Find out which is the best VPN to use Facebook and unlock all censored websites in China and in other countries.
If you are planning to travel to China, you might probably know that many websites and social networks are censored: Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, WordPress, just to mention a few. At the moment there are more than 2600 censored websites in China but as you can imagine the number keeps rising… If you want to know whether a websites is available in China or not you can check here.
Some of you may think that this is good news: spending some time without social networks isn’t that bad after all. This might be true but if you, like me, use the internet to work or to keep in touch with your family, then censorship can be really bad.
So the question is: how can you bypass the Great Firewall of China (there is no censorship in Hong Kong and Macau at the moment)? The answer is quite simple: you should get a VPN: a Virtual Private Network. Before talking about the actual choice of the best VPN let me briefly tell you what is a VPN and how does it work.
A VPN can also be used to unlock Tik Tok and WeChat in any country where they are blocked.
What is a VPN and how does it work?
You don’t have to be a hacker or a nerd to use a VPN or to understand how it works. To put it simply, rather than connecting to a censored website while you are in China, or any other country where a specific website is not available, a VPN allows you to “trick the system” and make it believe that you are in a different country, one of those where the website is freely available.
You make your Internet Service Provider believe that you are outside of China while in fact, you are not.
If this is not clear enough for you, just keep in mind that most of the time you don’t have to do anything: just buy a subscription from the VPN service and install the App. Turn the App on and enjoy your freedom. The VPN will take care of all the rest…
Another reason while you should get a VPN anyway, no matter if you are traveling to China, Iran, Pakistan, or any other country in the world, is that you can use it to stream your favorite TV shows or movies even if the content you want to see it’s not available outside of your country. Just to give an example: many Tv series available on Netflix USA are not available on Netflix Italy unless you use a VPN and connect your PC to an American server.
There are tons of VPNs out there. Some of them are free while others offer a free trial after which you have to pay. I usually tell my friends NOT TO GET a free VPN. Why? For the simple reason that you get what you pay for… There is a reason if some VPNs are free and others are not. Developing a secure protocol, designing the App, setting up dozens of servers worldwide, granting speed and privacy to all the users, and running all the system takes time and thousands of hours of work of professional developers. This work it’s done by developers that will have to be paid. If a VPN is free it usually means that makes money by selling your private info gathered while using it.
Whichever VPN you chose don’t forget to get your VPN BEFORE entering in China: most of the websites of the VPN providers are censored too so it can be more difficult to access them, though not impossible as you can read later.
Is it legal to use a VPN in China?
This is a difficult question to answer. There are new regulations in China and according to them if a VPN is registered in China has to be approved by the government. But this law applies only to the VPN services that are based in China. All other businesses are not subjected to Chinese laws. As far as I’m concerned I’ve never had any problem. The government is aware that there are foreigners living in China that need to access all western websites and I believe that it turns a blind eye on them.
Selling VPN services on the other hand is strictly forbidden and usually punished by imprisonment.
Which is the best VPN service of 2020 to use Facebook and censored websites in China? (December 2020 Update)
Which is the best VPN service to use the internet in China? VyprVPN is in my experience one of the best. I’m using it right now and, even though the connection with a VPN is slower than the normal, the Internet speed is quite good. Using VyprVPN it’s very simple. Just choose the right subscription for you, log-in, and download the App on your devices. Really easy.
VyprVPN: which version should you get?
From my personal experience, I suggest getting the Premium version: with one subscription you can use up to five devices at the same time, (for example Tablet, PC, and Smartphone) and you can change protocol if for some reason the connection doesn’t work. Here you can find a great discount for the annual subscription and here a discount for the monthly plan.
Another good thing is that if you get the paid plan you won’t have a limitation on the amount of internet traffic and you can also use Chameleon, a new protocol useful when China tightens the censorship.
Another great advantage of VyprVPN is that it only uses its own servers (unlike other VPN services) and this means more privacy and more speed. They also have great customer care service.
How to set up you VyprVPN App
Once you log in to VyprVPN you can download the App (or the software) for your Android or iOS devices. You can change several options but most of the time you won’t need to.
The only thing you really need to care about is the Server. You can either let the App pick the fastest server of you can connect to a specific server located in a specific country according to your needs. Keep in mind that usually, the fastest servers are those located geographically closer to the country where you are. In the case of China, the fastest servers are in Hong Kong, Japan, or Taiwan. Some other times South Korea. If you want to access a website that is only available for a specific country then you can pick up that country from the list of the servers.
Another option that you can customize is the type of protocol you want to use. With VyprVPN you can select one of these 4: Chameleon, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP.
By default, the App will choose OpenVPN (not supported by iOS) that guarantees a good level of safety and speed. If you need more speed and are willing to sacrifice a bit of safety than opt for the PPTP protocol. There might be some sites that won’t work even once the VPN is on. Don’t worry. Play a bit with the options I just mentioned and I’m sure that everything will finally work.
So if you want to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Gmail, etc in China and other countries where the Internet is censored (such as Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, etc…) get one of the best VPN service: VyprVPN.
Using a VPN can also help you save a lot of money when you book a hotel room or an airplane ticket: some websites infact increase the price of the ticket according to the country where you are located or the number of times you searched for a specific route.
How to manually set the VPN if you are already in China
It can happen sometimes that people don’t know about the VPN and they find out about the censorship when is too late, and they can’t access the VPN websites because they are censored too. Or maybe you have to install a brand new VPN on a new smartphone but you are already in China (it happened to me more than once). What can you do? You need to set up first a manual VPN connection on your device, then you can download the App. It’s a bit tricky I know but if you follow this guide step by step you can do it:
1 – Download the APP using this alternative and uncensored link.
2 – Once you installed the app you can’t log in as you would do in your home country. Follow instead these instructions if you have an Android device or these if you have an Apple device. If you are using a different OS check out this page.
3 – You will be required to specify the name server. Use this one (not the one in the instructions) -> 188.8.131.52
4 – Once you established the connection open the App that you previously downloaded and log in using your info or create a new account.
5 – When you are connected using the App delete the manual settings you previously created and just keep using the App. That’s it.
I’m not in China, why do I need a VPN anyway?
To conclude this post I want to remember that using a VPN is necessary not only if you are planning to travel to countries where the Internet it’s censored but it’s fundamental even if you are using a Wi-Fi connection in your city. Why? The number of Internet hotspots keeps rising and so are the risks associated with the Wi-Fi connections. Even if the Wi-Fi connection it’s protected by a password you never know who can spy on what you are doing.
Virtually anyone can come between your Pc and the hotspot and see what you are doing unless you are using a VPN. This is a real risk for all of us, but especially for those who work using the Internet. Not long ago a journalist was hacked while using the Wi-Fi onboard an airplane. Someone accessed his private emails and read the story he was working on. This happened because He didn’t protect its connection with a VPN.
I personally prefer using a VPN every time I’m connected to a Wi-Fi, whether I’m in China or in Italy.
Which are the best alternatives to VyprVPN
- Of all the VPNs I’ve tried so far, the best alternative is ExpressVPN. It has less options compared to VyprVPN and it doesn’t use the protocol Chameleon but I’ve never experienced any problem accessing the Internet from China. If the main reason for you to use a VPN is to stream content online, then again, ExpressVPN is a good choice.
- Another option I would suggest is NordVPN.
- Astrill it’s a very popular choice for those who live in China.
- Finally TorGuard is ideal to use anonymously P2P softwares like BitTorrent. You can find my review of Torguard here.