How to choose a VPN for China?
Is it blocked in China?
The VPN situation in China is in constant flux. The best VPN providers are in a game of cat and mouse with the government as they try to block them. A VPN can be working one day, blocked the next, only to return later.
Does it offer some kind of "stealth" protocol?
Now that unofficial VPNs are banned in China, it’s critical that your VPN offers some kind of stealth protocol, ie additional layers of obfuscation on the usual VPN protocols, in order to hide the VPN traffic from the censors and avoid being blocked. This kind of information can be buried on the provider websites or lost in the marketing speak.
Does it have servers in location close to China?
The nearer the VPN server to your physical location, the better the performance. More servers tends to mean less congestion and improved speeds but this is not always the case. Look for server locations in Singapore, Hong Kong and the west coast of the US for the best performance.
Does it offer automatic reconnection on mobile?
Mobile signal dropouts can be frequent in China and manually reconnecting every time gets old fast.
Does it work on your preferred devices?
Almost all VPN services will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire Stick.
Check the number of simultaneous connections supported
Do you want to protect your family’s devices as well as your own? Look for as many connections as you are likely to use at the same time.
Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee
Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.