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Test if a site is blocked in China

Key Takeaways: How Does Our China Firewall Test Work?

  • Our test uses servers in China to determine whether a website is blocked in the country.
  • Just enter any website’s URL and click the “test” button.
  • This test helps determine whether you’ll need a VPN to bypass Chinese internet censorship.

The Great Firewall of China blocks access to many websites you may take for granted, like Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. If you travel to China, blocked domains won’t load at all. Instead of waiting until you’re in China, use our China firewall test at home to check sites you can’t live without. 

If a site you need is blocked in the People’s Republic of China, a virtual private network (VPN) can make it accessible again. Make sure to install at least two of the best VPNs before you travel, as China also blocks most VPN homepages. 

  • 01/25/2024 Facts checked

    We’ve expanded the webpage and added some VPN recommendations.

Why China Blocks Some Websites: The Great Firewall of China Explained

China aims to control the information that its citizens can access. The Chinese government has been censoring the media since long before the internet became a widespread commodity in the nation. Not even newspapers are immune.

China patrols the internet using human spies, DNS poisoning, domain blocking and deep packet inspection. As of 2013, 2 million people were employed to keep tabs on the populace. The government even fined Weibo, one of China’s leading social media platforms, 3 million yuan for letting restricted content through.

List of Sites Blocked in China

These are some popular websites you can’t visit in China:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • BBC
  • Wikipedia
  • Quora
  • Slack
  • Snapchat
  • Gmail

How Can I Access Censored Websites in China?

The Great Firewall only blocks internet connections that originate in China. With a VPN, you can access censored websites in China by obtaining a new IP address located outside the country. The best VPN services for China also include obfuscation, which disguises your traffic so it looks like you’re not using a VPN.

There are many VPN services, but not all work in mainland China. Additionally, the Great Firewall is ever-changing, so a service that works one week may not work the next. We highly recommend traveling with multiple VPNs in case one fails.

Which VPN Services Work in China?

Below are some VPN services that we recommend for China. Since these VPNs’ websites are blocked in China, you must install the VPNs on your device before you enter the country.

1. Proton VPN

protonvpn new york
Proton VPN offers plenty of server locations near China.

Pros:

  • Free plan with no data limit
  • Unblocks big streaming apps
  • Stealth protocol & alternative routing

Cons:

  • Can’t choose server on free plan
  • Small server network overall

As you can read in our full Proton VPN review, Proton VPN is a trustworthy independent VPN service that is best known for its free plan with no data caps. However, for our purposes, we’re most interested in the Stealth protocol, which Proton added in 2022.

Stealth is your typical obfuscation protocol, disguising your VPN connection’s metadata, so the Great Firewall can’t tell that you’re using a VPN. Combined with alternative routing — which uses third-party servers to evade VPN bans — we’ve found that Proton is consistently one of the most reliable China VPNs. It also comes with other VPN features that you may be accustomed to, including a kill switch that disables your internet if your VPN connection drops.

Free
  • Unlimited GB
  • 1
  • Yes
Plus
  • 1-year plan renews at $119.88; 2-year plan renews at $239.76
  • Unlimited GB
  • 10
  • Yes

2. Windscribe

windscribe protocols
Windscribe includes two different obfuscation protocols.

Pros:

  • Stealth & WStunnel protocols
  • Cheap customizable plans
  • Very fast

Cons:

  • Cramped user interface
  • Limited data on free plan

Like Proton VPN, Windscribe is both one of the best free VPN services and among the best for China. Its free plan includes a server in Hong Kong, which is ideal for accessing the global internet from mainland China. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs. If the free plan doesn’t include enough data for your needs, you can build your own plan with East Asian servers for $3 a month.

Windscribe comes with two different obfuscation protocols: Stealth and WStunnel. If one stops working at any point while you’re in China, there’s a good chance that the other can pick up the slack. You can learn more in our Windscribe review.

Free
  • Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
  • 15GB
  • Unlimited

3. Astrill

astrill servers
Astrill may look ugly, but it’s got a strong record in China.

Pros:

  • Known to work in China
  • Great for streaming
  • Good speeds

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive
  • Outdated interface
  • Collects your phone number

For starters, Astrill is expensive. This is the only VPN that almost always costs more than ExpressVPN. Our Astrill review also goes over some of the company’s questionable privacy policies, such as collecting your phone number at signup and gathering information that could be used for device fingerprinting.

However, if you want a VPN that will almost certainly work in China, Astrill may be worth it. More than any other VPN, Astrill has built its identity around tackling the Great Firewall and is consistently touted as the most reliable China VPN. Its “supercharged” servers are designed for Chinese citizens, offering them optimized connections to the U.S.

Final Thoughts

Most websites that people take for granted in other countries are blocked in China. Internet users can only visit blocked websites by using a VPN to encrypt their internet connection. To see whether you’ll need a VPN to visit your favorite websites while you’re in China, try out our test at the top of this page. 

If you’re traveling to China soon, make sure to not only test your favorite sites, but also to create a WeChat account. WeChat is the most popular messaging app in China, and having an account can make you more functional within the country.

Which other VPNs should we include on this list? How was your experience using VPNs in China? Let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.

FAQ: China Firewall Test

  • The Great Firewall of China blocks access to websites that don’t align with the values of the ruling communist party.

  • Your website must comply with Chinese laws and be hosted on the country’s servers.

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