Happy new year and welcome to the fifth annual China VPN testing blog.
This is the page where you can find real VPN speed tests done in China using my top recommended VPNs for China.
Unless stated otherwise, all tests are done from my Guangdong China Telecom 100/20M residential internet connection.
The current time in China is 4:00am. I am still in Canada on an extended vacation due to the Coronavirus situation.
The following tests were done by remote access to my computer at home in China.
According to the ExpressVPN China status page, there was a "new escalation in blocks in China" on February 14 (yesterday). Let's see how the ExpressVPN Windows app is working today.
Although none of servers listed on the status page worked, I was able to get a connection to Los Angeles 4.
ExpressVPN Los Angeles 4 (Windows app)
(NOTE - I didn't notice at the time, but the test server was in Chicago. I should have manually selected a speed test server in Los Angeles to get the correct ping time)
If you have been following the previous year's blog's you will know that the best way to connect to ExpressVPN during VPN crackdowns is to use manual OpenVPN connections instead of the apps.
Here is my guide on how to set this up.
ExpressVPN Tokyo 2 (manual OpenVPN)
ExpressVPN San Jose (manual OpenVPN)
ExpressVPN Seattle (manual OpenVPN)
ExpressVPN San Francisco (manual OpenVPN)
I would say that Tokyo 2 and San Jose are the best working servers for ExpressVPN manual OpenVPN connections right now.
Surfshark doesn't seem to be working very well right now. I can't connect to any server using the app and Shadowsocks doesn't seem to be working very well lately either. Many people have commented on the Surfshark guide page that the Shadowsocks servers get blocked soon after finding a working IP. Indeed, all of the IPs that I posted on that page a week ago are no longer working.
I will try to find some more working IPs for Surfshark later today and update if I find anything.
I think the Great Firewall is getting much better at detecting and blocking Shadowsocks. That's why the WannaFlix V2ray service is a very good choice to use right now.
WannaFlix V2ray China Users Hong Kong Netflix (V2rayN Windows app)
WannaFlix V2ray Hong Kong (V2rayN Windows app)
These 2 servers appear to the be the same, but the second one performs much better (lower ping and higher download speed). I think the first one (China Users) is routed through a middle relay server in China before connecting to Hong Kong. The second one is connected directly.
If you have a good internet connection from China Telecom, China Unicom, or China Mobile then I recommend not using the "China Users" labelled servers. However, if you have any ISP besides these 3 then you should use the "China Users" servers. That way, you are using the international bandwidth of the middle servers instead of your own ISP's international bandwidth.
WannaFlix V2ray Singapore 2 (V2rayN Windows app)
The speed of the V2rayN Singapore servers is limited to 30Mbps, but these are high quality CN2 servers hosted on Alibaba. These are the best servers to use during peak bandwidth congestion hours at night.
If you are interested in trying any of the VPNs tested today, here are the latest special offers.
WannaFlix - Save an extra 30% off any plan
I don't recommend signing up for Surfshark right now. Hopefully their service will work well in China again soon.
I managed to find a working IP for Surfshark Shadowsocks.
Surfshark Vancouver (manual Shadowsocks IP 126.96.36.199)
Next up is 12VPN. I am testing with their dedicated app for Windows called VPNGUI. I am using the WEB protocol, which is a custom web proxy similar to Shadowsocks, V2ray, etc.
12VPN CN China 4 SG (VPNGUI app)
The CN China 4 SG and CN China 2 HK special servers are hosted on Alibaba but the speed is limited to 10Mbps.
The best 12VPN server to use for high speed is TW Taipei (old one).
12VPN TW Taipei old one (VPNGUI app)
These 3 servers that I tested are all special servers that you need to add to your account. 12VPN offers a list of special servers that you can add to your account from the website. You can have up to 5 special servers at the same time.
If you want to try 12VPN, use the Tips for China coupon code for 25% off your first billing cycle.
Thanks to my friend on Twitter who told me that Hong Kong 3 was working.
At first I did not believe him, because the connection failed when I tried. But then I re-tried a few more times.
I couldn't believe my eyes. Hong Kong 3 is finally working again.
ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 (Windows app)
ExpressVPN has released new apps for all devices over the last few days. I'm now using Windows version 7.8.3 and I can connect easily and quickly to all of these locations.
Here are the speeds I am getting on these servers between 5:30am to 6:00am.
You can download the latest app updates from the China Status Page.
ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 (Windows app - Auto)
Great to see that Hong Kong 3 is still working for me!
I tried to find another ExpressVPN server with good performance but I couldn't find anything that comes even close to Hong Kong 3.
I tried various app servers and OpenVPN servers, but I can't seem to get more than 2-3 Mbps on any of them.
Next up is Surfshark.
The Surfshark app still appears to be completely dead in China, but I was able to find a few working IPs for manual Shadowsocks and OpenVPN connections.
Surfshark Taiwan (manual Shadowsocks IP 188.8.131.52)
Surfshark Japan (manual Shadowsocks IP 184.108.40.206)
Surfshark Japan (manual Shadowsocks IP 220.127.116.11)
The one also works for manual OpenVPN
Surfshark Japan (manual OpenVPN IP 18.104.22.168)
The Japan 22.214.171.124 IP seems to be the best working IP for Surfshark manual SS and OpenVPN right now.
It feels like every single connection I make is today is throttled down to 2-3 Mbps except for ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3.
That's all I have time for right now. Check back again soon for testing of more VPNs.