Does Dropbox Work in China? (4 Ways to Unblock Dropbox)

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China’s firewall system blocks access to Dropbox services on PC and mobile, so you can’t access the service in mainland China.

Luckily, you can unblock Dropbox’s services with a VPN to get unrestricted access to its servers and your files in China.

I unblock Dropbox with NordVPN whether I’m in China or any other region that doesn’t allow me to access the platform.

I’ll show you how I do that in a bit, alongside why this is the fastest and easiest method to unblock Dropbox.

But I’ll also mention alternative ways to unblock Dropbox in China and what to expect from each in the following headings.

Unblocking Dropbox in China With a VPN (Easiest Method)

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to connect to remote server locations outside of China where Dropbox is supported.

Even though you’re in China, your PC and mobile devices behave like they’re in other regions due to the nature of the VPN connection.

Here’s how to unblock Dropbox with VPN services on mobile or PC when in China.

Unblocking Dropbox on Mobile

This works for Android and iOS device users looking to gain access to Dropbox in China:

  1. Sign up with a preferred VPN provider. I recommend NordVPN.
  2. Install your VPN app from the iOS App Store/Google Play Store and log in with your signup credentials.
  3. Download and install the Dropbox app for your mobile device if you don’t already have it.
  1. Launch your VPN app and connect to a server location where Dropbox is supported. I prefer the USA region.
  1. Open your Dropbox app and log in with your account credentials.
  1. You now get access to all your Dropbox files and documents.

Unblocking Dropbox on PC or Mac

Accessing Dropbox on a PC or Mac is also straightforward.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Sign up with a reliable VPN service provider if you haven’t already. I also use NordVPN on my PC.
  2. Download and install the VPN app. You can also install a browser extension for your preferred browser. I pair NordVPN with Google Chrome for a faster experience.
pairing nordvpn with google chrome
  1. Choose a Dropbox-supported VPN server location. I’ll use the UK VPN location now.
connect to server supporting
  1. Optional – Launch Incognito Mode in your browser. This prevents cookies and cache from interfering with the unblocking process.
  2. Go to the official Dropbox website (https://dropbox.com/).
opening dropbox website
  1. Login with existing account credentials/create a new account if you don’t already have one.
  2. You can now use Dropbox normally from China.
accessing dropbox in china

Top 3 VPNs to Unblock Dropbox in China

There are several good VPNs, but they’re not all great for unblocking Dropbox in China.

Here are the three (3) I always recommend you have – and I’ve also detailed why they’re the ones to get.

1. NordVPN – Best Option to Unblock Dropbox

using dropbox with nordvpn

With 5400+ servers in 60+ countries, NordVPN provides thousands of server options to unblock Dropbox.

The country count also makes it possible to unblock Dropbox services like you were in your specific country/region.

The Chinese government sometimes cracks down on VPN users, so it’s great to have obfuscated servers from NordVPN.

These make it impossible for anyone looking at your traffic to know you’re using a VPN.

Speaking of anyone looking at your traffic, NordVPN’s 265-bit encryption protocol ensures no one can see what you’re doing on the internet.

Not even your ISP can see the websites you’re accessing.

This keeps your information secure against hackers and protects files you’re sharing from/to Dropbox on that network.

If you’re traveling to China, chances are you’re going to use hotel Wi-Fi and other public Wi-Fi networks.

NordVPN’s dedicated public Wi-Fi protection encrypts your connection and protects your files and devices against malware injection, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other security concerns on such networks.

Your NordVPN subscription covers six devices across MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android, and iOS, making it a valuable buy.

If you’re interested in unblocking Dropbox access in China with NordVPN, get exclusive NordVPN deals here.

2. ExpressVPN – Premium VPN for Unblocking Dropbox

dropbox with

ExpressVPN is a robust VPN provider for content unblocking with 3000+ servers in 94 countries.

The extended country count (compared with NordVPN) gives you an even higher chance to find your country on the list and use Dropbox like you’re at home.

There aren’t a lot of region-specific features on Dropbox, anyway, but you might want the home experience.

Luckily, ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer Technology doesn’t write any of your internet connection data to a hard drive, so your Dropbox data transfers can’t be traced on the network.

Its strict no-logs policy also means that the VPN doesn’t collect any data about you and can’t hand anything to the government if they come calling.

Since ExpressVPN may be a bit pricey, I recommend checking exclusive deals on the ExpressVPN multi-year plan, which brings the price down considerably.

You could even check to see if you’re eligible for an ExpressVPN student discount to save more on your subscription.

You also get to use a single subscription across five devices and can even install router software to extend its reach.

And with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll be trying ExpressVPN risk-free.

3. Surfshark – Most Affordable for Unlimited Devices

using dropbox with surfshark

Choose Surfshark if you need to unblock Dropbox simultaneously on unlimited devices.

The VPN provider doesn’t limit the number of iOS, Android, PC, Mac, or Linux devices that can connect at once, and they’re all protected the same.

You get unlimited bandwidth, so speed throttling won’t be an issue.

Surfshark also offers obfuscated servers if you need to be private about using your VPN, which might be the case given China’s strict censorship.

Additionally, you can get a static IP address with Surfshark, from which you can always unblock Dropbox like you’re in one place at all times.

I don’t recommend this static IP address unless you’d be staying in China for a long time.

Now that the VPN company has 3200+ servers in 65+ countries and still adding more, you’re never left wanting for where to connect from.

On top of the unlimited device usage, you can still enjoy premium discounts on Surfshark.

The discount offer still comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for a risk-free approach to see if this provider is the right one for you.

Alternatives Methods to Unblock Dropbox in China

With a VPN, you can access your Dropbox account and files in under 10 minutes.

The VPN app also provides extra internet security and data encryption, besides just unblocking.

If you’re fishing for other options to unblock your Dropbox access in China, though, here are some methods worth considering:

#1 Use Roam-Like-Home Plans

Some network providers offer roam-like-home plans, which allow you to access the web and other internet services like you’re back home.

This might not be cost-intensive if you stay in China for more than a couple of days.

Otherwise, you start racking up additional roaming charges, which equals a big bill waiting for you at home.

roam like home plans from rogers
Roam Like Home plans from Rogers.

Roam-Like-Home plans aren’t always reliable, either.

Availability is dependent on your network provider, their reach, and coverage in China.

With a VPN, you could use a Chinese ISP and still have access to Dropbox.

Still, if you prefer this plan, check with your network provider to confirm:

  • If they offer roam-like-home plans.
  • If they have coverage in China.
  • Where they have coverage in China.

I also recommend Googling to find what others are saying about your network provider’s plans in China.

You don’t want to get there and find it impossible to access the internet.

#2 Try Chinese Dropbox Alternatives

Baidu and Tencent file sharing and cloud storage services are suitable alternatives to Dropbox in China.

These services also work outside of China, so you can still use them when you travel away from the region.

However, they’re Chinese-based services, so they’re more optimized for that market.

baidu ai cloud alternative to dropbox

I’m also not sure that these alternative cloud services conform to privacy standards.

The reason brands like Facebook, Google, and Twitter were banned in the region is because they wouldn’t retain data locally since China can demand or seize such data at any time.

Think about the integrity of what data you’re storing on these platforms if you’re using them.

Overall, they’re great alternatives that get the job done – but the cost of getting the job done may be too steep.

#3 Use Unregulated Wi-Fi

Some hotels and establishments in China still have access to Wi-Fi that’s not hindered by the firewall.

In this case, you can connect to your hotel Wi-Fi and access Dropbox in China.

However, since the hotel Wi-Fi is a public network, your data is exposed to the network admin and anyone snooping around.

In addition to seeing that you’re using Dropbox, they might even be able to intercept the files you’re sending or receiving into your Dropbox.

Using a VPN adds an extra layer of security by encrypting the data and files you send over the network.

NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark use 256-bit military-grade encryption, which is impossible to break by any known computer, so you’re in good hands.

Business travelers may also be able to unblock Dropbox with their company’s internal networks when they’re on site.

As soon as you leave the company building and disconnect from the network, though, you can’t access Dropbox from that network anymore.

FAQ

Dropbox isn’t illegal in China but was banned as part of several services that wouldn’t be subject to the country’s data retention, sharing, and management laws.

Dropbox is in the league of other platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which don’t agree with China’s content monitoring and filtration laws.

You can still bypass the Chinese firewall, which blocks access to these services, and you’d not be breaking any law by so doing.

There is no official reason for blocking Dropbox in China, but looking at similar tech company bans, the grounds aren’t far-fetched.

The Chinese government asks international companies to establish local branches and store data locally.

This allows the government to seize this user data since the companies are within their jurisdiction.

Given China’s crackdown on citizens, companies like Dropbox would be wary of leaking such sensitive data, harming its users.

China also requests that most international platforms censor the content they show to its citizens, removing anything against the state.

Since this might also lead to misinformation, platforms like Dropbox disagreed – hence the ban.

Dropbox works in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau as these regions operate different systems from the parent Chinese government.

There could be reliability issues from connecting to Dropbox from Hong Kong, so it’s best to have a good VPN service provider handy anyway.

Unblock Other Services in China

Now that you’ve unblocked Dropbox in China, you might soon realize that the Chinese firewall keeps you from seeing more content on the internet.

You should learn how to unblock Netflix, easily, and improve your data privacy while you’re at it.

One thing all these unblocking methods have in common is a VPN.

With a single NordVPN subscription that works across six devices simultaneously, you can unblock other blocked websites in mainland China.

Try NordVPN risk-free for 30 days, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can do on the internet even while in China.

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