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Does Hotspot Shield Work in China? + Troubleshooting Tips

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Hotspot Shield works intermittently in China. I used the VPN over a two-week stay, and although there were a few times when the VPN failed, it was reliable for the most part.

It unblocks many geo-restricted sites in China, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, and streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

And the VPN doesn’t require complicated tinkering to use in China.

You just need to connect via its Hydra protocol to bypass the Great Firewall.

I’ll show you how to connect the VPN and provide helpful troubleshooting tips.

How to Use Hotspot Shield in China?

unblocking youtube with hotspot shield on us server

You can set up and use Hotspot Shield in China on most portable devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.

I recommend signing up and downloading the app before traveling to China.

If you’re already in the country, you can get the app from a friend or download it from a reputable third-party file hosting site.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the complete steps to use Hotspot Shield in China:

  1. Sign up for Hotspot Shield.
hotspot shield price
  1. Log into your Hotspot Shield account, select “Hotspot Shield VPN,” and click “Download now” to get the app.
download hotspot shield vpn
  1. Install the application on your device and log in.
hotspot shield sign in
  1. Go to Settings > Protocols and select Hydra.
hydra protocol on hotspot shield
  1. Enable the kill switch to keep your IP address and location hidden if the VPN connection drops. Go through Settings > Advanced and toggle the Kill switch.
hotspot shield kill switch feature
  1. Select and connect to your preferred server.
hotspot shield server locations

That’s it! You can now access your favorite sites from back home while in China.

Hotspot Shield Not Working in China? Try These Fixes

While I was pleasantly surprised by how well Hotspot Shield performs in China, it can sometimes take more than a few tries to get it working.

This can be due to connectivity issues on the server side of things that only the provider can solve. It can also be due to easily solvable problems that you can fix with the recommendations below:

Switch Servers

One of the ways China blocks Hotspot Shield is through simple IP blocking.

It keeps a database of all known Hotspot Shield VPN IPs and blocks all traffic from those IP addresses.

But the VPN provider actively refreshes its IP database, making it harder for the Chinese government to keep up. So, if you’re stuck, connect to a different server until you find one that works.

Use the Hydra Protocol

Hotspot Shield’s custom Hydra protocol obfuscates your VPN traffic to look like standard HTTPS traffic, allowing you to beat China’s Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).

But the VPN app doesn’t have Hydra as the default protocol, and you should select it manually.

Update the Hotspot Shield App

China is continually upping its VPN-blocking game, and you should ensure your Hotspot Shield app is updated to access the latest features.

Contact Customer Support

If none of the above fixes work for you, contact Hotspot Shield and ask them to recommend a reliable server.

You can reach them via email (ideal when in China and can’t access the Hotspot Shield website) or live chat.

Reliable Hotspot Shield Alternatives for China

Hotspot Shield is, for the most part, a good VPN for China. But it’s less reliable compared to some other VPNs for China.

If you’re interested in a more reliable alternative, the following are excellent options:

Surfshark

streaming ruv with surfshark on iceland server

Surshark works more reliably in China than Hotspot Shield. I tried it throughout my stay, and it unblocked Google, YouTube, and Twitter without fail.

It also offers a more expansive server network (3200+ servers in 100 countries), including Hong Kong and Macau.

Likewise, Surfshark is faster than Hotspot Shield and works with Netflix, Hulu, and Max, making it a good choice for streaming in China.

Check my in-depth guide on using Surfshark in China for more insights.

ExpressVPN

streaming 10 with expressvpn on australia server

ExpressVPN is another VPN that worked every time I tried it in China.

On top of that, it also delivered faster connections than Hotspot Shield, enabling me to watch full HD videos without buffering.

Finally, the provider offers 3000+ servers in 94 countries to access restricted sites in China. So, you never lack options even if the government blocks some IP addresses.

Interesting Reads:

FAQs

It’s illegal to use Hotspot Shield in China.

Like most reputable VPNs, Hotspot Shield isn’t registered with the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and is, therefore, banned.

Thankfully, the VPN supports obfuscation, allowing you to use it safely and without detection in China.

Yes, Hotspot Shield unblocks Facebook in China. It also allows you to access other popular social media sites blocked in China, like Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram.

Yes, Hotspot Shield unblocks Netflix in China. You can also use the VPN to watch your favorite shows on Hulu, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.

Unfortunately, you cannot use Hotspot Shield to obtain a Mainland China IP address.

Although the VPN app has a location labeled China, the server is foreign-based and instead designed to provide the best server to access local Chinese content like Bilibili abroad.

Bypass the Great Firewall With Ease

Hotspot Shield might not be flawless, but it lets you get around the Great Firewall and access your favorite sites and content.

It’s also super-fast, and its Hydra protocol obfuscates your traffic, allowing you to use it safely.

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