The best VPN for China 2024

China is infamous for restricting foreign content, social media, and more, and using the best VPN for China is a safe way for you to bypass these strict geo-restrictions. However, finding a reliable VPN and using it properly is absolutely crucial, as Chinese authorities are also well-known for their invasive surveillance practices, using deep packet inspection (DPI) to identify VPN traffic. 

A virtual private network (VPN) lets you avoid internet censorship by spoofing your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic. This makes you appear as if you're in an entirely different part of the world and stops hackers, internet service providers, and even governments from seeing what you do online. 

I've reviewed and analyzed hundreds of VPNs in my years as a VPN expert, and when it comes to VPNs in China, using the wrong one could be dangerous. I've compared the technical security, privacy policies, features, unblocking capabilities, server locations, and value for money of VPNs that actually work in China to help you find the best VPN service for you.

Written by
Andreas Theodorou Editor-in-Chief Tech Software
Written by
Andreas Theodorou (MRes, BA)

As a digital privacy advocate and expert, he's spent the past four years leveraging his master's degree to research VPNs, cryptography, and other cybersecurity topics.

The three best China VPNs today

Here are my top three picks for China VPNs in 2024 that work to bypass the Great Firewall while keeping you protected:

1. The best VPN for China: NordVPN

1. The best VPN for China: NordVPN
NordVPN offers the perfect blend of security, functionality, and cost—offering a VPN, ad blocker, and malware protection as standard, you can upgrade to get a password manager, data breach scanner, secure cloud storage, and even cyber insurance and identity theft recovery of up to $1 million in coverage. 

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free. Take advantage of its obfuscated (stealth) servers to keep you safe and private whether you live in China or are just visiting.

2. The best China VPN for beginners: ExpressVPN

2. The best China VPN for beginners: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN automates all of the usual manual configurations to give you the best protection with just a single click. By assessing your network and location it'll instantly give you a super-fast connection that's tailored for protecting you in China. 

Although expensive, ExpressVPN provides impressive 24/7 customer support, an industry-leading proprietary protocol (Lightway), and plenty of versatile features. Opting for its annual plan nets you three additional months on top of what you paid for, and it even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. The best cheap VPN for China: Surfshark7-day free trial

3. The best cheap VPN for China: Surfshark
Surfshark offers excellent value for your money, as it provides advanced features, some of the best connection speeds, and a user-friendly interface at an affordable price. In addition, it offers a 7-day free trial for Android users and some of the best smartphone apps in the industry.

While ExpressVPN and NordVPN may provide more reliable advanced features and unique protocols, Surfshark provides unmatched speeds. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try it risk-free.

Recent updates

My latest VPN tests are finally complete, and we've got a new number one for China. After a DNS leak was revealed at ExpressVPN, NordVPN has claimed the throne as the best VPN for China. 

The best VPNs for China in 2024

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Let's take a deeper look at what makes these top picks the best VPNs to use in China, and how each of them keeps you safe when you're browsing foreign content online.

The best VPN for China overall

NordVPN apps for ChinaTechRadar Editor's Choice award logo

(Image credit: Future)

1. NordVPN

The perfect blend of security, features, and content unblocking power

Works in China: Yes | Number of servers: 6,000+ | Server locations: 80+ | Maximum devices supported: 10 | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Easy obfuscation tools
Great choice of server locations
Excellent speeds
Unblocks everything
Not the best UX on mobile
Basic browser extensions
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an all-in-one security suite: NordVPN offers ad blocking and malware protection as standard, and for just a bit more, you can build a full toolkit, all for cheaper than ExpressVPN.

✔️ Streaming Netflix is your primary use case: NordVPN currently tops my list as the best VPN for Netflix so you can unblock your favorite shows anywhere. 

Don't subscribe if:

You want to torrent: my recent testing showed NordVPN can be unintuitive when torrenting. If that's your primary use case, I'd recommend ExpressVPN or PIA.

You want to access content everywhere: with servers in 91 countries, you get a lot of options, but not as many compared to ExpressVPN or Surfshark. 

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN strikes the perfect balance between security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability, all while offering exceptional customization. Try for yourself, and see why it's my number one pick, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth NordVPN review for a closer look at the best VPN in 2024. 

NordVPN is the best China VPN thanks to its blend of security, functionality, ease of use, and cost. It's a security-focused VPN solution that can evade the Great Firewall of China and help you use your favorite social media apps, torrent files, or unblock geo-restricted content. Plus, with its obfuscated (VPN cloaking) servers in nearby territories such as Japan and Hong Kong, alongside its Double VPN feature, you can get anonymity, privacy, and security, all without breaking the bank.

Those local servers are just a small part of NordVPN's massive server network of over 6,000 servers in 91 countries. Thanks to its global footprint, you can connect to servers outside of Asia to enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies, all with reliability and consistency. NordVPN unblocked every streaming service in all regions in my latest tests, making it a reliable streaming VPN solution, too.

Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee

For example, if you are a British person visiting China, you can pick a server in the UK and start watching your favorite BBC iPlayer content as if you were home. NordVPN’s top speeds continue to impress, reaching a staggering 950+ Mbps with WireGuard, and continuing to be one of the fastest services out there. That means you'll have no issues streaming or torrenting, especially if you use its proprietary WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol.

Like most top-notch VPNs, there's a clear no-log policy, too. But Nord has gone the extra step here by inviting external auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers to verify the security of its apps. An exciting new addition is its Meshnet feature. This advanced feature lets you establish an encrypted connection between up to 60 devices. That allows you to securely share files without sending them to a server cloud, making it perfect for those visiting China for business. 

Although NordVPN has an extensive server network, the number of countries it covers is pretty average among the leading providers. The average number of locations on offer in our top 30 providers is 21, but NordVPN only offers 14. ExpressVPN and Surfshark, on the other hand, have 32 and 30 respectively. That said, the focus is on quality, not quantity.

Privacy-conscious users will appreciate its optional features, including a cross-platform password manager, data breach scanner, and 1 TB cloud storage that come with its more expensive plans. Each of its plans has a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try its services for free.

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NordVPN test results:
AttributesNotes Rating
DesignDesigned to be engaging and interesting, there's a quaint novelty to the map interface⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useDesigned to do the work for you, but can be a bit frustrating for advanced users⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest VPNs around⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPerfect for Netflix and other streaming services⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyAn excellent all-in-one security solution⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 available, friendly, and professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceCustomizable pricing offers amazing value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best China VPN for beginners

ExpressVPN apps running on multiple devices

2. ExpressVPN

Simple apps make unblocking foreign content easy

Works in China: Yes | Servers in China: Yes | Teams in China: Yes | Total number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 8 | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Has teams working in Hong Kong
Wide range of China-optimized servers
Strong on encryption and unblocking
Brilliant live chat support
A bit more expensive than rivals
Not as fast as Nord or Surfshark
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want to unblock content abroad: ExpressVPN unblocked every streaming service in every location I tested, making it a great choice for accessing news and media abroad. 

✔️ You want servers absolutely everywhere: 160 server locations are nothing to scoff at, and with servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, and Japan, you'll always find somewhere nearby.

Don't subscribe if:

You're on a strict budget: while it's not as expensive as Astrill VPN, ExpressVPN is one of the more pricey options on my list.

You need more than just a VPN: ExpressVPN focuses its efforts on being the best VPN only, and while it throws in a password manager for free, you'll have to consider NordVPN or Surfshark if you want antivirus protection, too. 

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 ExpressVPN offers high levels of security, great performance, and unblocking capability, as well as exceptional customization. Try for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth ExpressVPN review for a closer look at the service, and see why it's my go-to VPN for beginners in 2024. 

ExpressVPN is perfect for VPN beginners looking to travel. Its easy-to-use apps automate all of the difficult manual settings that you'd normally need to configure yourself with most other providers. It's a go-to service for many Hong Kong locals because it deftly navigates around censorship. Express' wide array of 160 server locations is a big plus, with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Japan-based servers being especially useful for people in China looking for a nearby server.

From tight control over its TrustedServer setup to military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, ExpressVPN provides one of the most secure and reliable services in the industry. Express actively monitors its network for accessibility in China and ensures its software stays ahead of censorship efforts to block connections. 

Try ExpressVPN with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN automatically uses obfuscation protocols, a kill switch, and parallel VPN connections to make sure you are always protected, and that no information can leak. This way, it becomes impossible for the Chinese authorities to detect that you are using a VPN, and even if your VPN connection is interrupted, the kill switch ensures that your online activity remains private.

The dedicated apps offer consistent and reliable performance for almost all devices, including routers—releasing its own portable VPN router to make things even easier. Its average speeds didn't impress in my last round of testing—clocking in at 410 Mbps. That's more than enough for most users, considering you only need 25 Mbps to stream in 4K UHD. However, it's worth noting that NordVPN and Surfshark both maxed out my speed testing line at over 950 Mbps.

ExpressVPN's ability to get around blocked websites and avoid geo-restrictions is exceptional. In my latest tests, ExpressVPN effortlessly unblocked the most popular streaming services: international Netflix catalogs, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, and more.

Subscription plans are more expensive compared to other top providers when it comes to the lowest per-month cost. However, if you look at the overall cost for a 12-month subscription for ExpressVPN and NordVPN, you'll see that it's much more reasonable than it first appears. If you need a more budget-friendly option, NordVPN or Surfshark are better choices thanks to their longer plans and greater long-term savings.

Where ExpressVPN really stands out, though, is its industry-leading customer support—it's available 24/7 and provides timely, expert advice. Its easy-to-use apps are ideal for first-time VPN users looking for a simple and effective solution. See for yourself why it's one of my go-to picks for a VPN in China with its 30-day guarantee.

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ExpressVPN test results:
AttributesNotes Rating
DesignA clean and simple design on all your devices ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEasy-to-navigate apps with auto-connect functionality⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFast enough for most users, but slower than NordVPN or Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortlessly gives you access to all major streaming services⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyExpressVPN's robust encryption protocols lead the industry, but a recent DNS leak discovery caused a stir⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 live chat and email support available from China⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive compared to the competition⭐⭐

The best cheap VPN for China

Surfshark working on various devices

(Image credit: Future)

3. Surfshark

A simple, affordable and effective China VPN

Works in China: Yes | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 143 | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | 24/7 live chat support: Yes

Works hard at unblocking sites in China
Improved WireGuard speeds
Attractive pricing
So easy to use
Will be too basic for some
Kill switch issues in extreme situations
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want the best budget-friendly VPN: Surfshark offers decent security, unbelievable speeds, and a reliable network for more than an affordable price.

✔️ You need a super-fast VPN: with over 950 Mbps average speeds in my last tests, Surfshark is faster than most of the competition. 

Don't subscribe if:

You need a bulletproof kill switch: my testing showed some issues with Surfshark's kill switch. If security is a top priority, I'd recommend ExpressVPN.

❌ You only want to torrent: while Surfshark supports torrenting on its service, it doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Private Internet Access or ExpressVPN. 

Bottom line ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Surfshark is a fantastic value-for-money VPN. With incredible speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections, you get a lot of VPNs for a low price. See why it's my favorite cheap VPN and what it can do for you with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Surfshark VPN review and see why the fastest VPN is also my #1 budget pick. 

Thanks to its great value price points and user-friendly interface, Surfshark features high in many of my VPN buying guides. Plus, it has undoubtedly improved its security credentials, acing its first no-logs independent audit earlier this year. 

Surfshark offers over 3,200 servers in more than 100 countries, which creates ample possibilities. In addition, Surfshark is among the best for keeping things simple thanks to its easy-to-use interface and one-click solutions like its "Quick Connect" function.

Try Surfshark on unlimited simultaneous devices

It also offers advanced security and privacy features, which are necessary to avoid extensive surveillance by the Chinese government. AES-256 encryption is in place to ensure that nobody can discover what sites you've been using. Additionally, Surfshark's recently launched service Incogni automatically requests the deletion of personal data stored by data brokers to shield you from invasive data-tracking practices.

My latest round of tests confirmed Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs when using its WireGuard protocol, with impressive peaks of over 950 Mbps, it maxed out my testing line along with NordVPN. Its unblocking power was quite impressive, too. From Netflix and Hulu to iPlayer and Disney+, I managed to access virtually all the streaming platforms on the market. 

Note: Surfshark's Windows kill switch is prone to leaking under extreme pressure. While this might be a downside to its overall quality and reliability, it doesn’t face similar issues if you use it on a mobile device or as a secure Mac VPN. Although Surfshark is the best VPN for speed-oriented users, high-end VPN providers such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN are better if you need advanced features that work reliably.

Despite the low pricing, Surfshark offers blazing-fast speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections. That makes it an ideal pick for families, friend groups, or even business owners, as it allows you to keep those closest to you safe online. Besides, you can use its services risk-free for a month, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Surfshark test results:
Attributes NotesRating
DesignSuper simple to use⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useAn excellent option for beginners and seamless connections⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest VPNs around⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGood content unblocking, but not as NordVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacySome kill switch issues on Windows; doesn’t provide a comprehensive security suite⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLots of supporting articles, but awkward to navigate when you need help on the fly⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe best cheap VPN on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐