Many Chinese video sites like Youku, Tudou and Sohu are inaccessible outside of China because they are limited to users in mainland China. This may be very inconvenient for those who actually want to watch Youku outside China. To do so, you will need to VPN into China. A VPN with China IP addresses will help you get around content blocks and watch all your favorite movies and TV shows. However, there are not many VPN providers that offer mainland China servers. After doing some research, we sorted out 3 best VPNs to get into China according to their number of servers located in mainland China and the number of IP addresses they offer.
#1. HideMyAss – The Best VPN To Get Into China
Established since 2005, HideMyAss is one of a handful of providers that offer China IP addresses. HideMyAss hosts the world’s largest VPN server network with more than 868 VPN servers in 193 countries. What’s more, it’s remarkable they offer 500+ IP addresses in mainland China (Current locations include: Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hebei etc.). You have a variety of choices of different servers and not blocked to date.
- A large collection of China IP addresses
- World’s largest VPN server network
- No activity logs
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Compatible on Routers
- Technical support available 24/7
- Offers OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols
Speed: Speed was generally good with very limited dropped connections. With HideMyAss, we can browse and download with almost full speed. We were really happy on how fast web pages load and how smoothly Youku videos stream.
Price: HideMyAss comes in three convenient pricing packages:
- 1 month：$9.99 （$9.99 per month）
- 6 months：$41.94 （$6.99 per month）
- 12 months：$59.88 （$4.99 per month）
Though HideMyAss is a bit pricy, you definitely get your money’s worth. With a 30-day money back guarantee, you have plenty of time to test the service.
Support: Our overall experience with their customer support was positive. Their customer support system is quite strong and they always respond quickly. We asked a few questions to test out their support team and we got responses very soon.
PureVPN is an established provider based in Hong Kong that has IP addresses in almost every country. The company boasts of 450+ servers across 101+ countries. Such a vast server network qualifies for being called huge since it offers users 80,000+ IP addresses to choose from. Currently they have dedicated servers in 4 different Chinese locations: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Canton. Worth reminded that PureVPN permits its VPN service to be used for P2P/Bittorrent use, which many other VPN providers disallow.
Speed: Speed wasn’t the best during our testing, but it’s enough for streaming Youku in HD quality. And it depends a lot on the area you’re in and other factors.
- Impressive selection of servers
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Prices starting from $4.16
- Split Tunneling
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Largest range of accepted payment options
Price – PureVPN offers three pricing plans:
- 1 month：$9.95 （$9.95 per month）
- 6 months：$44.95 （$7.49 per month）
- 12 months：$49.95 （$4.16 per month）
Regrettably, PureVPN is not offering any free trial. For users still unsure of their service, there is a 3 day money back guarantee.
What we don’t like about PureVPN: PureVPN is missing support for OpenVPN. But fortunately, it offers SSTP and L2TP which are both secure and provide great performance.
Astrill is a big name in the VPN market, but its service has deteriorated over the last few years. Currently Astrill has a handful of VPN servers in China and only a total of 20 shared China IP addresses. Also, it is worth noting that Astrill’s services often get blocked by the Great Firewall. However, every time they will “work diligently” to restore access to servers in China.
Pricing is as follows:
- 3 months：$29.95 （$9.98 per month）
- 6 months：$39.95（$6.66 per month）
- 12 months：$69.95 （$5.83 per month）
As can be seen from the above, there is no 1 month subscription plan. However, Astrill offers a free 7-days trial for all new customers, but you have to contact their support for a free trial.
What we don’t like about Astrill：
- Too many details requested during the sign up process, including your real full name, e-mail address and even home address. And you have to enter your mobile phone number so that they could verify your account.
- Be aware that they don’t offer unconditional refunds. You can be refunded only if the service doesn’t work on your devices.
Overview, HideMyAss is our pick of the bunch, it has the most China IP addresses with stable and high-speed connections. PureVPN is more affordable with moderate speed. While Astrill is down and has no competitive advantage at all.
Why Do So Few VPNs Offer China IP Addresses?
When looking for a VPN provider that offers mainland China servers, it can be a tough task, because only a handful of providers offer China servers. There are 3 main and essential reasons about it:
- China servers are much more expensive compared to the U.S and the bandwidth price is prohibitive. So streaming HD videos is actually like burning money in China.
- The internet in China is censored and monitored by the government, i.e. “The Great Firewall”. Actually, every website operating in China is required to get an ICP license, or else it will be fined or shut down as specified by Chinese Internet Regulations.
- China has limited bandwidth connected to other countries. That’s why people outside of China often face slow connection on China websites like Youku, Tudou etc.
Why We (Still) Don’t Recommend VPN Providers Based In Mainland China?
The ranking shown above is a list of VPN providers based outside mainland China. While we think providers based in mainland China are not capable of providing reliable services because of the following reason:
- Lots of disconnects and slow speeds.
- Limited bandwidth per month.
- Backward technology.
- High prices.
- ICP License required, users’ activities are monitored by the government.
Is A China VPN The Only Option To Unblock Youku?
From 2009 onward, users with Hong Kong or Taiwan IP addresses were banned/blocked from streaming Youku videos. So now the only way to watch online movies on Youku is to get a mainland China IP.
Also, You may want to rent a China VPS, and run that as a VPN server. That’ a really good option, but unfortunately, you have to get an ICP License and a decent China VPS will usually cost you around $20 USD / month.
What You Need to Know About Using a China VPN
Since China does not have a law against downloading copyrighted material, all the TV series are free and legal for you to watch via Chinese IP addresses. But as you know, It is our policy to respect the copyright of all copyright owners.
Another important fact is that China has the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, users’ online activities are monitored by the government at all times, so you should never put any illegal material on the internet while using a China VPN. If you are concerned about online privacy, pick a country that has strong privacy laws like the Netherlands, Sweden, or Romania.
Free VPN vs Paid VPN
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to VPN services. We all love free stuff, but eventually you really should consider paying for a VPN.
Why NOT to use a free VPN? Most of the free VPNs are only capable of offering PPTP tunnels and the cheaper VPN service providers only offer PPTP. This means your security level is very low. On the other hand, free China VPN providers usually limit your bandwidth because the bandwidth is expensive in China and you are not paying for them. Most importantly, VPNs are now targeted by the Chinese government, and free VPN providers won’t provide you a new IP address once the earlier one is blocked by the Great Firewall. Also they may sell users’ information to any third-parties.
Why use a paid VPN? As against free VPN services, Paid VPNs can promise you certain degree of usability and reliability because they have invested a decent percent of their profit on bandwidth and servers. With a paid VPN, you are guaranteed a stable connection at all times! What is more, Paid VPN services tend to run faster, take your anonymity seriously, and don’t place limits on bandwidth or speed. These allow you to maximize the benefits and connectivity of your VPN connection.