Virtual private network or VPN allows you to hide your identity and access blocked sites in countries like China. VPN service is a big and growing business with lot of competition. There are plenty of old and new companies offer VPN services and here are the 5 things to remember before you buy a VPN. Check out our article on 5 reasons why need VPN in China.
Buying VPN in China
Chinese government removed all VPN apps from Apple and other App Stores. Therefore, you will not be able to purchase an app or subscription through Chinese App Store. Since all VPN sites are also blocked, you will not be able to access those sites. The best option is to use some other country’s App Store or purchase a temporary VPN service like ExpressVPN till the time you find a permanent solution.
1. Set Your Expectations Right
The fact you need to understand is that China is different. All internet service providers do the blocking or monitoring, which is triggered by the government. So, whatsoever the premium VPN services you choose the connectivity will be unstable at different point of time.
- For example, all VPN services will be blocked or interrupted whenever there are high-level political meetings.
- Also, the interruption is common during the big holidays like national holidays and Chinese New Year.
- In general the blocking will be intensive in cities like Beijing.
Whether you are paying $5 per month or $100 per month, all services are monitored and can be blocked at any point of time. This includes ExpressVPN, Astrill, NordVPN, VyprVPN and any other services you may know. Earlier years, Astrill and ExpressVPN were popular in China and then they were killed by the government with targeted blocking. When a service gets popular, government will intervene and block it meticulously. So, set your expectations right that the connection may not be stable all over the year and yelling at VPN companies is of no use.
2. Find the Correct Choice from Community
Do not jump into conclusion by looking at App Store and buy the VPN without checking. The good idea is to check with your friends and colleagues about the good service available.
If you have no friends then there are online communities you can check the reviews and current statuses. The best thing is to do the homework before you are landing in China.
3. Use the Trial Period
The next thing you need to consider before buying a VPN in China is never look into the “No #1 VPN” kind of advertisements. Always use the trial period and close the account if you are not satisfied. Also test the services from all your devices to ensure it is connecting fine. Most of the VPN companies do not offer money back guarantee so if you find a problem after paying money then probably you will never get it back.
One of the mistakes people do is to signup for a yearly contract since there will be a discount for yearly plans. If there are no free trials then go for a monthly plan for few months and then decide based on the service and support. It is funny fact that most of the VPN sites themselves are blocked and you need to think how will you get support from such companies. So, pay only after testing it out!!!
4. Check Out the Network
As a general rule, the blocking is severe in Wi-Fi networks compared to mobile network. For example, there are many websites you can open without VPN in your office location or using 4G/5G network on your mobile. However, the same websites may not open at all in your home when using Wi-Fi. Since mobile connection can be obtained as cheap as 30 RMB per month, always keep your phone connected to cellular network. This will help to do urgent tasks when your Wi-Fi does not work with VPN.
5. Say No to Free VPN Services
It’s a surprising fact that when all paid VPNs are not working, the free ones will work perfectly fine. Especially there are free VPNs on App Store available in many countries with no hidden cost. They just work on advertisements and insist you to view video advertisements to increase your VPN connection time.
The problem here is that you do not know the things happening behind the scene. Once you installed the VPN profile, mostly it will be auto connected and all the connections will be routed through the VPN network. If you have a banking app or social accounts – everything will be send over the VPN network. It is very easy for the app developer to trace and get any details from the phone on which the app is installed. So, think twice before looking out for a free service.
It is evident that you can’t continue the global connectivity in China without a VPN. At the same time it is also not an easy task to find a good working solution for all the time. So, accept the reality by setting your expectations right and ready to pay money to get the best service for the available situation.