2018 China VPN Blog Page

Previous Blog Pages


2016 VPN in China Blog


2017 VPN in China Blog


Note of the format - The 2018 blog page is written in chronological order (the newest content is at the bottom of the page). This is opposite to the way I did the 2016 and 2017 blogs.


February 23, 2018 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Happy Chinese New Year to everyone, and welcome to the 2018 VPN in China blog page!


I had a long Christmas vacation in Canada and USA, came back for a short time, and then went to Philippines for the CNY holiday. Anyway, I'm back now, and ready to test some VPNs.


Let's see how my top 3 recommended VPN providers for China are performing.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP (via Windows app)



Wow, unbelievable speed and latency (only 16ms ping time). This is the best server you will find for connections from China Telecom, that is for sure.


And it looks like China Telecom has upgraded my upload speed from 5Mbps to 20Mbps without me doing anything. Nice.


I am also running the Hong Kong 3 server on my cheap Linksys XAC1200 router. It's working great for streaming HD YouTube through my Roku stick that I plugged into my XiaoMi Smart TV. I will sometimes change the server if I want to watch Netflix, but I've mostly just been watching YouTube since I got back.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP (via XAC1200 router)



The speed is limited by the CPU in this small router, but it's still quite good for the price of 180 CNY. Check the tutorial on this router for more info and how to buy one and set up ExpressVPN on it.


I will test 1 more server from ExpressVPN.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



Hong Kong 4 is performing quite good as well.


If you are in China and have not tried ExpressVPN yet, I highly recommend it. There is a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free for 30 days. I also have a special offer for 3 additional months free if you buy a 12 month subscription. Enjoy 15 months of ExpressVPN for only $99 (and you still get the 30 day money back guarantee).


Special Offer Link - 3 Bonus Months


Let's see how VPN.ac is performing these days.


VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



Hong Kong 1 and Taiwan servers from VPN.ac are still performing very good.


A friend from Twitter send me a DM and suggested that I try VPN.ac Los Angeles 1. He said that it has CN2 routing, even though it's not advertised as CN2 server. I checked the trace route, and this appears to be true.


VPN.ac Los Angeles 1



The speed is not great compared to the other test results today, I still prefer my Asian servers.


VPN.ac is my second favorite VPN for China. They offer a 7 day money back guarantee so you can try it risk-free for 7 days. Use the Tips for China exclusive coupon code, and get a 25% off lifetime recurring discount (25% off initial subscription and 25% off renewal price).


I don't really have a good #3 top VPN right now, but I think VyprVPN is probably the next best one after ExpressVPN and VPN.ac. The speed is usually not great, but the service does seem to be reliable and they do offer a 3 day free trial.


VyprVPN Los Angeles OpenVPN



VyprVPN Hong Kong OpenVPN



The Hong Kong server is a little faster than the Los Angeles server, but the latency is very high (172ms). This is because the server is connected to China Telecom via USA. If you are going to use an Asian VPN server from China, then I highly recommend one with a direct connection, such as the ExpressVPN and VPN.ac servers tested today (under 20ms ping time).


That's all for now. I will try to test these same servers at night time hours soon and will put the results below.


February 23, 2018 10:00pm to 10:30pm


As promised, here is a re-testing of the same servers during peak bandwidth hours.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1



VPN.ac Taiwan



VPN.ac Los Angeles 1



VyprVPN Los Angeles



VyprVPN Hong Kong

February 25-26, 2018


I tested ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 at various times during the day over a 24 hour period. Here are the results.


Overall, this is the absolute best server for China Telecom connections. No question about it.

ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 speeds from China

March 4, 2018 4:30pm to 5:00pm


Currently, there is another big government meeting in Beijing. I am expecting that VPN servers will be blocked aggressively over the next few weeks.


So far everything is working great.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



VyprVPN Hong Kong OpenVPN UDP



I was asked to test NordVPN again because I was told their service is working better in China now. I was unable to connect to most of their servers, but eventually I was able to make a connection to the Singapore obfusicated server.


NordVPN Singapore obusicated OpenVPN UDP

March 20, 2018 12:30pm to 1:00pm


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



If you haven't tried ExpressVPN yet, keep in mind that all of the ExpressVPN links on this page are including a special offer for 3 months free when you buy a 12 month subscription.


VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



If you haven't tried VPN.ac yet, remember to use the Tips for China exclusive promo code for a 25% off lifetime recurring discount!


I recently updated the Best VPN for China page and moved 12VPN up to the number #3 spot. I have never been a big fan of the 12VPN service, but they do have some very fast shadowsocks servers that are worth mentioning.


12VPN China Optimized 2 (HK) shadowsocks



12VPN China Optimized 4 (SG) shadowsocks



These servers are hosted on Aliyun Hong Kong and Aliyun Singapore. Some of the best China Telecom CN2 servers available. The speed is almost the full capacity of my 100Mbps connection.


I should mention that the latency is higher than normal on the above tests because I could not use a speed test server in the same country as the shadowsocks server. The reason for this is that 12VPN blocks most ports to stop people from using torrenting. Most of the speedtest.net servers are using port 8080, and only a small subset of servers are available if port 8080 is blocked. The Hong Kong server was tested on a Taiwan speed test server, and the Singapore server was tested on an Indian speed test server.


The speed tests were done using the open source Shadowsocks app for Windows. I prefer not to use their "VPNGUI" app. In order to do this, I had to get the QR codes from the Android setup instructions, and change the encryption to chacha20 (default settings didn't work on Windows).


The reason that I don't really like 12VPN is that it is a terrible choice for privacy. There is no logging policy specified in their TOS, most ports are blocked, they don't allow torrenting, and they don't support OpenVPN for connections from China. And their money back guarantee is very restrictive (only valid if you use less than 5GB of data). See the Best VPN for China page for more details.


If you don't care about privacy and just want a fast connection, then 12VPN is definitely worth a try. Don't forget to use the Tips for China exclusive promo code to get 25% off your first billing cycle (not valid for renewals so it's best to sign up for 1 year to get the best price and maximum discount).

March 28, 2018 - China Mobile Tests


Normally, all of the tests done here are from the China Telecom network. If you see this blue background, then that means the tests are done from China Mobile.


Please note that the speedtest.net android app has a bug that causes the test results to show "CARRIER: China Unicom." It always shows the carrier of the SIM 1 SIM card, even if you are using data from the SIM 2 SIM card. I have China Unicom in SIM 1 and China Mobile in SIM 2.


ExpressVPN Tokyo 1 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



Wow, it looks like Hong Kong 4 performs even better than Hong Kong 3 on China Mobile!


VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 2 OpenVPN UDP



Hong Kong 2 is much faster than Hong Kong 1 with China Unicom. But the download is slow on both.


That's all I have time for right now. I will do more China Mobile tests soon.

March 28, 2018 - China Unicom Tests


First, a test without VPN (something I forgot to do with China Mobile earlier).



ExpressVPN Tokyo 1 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 2 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Tokyo 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



NordVPN Hong Kong obfuscated

March 31, 2018


According to the news media, all VPNs are supposed to stop working today.


Foreign companies in China brace for VPN crackdown


I recently wrote this Reddit post on my thoughts about this upcoming "VPN crackdown".


So far, everything is working normally. I will make a post here if there is any change.

March 31, 2018 - 8:30pm to 9:00pm - China Telecom


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4



Wow, Hong Kong 4 seems to be very slow right now. Let me try Hong Kong 1, I haven't tested that one in a while.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



Still limited to 5Mbps, but the latency is very good.


VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP


VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



NordVPN Hong Kong Obfusacated

Connected successfully but no connectivity to the internet. Tried again and the result was the same.

March 31, 2018 - 9:00pm to 9:30pm - China Mobile


Time for some more China Mobile tests. This time I will tether the data from my phone to my computer. Please note that UDP was not working for me on any of the servers, so I switched the protocol to TCP. This often happens with China Mobile.


Here is a baseline test without any VPN.



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN TCP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP and TCP

Connected but no connectivity to the internet.


ExpressVPN Tokyo 1 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Tokyo 2 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN TCP

Connected but no connectivity to the internet.


VPN.ac Hong Kong 2 OpenVPN TCP

Download 11M, upload test failed.


NordVPN Hong Kong Obfusacated UDP



I'm surprised that UDP worked at all, seeing how UDP is not working with other providers on China Mobile today. I will also test NordVPN with TCP.


NordVPN Hong Kong Obfusacted TCP


March 31, 2018 - 10:00pm to 10:30pm - China Unicom


As with China Mobile, TCP seems to work better than UDP for most of the servers (but not all).


Baseline test without VPN.



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN TCP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN TCP



ExpressVPN Tokyo 1 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 2 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN TCP



VPN.ac Tokyo 2 OpenVPN UDP (TCP was not working well)



NordVPN Hong Kong Obfuscated UDP (TCP was not working well)

April 1, 2018 - Testing TorGuard in China


Some websites visitors have asked me to test TorGuard recently. It's been a while since the last time I tried it. I just tested it again, and they have made some big improvements.


1. The OpenConnect protocol is now built in to their Windows app.


2. There is a new server hosted on Taiwan Hi-Net, which works quite well.


3. They have added an option for STunnel when connecting by OpenVPN TCP. This may be useful for adding another layer of obfuscation. However, I found the speed to be slow. But it is still interesting to have this option available in case the Great Firewall steps up their blocking of OpenVPN.


Here are some test results from TorGuard.


TorGuard Hong Kong 1 - OpenConnect TCP



The Hong Kong servers of TorGuard do not have a direct connection to China Telecom, hence the extremely high latency of 334ms.


Most of TorGuard's asian servers are like this. I will try the Asian optimized Los Angeles server.


TorGuard Los Angeles (asia optimized) - OpenConnect UDP



Next, here is a test with STunnel.


TorGuard Los Angeles (asia optimized) - OpenVPN TCP STunnel



Finally, I found this new server in Taiwan that seems to work good.


TorGuard Taiwan - OpenConnect UDP



TorGuard Taiwan - OpenConnect TCP



OpenConnect TCP seems to work the fastest.


To test how stable the connection is, I downloaded some torrents. The connection was still stable after downloading a few GB of torrents, and the download speed was pretty good too.


4.8 MiB/s = 38.4 Mbps

torguard torrent download speed

I will continue testing this server over the next few days.


In case anyone wants to try TorGuard, I have a 50% off lifetime recurring discount available. That will bring the price down to only $30 for 1 year. Unfortunately, they don't have an alternative site that is accessible in China, so you will need to use another VPN in order to sign up.


UPDATE - I have found that there are 2 Taiwan servers, and you get one randomly when you connect. One is fast, and the other one is not.


Slow Taiwan server (61.216.159.176 IP)



Fast Taiwan server (61.216.151.x IP)



Luckily, TorGuard has a feature in the Windows app to "Pin" a specific server so you will get the same one next time you connect.

Torguard pin ip feature

The real test will come tonight, during peak bandwidth hours. I forgot to mention the time, it's in the afternoon right now.

April 1, 2018 - 9:00pm - Battle of the Taiwan Hi-Net servers - TorGuard vs VPN.ac vs ExpressVPN


Let's see how the TorGuard Taiwan Hi-Net server is performing during peak bandwidth hours.


TorGuard Taiwan OpenConnect TCP



Not too bad for 9:00pm on China Telecom.


Let's see how this compares to the VPN.ac Taiwan server, also hosted on Hi-Net Taiwan.


VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



Wow, VPN.ac's Hi-Net server is much faster.


ExpressVPN also has a server hosted on Taiwan Hi-Net. Let's see how that compares to the Hi-Net servers of TorGuard and VPN.ac.


ExpressVPN Taiwan 1 OpenVPN TCP (couldn't connect with UDP)



The Taiwan Hi-Net server of ExpressVPN seems to be much slower compared to the Taiwan Hi-Net servers of TorGuard and VPN.ac.


Maybe the VPN.ac and TorGuard servers are faster because those VPNs are less popular and there are less people using the servers from China (every server of Hi-Net will have a maximum bandwidth to China, that is separate from the overall maximum bandwidth).


Just a theory.


Anyway, none of those Taiwan servers are as fast as ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3


I always thought the time of peak international bandwidth saturation started around 9pm. However, maybe it doesn't get really bad until after 11pm.


Everything is much slower now at 11:30pm.


TorGuard Taiwan OpenConnect TCP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP


April 4, 2018 - 11:30pm to 12:00am peak CT bandwidth hours - ExpressVPN vs VPN.ac vs NordVPN vs TorGuard


Let's see how the top VPN servers perform during time of peak international bandwidth over-saturation on China Telecom.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



NordVPN Hong Kong Obusacated UDP



TorGuard Taiwan Openconnect TCP



This is the time of day where China Telecom users will notice a big difference in performance between ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3, and any other VPN servers. Hong Kong 3 can still be fast, even when everything else is slow.

April 6, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm - Global Bandwidth Test - ExpressVPN vs VPN.ac vs TorGuard vs VyprVPN


Today I was thinking of a better way to test VPN servers. Normally, the tests only show the connection quality between myself and the VPN server location. However, it doesn't tell us anything about the international bandwidth quality of the VPN server.


When you are using the internet with a VPN server in China, there are 2 parts to the connection.


1. China -> VPN Server

2. VPN Server --> Destination Host


The destination host can be anywhere in the world, depending on where the website or web service you are using is hosted.


Today, I will test different VPN servers by manually choosing 3 locations around the world.


Los Angeles - Race Communications

London - Structured Communications

Tokyo - Speedtest.net


If you want to try this same test, just go to speedtest.net and click the link that says "change server", then type the name of the city to see the list of available servers in that city.


First, I will test some locations inside China to measure the quality of my domestic bandwidth in China.


No VPN - Shenzhen



No VPN - Guangzhou



No VPN - Zhejiang



Generally speaking, domestic bandwidth is pretty good in China. You can get close to what you pay for. In my case, 100Mbps.


The problem comes when your connection goes outside of China.


The closest speedtest.net server to me is hosted in Macau, just across the border from Zhuhai. But how is the speed when choosing a test server in Macau?


No VPN - Macau



Even though this server is the closest to me, the download speed is only 5% of my domestic bandwidth.


Let's see how the speed is to the 3 locations I have chosen for the test today.


No VPN - Los Angeles



No VPN - London



No VPN - Tokyo



Pretty terrible performance. Note the exceptionally high ping time for London and Tokyo.


If I did this test at night, it would be even worse.


Let's see if we can improve the performance to these same 3 servers by using a VPN server with good peering to China Telecom.


VPN #1 - ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles



London



Tokyo


VPN #2 - ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles



London



Tokyo



VPN #3 - VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles



London


Tokyo



VPN #4 - VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles


London


Tokyo



VPN #5 - TorGuard Taiwan Openconnect TCP


Los Angeles


London


Tokyo


VPN #6 - TorGuard Los Angeles (Asia Optimized) Openconnect TCP


Los Angeles


London


Tokyo

VPN #7 - VyprVPN Hong Kong OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles


London


Tokyo


VPN #8 - VyprVPN San Francisco OpenVPN UDP


Los Angeles


London


Tokyo


Conclusion


Not only does ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 have the best bandwidth to China Telecom, but it also has the best global bandwidth.

VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 and Taiwan have pretty good bandwidth to China (based on the history of tests done on this page), but not such good international bandwidth outside of HK/TW.

The results from TorGuard were not great, but not too bad either considering the cost of their VPN is only $30 for 1 year with my 50% off coupon code.

VyprVPN Hong Kong does not have direct peering to China Telecom. Nor does any other VyprVPN server in Asia. Rather, the connection is routed to USA before connecting to Hong Kong. Thus, the very high latency to all locations (the data is travelling all the way to USA and back to HK before even hitting the VPN server).

April 16, 2018 - 11:00pm


Everything is very slow right now, and I don't have time to do many speed tests. I will just show the speed of the only 2 servers I can find right now that are giving me decent speed.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



All the other usual servers that I test are very slow right now.

May 12, 2018 - 8pm to 8:30pm - ExpressVPN vs VPN.ac vs TorGuard


Long time no updates.


Everything has been working well lately.


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 3 OpenVPN UDP



Blazing fast! As always


ExpressVPN Hong Kong 4 OpenVPN UDP



Well, I'm not sure what happened with Hong Kong 4. It doesn't seem to be very fast today.


ExpressVPN Taiwan 1 OpenVPN UDP



It looks like ExpressVPN has improved the speed of Taiwan 1 recently. I would say that is now the second best ExpressVPN server for China Telecom.


VPN.ac Hong Kong 1 OpenVPN UDP



Not quite as fast as before, but still pretty decent.


VPN.ac Taiwan OpenVPN UDP



About the same as ExpressVPN's Taiwan server.


TorGuard Taiwan OpenConnect UDP



Wow, even faster than VPN.ac's and ExpressVPN's Taiwan server!


TorGuard Los Angeles (Asia Optimised) OpenConnect UDP



I have to say that TorGuard has definitely improved lately. I haven't tested it on other devices recently, but the Taiwan server is working very well on the Windows app with the OpenConnect protocol.


The only thing that I don't like about their Windows app is that I can't minimize it to the notifications area. It seems that the program always needs to be open in the taskbar while it's running. If you try to close it then it will disconnect from the VPN and exit completely.


A minor issue, but still very annoying for me. I like to keep my taskbar clean and let my VPN app run in the background.


If you want to try TorGuard, don't forget to use my coupon code for a 50% off lifetime discount.


This brings the price down to only $30 for 1 year! You will not find any other VPN available cheaper than this that works reasonably well in China. I think it's a great value and definitely worth trying out if you have not done so recently.