Read my review of TorGuard and find out if it’s a good choice to bypass the Great Firewall of China and use Google, Facebook and other censored websites.
There are several reasons to get a VPN and if you follow my blog you know that one of these is to bypass the censorship in countries such as China. There most of the western social media and popular websites are blocked. So there’s no access to Google, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Telegram, Twitter, and so on.
This might be good if you travel and want to disconnect from the rest of the world but it might be a huge problem if you need some of these tools to get in touch with your family or even to work. In this case a VPN it’s the best solution to grant you access to all the censored websites.
But there is another very good reason to get a VPN even if you are not in China: every time you connect to a public Wi-Fi there is a chance that someone might access your devices. You may say: I have nothing to hide and that might be true, but most of the time people who are doing these things are not very much interested in your information: they want to use your devices to hide what they are doing. In other words, they might use your laptop to attack another computer. Again a VPN will help you to avoid this problem.
To be completely honest with you there’s no tool that will keep you 100% safe BUT there are many things you can do to minimize the risk and getting a VPN is one of these.
There are several VPNs that you can use, some of them free and some of them with a recurring subscription. Some of the free VPNs are basically a scam (they collect all your info and resell them nullifying the purpose of the VPN itself that is to protect your privacy).
While living in China I had the chance to try different VPNs. The latest one I tried was TorGuard.
While TorGuard has been specifically designed with the idea of protecting the privacy of Torrent users it can also be used to bypass the Great Firewall of China, probably the most sophisticated firewall used to censor websites. I successfully connected to TorGuard on my first attempt and never had any problem while I was in China.
As always, It’s better to get the VPN installed on your devices BEFORE you enter the country because it can be difficult or impossible to download the app once you cross the border.
Using the APP it’s quite easy and once you accept the Terms of Service, you can choose the server and the protocol and than start using your VPN.
There are several protocols to choose from like the classic OpenVPN, L2TP, etc. but the best one for China is called Stealth. I used it and it was really fast and reliable. Not much to add.
You can connect to any one of the over 3000 servers in 55 different countries and as a side note (but it might be very important for someone), besides the VPN, TorGuard offers also anonymous proxies (you’ll have to buy a different plan) and anonymous emails that should protect you from a particular hack called “Man in the Middle”. Proxies are very important for those who manage several Instagram accounts.
There are 4 different plans to choose from and you can decide to pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or biennially. With any account, you can connect up to 5 different devices. If you need more you’ll have to pay a bit more. As with most of their competitors you have several options for payment like PayPal, credit cards, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and also gift cards. For what TorGuard offers I think the price is really competitive.
How to access TorGuard from within China
If you are in China already and you can’t access the official TorGuard website, you can use the mirror website www.torguard-cn.com.
Final thoughts about TorGuard
I was positively impressed by TorGuard because it worked as it was supposed to. When it comes to VPNs and China, believe me, this is not to be taken from granted. There is nothing worse than realizing that you are in China and you cannot log in to any of your social profiles. TorGuard worked fine for me and was surprisingly fast too. One thing that didn’t impress me at all was the user interface of the app. Don’t get me wrong: it’s easy to use and works fine but it looks a bit like an old window software. I know these kinds of tools are not designed for the masses but still, it’s always nice to use a nice looking app.
To summarize some of the Pros and Cons:
- TorGuard does what it’s supposed to do: bypass the censorship and protect your privacy
- it’s not expensive
- you can get a full refund on the first 7 days
- easy to use
- several payment options
- you can use the VPN with up to 5 different devices. Most of the competitors only allow you to use 3 devices
- the graphic of the user interface could be improved