China, one of the most visited countries in Asia and where you find one of the largest expat communities, has some of the most severe internet censorship.
This means that many websites and popular services are blocked and completely inaccessible.
Therefore, if you want to access Facebook, Google or YouTube in China, you will have to be connected to something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
In this post, I will tell you how to find the best VPN for traveling to China, so you can access Facebook, Google, and other blocked websites.
Why do I need a VPN to access Google and Facebook in China?
A VPN is something that helps you to connect privately and safely through a server located in another country, which allows you to remain anonymous when you are online.
What are the main reasons for using a VPN
- To connect safely – In fact, a VPN helps you prevent hackers stealing your personal data, especially when you are connected to a Wi-Fi public network. Actually, this is the top reason why most people use a VPN.
- To access blocked sites – As I said, a VPN allows you to connect to a server located in a different country, so you will be able to access those websites which, for some reason, are blocked in the country you are.
Why do I need a VPN for traveling to China?
In China, there is something called the Great Firewall, in honor of the Great Wall of China, which is a bunch of laws aimed at censoring an endless list of foreign sites and internet services.
In other words:
In order to keep its population under control, China blocks whatever the hell they want
Which sites are blocked in China?
Among others, the blocked sites in China which are more commonly used are:
- Netflix – Not blocked but there is no service, so the end result is the same
- Tinder – Not blocked but you need Facebook to sign in, so you can’t use it
If you want to access Facebook, YouTube and Google in China, you’ll need to be connected to a VPN.
For example, let’s assume that once you get to Shanghai, you want to browse Facebook. However much you try, you will never be able to connect to it, unless you use a VPN, as it will allow you to choose the country you want to connect from. If you choose to connect to a service located in New York City, you will be able to use Facebook normally, for the simple reason that Facebook isn’t blocked in the USA.
How to use a VPN for China
Bear in mind that Google Play and some VPN websites are blocked in China, so it is recommended to download them before your trip.
VPNs may sound like a completely different world, but they are actually very easy to use and are designed so even your grandmother can use them.
Step 1 – Enter a VPN site, ExpressVPN for example, and choose your plan
Step 2 – Download it to your computer and phone
Step 3 – Choose the country you want to connect to – Yes, it is that simple!
The best VPN for traveling to China
You should know that not all VPNs will work in China, but the ones from this list have all been tested and their performance is guaranteed.
There are endless types of VPN, all of them offering different benefits, which range from their price to complicated things such as DNS queries.
However, in order to find the best VPN to access Facebook in China, the only factors you need to take into account are:
- Speed (a VPN slows down your browser)
- Number of countries you can connect to
- Compatible with Netflix
- Ease of use
- Whether it is available for both Android and iPhone and can be used on both desktops and mobiles
The following VPNs are all safe, easy to use, compatible with Netflix and work on any sort of device, but they offer some differences regarding price, speed and the number of countries you may connect to.
The fastest VPN for traveling to China – ExpressVPN
Price for 1 month – 12.95USD
Price for 6 months – 9.99USD a month
Price for 1 year – 8.32USD a month
ExpressVPN is the most powerful VPN available in the market
They offer the best speed and security, besides allowing you to connect to 2,000 servers from 94 different countries.
This is the one I am using right now and after trying quite a few, I don’t see myself buying any other, basically because I always require the best connection due to my online work.
- The fastest and securest VPN in existence
- Good for long-term travelers who work online and require the best connection
- Good for people who travel to China and need the best connection
- The most expensive VPN
- Honestly, if you just want it for a few weeks, just to connect to Facebook in China, perhaps you should get one of the cheaper ones
Best value-for-money VPN for China – NordVPN
Price for 1 month – 11.95USD
Price for 1 year – 6.99USD a month
Price for 2 years – 4.99USD
Price for 3 years – 3.49USD a month
NordVPN is my second favorite VPN for traveling in China.
At the time, I bought the 1-year plan and used it in China and many other countries.
Honestly, this is a really good VPN, as it has double encryption, offering an insane level of security and you can connect to 64 countries.
However, it had a problem which was that, when I was connected to a not very powerful public Wi-Fi network, the internet was quite slow and, for my online work, it was quite a downside, so for this reason, I moved to ExpressVPN.
Nevertheless, NordVPN is actually great, as it is faster than the average and it should work properly in most public Wi-Fi networks
- Relatively fast, more than the average
- Price – The long term plans are super cheap
- Good for long-term travelers with a lower budget
- If you just buy it for a month, the truth is that, for 1 additional USD, you can get ExpressVPN, which is much faster
- Speed problems when the Wi-Fi is not very powerful
Cheapest VPN to travel to China – PrivateVPN
Price for 1 month – 7.12USD
Price for 3 months – 4.20USD a month
Price for 3 years – 1.89USD a month
PrivateVPN is a cheap VPN which, at the same time, offers some really good performance, as its security is comparable to the others and, in some cases, it can even be faster.
However, its speed is quite unstable, meaning that sometimes works fine and sometimes you may have issues when Skyping with your family.
Still, this is a great VPN and, at this price, you won’t find anything better.
- The cheapest, especially if you get the long-term plan
- If you just want it for simple browsing, this one should be enough for you
- Speed may be inconsistent
- You can connect to 100 servers only, whereas others can connect to thousands
Free VPNs to access Facebook in China
And what about free VPNs?
Why should I buy a VPN for China if you can get one for free?
In the end, isn’t it just about accessing blocked sites?
You are right, but before considering it, you should know that free VPNs present the following downsides:
- Slow speed
- Endless ads
- Usually, they only work on mobiles
- Not safe
- Not compatible with Netflix
- You can’t choose the country you want to connect from
Seriously, for just a few dollars, a premium VPN offers loads of advantages.