NEED A VPN?

WANT FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE AND TWITTER ACCESS WHILE IN CHINA?


Here are your options...


The following article was originally published by SZExpat

The government's “Great Firewall” means that you from the moment you touchdown in China many of the sites you use every day back home. A VPN (virtual private network) establishes a private server overseas, allowing you to bypass the firewall and directly access these sites. Essentially you connect to a non-blocked computer and surf the web using the other computer's internet connection.

Hold up, hold up,  is it even legal? Although it is illegal to operate a VPN business in China, there is no law (yet) against individuals using an international VPN. As long as you’re not caught plotting the downfall of the Chinese government, using a VPN to browse, tweet, and Instagram is #totallyfine.  

Which VPN should I use then? We highly recommend you download and set-up your VPN before coming to China. To save you the trouble, we’ve broken down the specifications behind some of the most popular and recommended VPNs used here in the Middle Kingdom:

EXPRESSVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most widely used VPNs among foreigners in China. Although it’s a little on the pricey end it does offer you a speedy, reliable service. Features US$12.95/month, or $8.32/month on a one-year plan Unlimited Data Usage Connect up to 3 devices simultaneously Our recommendation: Try out the ExpressVPN 30-day free trial. Even if you do end up cancelling your subscription, at least you will have saved yourself a month’s worth of VPN fees.

ASTRILL

Astrill is a slightly cheaper option, and continues to be a popular choice for foreigners. It is slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN, although it only allows you to connect to 2 separate devices at once. You can buy a home sharing upgrade which allows you to use 5 devices at once, however this does cost extra. Features US$9.98/month on a 3-month plan; US$5.83/month on a one-year plan Unlimited Data Usage Connect up to 2 devices simultaneously (one laptop + one mobile) If you are already in China, you’ll need a VPN to access the Astrill website (oh, the irony.)

Here are some alternate, China-friendly links to sign-up and download: https://getastrill.com https://astrill4u.com

VYPRVPN

Rounding off the top 3 most recommended VPNs is Vyprvpn. Although this isn’t as widely-known, it is the cheapest of the three, and claims to be the “world’s fastest VPN.” Specs US$9.95/month; or US$5.00/month on a one-year plan Unlimited Data Usage 3 Simultaneous Connections Vypr also offers a swanky Premium option, allowing you to connect 5 devices at once. It costs US$12.95/month; or US$6.67/month on a one-year plan.



DO I HAVE TO BUY ONE? Nope. Lucky for you there are several free options out there (which certainly aren’t as fast or reliable). We suggest:

LANTERN

Free 800MB High-speed internet a month then the connection speed is lowered Available on Mac, PC, and Android (iOS supposedly coming soon)

BETTERNET

Free (with ads) Unlimited Data Usage Available on all devices

WINDSCRIBE

Free 10GB/Month Data Usage 1 Device

We also recommend searching out less well-known VPNs, as they're less likely to be in the virtual Gulag. PC mag recommends NordVPN and Private Internet Access, though we haven't battle-tested them yet.

Source: SZExpat

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VPN


(explained)

A 'Virtual Private Network' essentially allows you to access blocked websites and information on the Internet by changing your IP (location) to that in another country.
Most VPNs operate out of the States and, when America is not online, this country setting (if your VPN allows for that) is the best/quickest. The quality and choice of these VPN providers varies so below is the feedback from various WNIC Facebook members on VPN services and their varying quality:
"I've been using 12vpn. It's very simple to set up. I use it on a Windows box and an iMac without problem connects on demand on my mobiles, for example if I open a twitter or Facebook app it auto turns on. Servers all over the world without extra cost. Very good customer service through email. It's fast. On my main machine i leave the vpn constantly running. It doesn't let you download torrents. I've been using them for 1.5 years. I've never used StrongVPN but have heard its good. I won't switch."
"Viscosity as served me well with only a couple of brief [hours/minutes] problems which were due to the time needed to adjust to government moves. I have a 4 year old macbook; use google and QQ"
"Witopia, and it's good. I use a PC, Acer, and sometimes it can be a little slow, but normally it works well."
"I am using Astril, it is only 6 USD per month and even has free live chat support (but I have never needed to use it). I can send you an invite if you want."  
"im using Go Trusted.its just 50 RMBper month.and its stable and fast."