How Foreigners Can Access Blocked Websites in China

Before deciding to take a vacation for a week, or choosing to enroll in a semester or two in China, you have to be aware that the country blocks your favorite websites. In fact, the Chinese government has been known all over the world as one of the most repressive nations when it comes to censoring different sites on the internet.  

If you're traveling in the mainland, know that you won't be able to gain access to a wide range of content including Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, and a whole lot of major foreign news sites. In fact, it's a problem that even local citizens are fighting against, but it is, by far, no easy battle to win.

Otherwise known as the great firewall of China, this internet firewall blocks all websites that are deemed appropriate by the government. The main reason is to maintain the cultural ideology and the integrity of the country.

Don't worry though ‒ you can still have access to your favorite websites such as Facebook, Twitter, or anything Google-related and watch unblocked series and news if you have VPN with you.

What's A VPN?

One of the most popular methods used to access particular websites in China is the use of a VPN or a Virtual Private Network. It functions to encrypt traffic, making it difficult to monitor. In fact, it can even make your computer look like it's not in China, but from somewhere else.

What Websites Are Blocked?

China is tightening its grip regarding the information that is coming and going in the country. While you're there, you can still access to different websites even without VPN. However, you won't be allowed to go to these websites:

  • Everything Google-related (Google Docs, Google Drive, Gmail, etc.)
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Dropbox
  • Netflix
  • Blogspot
  • Vimeo

Can you access these websites through a VPN?

Can you use a VPN to visit blocked websites in China? The answer is pretty straightforward ‒ yes. If you do some online research, you'd be able to come across different options for VPNs, but choosing the right VPN provider can be quite challenging. Some VPNs will run faster than others. Some do get blocked much quicker than others. That's why it's essential for you to secure two VPNs at once, the other one serving as a backup just in case the primary gets blocked.

Once you choose to use a VPN, an important thing to note is to download it before moving to China. How so? It's because once you've already arrived in the country and try to download it there, you might run the risk that it will not work.

Why Doesn’t China Block VPNs?

So if VPNs are so necessary and increasingly becoming popular in the mainland, why isn't China shutting down all these VPNs altogether?

Again, the answer is pretty simple. VPNs play a vital part in doing business especially for international companies that are thriving in China. These companies needed the internet on a daily basis. Therefore, it China chooses to cut off all VPNs in the country, it would significantly hurt how these companies are doing their businesses. Furthermore, VPNs also keep all information being transmitted from these companies to the rest of the world secure.

As of 2018, Does VPNs Still Work In China?

There is a lot of VPN scares over the last couple of years, including a ban that was supposed to take place on March 31, 2018. To answer your question, yes, VPNs are very much working in China. Despite all the heightened internet security, it would be quite challenging for the country to block all VPNs completely.

Last updated:10/16/2018 6:04:46 AM
Samantha Gonzales

Samantha Gonzales

Samantha is an Outreach Community Specialist and part-time blogger/writer. Her goal is to drive awareness to people through her writings.


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