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How to Use NordVPN to Overcome Restrictions in China?

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NordVPN’s obfuscated servers make it possible to unblock content and overcome some of the strictest online restrictions in China.

The VPN provider is also constantly adding new remote servers to its already impressive list of 5400+ across 60+ countries, so you can keep bypassing censorship from China.

In the rest of this piece, I discuss everything that makes NordVPN suitable for unblocking content in China and how you can do that yourself.

How to Overcome Restrictions With NordVPN in China?

This section teaches you how to bypass restrictions and Chinese censorship on any online app, service, or website.

Unblock Content on Mobile With NordVPN

Choose obfuscated servers when browsing on mobile with NordVPN, so Chinese censorship tools designed to block VPN internet traffic let you pass anyway.

Here’s how to do that on your Android or iOS device.

Choose NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers on iOS

  1. Launch the NordVPN app and tap the gear/settings icon at the base of the page.
  1. Select “VPN Connection.”
  1. Tap “Protocol.”
  1. Choose either “OpenVPN (UDP)” or “OpenVPN (TCP).”
  1. Tap the global icon to go back to the main app page. Select “Specialty Servers.”
  1. Choose “Obfuscated Servers.”
  1. You’re now connected to the fastest obfuscated VPN server.

I recommend the automatic connection unless you want to unblock content from a specific region.

Choose NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers on Android

  1. Launch the NordVPN app and tap the account avatar icon in the lower right.
  1. Click the gear/settings icon on the upper right.
  1. Select “Protocol.” Choose either “OpenVPN (UDP)” or “OpenVPN (TCP).”
  1. Select the global icon to return to the app’s homepage. Tap “Specialty Servers.”
  1. Select “Obfuscated” to connect to the fastest one.

Unblock Content on PC With NordVPN

You can download the NordVPN app or browser extension. However, while they both help you unblock content, you don’t get the full suite of the VPN app’s power (such as internet data encryption and obfuscated servers) with the browser extension.

Therefore, if you only want to unblock mildly-blocked apps and services via the browser extension, look at these guides:

Otherwise, follow the guide below for a more comprehensive protection and content unblocking approach.

  1. Download the NordVPN app for your PC and install it.
download nordvopn app on pc
  1. Click the “Settings” icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.
selecting nordvpn settings on pc
  1. Choose “Auto-connect” from the settings options and change “VPN Protocol” to “OpenVPN (TCP).”
opening autoconnect and openvpn setting on nordvpn using pc
  1. Select “Advanced” from the menu options and toggle “Obfuscated servers (OpenVPN (TCP)).”
selecting advanced settings on nordvpn app using pc
  1. Go back to the main app page.
  2. Under “Speciality Servers,” you should now see “Obfuscated Servers.”
locating specialty and obfuscated servers settings in nordvpn app using pc
  1. Tap “Obfuscated Servers” to get connected.
selecting three horizontal icons on obfuscated servers setting on nordvpn using pc

However, I recommend sticking with the automatic option for the best performance.

How to Download NordVPN in China?

NordVPN’s website might be blocked in China, making it hard for users in China to bypass content.

If this is your situation, try any of the methods below.

#1 Get the Apk File From a Trusted Friend

Recommended For: Android devices

I recommend getting the official NordVPN apk from a trusted friend, as downloading unofficial apks is dangerous.

Furthermore, you might have to enable the installation of third-party apps on your Android device to use this apk file. Watch the video below to do that on your Android device.

#2 Get the PC Program Files From a Trusted Source

Recommended For: PC units

You can also get program files for PC from a trusted friend.

Always make sure you’re installing the actual file from the official NordVPN website, not a cracked or modded program file, since those are notorious for installing malware on your devices.

#3 Use Unregulated Wi-Fi

Recommended For: iOS Devices, Android Devices, and PCs

Some hotels and establishments in China still have access to unrestricted internet, over which you can access some blocked services.

Or, suppose you’re there on a business trip. In that case, your company’s internet network can also be a safe bet, as such networks are usually unregulated too.

While the other methods above work well for Android devices and PCs, this is the best method for iOS devices.

#4 Use NordVPN’s Alternative Domains

Recommended For: Mobile devices and PCs

NordVPN is aware of the Chinese crackdown on its services, preventing users from accessing the original site.

That’s why the VPN provider maintains and constantly checks mirror sites where you can download and install its app without triggering any firewall censorships.

compatible devices for nordvpn app

Some of the working, official NordVPN mirror sites are:

These domains are great for downloading the NordVPN app for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Android TV, and even browser extensions.

What Websites Can NordVPN Unblock in China?

NordVPN’s obfuscated servers are notable for unblocking the majority of western services and other blocked websites/online platforms in China.

The table below gives you an overview of what kinds of services and internet platforms you can access once you’re connected through NordVPN.

Category Platforms
Social media Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.
Streaming BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Voot, France TV, etc.
Messaging Snapchat, Gmail, Slack, Telegram, etc.
Search engines Yahoo, Google, DuckDuckGo
Cloud storage Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
News BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.

What to Do When NordVPN Isn’t Working in China?

Your NordVPN app/program might not work in China for various reasons.

Follow the guide below, in no particular order, to troubleshoot the problem and start overcoming restrictions with your NordVPN app again.

  • Update the app – Some bugs in the NordVPN app code might prevent it from working right. Update the app from your official app store to clean up the code and get it working again.
  • Change remote servers – If you’re connecting via the standard remote servers, you might have chosen one that doesn’t allow you to unblock desired content. Switch to another remote server to get the desired results.
  • Choose obfuscated servers – You can unblock some content without obfuscated servers in China. However, some are so heavily regulated that you’ll need these specialty servers. Disconnect from standard servers and follow the steps in this guide to use obfuscated servers instead.
  • Check your VPN connection – NordVPN is designed with an internet kill switch that terminates your connection once there’s a VPN service interruption, preventing DNS and IP address So, recheck your VPN connection and reconnect whenever this happens.
  • Reboot the VPN app – Cache, memory build-up, and CPU bandwidth usage can sometimes cause an app to misbehave, especially when it’s been active for too long. Disconnect from the VPN and reboot your NordVPN app to see if that works.
  • Choose NordLynx protocol – The NordLynx protocol from NordVPN is lighter than OpenVPN (which we use for obfuscated servers), so it has a higher chance of working where the latter doesn’t. Since it’s the proprietary protocol for NordVPN, your VPN apps should now work seamlessly.
  • Contact Support – When all else doesn’t seem to work, reach out to NordVPN’s fast customer support. You can reach them via emails or on socials, but the Live Chat feature (within your account dashboard) remains the fastest bet.
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Frequently Asked Questions

You can download NordVPN on iOS when you’re in China by connecting to an unregulated Wi-Fi/internet service provider or downloading via NordVPN mirror websites.

You can also choose standard remote VPN servers for iOS to unblock content and websites that aren’t heavily regulated. These standard servers offer better upload/download speed than obfuscated servers.

NordVPN is on the list of VPN providers banned in China. This ban lends further credence to the fact that NordVPN is a valid threat to the great firewall since it can easily get around Chinese censorship and restrictions.

That said, using NordVPN in China isn’t a crime as long as you’re not committing any cybercrimes. The Chinese police sometimes crack down on VPN users (after physically checking their phones for the app), but foreigners are usually exempt from such searches and treatments.

I recommend downloading your VPN app before entering China.

Enjoy Better Internet Privacy With NordVPN

NordVPN allows you to unblock content in China and protect your internet activity. For example, you can unblock Dropbox in China with NordVPN without the government or your ISP knowing or seeing the files you send/receive.

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