Tons of stuff is blocked in China. It’s impossible to list everything that’s blocked because it’s constantly changing, and there’s just too much to list. The good news is that all you need to do is change your IP address to unblock websites in China.Virtual Private Networks and Proxies are the way to do this.
Spoiler Alert: The best service I know to do this is PandaPow. It’s a great VPN service, not blocked, inexpensive, reliable, and fast. You can get it at http://www.pandapow.co/pricing/
You should also know that even though many of these proxy and VPN service’s main domains have been blocked in China (for obvious reasons), there are alternate domains which can get you access to their site, and signed up with their service. I feature these alternate domains on www.BestVPNinChina.Com
Proxies are VPNs are different tools, but they basically do the same thing.
How proxies unblock websites in China
Because there’s nothing to install with a web based proxy, it’s easy to get started. Sign up, click the link, and you’re ready to go.
It also means that you can use it anywhere (work, home, Internet cafe), because you don’t have to worry about installing and setting it on computers you don’t own – everything is done directly from your web browser.
It also means that you don’t have to worry about blocked VPN protocols. Different areas of China have experienced issues with PPTP and L2TP VPN protocols. This means that smartphone users are going to have a more difficult time getting a VPN for their phone.
Basically, it’s impossible to guarantee connectivity with any protocol but OpenVPN, which is the most heavily encrypted and secure VPN protocol – but that’s another story. The point is that without any installation necessary, you don’t have to worry about it.
Even if the main domain ever gets blocked, you’ll have access to a secure link from your email inbox, which will take you to the secure web proxy browser. It uses SSL encryption, which is the same thing you use when you buy stuff online – very secure stuff.
It does however, limit you to web browsing ONLY. Any games, software, or apps you run on your phone/computer won’t be using the anonymous IP address. They’ll still use your local Chinese IP. It can smoothly stream video from YouTube, but it can’t access Hulu, Netflix, or BBC iPlayer.
The best web based proxy to unblock websites in China is SecureBypass. You won’t find any better proxy in China. There are some great proxy services out there, like Hotspot Shield and Hide My Ass – but they’re blocked in China.
SecureBypass offers a FREE trial, and a money back guarantee, so there’s no reason to not at least try it out! It’s only $6 USD or 36 RMB per month.
→ Get it at http://securebypass.com/
Virtual Private Networks to unblock websites in China
Virtual private networks are a bit more complicated, but worth your time. The also change your IP address, but they do so in a way that secures your whole phone or computer. This means that filesharing, gaming, and chatting over VoIP is possible with a VPN in China.
They are more secure, more reliable, and even faster than proxies.
They will not only unblock sites in China, but based on the location of your virtual IP address, you’ll also be able to access Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, BBC iPlayer and other regional based content that blocks users based on IP (ie, you can’t watch Netflix movies outside The USA).
They do need to be installed however, which means that you’ll be limited to one license per device. If you want a VPN for your iPhone and laptop, you’ll have to purchase two licenses.
Most recently, there has been some confusion about which VPN protocols you can use in China. In a nutshell, the only reliable VPN protocol is OpenVPN, which you may see written as SSL/OpenVPN. Much of China can also use other VPN protocols, including PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP, but not everywhere. Also, not every VPN provider has all VPN protocols available, and not all work in China. You’ve got to kind of ask around, but the general rules are as follows.
PPTP: Used for phones, tablets, and laptops. Simple security and previous successful blocks by the Chinese government make it a bad choice for users in China. Limited availability in China
L2TP: Used for phones, tablets, and laptops. Better security that PPTP, but was blocked in China for a period of time. For users with smartphones who don’t want to use a web based proxy, this is your best option. Currently available in some areas of China.
SSTP: Used for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Vista and Win 7 already have an SSTP VPN client installed, so setup of SSTP on these two operating systems will be easy.
However, most VPN services don’t offer this VPN protocol because of it’s limited user base. Check out PureVPN if this is the VPN you’re looking for. SSTP is used in combination with SSL, which means it’s available in most areas of China.
OpenVPN: Used for Mac OS/X Windows XP/Vista/7 and Linux. Guys, OpenVPN is kind of the castle. You have to install 3rd party software on your computer, but in combination with SSL encryption, this is pretty much your best choice for a reliable VPN in China.
Though there is some setup involved, most services have simplified the process so that just about any dummy can do it. If you have difficulty, there’s always a PDF file, setup instruction page, or support team member to help out.
Top VPN services in China
There are quite a few good ones out there, but these are my two favorite. By default, I’ve chosen VPN services with fast connections, so I won’t mention that in the blurbs below. They each have unique features and price plans which I will discuss briefly. Both are redirects to domains NOT BLOCKED IN CHINA, so be patient if it takes a bit longer to load.
These guys are pretty new to the VPN scene, but I was very surprised and impressed at how well their VPN worked. Not only was it the easiest installation I’ve ever done, it was all around a very “user-friendly” VPN.
They’ve even got their signup page simplified to packages that are divided by price/length of contract, and have removed the tough decision of choosing a VPN protocol. They will do that for you.
They have a very reasonable price plan, at $84 USD for a year ($7 /month), with options for 1 month and 6 month plans. 5 star customer service, and server locations hit all the hot spots – The US, The UK, and Europe. For people who don’t understand technology, and don’t care to, this is the VPN for you.
→ Get it at www.pandapow.co
This is the VPN I have been using the longest. They’re based in Hong Kong, so they know more about Chinese censorship than any other service. This means a lot.
While most VPN services can only make decisions based on user feedback, 12VPN is in the mix, and well prepared to do battle with The GFW. They’re cheap, at $79 USD per year ($6.5 USD) for a 10 different locations in The US, with a chance to upgrade to World VPN which will get you a bunch more locations in The UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, and more.
Free server switching, super easy setup, friendly support, and a wide range of VPN protocols to choose from make them a solid choice. iPhone and Android users, this is the service for you.
→ Get it at http://12vpn.com