Last Updated on September 10, 2020
What is the best VPN to use in China? As someone who has lived in China since 2005 and uses VPNs every day, this is a question that I am qualified to answer. I have personally tested and verified these VPNs. I can assure you that they are working well in September 2020.
China's VPN crackdown has caused most VPNs to stop working recently. Most websites have out of date information. Don't trust VPN recommendations from people who don't live in China, because the situation is always changing.
If you would like to see hard evidence to back up my claims, check the 2020 China VPN testing blog for actual VPN speed test results performed in China.
Every VPN service shown here is available with either a free trial or a money back guarantee, so you can try all of them risk-free. You will also find the best available discount offers for new customers here.
#1 Top Recommendation
#2 Top Recommendation
#3 Top Recommendation
| Monthly Price|
| Monthly Price|
| Tips for China|
|30% Discount||3 Years for $3.49/mo||25% Discount|
(first billing cycle only)
|Recommended for Privacy|
(P2P, Torrenting, etc)
|# of Devices|
|Money Back Guarantee|
30 day money back guarantee
30 day money back guarantee
14 day money back guarantee
** Note about simultaneous connections. You can install the VPN apps on as many devices as you want. The simultaneous connection limit only applies to how many devices you can connect at the same time.
Although it's technically a proxy, not a VPN, I have to give WannaFlix the number #1 spot because the speed and reliability is so far beyond any traditional VPN.
The speed. It's not really fair to compare the speed of a proxy to a VPN. The protocols used by WannaFlix (Shadowsocks and V2ray) are much faster than any traditional VPN.
The development work. WannaFlix is very committed to the China VPN market. They are always working hard to develop new technology (Eclipse) or make other improvements (switching from Shadowsocks to V2ray for example). Recently they also updated their website to make it load faster in China when accessed without a VPN.
VPN into China. WannaFlix is offering a server in mainland China that enables access to Chinese geo-restricted services such as QQ Music, iQiYi, etc from outside of China. This is a very hard to find feature of a VPN these days.
The ease of use . The website can be confusing to navigate and the set up process is a little more difficult than the average VPN. You need to download various third party apps and paste in special API links copied from the website to pull a server list. For iOS, you need to log into a special iTunes account to get the Shadowrocket app (or you can purchase it for $3 in your own account).
Limited payment options. WannaFlix does not currently accept credit card payments. Hopefully this will be added soon. In the meantime, you can pay with PayPal, Alipay, Union Pay, and Bitcoin.
What I like about NordVPN
The Jurisdiction and logging policies. NordVPN is based in Panama, which is completely outside of the "fourteen eyes" countries. They also don't keep any kind of logs, not even connection/session logs.
The 30 day money back guarantee. You can try it risk-free for 30 days.
Server performance. The speed of NordVPN servers in China can be on the slower side. If you're looking to stream 1080p video then this might not be the VPN for you.
Although not my personal favorite, 12VPN does have some nice features.
The premium add-on servers. In addition to the standard servers, you can assign an additional 5 premium servers to your account. These servers offer premium China bandwidth, so you should definitely use them for faster connections from China.
Shadowsocks. Yet another option for Shadowsocks.
Other alternative protocols. In addition to Shadowsocks, 12VPN also offers all the latest protocols that work good in China such as Outline, WireGuard, v2Ray, and Openconnect.
Good support. Based in Hong Kong, 12VPN knows the China market very well. They seem to have some staff located in mainland China, so they know very well what protocols and configurations work well in China.
Their customer support is pretty good too. I usually get my emails answered within 1 hour during day time hours in China, and the quality of the support is good. It is often the owner of the service who responds to my emails rather than some low level employee using a script to answer questions.
The lack of VPN connection options. The service offered by 12VPN is more geared towards proxy instead of VPN connections. The connection options available in their dedicated app are different kinds of proxies, not a single VPN connection option.
This is ironic, because the name of their software is called "VPNGUI". I think the should change the name to "ProxyGUI" or something similar to more accurately reflect the type of service offered.
They do offer VPN connections through some third party apps such as Cisco Anyconnect (Mac and iOS) and SoftEther (Windows). However, support for these protocols is limited and the premium servers are restricted from using these protocols.
The logging policy (or lack thereof). I have searched all over the 12VPN website but I cannot find anything about their logging policy. Nothing in the FAQ or TOS pages. In this case, I have to assume the worst case.
12VPN is definitely not a privacy-focused VPN service. Instead, they are targeting the market of users in China who only use a VPN for accessing blocked websites.
The restrictive money back guarantee. The money back guarantee comes with quite a few strings attached.
"You are entitled to a full refund if all of the following apply:
* You claim your refund within 14 days of your order date.
* It is the first order made on your account (e.g. renewals do not qualify).
* You have fully complied with our Acceptable Use Policy and our Terms of Service.
* You send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Support section on our website to request your cancelation.
* You have used less than 5GB of bandwidth.
* You have not previously claimed a refund from us under this policy (e.g. for another account).
* Apply for the refund by contacting email@example.com."
The condition that I highlighted above is the one that concerns me. 5GB is a very small amount of data. I assume they mean 5GB of data, as "5GB of bandwidth" doesn't make any sense. Bandwidth is a measurement of speed (data transfer over time, usually quoted in Mbps or MB/s).
Anyway, you will need to be very careful not to use 12VPN too much when testing it. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for the money back guarantee.
The above 3 are my personal top recommendations and the ones that I use on a day to day basis. What I consider to be the best may not be the same for you. Here are some more China VPN options to consider.
The video streaming. A great feature of VPN.ac is an unofficial and unadvertised feature that I stumbled upon. I don't know how it works exactly, but I can watch any geo-restricted content no matter which server location I connected to.
For example, I can connect to a server in Hong Kong and still watch BBC iPlayer (UK), Channel 4 (UK), Hulu (US), etc. There is no need to change servers to match the country of the service you want to watch. Most streaming servers just seem to work, as if by magic.
Privacy, security, and torrenting. If you are concerned about security and privacy, then VPN.ac is a very good choice. Their DNS servers are private and secure, all DNS queries are sent to their private revolvers and encrypted with AES 128-bit encryption. They don't keep any traffic logs, and they allow torrents on all servers. They even have some special servers optimized for P2P.
VPN.ac is offered by a company called Netsec Interactive Solutions based in Romania. This company has been in the business of online security and privacy since 2009. You may wonder how a company based in the EU can get away with not keeping activity logs of their VPN users. The answer is that the EU Data Retention Directive was declared unconstitutional by the Romanian Constitutional Court.
WireGuard. VPN.ac is one of the first and few VPN providers to offer the new WireGuard protocol.
The apps. The Windows and Android apps have a few bugs and are not updated as often as the apps of bigger VPN providers.
The main complaint I have with the Windows app is that sometimes the "China Users" server list fails to load (VPN.ac has special servers labelled as "China Users" that you need to use when connecting from China). I have experienced this behavior on all of the apps I have used (Android, iOS, and Windows).
You can set the option "I am in China" in the advanced settings to force the "China Users" servers to load, but many of the servers are missing from the list when loaded that way. The only way to get the full China Users server list is by exiting the app and re-starting it (sometimes several times).
The speed of support. VPN.ac doesn't offer live chat support, and they do not have staff available 24/7. As they are based in Romania, they only answer support tickets during Romanian business hours. So you will likely not get an answer until the early afternoon if you submit a support ticket in the morning in China.
The server performance. The server performance used to be really good, but lately the speeds are much slower.
Surfshark basically no longer works in China with one exception. You can still find some working Shadowsocks servers using the "+1 method" from the Using Surfshark in China guide.
Given the insanely low price of $2.49/month for 2 years, it's worth considering for advanced users who don't mind manually finding the working IPs and setting up Shadowsocks connections. But don't expect the VPN connections to work using the apps.
VyprVPN Website (not accessible in China)
Although VyprVPN works in China (using the Chamelon protocol), the performance is very poor. During times of increased VPN censorship, the service often goes down completely for weeks at a time.
Not much really. I guess the fact that they have a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try it for yourself risk-free.
Pretty much everything. Poor performance, fake server locations, no China accessible website, the fact that they used to keep logs and ban accounts for torrenting (they don't anymore but the fact they did before is very concerning).