Is Google blocked in China?

Is Google blocked in China?

Google Search is partially blocked in China. Requests from the mainland to Google Search, including Google.com and Google.cn, are automatically redirected to Google.com.hk, the company’s Hong Kong servers.

Depending on what you search for, the results may or may not be censored. Searching in Chinese for sensitive keywords–Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, Tiananmen Square incident, etc–will likely turn up an error page. This is a result of keyword filtering by the Great Firewall, China’s nationwide internet censorship system. More benign searches may return results normally, but whether links are accessible depends on their individual standing with Chinese authorities.

Tip: To access sites blocked in China you will need one of the new remaining VPNs that still work in China. You can see the working options in our China VPN list.

At its peak, Google Search in the form of Google.cn once comprised more than one-third of China’s search market. In 2009, the Chinese government started demanding that Google self-censor results and remove links to certain overseas websites. Google refused. Then, when an alleged state-sponsored attack on Google servers attempted to hack the accounts of some Chinese dissidents, Google decided to end its mainland China operations entirely.

In 2010, Google shut down Google.cn and instead redirected all mainland traffic to Google.com.hk, its Hong Kong search portal. In the time since, Google’s share of the search market dropped to less than three percent.

China now blocks all Google services including Gmail, Hangouts, Google+, Maps, and Translate.

How to unblock Google in China

You can access Google in China by using a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN encrypts a device’s incoming and outgoing internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. In this case, you could simply connect to a server outside of mainland China to access Google normally.

VPNs are normally subscription services that require monthly or yearly payment. A good VPN will offer strong security, fast speeds, good customer service, and plenty of servers to choose from.

Not all VPNs will work, however. Chinese authorities caught on to VPN users and has blocked many VPN servers. For this reason, we maintain a list of the best VPNs for China that have proven to be reliable.

Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN. The provider makes easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS. It’s a favorite among expats in China for its reliability, speed, and 24/7 live support.

Once you’ve signed up for an account, download and install the software onto your device. Run it and choose a server outside of mainland China. Closer servers tend to have less latency, but you may want to pick an English-speaking country, if that’s your native language. Otherwise, you might get search results in the local language.

Connect to the server. Once the connection is established, you can Google to your heart’s desire.