In China some social networks and services are not available and although there are Chinese alternatives to these services, the connections already made and the usage habits are difficult to replace. To surf without restrictions it is possible to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to browse as if you were connected from another location, therefore it has all the benefits of that location. In China, this allows you to connect to sites such as facebook, google, youtube, etc. and access geographically restricted content, for example, some entertainment sites in the United States that limit the viewing of videos to local users. If your VPN has servers in your country of origin, you will be able to carry out transactions from China that may require a local IP. Another relevant advantage is that it protects your privacy, since every time you connect you have an encrypted connection, which makes it more difficult for companies to track you.

What is the best VPN to use in China?

There is a wide range of VPN’s for connecting from China, but in my experience there are two that stand out above the rest for their reliability, speed, price, number of servers and ease of use:

After trying all the classics like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, VyperVPN, etc. The one that best makes a balance of privacy, speed and price comes to: Mullvad VPN.

Mullvad VPN is located in Sweden, so it has a little more privacy-friendly legislation. It does not buy reviews (this is not a sponsored post, for example). It has a fairly fair rate. Lots of payment options. And it can connect to many more locations (it offers fewer servers than other services, but other services can only connect to 2 or 3 locations from China).


Create your own VPN

An alternative to VPN service providers is to create your own network. This process is more complex and not necessarily cheaper in the long run. But the advantages are: It is harder to detect, so it can be more stable; you have more control of your privacy and it is cheaper in the short term.

To create your own VPN you will need a server. To configure a VPN on this provider check the guide: How to configure an OpenVPN server in Ubuntu 18.04.

Which VPN services to avoid

I recommend avoiding free services because: They are unstable, follow dubious practices regarding your privacy, may insert intrusive advertising, and tend to have a short operating life in China.

I also don’t recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN because of their opaque structure, which is very much a threat to your privacy.

There are other VPN services on the market that have a good reputation, however, not all of them are specialized in offering a service from China. The best thing to do is to read reviews from users in the Asian giant who have been using these services for a long time.