The Great Firewall of China is one of the first considerations many expats face when they are thinking about a move to the country; the question of which VPN to choose and if they actually work. The thing is, unlike many short-term expat locations, China really lends itself to expats seeking employment for a year or more…and in-part that’s because of the loopholes and obstacles you have to overcome before you can settle into a lifestyle complete with internet and all of the amenities you need.
Thankfully the internet and getting a VPN for China is one of the easier steps in the grand scheme of things; there are dozens of providers offering a Virtual Private Network that will allow you to bypass the firewalls and censors that the Chinese government has placed on their internet through the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The internet companies themselves are forced to filter out international news and any content even slightly controversial.
This is where a VPN for when you’re living in China comes into play.
Expat China VPN Options and Reviews
Securitales: This is one of the few VPNs with a range of pricing plans for China VPN service. The company offers long-term contracts and plans for expats in the country for a year or longer, but the company wins our brownie points by but also offering affordable two month plans; a feature mostly unique to this VPN and ideal for travelers and expats in China for a short-ish stay!
VPN Express iPhone App: A great app for Apple product users, this app works on both iPhone devices and iPads. The application setup is very simple and within mere minutes you are able to quickly and effectively surf the internet. For expats with a lot of different computer devices, this is a great option for long-term expats who would like reasonably priced VPN data plans.
Hotspot Shield: This option is free and therefore mostly unreliable for expats in China; the VPN can work really well one day and then for days on end it will be shut down. It’s a better option for short-term travelers who don’t want a VPN monetary commitment when they are in China. Also, since it’s free you can expect advertisements on each webpage you surf with the program Hotspot Shield! Decent for getting to sites that are exclusively blocked in China, but not the best expat option.
WiTopia: High marks for many expat friends currently living in China. This is made for expats and those living in the country and the yearly price-structure is quite reasonable: roughly $60 per year. Offers fast, reliable, and secure connections when surfing on your personal computer.
Strong VPN: A solid recommendation as a friend living in Beijing recommended this Strong VPN while I was in the country. This is a paid service and pricey, but truly does have strong VPN policies and practices; they are willing to help when the government makes new changes!
What Can you Expect from VPNs and China’s Firewall?
Connections are going to flucuate a whole lot even for the paid services. The Chinese government has the blocks in place for a reason and they are not overly keen on these VPN services allowing their citizens to easily access online content and controversial content from anywhere in the world. If you’re patient though, the paid services reviewed have great support and up-time and are consistent in keeping their VPNs working well.