Looking to access Chinese websites while abroad? You’ve probably noticed that geo-blocks can be a real barrier. A VPN connection can be your key to unlocking content from platforms like Youku, iQiyi, CNTV, or Tudou. By connecting to a VPN server in China, you get a Chinese IP address, effectively bypassing these restrictions.
But it’s not just about access; it’s also about authority and online privacy. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and even the government can monitor your online activities. A VPN with strict no-logs policies can route your traffic through a secure connection, keeping prying eyes at bay.
Short on time? Scroll down for a quick guide to the best VPNs for a Chinese IP address.
- Hotspot Shield: Our #1 choice to get a Chinese IP address. Fast enough for flawless streaming with user-friendly apps that make it easy to get a Chinese IP address abroad.
- ZenMate: Secure, easy to use, and able to access most major streaming platforms. Has a dozen servers in China and over 4,000 worldwide.
- HideMyAss: A popular service with strong encryption, decent streaming potential, and the ability to get you an IP address from China wherever you are.
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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 China servers.
- 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.
The best VPNs for a Chinese IP address: at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with Hotspot Shield – our #1 choice for Chinese IP.
|No value||Hotspot Shield||Zenmate||Hide My Ass VPN|
|Website||Hotspotshield.com||zenmate.com||HideMyAss.com||Ranking for China||1||2||3||Devices Supported||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome, Smart TVs, Routers||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, FireTV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Android tv, Apple TV, Linux||Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||85%||85%||30%||Activity logs||Anonymized data||No logs||None|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99 |
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Best VPNs for getting an IP address from China
Given China’s stringent data retention laws and government oversight, many top-tier VPNs have pulled their Chinese servers. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We recommend only premium VPNs that meet the following criteria:
- At least one server in China, but the more, the better.
- Unbreakable encryption and additional security features.
- Consistent high speeds for a seamless experience.
- Strict no-logs policies to protect your identity.
- Apps for all major operating systems.
We’ll delve into our testing methodology later, but for now, let’s focus on the VPNs that make the grade.
Here’s our list of VPNs that can help you gain a Chinese IP address:
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield is our top choice for getting a Chinese IP address. It has roughly 1,800 servers in 80+ locations, including China, which means it’s great for securely accessing streaming services from all around the world. Further, with consistently high speeds (over 60 Mbps in our latest tests), there’s no need to worry about excessive lag or buffering. This VPN allows you to connect up to five devices simultaneously.
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 and Android apps, which stops all data transferal whenever you lose connection suddenly. Hotspot Shield doesn’t log any personally identifiable information. This VPN even has its own custom protocol named Hydra that can help you browse safely while in China. Customer support is available 24/7 via email or live chat.
Hotspot Shield apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Works in China
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Works with most major streaming services
- Powerful encryption
- Expansive server network
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- No anonymous payment options
BEST VPN FOR A CHINESE IP ADDRESS:Hotspot Shield is our top pick 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 risk-free 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 days
ZenMate has a dozen servers in China and more than 4,000 others in a further 80 countries. It’s able to securely access most of the streaming platforms we’ve tested it with, including more stubborn services like Netflix. While its speeds aren’t the fastest we’ve seen, they’re steady enough for most tasks. Better still, this is one of the few VPNs on the market that lets you connect all of your devices at once.
This service keeps your activities hidden with 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. What’s more, it follows a true no-logs policy, meaning it can’t reveal what you do online, even in the face of legal pressure. If you run into any issues, you can submit a ticket or get help over live chat (though this service does seem to go offline periodically).
ZenMate has its own iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows apps.
- Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Impressive security and privacy offering
- Allows torrenting
- Offers a 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee
- Speeds could be better
- Doesn’t have live chat support
NO DEVICE LIMIT:ZenMate can secure every device you own simultaneously. Not only that, but it’s a strong choice for streaming and keeps no logs whatsoever. Still unsure? No problem: this VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ZenMate.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
HideMyAss might not have the largest network (around 1,100 servers) but it covers more than 200 locations, including China. This VPN unblocks Chinese TV Channels and streaming services like Youku 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
- Good streaming ability
- Strong security features
- User-friendly apps for major operating systems
- No option to pay via cryptocurrencies
- Poor history with regard to privacy
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.
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)
The full list is changing all teh time, so this is by no means an exhaustive account. So use this tool to check if a specific site is blocked in China.
The scoop on China’s Great Firewall
The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is a term used to describe China’s sophisticated and comprehensive internet censorship system. It’s part of the country’s “Golden Shield Project,” a security measure initiated by the Chinese government to control and regulate the Internet within China.
The Great Firewall is designed to block or limit access to specific foreign websites, platforms, and services that the Chinese government deems inappropriate or harmful to its cultural and political stability. This includes popular social platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram, news outlets like The New York Times and BBC, and other foreign websites. The Great Firewall also restricts access to several VPN providers, making it challenging for users in China to bypass these restrictions and access the global internet.
Furthermore, the GFW employs various advanced technologies to control the country’s internet. These technologies include IP blocking, DNS tampering, URL filtering, and deep packet inspection (DPI), which allows the GFW to analyze internet traffic, filter content, and block certain information from being transmitted.
While a few select VPNs work in China to bypass the restrictions imposed by the Great Firewall, the practice occupies a legal grey area within China. Any attempt to access blocked content using a VPN in the country could lead to penalties.
Using a VPN to get a Chinese IP address can allow you to access local Chinese content and services from outside the country. First, however, it’s crucial to choose a VPN provider that has proven effective at navigating the complexities of the Great Firewall and has a track record of maintaining user privacy and security, such as those few listed above.
Methodology: Choosing the best VPNs for a Chinese IP address
The Chinese government has been cracking down on VPNs for several years, which is why it’s so hard to find a provider with servers in the country. Still, there are still a few suitable VPNs. To make sure we only recommend the very best services, we created a strict list of requirements:
- Suitable servers: First, we need servers that can get you a Chinese IP address. These might be physically located in China but will more likely be hosted elsewhere to avoid interference from the government.
- Excellent performance: We thoroughly speed-test every service to ensure that they’re fast enough for streaming, torrenting, and general browsing. Their speeds have to be pretty consistent, too, otherwise, you’ll run into problems like lag or random connection drops.
- Powerful security tools: Our top VPNs have to offer a strong set of security and privacy features, including powerful encryption, leak protection, and a no-logs policy.
- High level of versatility: Ideally, services will offer specially-optimized servers for different tasks. Additionally, we’d rather they work with a wide range of Chinese streaming services, including iQiYi, Youku, and Tencent Video.
Read our detailed explainer post to find out more about how we test VPNs at Comparitech.
Getting a Chinese IP address: FAQs
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. Prior research has shown that out of 200 free VPN apps, 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.
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 all of your favorite platforms 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.
Are VPNs legal in China?
Despite what you might have heard, VPNs aren’t actually illegal in China. However, the government has worked hard to close down access to them, so most providers’ websites are inaccessible, and you can’t download VPNs from major app stores. As long as you install your VPN before arriving in the country, you should be fine, but we’d recommend saving a copy of the manual setup instructions just in case you encounter any issues.
Why do so few VPNs have Chinese servers?
It’s rather difficult to find a VPN that actually has servers in China. Until recently, providers tended to favor Hong Kong as under the “one country, two systems” principle, this region was spared the brunt of the government’s more repressive tendencies.
Simply put, VPN providers are worried about having their servers seized by the government. Even if they don’t keep logs, it’s possible that close examination will help the government block VPNs more effectively, which is bad for everyone. To get around this, most VPNs use virtual Chinese servers, which aren’t actually located in China and as such aren’t subject to Chinese law.
What Are the Dangers of Using VPNs for a China IP Address?
Using a VPN to get a Chinese IP address comes with its own set of risks, mainly due to the country’s strict authority over internet usage. If you’re caught using a VPN that doesn’t comply with Chinese regulations, you could face penalties. That’s why it’s crucial to opt for a VPN with strict no-logs policies and a secure connection to maintain your online privacy.