What is the best VPN for travelling to China?
Anyone visiting Luoyang, or anywhere in China and wishing to stay connected to their social media accounts or visit certain websites will need a VPN to get around the “Great Firewall”. So, let’s have a look at what is the best VPN for travelling to China.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to hide your IP address by linking to different servers around the world to access websites blocked by the Chinese firewall.
Why do I need a VPN for travelling to China?
If you are travelling to Luoyang, or anywhere in China, the internet is tightly controlled and you will need a VPN to access Google (including Gmail), Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and more.
A VPN is also useful for privacy and security, especially if you utilize online banking or make purchases online. So, considering this, you really should think about purchasing a VPN for travelling to China.
How does a VPN work?
A VPN allows you to access servers located in different countries. If you are in China and can’t access Google, you can bypass the “great firewall” by connecting to a server in Korea, Japan or the USA so you can then access the site. VPN providers have multiple servers across the world to connect to, so if one doesn’t work or is too slow, you can try another.
Are VPNs illegal in China?
Using a VPN in China is not illegal and no one has ever been prosecuted for using them. China tolerates their usage because they know that in order to trade with others around the world, people conducting business in China will need access.
During times which are politically sensitive such as party meetings in Beijing, VPNs may get scrambled temporarily, however the providers are usually one step ahead and will soon have a working server up and running.
Can I stream shows with a VPN?
You can stream shows on Netflix, YouTube etc with a VPN, download files and play online games.
Do I need to pay for a VPN?
Most VPN services charge a small fee, which diminishes the longer the subscription you take out. It is possible to find free services such as Lantern, however these are generally very slow and the security might not be as tight.
What is the best VPN to use in China?
The biggest names in VPNs are Astrill, Express and Nord. Below we will discover the pros and cons of each.
Summary: One of the best VPNs in China. More reliable than Express, but almost double the price.
Pros: Uninterrupted service, up to 5 devices
Cons: More expensive than the others
Summary: The most popular VPN for travellers to China, Express has a decent list of servers and a month’s subscription is only $12. There can be connection issues at politically sensitive times.
Pros: inexpensive, 3,000 servers
Cons: occasional interruptions
Summary: Another reliable VPN that doesn’t cost the earth. Setting it up if you are already in China is more difficult than Astrill and express.
Pros: inexpensive, reliable
Cons: set up not easy when in China
Summary: Lantern is a free opensource VPN that can be useful to use while setting up a better service if you are already in China.
Cons: slow, security not guaranteed
When should I purchase the VPN?
Make sure you purchase your VPN and set up the App/install on your laptop BEFORE coming to China. The process is a lot trickier once here as obviously the sites are banned (though it is still possible).