I originally wrote a very lengthy post about comparing various VPNs that I tried in China, but after some deliberation, I don’t see the point of writing a lengthy post just for the sake of being long winded. I’m going to keep things short here and nix the back story. The bottom line is that I’m in a China for a week or two every now and then and need to get access to the uncensored Internet.
Here’s what I’ve found:
- 12VPN: Expensive, but the best solution to bypass the Great Firewall in China. It actually makes me feel like I’m using the Internet outside of China. Very strict about their no-torrent policy though. I accidentally launched uTorrent and was blocked on the server I was using for two hours immediately even though I closed the app within 3 seconds. The other downside is that while they offer a 14-day refund policy, they don’t offer single month package, rather you’ll have to opt for a 3, 6, or 12-month package, depending on which plan you choose. Well worth the money though. I also couldn’t seem to easily find a discount code online.
VPN.AC: Cheap and functional. Sometimes sites take a frustratingly long time to load, but in general it works. You’re also allowed to use Bittorrent on some of their servers too, so that’s a plus point. If you’re in China for a week or so, you can sign up for their weekly trial at $2 on their FAQ page and even Google for a discount code.
Also do take note that Internet speeds in China are generally very slow, so after you add in the overhead of a VPN, Internet speeds will feel even slower, but at least it’ll work. You just need to be patient.
Update 30 June 2014: I’ve since switched to ExpressVPN. I noticed two things about 12VPN and ExpressVPN. The speeds I got from both upon sign up were amazing, after that it became much slower after a day or so. I’m not sure if that’s due to the service provider or the Great Firewall in China. In the end I preferred ExpressVPNs result, so I’ll give that a try again when I’m next in China.
Update 23 August 2014: VPN.AC worked but was pretty slow this trip. I switched to ExpressVPN and the speeds are bearable. At least I feel like I have a slow but reliable connection back in Malaysia, which allows me to do my work. So far ExpressVPN is the way to go.