China is the wild west of the east when it comes to VPNs. How do understand it? The situation with VPNs in China is really unclear. So, in this article, we will try to understand why VPN is considered illegal in China and try to explain it in an accessible way.
How does a VPN work in China?
In 2003, China began operating a system that filters content on the Internet. It is officially called the Golden Shield, or the National Public Safety Information Project. Its main function is to restrict which sites and services Chinese users have access to. What is called the “Great Firewall of China” on the Internet is a set of legal and technical restrictions that are part of the Golden Shield and actually provide Internet censorship within the country. At the same time, sometimes the firewall does not block the pages completely but reduces the speed of access to them to discourage users from visiting them.
In Chinese, there is a special word Fānqiáng, which literally translates as “climb over the wall” and means bypassing the site-blocking system. A common way to bypass blocking is to use VPN services (virtual private networks).
The best VPN options in China
There is a list of the most commonly-used services in China:
- Express VPN
Express VPN is one of the world’s top five market leaders and provides high-quality services. According to user reviews, this is the fastest service. Applications and programs are easy to install, require almost no configuration, and in extreme cases, you can contact the support team, it is considered one of the best in terms of speed and response efficiency.
While you are in China, you will not be able to download the app as easily and simply as you did before or could do from another country. ExpressVPN applications, like the others, are simply removed from the Chinese AppStore. To download or update it, you need to change your country in the app store.
It’s a multifunctional VPN that works well in China. Military-grade encryption, many functions, and a stable connection make it practical and convenient. Fairly favorable prices, excellent technical support, high-quality data transfer. Due to the location of the company in China, users are offered several Chinese servers, access to the network through which is fast and stable, although in some regions the speed is often noticeably reduced.
The main advantage is that, unlike competitors, Pure VPN has the entire first-level network, all servers are owned by the company (others often rent servers in part). It also has advanced antivirus protection, web filters, and anti-phishing.
It is a free open-source VPN service designed to bypass network censorship. The application allows you to bypass the local blocking of sites from services. To improve accessibility, several protocols are used at once, such as VPN, SSH, and HTTP proxy. In addition, the application can be used to protect privacy on open Wi-Fi networks, since all traffic will be encrypted.
Difference between regular and Pro versions:
- Psiphon is an ad-free application, but with a maximum connection speed of about 2 Mbps
- Psiphon Pro – with ads when connected, but with the ability to increase the speed for viewing ads or purchasing a subscription.