ExpressVPN Works in China: A Complete Setup Guide

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ExpressVPN is the most exceptional VPN in China, as it consistently enables you to break through the “Great Firewall of China.”

In addition, it comes with inbuilt military-grade security to protect your data from Chinese hackers and government surveillance.

That said, Chinese officials exert firm control over citizens’ access to VPNs to the point where they sometimes manage to block ExpressVPN.

Luckily, there are workarounds for solving this issue – I cover them all in this guide, along with tips to download and install ExpressVPN if you’re in China.

Let’s cut to the chase.

How to Use ExpressVPN in China?

Using ExpressVPN in China is very simple and works the same way as in other parts of the world. I Illustrated the entire setup on MacOS below.

You can follow the same steps for Windows.

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN by picking one of the plans. Click here to get a sweet deal.
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  1. Download and install the ExpressVPN app for your device. (Downloading procedure for Chinese users is in the next section)
install expressvpn on device
  1. Sign in to the app using the login credentials and activation code from ExpressVPN.
expressvpn sign-in

Now that you’ve installed the app, don’t get too excited about bypassing Chinese censorship yet. Begin by making critical security changes, including setting the suitable protocol and enabling the “kill switch” & “iPv6 leak prevention.”

Change Your Protocol

Start by changing your VPN connection protocol by following these two steps:

  1. Visit the “Protocol” settings located on the “Options” menu.
expressvpn protocol settings on automatic
  1. Set the Protocol to “Automatic.” This will allow ExpressVPN to pick the most suitable protocol for China.

Enable Kill Switch

The kill switch ensures your data stays protected even if you lose the VPN connection. 

When using ExpressVPN in China, I urge you to keep the kill switch on the whole time.

You can enable the Kill switch in 2 steps:

  1. Go to the “General” Settings under “Options” from the top left corner.
expressvpn network lock settings
  1. Turn on the Kill switch by checking the box that says, “Stop all internet traffic if VPN disconnects unexpectedly.”

Enable IPv6 Leak Protection

Similarly, perform the following steps for setting up IPv6 leak prevention to safeguard your real IP from getting exposed. (Applies to both MacOS and Windows)

  1. Access the “Advanced” settings from the “Options” under the cog icon.
expressvpn ipv6 leak settings
  1. Activate IP leak prevention by checking “Prevent iPv6 address detection while connected.”

Now, connect to any country’s server, and you’ll get an encrypted connection along with the IP address of the country you’ve chosen.

Kudos on conquering the “The Great Firewall.” Now you can freely browse the web!

How to Download ExpressVPN in China?

Unfortunately, there is no way for Chinese users to buy ExpressVPN directly and download its app from the official website since the Government has blocked it.

Here are alternative ways to download ExpressVPN in China:

Use Mirrored Links

A Mirrored link functions just like ExpressVPN’s website, but it runs on a different web address, so Chinese firewalls have difficulty tracing and blocking it.

These Mirrored links change almost daily, so I advise contacting ExpressVPN by email (support@expressvpn.zendesk.com) to get the latest mirrored link.

You can also ask your friend from any other country to acquire the link through ExpressVPN’s live chat.

Connect to a Free Proxy to Access ExpressVPN’s Site

Using a Free Proxy, you can change your IP address, but it won’t encrypt your data. 

Fortunately, there’s a high probability that Chinese governments don’t monitor small-scale proxy services.

A basic web proxy is suitable for this job. Paste ExpressVPN’s site URL into the search field, and the web proxy will open it through the proxy server.

I recommend https://www.proxysite.com/ for this.

Ask an Overseas Friend to Get ExpressVPN for You

If you have a friend who resides in an unrestrictive country, they can sign up for ExpressVPN and share the installation files and login credentials with you.

(Tourists) Use Your Home Country’s Sim Card

Suppose you’re visiting China from another country. In that case, use your local SIM card to access the ExpressVPN website because the roaming data on your home country’s SIM won’t utilize the Chinese telecom providers and ISPs, bypassing the Chinese firewall.

Still, I advise tourists to sign up and install ExpressVPN on their devices before arriving in China.

(Android Users) Email ExpressVPN and Ask for the .apk File

The ExpressVPN app is manifestly unavailable on China’s app store.

However, you can manually install the ExpressVPN app on your Android device using the .apk file.

Don’t download the .apk file through search engines or Internet forums since you can unknowingly infect your phone with malware. Instead, ask the ExpressVPN support team through Email or Live chat to send you the .apk file.

Take a Trip to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan

If no other method works for you, you could visit Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan for a weekend trip. Chinese surveillance is comparatively not as active in these regions, so you should be able to download ExpressVPN through the official site.

Benefits of Using ExpressVPN in China?

Some perks you get with ExpressVPN in China are:

  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee: ExpressVPN gives all its users a tempting 30-Day Money-back guarantee to test if it’s the right fit. Needless to say, you will have to pay a fee upfront but anytime, claim a full refund within 30 days if you’re not satisfied with ExpressVPN in China.
  • Dedicated Servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Japan: ExpressVPN does not have any servers in China, but Chinese users can still connect to nearby optimized servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.
  • Fast Obfuscation: With ExpressVPN, you can fool the Great Chinese Firewall servers with obfuscation that masks your VPN traffic to look like regular unencrypted browsing. Its inbuilt Lightway protocol helps to maintain fast speeds even on obfuscated servers.
  • Twice Audited No Logs Policy: ExpressVPN twice audited no logs policy has been verified by top auditing firms. Their “TrustedServer security” also boasts Volatile RAM servers, so your information is wiped out with every reboot.
  • Uses TCP port 443: ExpressVPN runs on OpenVPN, which utilizes TCP port 443 by default. HTTPS uses this same port, so it is improbable to be blocked by the Chinese Government.

Are There Any Drawbacks to ExpressVPN in China?

Apart from the slightly steep price of ExpressVPN, I found a couple of cons that may concern Chinese users.

  • Unstable Connection Speeds & Shutdowns Over Holidays: During my research, I came across a peculiarity of some Chinese users who reported that ExpressVPN works fine until it doesn’t.
drawbacks of expressvpn in china

Some cases also expressed unpleasant experiences with server connection speeds and shutdowns during public holidays or before severe political meetings.

However, the 30-day money-back policy can always be handy in such situations.

  • No Linux Graphical User Interface (GUI): There is no Linux GUI app for ExpressVPN. This means Linux users in China have no choice but to use the terminal to connect to the ExpressVPN server.

Why Does China Restrict the Internet and VPNs So Heavily?

You must already know how the Chinese Government is known for using a combination of legislative actions and technology for strict control over internet access within the country.

These censorship and restrictions are collectively known as “China’s Great Firewall,” creating several complications for local citizens and tourists.

Essentially, the Government doesn’t want the local people to be influenced by any content critical to its power. This includes suggestive content, different political beliefs, or even gambling sites.

For obvious reasons, the officials are also not pleased with VPNs being freely available, which is why there is a short supply of decent VPN providers in China, such as ExpressVPN.

Can’t Connect to ExpressVPN From China? 6 Easy Fixes

Below are some troubleshooting tips to help you fix any problems with ExpressVPN China.

  • Wait for ExpressVPN to establish the connection. ExpressVPN takes me 3-4 seconds to connect to a server. However, it can take longer if you’re from a part of China with slower internet speed so wait at least 30-60 seconds for the connection to finalize.
  • Delete your browser’s cache history & cookies. Websites often use your cache history and cookies to look for any conflict between your location data and your VPN IP address. Make sure you visit the browser settings and clear the existing cache and cookies, so sites can only view the VPN IP address.
  • Re-connect the VPN. Inconsistent internet or technical glitches can chiefly result in VPN connection failure. If the connection constantly shows “failed,” then close the app, restart your device, and try connecting again.
  • Reinstall or update ExpressVPN. After several attempts, if you still fail to connect, ensure you’re running the updated ExpressVPN update. Also, try reinstalling the app if you have the executable file stored.
  • Try servers optimized for China. I reached out to ExpressVPN for the recommended servers for China. Their response consisted of the following: Japan (Yokohama), UK (Wembley), USA (Los Angeles 5 and Santa Monica), Singapore (Marina Bay), and France (Alsace).
  • Contact customer support. The last option to resolve connection issues is to get in touch with customer support for guidance. I recommend you reach out to support@expressvpn.zendesk.com using Yahoo, as it is a functional email service in China.

FAQ

There is no straightforward answer to this—the Government and authorities of China do not approve of ExpressVPN, which is why it is banned in the country. 

Nonetheless, the Chinese Government generally targets only VPN providers with legal action.

It is very unusual for individual users to be prosecuted for using a VPN.

This is because business VPNs have become an intrinsic component for conducting online work today.

The Chinese Government has blocked numerous sites and services you can only access through a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN. Here is a list with many such examples (although nowhere near exhaustive):

  • Netflix
  • Youtube
  • Google
  • Telegram
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Twitch
  • Spotify
  • Slack
  • Whatsapp
  • Onedrive
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Wikipedia
  • Pinterest
  • CNN
  • BBC
  • Wall Street Journal
  • NY Times
  • NBC
  • Bloomberg

Assuming that you’re in China and are connected to a server from another country, you may face difficulties accessing the Netflix library of that country using ExpressVPN because browser cookies show your actual geo-location to Netflix.

As I revealed earlier in the troubleshooting section, you can easily solve this by clearing your cache or using another browser with an incognito window. 

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, ExpressVPN is truly the finest VPN to bypass China’s great firewall.

It has all the top security measures necessary to tackle restrictions in China, so I recommend it to everyone living in Mainland China.

Plus, for those visiting China, ExpressVPN is the best companion that will keep all your online activities undercover while in China.

But No need to take my word for it. Try ExpressVPN in China risk-free since a 30-day money-back guarantee backs it.

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Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service.

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