The Great Firewall of China is the tool that the Chinese government has built to prevent those living in China from being able to access the entire content of the Internet – and the material that is critical of the government.
While the firewall is formidable and extensive, it is possible for you to get around it. For the readers of this blog, who are looking to live and work in China, can you imagine landing in China and not being able to access any of Google’s services? That’s right; no email, no search, no Gchat, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The Great Firewall of China: What does it block?
To give you a complete list of everything it blocked in this article would be exhausting. Take a trip over to Wikipedia for a complete breakdown. Here are the websites which are blocked that impact most business people:
- New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
- Many Wikipedia pages
All that and Gmail too! Try out the Great Firewall of China website to see if a tool essential to your business is blocked. If you don’t have a plan to get around the firewall you could very well find your business never taking off in China.
How to get around the Great Firewall of China
The easiest way to get around the Great Firewall of China is to make the servers inside of China that you’re connecting to not know what websites you’re visiting. This means encryption of your Internet traffic must take place as soon as it leaves your computer.
The easiest way to encrypt your traffic is with a VPN provider. A VPN provider will encrypt all of your Internet traffic as soon as you connect to it. With the firewall unable to detect which websites you’re visiting, it can’t block you.
Our website looks at the best VPN providers around, but the situation in China is quite different from the rest of the world. While all VPN providers encrypt traffic, China has gotten around this by blocking some VPN providers as well. We had to look at what is actually working in China right now.
Update: Please see an update about the affiliate links at the bottom of post.
We can confirm as of this writing that these 5 VPN providers work in China:
- IPVanish: Rank well due to numerous servers in area
- VyprVPN: Also provide numerous servers in Asia (accepts Alipay now)
- Private Internet Access: Privacy champions only have one server in Hong Kong
- PureVPN: Many servers in Asia, awkward software holds them back
- StrongVPN: Once blocked by Chinese government, now running on mirror site
Those were ranked in order of best at the top, downwards. Each one has different strengths, but they are all currently functioning within China to get past the firewall.
The other way to get around the Great Firewall of China
Users who are looking for another method to get around the Great Firewall of China, either as a backup or free solution, will need to look at proxy servers. A proxy server can be had in a number of ways from nearly countless providers.
Most proxy servers being used today are free add-ons for browsers. While they do have the ability to get around firewalls, they are slow as free online services tend to be. The other issue you’ll face with them is that ‘free’ also means no support. Many of them have been blocked in China. Since they’re not making any money, no one tries to fix them.
I could recommend a proxy to you right now, but there’s a very good possibility that it will wind up blocked by the time you read this. This list of unblocked proxies was once of 100, but 23 of them were blocked when the page was last updated in 2012!
Doing Business in China demands a plan
Being in China and doing business can be exciting. The prospect of expanding your business, and working on exciting ventures that are specific to the Chinese way of life is always enjoyable.
In order for your business to be as productive as possible, you need to have a plan in place to get around the Great Firewall of China. This will give you access to all the tools on the Internet. Not to mention the fact that you can still contact people back home!
Note: This VPN list was formed before the affiliate links were added. If you will purchase through these links I’ll get a percentage of the sale. This helps me keep running the blog and supports it. I appreciate and thank you for that.
This post was written by Marcus Habert from BestVPNProvider.
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