Believe it or not, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and government can see exactly what you get up to online. This is a particular problem in countries with strict online censorship, like China. By connecting to a VPN, though, you can route your network traffic through servers in another country, sidestepping any monitoring systems that are in place and allowing you to browse the internet without worrying about who might be watching.
VPNs can also help you access region-locked services from outside of their intended broadcast regions. Usually, these platforms check to see if the user’s IP address comes from a specific country. If not, you’re prevented from using the service. However, when connected to a VPN, you’re given a new IP address, specific to the country your chosen server is in. This makes it simple to access geo-restricted sites like Youku, iQiyi, CNTV, or Tudou outside of China.
How to get a Chinese IP address using a VPN
With the right VPN, getting a Chinese IP address only takes a few seconds.
Here’s how to get a China IP address in 5 steps:
- First of all, sign up for one of the VPNs below (we particularly recommend Hotspot Shield).
- Next, download and install the VPN app. There’ll be several different versions, so be sure to get the appropriate one for your device or operating system.
- Connect to any of your VPN’s servers in China.
- Visit a region-locked Chinese site. It should now be accessible, as though you were actually in China.
- If this doesn’t work, you can fix most issues by clearing your browser’s cookies and cache, then reloading the page.
Finding the best VPNs for getting a Chinese IP address
Thanks to China’s incredibly strict data-retention laws and the potential for interference from the government, most major VPNs no longer offer access to Chinese servers. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for whatever you can get, though; we’ll only be recommending high-quality VPNs that meet all of the criteria below:
- Has at least one server in China (although the more, the better)
- Uses effectively uncrackable encryption and offers numerous other security features
- Provides reliable connections and consistently high speeds
- Logs no personally identifiable information
- Has apps for all major operating systems
In a hurry? Here’s a quick guide to the best VPNs for getting a Chinese IP address:
- Hotspot Shield: Our #1 choice for obtaining a Chinese IP address. Hotspot Shield is fast enough for flawless streaming and makes it easy to get a Chinese IP address abroad.
- PureVPN: Best budget VPN. This service offers high speeds, strong security features, and excellent unblocking ability at a very reasonable price.
- Ivacy: A security-conscious, high-speed VPN with reasonable unblocking ability and a zero-logs policy.
- HideMyAss: A popular service with strong encryption, decent unblocking capability, and the ability to get you an IP address from China wherever you are.
Best VPNs for getting an IP address from China
Take a look below to find out which VPNs are best at getting you a Chinese IP address:
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield has around 3,200 servers in 70+ locations including China, making it easy to unblock geo-restricted platforms from all around the world. Further, with consistently high speeds, there’s no need to worry about excessive lag or buffering. This VPN allows you to connect up to five devices simultaneously, so it’s great for those looking to browse securely both at home and on-the-go.
This service uses 256-bit encryption and DNS leak protection to keep your traffic secure at all times. There’s also a kill switch in the Windows app which stops all data transferal whenever you lose connection suddenly. Hotspot Shield doesn’t log any personally identifiable information.
Hotspot Shield apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Unblocks major streaming services
- Powerful encryption
- No Linux support
BEST VPN FOR UNBLOCKING CHINESE CONTENT:Hotspot Shield is our top choice as it allows you to quickly and reliably access sites like Youku outside of China. This VPN is fast, secure, and best of all, it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 31 DAYS
PureVPN currently provides access to around 2,000 servers in 140 countries, including China. With strong unblocking ability, a five-connection limit, and servers in both Shanghai and Beijing, you’ll be able to watch whatever you like, wherever you are, on whichever device you prefer. Better still, thanks to PureVPN’s reliable, high-speed connections, you can even live stream Chinese TV with no noticeable lag or buffering.
With 256-bit encryption, a kill switch in every version, and protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks, PureVPN keeps your activities private at all times. It also adheres to a strict no-logs policy, meaning your activities can’t be traced back to you. Need help? You can reach customer support 24/7 over live chat.
PureVPN apps are available for MacOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. Manual installation is required for network routers.
- Strong on security and privacy
- Fast enough for live streaming video
- Able to unblock several popular streaming platforms abroad
- Transfer speeds can be slow with some servers
- Overcoming the stigma of earlier bad press surrounding privacy
BEST BUDGET VPN:PureVPN is an inexpensive yet versatile service with high speeds, powerful security features, a zero-logs policy, and servers in two Chinese cities. A 31-day money-back guarantee is included.
Take a look at our in-depth review of PureVPN.
Ivacy operates around 1,000 servers in 50+ locations, two of which are Beijing and Shanghai. This service unblocks some of the most stubborn platforms out there (Netflix, for instance) so most Chinese services shouldn’t pose much of an issue. Additionally, with unlimited bandwidth and reliable high-speed connections, you’re free to watch in the highest possible quality.
This VPN clearly puts major emphasis on your security and privacy. It uses 256-bit encryption, DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC leak protection, and a kill switch (Windows only) to keep your activities hidden from prying eyes at all times. Further, Ivacy has a strict no-logs policy, meaning you are effectively untraceable once connected. For even great privacy, you can choose to pay in Bitcoin. 24/7 support is available over live chat in case of any problems.
Ivacy has apps for Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS. It can be manually installed on Linux systems and supported wireless routers.
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Very fast speeds
- Advanced security features
- Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Live chat support struggles to answer technical questions
STREAM SECURELY:Ivacy can get you a Chinese IP address in seconds. Strong security and privacy features, as well as the ability to unblock popular streaming platforms abroad, make it an excellent choice. Further, Ivacy includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out the complete Ivacy review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
HideMyAss might not have the largest network (around 1,000 servers) but it covers more than 280 locations, including China. This VPN unblocks major services like Netflix US with ease, and is fast enough to stream live HD video with no noticeable lag or buffering. With up to five simultaneous connections permitted, HideMyAss is great for anyone looking to protect all of their most commonly-used devices at once.
This VPN has apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS devices. It also works with Linux systems and some internet routers, but must be installed manually.
- Decent speeds for streaming
- Good unblocking ability
- Strong security features
- No option to pay via cryptocurrencies
- Logs more data than we’d like
LIGHTNING FAST BROWSING:HideMyAss offers the ability to watch Chinese TV live, from anywhere, in the highest possible quality. It also includes powerful security options and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our comprehensive HideMyAss review.
Can I get a Chinese IP address with a free VPN?
It’ll be extremely difficult to obtain a Chinese IP address using a free VPN, simply because there are only a handful of services that still have servers in China. Even if you find a free VPN that does, it’s likely you’ll run into other issues like slow speeds, excessive lag, or an inability to unblock Chinese services.
Of course, there’s also the security risk that free VPNs pose. A 2016 study of over 200 free VPN apps found that almost 40% contained malware. Worse still, almost one in five never used any encryption at all, meaning they offered their users no extra security whatsoever. We’ve also seen major VPN providers like Hola sell user bandwidth to help run a botnet, so unfortunately, these problems aren’t limited to smaller services.
RELATED: What’s the best VPN for China?
Can I use a VPN to watch Chinese TV abroad?
Absolutely. Once connected to a Chinese VPN server, most Chinese streaming services won’t be able to tell that you’re actually somewhere else in the world. This means you’ll be able to watch content on platforms like iQiYi, Youku, and Tencent Video abroad.
Note that some services use more stringent methods of geo-blocking. For instance, a VPN won’t help if your payment method has to be linked to a local address, or if you have to provide identification as part of the registration.
DISCLAIMER: Comparitech does not encourage using a VPN to stream content illegally. Please consult local laws thoroughly before deciding to embark on this route. If you have any questions, it’s best to talk to a lawyer in your country of residence.
Internet restrictions in China
The Chinese government restricts access to a huge range of content. Although most VPNs will still allow you to access blocked websites while connected to a Chinese server, some might not. For this reason, we’ve created a short list of the kinds of sites and services that are blocked in China:
- Social media services (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Search engines (Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing)
- Messaging services (Signal, WhatsApp, Telegram)
- Most streaming services (Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer)
- Information hubs (Wikipedia, Quora)
- Cloud-storage platforms (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive)
- Non-Chinese news (The Guardian, NY Times, CNN)
- Privacy or VPN-related sites (OpenVPN, Comparitech, Torproject)
- 1 How to get a Chinese IP address using a VPN
- 2 Finding the best VPNs for getting a Chinese IP address
- 3 Best VPNs for getting an IP address from China
- 4 1. Hotspot Shield
- 5 2. PureVPN
- 6 3. Ivacy
- 7 4. HideMyAss
- 8 Can I get a Chinese IP address with a free VPN?
- 9 Can I use a VPN to watch Chinese TV abroad?
- 10 Internet restrictions in China