Is Outlook blocked in China?

Is Outlook blocked in China?

Yes and no. Outlook may be blocked in China, but there are conflicting reports of the accuracy here.

Although Microsoft has a good working relationship with the Chinese government, some email services are blocked in China. In particular, Google’s Gmail service has been blocked since 2015. It is also possible that China is blocking Microsoft Outlook as well, however, there is currently some confusion as to whether Outlook is or is not blocked in China. While our site and others show that Outlook is blocked in China, some users in China have posted in online forums and comment chains on different websites that this is not the case.

Tip: to access blocked content and services you will need a VPN that works in China.

China has a good, working relationship with Microsoft. To some, this working relationship may actually be a bit too close and too convenient. According to Amnesty International, Microsoft may be working with the Chinese government to filter content passing through its services for users in China. This includes its search engine, Bing, and may also include filtering and monitoring of its Outlook email service.

What we do know is that as of 2015, Outlook was working in China. This is noted by the fact that the company’s Chinese-based service suffered a major man-in-the-middle cyberattack. Both IMAP and SMTP were affected, resulting in an inability for users to connect to servers.

The consensus here seems to be that Outlook may be working in China, but that some aspects of the service may either be blocked or heavily filtered and monitored by Microsoft on behalf of the Chinese government.

How to unblock Outlook in China

Although you may be able to access Microsoft’s content in China, there are chances you may not like the idea of having your content filtered or monitored. This is a common concern in China in general, leaving many users feeling wary of using internet access or sending private emails. Indeed, many users avoid using certain words in emails while in China, as concern over the monitoring system is very real.

China monitors and filters content using its Great Firewall, a term applied to the advanced content monitoring and filtering system it has in place. This covers all ISPs within the country and all mobile carriers. Anyone looking to get past this filter and monitoring system often rely on VPNs.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, are private, encrypted tunnels that allow your data to pass between your computer and a remote server. VPN services prevent anyone from seeing what you’re viewing or what websites you’re accessing. They also allow you to get past content blocks by connecting you to servers located in countries where websites and online services are not blocked, filtered or monitored.

You will find many VPN services offer low-cost paid subscriptions. The most reputable services prioritize anonymity and speed, offering services that include strong security, no data caps, unlimited bandwidth and obfuscation methods to mask the fact that you’re even using a VPN service.

China is increasingly aware of VPN use within its borders. It applies filtering methods that also catch and block many VPN services, some of which do not hide the fact that you’re using a VPN even while they’re hiding what content you’re accessing. China has not made the use of a VPN illegal, but it will block many of these services at the source, preventing some users from downloading the programs at all.

We recommend that you check out our list of the best VPNs for China. You’ll also want to avoid VPN services that don’t also offer easily-installed and downloaded mobile applications, particularly if you regularly use Outlook and other email services on your smartphone or tablet.

Our recommendation for VPN use in China is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN works with Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux (command-line). The service has strong reliability in China, a large selection of international servers, excellent bandwidth and is particularly easy to use. You can read our full Express VPN review here.

Once you’ve created an ExpressVPN account, you can easily install and operate the software.