A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a great thing to use daily no matter where you are to increase your privacy and security on the internet, but they become even more useful in China. As a lot of websites and apps are blocked in China, you can use a VPN to access these blocked sites on the internet. But which VPN to get for China? We had these same questions before our two trips to China. After testing three different VPNs in China over a two-month period, here is our opinion on the best VPN For China. Here are our comparisons of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs VyprVPN.
- What Is A VPN?
- Why Do You Need A VPN In China?
- Our Experience With ExpressVPN
- Our Experience With NordVPN
- Our Experience With VyprVPN
- Express VPN vs NordVPN vs VyprVPN
- What Is The Best VPN For China?
- Things To Know About VPNs Before Your Trip To China
What Is A VPN?
In basic terms, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network that allows you to connect to the internet via a secure and encrypted network. This can protect your privacy whilst using public wifi, keep your browsing private, and hide or change your IP address.
Why Do You Need A VPN In China?
Using a VPN increases your security and privacy whilst using both public and private internet connections. It also allows you to appear as if you are in another location than the one you are in. So for example, in China, you can connect to a server anywhere in the world, say Los Angeles or Singapore, so it appears as if you are in this location.
By doing so, it can allow you to access sites that are blocked in China, like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Google and Gmail. So not only will you be able to access the internet as you normally would, but you will also have increased privacy in doing so.
This is why we now use a VPN not only in China but every day no matter where we are.
Our Experience With ExpressVPN
We are not going to make you read until the end to find out what we think is the best VPN for China. ExpressVPN has always been and still remains, in our opinion, the best VPN for China.
We first used ExpressVPN on our first trip to China about 6 years ago. When we did our research then, ExpressVPN came out on top, and it worked well for us in China. We realised how useful a VPN was for normal day to day life no matter where you are in the world, so we have been using ExpressVPN since.
When we were booking our second trip to China, we thought we should research the best VPNs for China again. Not all VPN’s are created equal when it comes to China, and not all VPNs work consistently whilst you are there.
So again, after our research, it seemed as though ExpressVPN was still the best option. But just so we knew for ourselves, and because we didn’t want to risk not being able to post on our blog and youtube channel etc, we signed up for three different VPN’s for China.
ExpressVPN was the most consistent VPN in China during our two month trip to China on both mobile and laptop. They provided both the best coverage and speed in our personal experience. During our two months in China, there was about a 5 day period where none of the three VPNs we were subscribed to was working. During this period, ExpressVPN was the most transparent and helpful for workarounds.
Price: $12.95 USD/monthly – 30 day Money Back Guarantee | $6.67 USD/month for 12-month plan billed every 12 months (currently offering 3 months free for a total of 15 months).
Sign Up Here: Express VPN
Our Experience With NordVPN
NordVPN has a great design and seemed like it would be easy enough to use. Unfortunately, we never actually got NordVPN working in China. We have heard so many people that have great experiences with NordVPN in China, so please do not take our personal experience as definitive. It was most likely being targeted in China at that point in time and just wasn’t working. But we could not get it to connect to any destination on any of our devices.
So we can’t actually tell you about any of the coverage or speed as it just didn’t work for us. NordVPN support was prompt and they did attempt to troubleshoot any issues, but unfortunately, we were still unable to connect.
Although we would not be able to recommend NordVPN as your primary VPN for China as we didn’t get it to work, it may still be a good option as a secondary VPN, as we know from many other reviews that it is an excellent VPN that does normally work in China.
Price: $11.95 USD/monthly | $3.71 USD/month for a 2-year plan billed every 2 years.
Sign Up Here: NordVPN
Our Experience With VyprVPN
We had a similar experience with VyprVPN, in that we rarely got it to work on our laptops. For some reason, it worked on our phones really well, but we struggled to get it to connect on our laptop. This seems like a strange problem that I’m sure doesn’t come up too much, and maybe was relevant to our specific laptops.
But, as we mentioned, it was fantastic on our phones, super-fast to connect and easy to use. VyprVPN support was also very prompt and helpful.
Price: $15 USD/monthly – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee | $8.33 USD/month for a yearly plan billed yearly.
Sign Up Here: VyprVPN
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs VyprVPN
These findings are all based purely on our personal experience with VPNs in China.
Best VPN For Price – For the monthly plans, they are all quite similar, with ExpressVPN and NordVPN offering the best value. NordVPN comes out ever so slightly on top, but not significantly enough to be a factor if only signing up for one month for your trip. Most of these VPN’s have significant discounts for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years subscriptions.
Best VPN For Reliability – ExpressVPN was the most reliable and with the most consistent connection during our two month trip to China, by far.
Best VPN For Speed In China – ExpressVPN was the best overall but VyprVPN on mobiles was also great. Having said this, we were unable to compare NordVPN as we could not get it to work.
Best VPN On Laptops – ExpressVPN was by far the most consistent and reliable VPN to use on our laptops.
Best VPN On Mobiles (iPhone) – ExpressVPN and VyprVPN were both great, but ExpressVPN was more reliable.
Best VPN Support – We did get to try out the support of all three VPN’s during our time in China. ExpressVPN came out on top for two reasons. Not only was their support good, but we often found they already provided enough info via email or through their app that they were often ahead of problems that may occur, e.g always notifying us which server locations were currently best for China and troubleshooting steps. This actually meant we didn’t need to contact them as much. Both NordVPN and VyprVPN support were also good, but we did need to contact them more often as we had more issues with them.
What Is The Best VPN For China?
So in our personal experience with ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs VyprVPN, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for China. It was the most reliable and consistent, internet speeds were still good and the support and information they provided were clear and timely. Although it is one of the slightly more expensive VPN’s, two trips to China and everyday use with ExpressVPN for many years, has confirmed to us that it’s worth it.
However, the one thing we learned during our last trip to China, was the importance of having more than one VPN. Outside of China, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But in China, they at times make it harder for VPN’s to work, and this generally affects each VPN differently and at different times. So that means that the most reliable VPN in China is multiple VPNs. Even though ExpressVPN was a clear leader to us, there were times that we did need to use another VPN.
Things To Know About VPN’s For China Before Your Trip
- Sign up for a VPN and download it to all your devices before your trip and test them out. Once in China, you will not be able to access the VPN websites to sign up.
- Perhaps sign up for two VPNs as circumstances can change during your trip. Not all VPN’s work and even those that do, don’t work all the time. Get more than one VPN to have a greater chance of having one working at all times.
- Are VPN’s legal in China? This was something we were concerned about prior to our trip. From recent research, it seems like a complicated grey area. Technically, VPN’s are banned in China. This is why you need to download them before your trip. Having said that, many businesses in China use VPN’s within their business and from our research, VPN use is still quite common in China. We didn’t come across anything on our searches of individuals being charged, fined or arrested for using a VPN. So, as we mentioned, it’s not entirely clear. So, we would definitely recommend you look into this yourself before your trip to China and decide for yourself what you feel comfortable doing. If you do decide to use a VPN in China, we would definitely recommend that you don’t engage in any illegal activity whilst using the internet and your VPN.