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How to use WhatsApp in China using a VPN

WhatsApp China VPN
(Image credit: DenPhotos /

There are plenty of apps and websites blocked in China, and WhatsApp is just one of them. With the best VPN, though, you can use WhatsApp in China like normal and keep connected to friends and family while away - and we'll tell you how.

Expanding your smartphone's native calling and texting capabilities, WhatsApp is owned by parent company, Facebook, and has amassed over 2 billion users. Ranked as one of the most used mobile messenger apps across the globe, with end-to-end encryption.

However, it also finds itself as one of the most widely known services to be blocked, perhaps due to its encryption being a little bit too good for those governments with more restrictive regimes. Along with China, WhatsApp is also blocked in Iran, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile Turkey had a temporary ban on WhatsApp back in 2016, and Uganda enforces a tax of 200 shillings per day for the use of social media.

WhatsApp, along with other social networking apps and websites may also be likely to find themselves blocked on servers within working environments, including schools and offices. The answer? A VPN, of course.

Keep reading for our guide on how to unblock WhatsApp in China with the help of a VPN.

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ExpressVPN - the best for unblocking WhatsApp (opens in new tab)
Sitting at the top of our buying guide for the best VPN for China (opens in new tab), ExpressVPN is our recommendation when facing a WhatsApp block and gaining access to the messenger service. Equipped with some of the best security features, and a clean interface across a stream of devices, it's a no brainer.

Why do I need a VPN to unblock WhatsApp?

As previously mentioned, when it comes to certain environments - and even countries - accessing WhatsApp can be futile. This is because a block has been implemented on the server that prevents those connected to the network to access specific websites and/or apps. 

Working environments, including schools, colleges, and offices may have such blocks in place in order to avoid disruption to working efficiency. If you want to access WhatsApp while at school or work, then, you'll need a VPN to bypass these restrictions. Connecting to a VPN gives you better online anonymity, giving you a new IP address that will trick any block into thinking you're elsewhere.

The same functionality can be utilised when in any country that restricts the use of certain apps and websites like WhatsApp. Abroad in China and want to use WhatsApp? You can keep in touch with loved ones simply by connecting to a VPN to appear as if you're in a country that doesn't block WhatsApp - like your native country. 

Using WhatsApp in China in three easy steps

Thankfully, with a VPN it's super easy to get access to WhatsApp in China. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Download a VPN - our number one pick is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) when in China
  2. Connect to a server located outside of China (preferably to somewhere that doesn't have WhatsApp geo-restricted)
  3. Start using WhatsApp like normal!

If you're a bit rusty on how changing your IP address can let you use WhatsApp in China - well it couldn't be simpler! A VPN works by connecting your device directly to a server in a remote location (i.e. one not in China or Hong Kong) so your device effectively thinks that it's in another country.

Or if you're still getting to grips with the basics make sure you read our how to use WhatsApp guide.

Use a VPN to access WhatsApp in China

(Image credit: Alex Ruhl /

Is WhatsApp any good?

There's plenty of reasons why it's such a popular app, and why it has such an incredibly large user base - which probably means your friends and family are already using it (a persistent issue with new messaging apps looking to gain traction). 

WhatsApp also features cross platform support with apps for smartphones from Apple, Android, and Windows Mobile, and desktop apps for both the Mac and Windows platforms.

Plus, messages have end-to-end encryption, video calls, and no cost, internet based international calling. This makes WhatsApp especially useful for international travel as you can keep in touch while avoiding costly international roaming, and SMS fees while abroad.

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Alice is the resident eCommerce Staff Writer at Future with a focus on VPN and streaming services, such as Disney Plus and HBO Max. She predominantly writes buying and streaming service guides, as well as how to watch articles. Previously a Commercial Content Writer at Trusted Reviews, Alice has five years experience giving online buying advice, and over two years writing about consumer tech.