If you're traveling to China or you're an expatriate living in China, chances are that you cannot access popular websites such as Google, Facebook, and The New York Times. It's because of the Great Firewall of China that prevents users from accessing content that may damage the repute of the Chinese government. The restriction causes problems for thousands of travelers spending their holidays in the country as it's impossible to remain in contact with their loved ones.
Luckily, you can use a handful of VPN services that are able to bypass the Great Firewall.
Does NordVPN work in China?
Yes, NordVPN works in China. Most Internet users assume that any VPN can work in China. Contrary to the myth, it's true that only a handful of VPN is sophisticated enough to bypass the strict security implemented by the Chinese government. NordVPN is among those few reliable service providers that are able to offer uninterrupted Internet services to their users inside China. It's as easy as surfing the Web outside of China.
Just like any other VPN service, NordVPN uses servers located outside China to encrypt traffic originating from China. Using a VPN will not only ensure that you're able to bypass the Great Firewall but it also prevents the government to monitor your activities.
When using NordVPN in China, you can be sure that you're using one of the most reliable, safe, and sophisticated VPN to avoid Internet restrictions in China. There are a couple of methods that we know NordVPN uses to avoid the Firewall. First, NordVPN does not offer any kind of service in China nor does it have a physical presence in the country.
The lack of presence and absence of infrastructure in China means that NordVPN doesn't have compliance issues regarding complex data retention policies and the legislature of China. The lack of physical presence also means that the Chinese government cannot interfere with or confiscate hardware and physical infrastructure, which shields NordVPN from interference.
We also know that NordVPN uses obfuscated servers that are specifically designed to work and bypass Internet restrictions imposed by countries and organizations. Due to practical reasons, NordVPN is hesitant to disclose how they use these obfuscated servers but we know that they use the obfuscation technique to hide the VPN traffic.
In simple words, obfuscation is a legal technique, which disguises traffic originating with VPN to look like regular Internet traffic. It removes meta data from the traffic, which can be used to detect the original source of traffic. To tackle the issue of obfuscation, governments often block standard VPN ports; however, powerful servers such as those used by NordVPN scans for open ports and try to push the traffic through open ports.
How to use NordVPN in China
Before using NordVPN, it's important to know that you will not be able to access the official NordVPN website once in China. As an alternative, customer support will be happy to provide the URL of a mirror site that is a copy of the original NordVPN website so you can access all the available functions of the original website using the mirror site. NordVPN also advises against depending and relying on the mirror website because it can be taken out from the server anytime without any prior notice. Read our review of NordVPN for more information about NordVPN.
Under these circumstances, it's better to register and install the NordVPN to your computer before traveling to China.
For Windows, Linux, Android, and Mac users, the easiest method to connect to an obfuscated server is through the Settings Menu. You will find the menu at the top-left corner of the screen after installing NordVPN. In the Settings, click Advanced Settings to configure obfuscated servers. You will likely notice a popup warning sign asking you if you know what you're doing. Just ignore the warning and click the button to proceed. On the next screen, you can find an option for obfuscated servers. At this point, the user just needs to enable the servers by clicking on the toggle button. In fact, iOS users can also set up an IKEv2 connection manually to access obfuscated servers when in China.
Once obfuscated servers are enabled, you will find an icon for the obfuscated server on the top-left screen. Clicking on it will automatically connect the user to a server. If required, you can also select a specific server from a particular country by clicking the three-dot icon.
Now, you can use the VPN to browse the Internet without any restrictions. If there are problems connecting to the Internet, just try another server. If the problem persists, then ask the customer service to help you configure your device or computer for obfuscated servers. The customer service will likely direct you to a particular server that works or they will help you sort out the problem. There is a 24/7 live chat backed by the assurance of a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why does China block certain websites?
The main purpose of the Chinese government to block certain websites is to stop the spread of hate news, harmful materials, and ideologies of groups. In recent times, the scope of these restrictions has extended to a limit where experts are beginning to believe that such restrictions are in place to protect the ideology of the Communist Party of China.
The Chinese government often cites Section Five of the 1997 global ordinance that gives governments the authority to protect themselves and their citizens from the harmful impact of lies, rumors, and distortion of news on the Internet. According to the Communist government, irrational and irresponsible behavior of the anti-State actors can harm the government. On the contrary, critics believe that the Chinese government is misusing the law by targeting journalists, celebrity gossip publishers, and human rights groups.
What sites and services are blocked in China?
While there is no specific data on the number of websites blocked by the Chinese government, more than 10,000 websites are known to be blocked in China. Some of these websites are very popular in countries outside China. For instance, you will not be able to access social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Similarly, the use of Gmail, WhatsApp, and SnapChat are also restricted. Accessing websites including Google, BBC, NY Times, YouTube, DuckDuckGo, and a variety of VPNs is also difficult. Netflix is not yet available in China, so you can use a VPN to change your Netflix region so that you can watch Netflix in China.
Do any other VPNs work in China?
The Chinese government is vigilant regarding VPN; therefore, it has made every effort to restrict user access to VPNs. This is the main reason why most VPNs don't have the time and resources to bypass the Great Firewall of China. Only a handful of service providers such as NordVPN, Ivacy, ExpressVPN, StrongVPN, and VyperVPN claim to bypass the Firewall. Learn more about ExpressVPN in China.
Despite the fact that VPN access is severely restricted in China, the Chinese government hasn't banned VPN outright. It gives special access to international and local organizations to use a VPN when using or sharing data with other international and multinational organizations. When using a VPN in China, we always suggest using proactive measures such as downloading VPN before traveling to China. In fact, you should also familiarize yourself with local laws and legislation before traveling to the destination. Check out the cheapest VPNs currently available.
My VPN’s website is inaccessible — what should I do?
If you're already in China, you've limited choice if the VPN website suddenly goes down. To deal with such cases, it's better to create a list of alternate URLs that you may access in an emergency. It's also practical to download a VPN on your computer before lading in China. Besides, you should also note down the steps needed to connect your device manually to NordVPN.
You should store this information where it is easily accessed. Think about physical storage such as USB devices, offline computer directories, and encrypted files with password protection.
How do I check if a site is blocked or not?
There are a number of online tools that can provide relevant information regarding the websites blocked in China.
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