Not all of the world countries allow access to same online content, and as you might be aware, China is one of the ones that take their censorship very seriously. Many of the websites are blocked in China, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even Google+. The list doesn’t stop there, though, but it’s too long, so we decided not to list them all.
So, if you’d like to work from China, you’d probably have a hard time getting anywhere – if you don’t start using VPNs, that is.
VPN is a Virtual Private Network, and it can solve all of your online problems, and provide a great amount of protection as well. If you install it, it can mask your IP address and make it look like it’s coming from somewhere else in the world so that you can bypass the “Great Firewall” of China. Still, it would seem that the Chinese government thought about that as well, and made it so that only a few of the VPNs can be used, at least for now. Also, if you’re planning a trip to China, you should probably install a VPN before going there, since Google Play is blocked there too, so you won’t be able to do it once you get there.
What are the best VPN?
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Whatever your business is, you’d want a VPN that provides you with good performance, has many servers, and it’s easy to set up and use. Now, even though most VPNs won’t work in China, we still have several of them to recommend, and those are TorGuard, IPVanish, PIA, and GhostVPN.
There are, of course, other options, like using Freegate, but that’s an example of a proxy and a slow at that. The bottom line is, the free ones might seem practical and a better option, but it’s not, since it’s not going to work. If you decide to try out one of those, you’ll be able to check your Facebook at best, and that’s it. Even posting on it will be difficult, and you can forget about watching YouTube.
Still, this seems to be a popular period for VPN development, and you could probably find a couple of decent free ones, but we recommend a great amount of caution if you decide to try and try them out. After all, you never know which ones are truly safe and effective until they become well known for their service. Some of them are even malicious programs posing as VPNs or might try to use your device as a server, which will slow it down dramatically.
No, a real, decent VPN is the best way to go, and it’s not even that expensive, it only costs about $10 per month, and you can be sure that you’ll be well protected and have unlimited access to everything and from everywhere in the world.
When you try to decide which one to use, the best way to go is to check out the reviews of some of the more popular ones, but you should also keep an eye on the review dates since there are some VPNs that got some really good ones – 5 years ago. And since the internet is a living thing, those might not be as good today as they once were. A good example of this is Witopia, Astrill, and Webmaster.
If you’re a heavy smartphone user, a good thing is that one of the VPNs we previously mentioned – TorGuard, IPVanish, PIA, and GhostVPN – all provide protection for several devices at once, so you can simply download the app of the one you choose, and the protection will expand to the smartphone as well.
Why are they best for China?
These ones are the best for China, not only because they work, but also because they’re fast, stable, a great non-stop customer service, and have servers in many of the cities and countries around the globe, so you’ll definitely get access to whatever content you need, all you’ll have to do is choose the right country.
What do VPNs actually do?
VPNs have many, many features and different uses, and we’ll now list some of the most important ones, some of which all of those mentioned above offer.
So, let’s start with money. Or to be more precise, with Money Back Guarantee feature, which is pretty important when taking the risk of getting a VPN and then going to a country that blocks most of them. Many VPNs have this option, and it will allow you to test the VPN in question, and then decide if you’re satisfied with it or not. If not, you get your money back, and no harm is done.
Now, while we’re on the subject of money, there’s also the matter of a package that you’re going to choose. And also, for how long do you want to use it. For example, you could choose a monthly plan, which is around $10 for most VPNs, or you could go for a longer, annual one, that should be somewhere between $40-$60 per year. Also, with some of them, like TorGuard for example, you don’t have to choose a full package deal if you don’t think you’ll need it. You might want to only use email protection, for example, which is a cheaper option. But, if you’re interested in using social networks, streaming, and similar online actions, you should definitely choose a complete package option.
Next, we have a user support feature, which is really important for situations like going to another country. In a case of any questions, issues, and problems you might have, you can always ask your VPN support team for help.
It’s also important for your VPN to have a lot of servers, and in as many countries as possible. Remember, every country out there is blocking something, and depending on what you’re interested in, you’ll probably want to switch them to access what you need.
Many of the VPNs also offer a possibility of connecting more than one device, as we mentioned earlier. Many of them offer as much as five simultaneous connections and uses.
And, two most important features for everyone, and the reason why most people even use VPNs – IP address masking and data encryption. Remember when we mentioned that it’s important for your VPN to have lots of servers? That is the MOST important thing for situations like this, and countries like China.
When you use your VPN, it masks your IP address and therefore your location as well. It connects you to one of its many different servers, located around the world, and gives you a new IP, one that would indicate that you’re in the same place where your server is. The internet would “see” your IP address and assume that you’re in that, different place, and it would treat you accordingly. So, if you’re sitting in China, but using a server from Mexico, there would literally be no limitations to what you can access.
Ip masking hides your real location, while data encryption hides everything that you do online. Forget incognito mode, that only hides your actions from the others who might use the same device. VPN creates a safe tunnel between your device and the internet and sends all of your data through it, thus making it inaccessible to everyone, from cyber criminals to your snooping government. It will provide you complete anonymity online.
So which one to choose?
Well, it’s mostly up to you to decide which one you want to use, but all of those that we recommended earlier have everything that you need. There are some differences, of course. For example, PIA (Private Internet Access) is one of the cheapest ones, but it has a really bare interface. That doesn’t really have anything to do with its performance, but it’s just one of things that could potentially bother some of the VPN users. On the other hand, IPVanish is probably the fastest one on our list, and that makes it great for streaming and downloading if you’re in need of that kind of activities. TorGuard is the most popular one, and its performance is described as “above average”. It also offers different packages, depending on what you need your VPN for.
They all have decent connection speed, good customer support, lots of servers around the world, great security and all of the most important features that any user could wish for.
How to use them in China?
Even though they should work everywhere as long as you have an internet connection, some of the tests and experiences indicate that VPNs might work a bit differently, depending on the situation. For example, many have noticed that VPNs are at their best outside of large cities. That is probably due to the strength of the Firewall, which is the greatest inside of the cities. You should also keep in mind that the better the connection, the better the VPN will work since poor connections could greatly limit VPN performances.
Some VPNs will work better than others, and there’s no way of knowing what will work best for you before you test a couple of them since every one of them performs differently in different situations and conditions, so the money back policy comes in handy in these situations.
Is VPN illegal in China?
You should keep in mind that we aren’t exactly lawyers and that we aren’t qualified to provide you with legal advice. But no, as far as it’s known to us, the use of VPNs is not illegal. Despite this, most of the VPNs get blocked by the government, but making them illegal would mean that many of the Chinese companies wouldn’t be able to use them legally either, which would greatly affect their safety. China thought of a way to deal with the problem, and in January 2017, it’s been declared that you’ll need a government approval to use VPNs in China.
However, it would seem that this rule only refers to those providers that operate within China’s borders. For now, it’s not specified what the rules are for any VPN’s whose providers operate from outside of China, and that only influence their country from the outside. All of the ones we mentioned fall under that category, so you should be safe to legally use it, at least for now.
However, the more important matter is what you’re using the VPN for, and the rules are much more clear when it comes to that. For example, if you’re using VPN only to protect your safety and privacy, maybe watch videos that are otherwise blocked or access certain websites, then yes, it’s legal. On the other hand, if you’re using it to hide your identity, location, and activities so that you could scam people easier, then your actions are very illegal, and if caught, you will suffer consequences. Even though most of VPNs don’t log your activities, engaging in any of the online criminal activities is done at your own risk.
The blocked websites
China has blocked many websites, and even though the list changes from day to day, it’s not exactly getting shorter. They’ve blocked almost all of the social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, Viber, and alike. Apart from those, they also blocked Google services, like Google.com, Google+, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Hangouts and so on, but also blogging platforms like Blogspot and WordPress.com. Of course, many of the media that were critical towards them have also been blocked, and this includes The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, LeMonde, Bloomberg and many others.
The more popular apps that are currently allowed in China include WhatsApp, iTunes and the App Store, Facetime, Quora, Yahoo, and Linkedin.
There are also things like software and websites that aren’t exactly blocked but are so slow that using them simply isn’t possible, so they’re practically useless as well. The best example of this is Skype. Some websites will be faster, and others, especially the blocked ones, will be slower, even through the use of VPNs.
The VPN usage has largely increased in the last year, and it’s only going to get bigger, so the providers decided it’s time for the next step. Thus, the VPN routers were invented. When it comes to what they are, the name pretty much explains it all – they’re routers through which you can connect to the internet an already be protected. This is a much better option if you use several different devices in your house or office so that there’s no need to set up an app on every single one of your devices.
They’re also divided into three different groups or types:
Physical – these are routers that already have VPN installed, and you can get them from many of the VPN providers.
Application – your VPN providers might offer you software that you install on the router and make a VPN router out of your regular one. It’s as effective as the previous one; the only difference is that here you install it alone.
Manual You’ll have to log into your router and manually change its configuration and make it channel your internet through a VPN. This is by far the most complicated option and the most difficult one for those people that aren’t experts in dealing with software.
Hopefully, this guide will be useful and helpful when it comes to unlocking content in countries with such high censorship. China is not an easy place to enjoy your internet, but as you can see, there are ways that it can be done. Still, the results won’t be the same, but this is pretty much the best that can be done about it for now.