay connected. For any reports on VPN-related news in China, please see the other pages and categories on this site – this is merely our resources & recommendations section.

These are our favorite VPNs to use – tried out in January 2018. (NB: We are transparent with our readers, and this post is not a sponsored post. Some of these recommendations may, however, include an affiliate link that at no additional cost whatsoever to you allows What’s on Weibo to receive a small percentage in case you purchase the service.)

 

1. Express VPN

ExpressVPN has since long been amongst the most well-respected go-to VPN services to use amongst expats in China. It is a reliable service with steady connections depending on what location you select; ExpressVPN uses the ‘smart location’ button that helps you pick the best location to connect to from where you are. (From our experience, connections are often more stable on 4G than on a random bar wifi.)

ExpressVPN has excellent service and frequent updates for desktop, mobile, and tablet. They offer single month services starting from $12.95, 6-month plans from $9.99/month, and 1-year plans from $8.32/month.

The “30 Days Risk-Free” promise of ExpressVPN is nice and makes the barrier to try it out much lower. If you are not satisfied, you’ll get your money back without any questions asked.

To read more about ExpressVPN and purchase it, check here.

 

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a well-trusted and easy-to-use VPN with great service. From our experiences, the people at NordVPN are always soon to reply and very friendly when it comes to any questions you might have, which is a great reassurance.

The layout of NordVPN is also very friendly, and it is easy to use on desktop, mobile, and tablet. With the ‘map’ layout, it’s easy to pick a favored location. Not all connections within the PRC are always steady, depending on locations you select – sometimes it takes some playing around before getting a stable connection, which is something most people will know when they’ve had experiences with VPNs there.

NordVPN offers 1-month plans from $11.95, 1-year plans from $5.75 per month, and 2-year plans from $3.29/month.

To purchase or read more about NordVPN click here.

 

3. VyprVPN by Golden Frog

VyprVPN / Golden Frog has since long been a big name in the world of China VPNs, with one of its main advantages being its lower price compared to its competitors. We’ve had good experiences and many name it as one of the most secure and reliable VPNs out there.

Nevertheless, as with virtually all VPNs out there, there are some complaints regarding the speed of the connection of VyprVPN – although it seems to vary per user and their wifi (and perhaps per region). It is one of the reasons why we’d always recommend taking on more than 1 service at the same time so you can switch in case connections drop on one of them.

VyprVPN really is a cheap option – it is available with 3 simultaneous connections for $9.95/month when it is billed monthly, or for $5 per month when it is billed annually.

In case you just want to try it out – VyprVPN offers customers a free testing option for three days, and now offers 3 months free on annual accounts: click here for more info. The Golden Frog site also has some interesting blog articles about China’s internet that are worth checking out; also about the latest situations regarding VPNs in China.

 

Do you think we should recommend another VPN and want to share your experiences? We’re open to try it out and add to this list – feel free to contact us.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.


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Stories that are authored by the What's on Weibo Team are the stories that multiple authors contributed to. Please check the names at the end of the articles to see who the authors are.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bruce

    February 1, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Who made up this list, anyway?

    I have a one-year subscription to Golden Frog’s VPN, and I was in Zhuhai recently. It was hardly working at all: Slow, unreliable, etc.

    Astrill, by comparison, was still working like a charm.

    Also, readers should note that the Chinese government has announced that it intends to effectively block the usage of foreign-based VPNs within February 2018. This is public policy; it is not a “state secret.” Some areas of China now consider possession of VPN software on mobile devices and PCs to be illegal. Chongqing is one of them.

    Surely What’s on Weibo can do a better job of reporting on such topics?

    • What's on Weibo

      February 1, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Dear Bruce aka Mort, as stated in the article above – we are transparent with our readers, and this post is not a sponsored post. We have tried each of these VPNs in 01/2018 and will recommend them, although we do recommend people to buy more than 1 service as connections may drop. Some of these recommendations may include an affiliate link that at no additional cost whatsoever to you allows What’s on Weibo to receive a small percentage in case you purchase the service. This is one way for us to cover part of the upkeep for What’s on Weibo, besides any donations we may receive (see https://www.whatsonweibo.com/donations/). For thorough reporting on the digital developments in China and VPN-related developments (type “VPN” in the search bar), please see our other pages & categories on this website – this is merely our resources & recommendations page. We’d happily recommend Astrill but due to its problems in January did not include it here. Let’s see how it holds up in February. Cheers.

      • Mort A Tierney

        February 1, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Duly noted…but Mort is not Bruce…not that one, anyhow…

  2. Mort A Tierney

    February 1, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Add to the above comment, you fail to mention Wu Xiangyang’s recent 5 1/2 year prison sentence for selling VPN. That would be relevant. “China plans to ban all VPNs starting in early 2018 unless they are registered with the authorities, defeating the purpose of an anonymous tool designed to circumvent the government.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/22/man-in-china-sentenced-to-five-years-jail-for-running-vpn. China’s growing 1984-style experiment in social engineering (increasing surveillance, pending social rating system, DNA collection of Uyghurs, et al) is a critical global issue as its influence spreads, esp. as America has abandoned its role as the world’s lead advocate for free speech and human rights. How many foreigners will go elsewhere or simply accept this “totalitarianism with a human face?”


  3. oneapple

    May 18, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I have tested all the vpns above, yes, each of them works in china

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Resources

Best VPN for China Working Now (Update Summer 2018)

The VPN services that work in China, update after some recent experimentation.

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What’s on Weibo recommends the best VPN services for China that really work this summer – some experimentation after our recent block.

 

This article is an update after an earlier article recommending VPNs and following the recent blocking of What’s on Weibo in China.

What’s on Weibo has received offers from various VPN companies over the past weeks to try them out for our recommendation page. We’ve been testing them out from within the PRC. Most of them, unfortunately, did not work for us.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are therefore still the strongest picks this summer – we’ve recommended them before.

We’ve noticed that NordVPN especially works well from smartphone (4G and wifi, author uses Samsung Galaxy) and iPad, but is less stable on laptop (author uses Macbook).

ExpressVPN is the strongest working connection from the laptop by our experience, with NordVPN being less stable than it is on smartphone and tablet devices.

Please note that we’ve been testing from Beijing and that it is possible that experiences change and connections are not the same everywhere. To stay safe, you could always opt in to buy multiple VPNs.

Here’s our picks:

 

NordVPN ($2.75 Summer Deal)

Besides for its stable connections for smartphones and tablets, NordVPN’s Summer deal also makes this one a favorite choice.

NordVPN currently offers a three-year plan for only $2.75 per month, which saves 77% compared to its other packages. (Not sure how long they’ll keep running this campaign, but here it is).

NordVPN is a well-trusted and easy-to-use VPN. From our experience, the staff is always quick in replying and very friendly. The layout of the NordVPN application is also easy to use on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Besides the current deal, NordVPN offers 1-month plans from $11.95 or 1-year plans from $5.75 per month. To purchase or read more about NordVPN click here.

 

Express VPN

Our other recommendation is ExpressVPN, which actually calls itself the “#1 Trusted leader in VPN.” It is a reliable service with mostly steady connections depending on what location you select; ExpressVPN uses the ‘smart location’ button that helps you pick the best location to connect to from where you are.

From our recent experience, connections on a smartphone are not that stable – I personally use NordVPN on smartphone/tablet and ExpressVPN on the laptop.

ExpressVPN has excellent service and frequent updates for desktop, mobile, and tablet. They offer single month services starting from $12.95, 6-month plans from $9.99/month, and 1-year plans from $8.32/month.

The “30 Days Risk-Free” promise of ExpressVPN makes the barrier to try it out much lower. If you are not satisfied, they’ll get you your money back without any questions asked.

To read more about ExpressVPN and purchase it, check here.

By Manya Koetse

NB: This post is not a sponsored post. We only recommend the VPNs that we’ve tested and are happy with. These recommendations may, however, include an affiliate link that at absolutely no additional cost whatsoever to you allows What’s on Weibo to receive a small percentage in case you purchase the service. (Which also helps a bit to keep our site going, so it’s win-win!)

Do you think we should recommend another VPN and want to share your experiences? We’re open to try it out and add to this list – feel free to contact us.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

Best VPNs for China Summer 2018

Just the two of them. The best VPNs for China in Summer 2018, recommended by What’s on Weibo.

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Earlier this year, we posted this top three of VPNs for China in January/February. We’re planning to post our favorites every five to six months or so from now for our resources & recommendations section, so please let us know your experiences with VPNs in China and which ones you like best – we’ll try it out and update our next list.

Most of our readers will know, but if you’re not sure what a VPN is: websites detect your location due to the IP address that identifies your network connection. With a VPN you can “trick the system” by using a virtual network address located in another country. To be able to access many websites from within China (e.g. Google services, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you’ll need to download VPN services and install them on laptop/tablet/smartphone.

We’ve recommended multiple VPN’s before, but for this time there are just two names we’d like to recommend for their overall stable connections from China from our personal experience: ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Do note, however, that if you access a VPN from within the PRC, it is always possible that there are interruptions and that some locations and services do not work. This also goes for these two names. Having more than one VPN service installed on your devices is one way to stay safe – we’ve purchased multiple VPN services at different times and occasionally needed to shift between services to stay connected.

 

NordVPN ($2.75 Summer Deal)

One of the main reasons why we decided to put this recommendation out here again, is actually because of NordVPN’s Summer deal, which is very attractive.

NordVPN currently offers a three-year plan for only $2.75 per month, which saves 77% compared to its other packages. (Not sure how long they’ll keep running this campaign, but here it is).

NordVPN is a well-trusted and easy-to-use VPN with great service. From our experience, the staff is always quick in replying and very friendly. The layout of the NordVPN application is also easy to use on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Besides the current deal, NordVPN offers 1-month plans from $11.95 or 1-year plans from $5.75 per month. To purchase or read more about NordVPN click here.

 

Express VPN

Our other recommendation is ExpressVPN, which actually calls itself the “#1 Trusted leader in VPN.” It is a reliable service with mostly steady connections depending on what location you select; ExpressVPN uses the ‘smart location’ button that helps you pick the best location to connect to from where you are. (From our experience, connections are often more stable on 4G than on a random bar wifi.)

ExpressVPN has excellent service and frequent updates for desktop, mobile, and tablet. They offer single month services starting from $12.95, 6-month plans from $9.99/month, and 1-year plans from $8.32/month.

The “30 Days Risk-Free” promise of ExpressVPN makes the barrier to try it out much lower. If you are not satisfied, they’ll get you your money back without any questions asked.

To read more about ExpressVPN and purchase it, check here.

By Manya Koetse

NB: This post is not a sponsored post. These recommendations may, however, include an affiliate link that at absolutely no additional cost whatsoever to you allows What’s on Weibo to receive a small percentage in case you purchase the service. (Which also helps a bit to keep our site going, so it’s win-win!)

Do you think we should recommend another VPN and want to share your experiences? We’re open to try it out and add to this list – feel free to contact us.

Feature image: By pelican from Tokyo, Japan – Adventure World, Shirahama, Japan, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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