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Does Private Internet Access Work in China?

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Private Internet Access occasionally works in China, but it’s unreliable and tricky as it sometimes doesn’t bypass the Great Firewall.

However, if you’ve already subscribed, certain tricks like switching to PIA’s WireGuard protocol, changing servers, and using the SOCKS5 proxy can kickstart PIA to work in China.

So, keep reading to know what to do when your PIA isn’t connecting and better alternatives to PIA in China.

Private Internet Access Isn’t Connecting in China? (What to Do)

With the tight restrictions on VPN usage in China, Private Internet Access might sometimes not work in China. Here are a few tricks to help get it back up:

Use the OpenVPN Protocol

This is PIA’s default protocol, so it’s mostly stable and secure. 

It establishes an undetectable connection between your VPN client and server that could break through China’s VPN-blocking.

You can activate this protocol by going to Settings > Protocols > OpenVPN.

private internet access protocols

Switch to WireGuard Protocol

Sometimes, switching to PIA’s WireGuard protocol can get PIA working in China again. You can do this via Settings > Protocols > WireGuard.

Using the OpenVPN Connect App

If PIA’s inbuilt OpenVPN protocol doesn’t work, the OpenVPN Connect App is a worthy alternative for breaking through China’s firewall.

So, you can manually connect the OpenVPN protocol to your PIA in a few minutes:

  1. Download both PIA and the OpenVPN Connect App to your device.
  2. Go to your PIA member area and login.
private internet access log in
  1. Click “Downloads.”
private internet access apps
  1. Scroll down to “OpenVPN Configuration Generator.”
openvpn configuration generator
  1. Click “Go to OpenVPN Generator” to check the version of OpenVPN you’re using.
openvpn generator
  1. Select the platform you’re using and choose “China.”
choose private internet access platform
  1. If the PIA support team can’t recommend the best Port, try all until you find one that works.
  2. Check the “Use IP” box and click “Generate.”
check use ip
  1. Download and import the file into the OpenVPN Connect App.
  2. Use your PIA VPN.

Connect via the PIA Browser Extension

The PIA support team recommends the VPN’s browser extension instead of its app because the browser extension often works better in China.

However, since China doesn’t allow browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, you might have to download Google’s Chinese version of Chrome. Once you have this, you can download your PIA extension and click the red icon to connect easily.

private internet access google chrome extension

It’s also important to remember that this doesn’t exempt you from subscribing, as you would have to pay for your preferred plan before you can use Private Internet Access VPN. You can save more with these discounts.

Use SOCKS5 Proxy

PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy via desktop is another way to connect to the VPN in China.

Below is a step-by-step setup guide for PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy:

  1. Get PIA VPN by choosing your preferred subscription.
  1. Log in into your online PIA account.
  2. Click “Downloads.”
private internet access device compatibility
  1. Scroll to the SOCKS section under “VPN Settings.”
  2. Click “Generate/Re-generate” to get your username and password. Remember to keep both safe as they differ from your PIA login details.
generate private internet access socks5 username
  1. Open your PIA app, click “Multi-Hop,” and check “Multi-hop and Obfuscation.” Then, switch to “SOCKS5 Proxy.”
private internet access multi-hop and obfuscation enabled
  1. On the pop-up screen, put in your Server IP Address, Port Number (PIA recommends you use 1080). Also, input the username and password you generated earlier.
enter socks5 proxy details on private internet access
  1. Click “OK,” then connect to a server.

What’s the Best PIA Server to Use in China?

The best PIA server to use in China is the Hong Kong server, as it’s the closest and fastest. This allows you to get top-notch online privacy and security without losing speed.

However, the best PIA server to unblock content from China is one in a region where the desired content is available. For instance, connect to the USA server to watch Netflix US or get BBC iPlayer on the UK server.

What’s the Best PIA Protocol to Use in China?

PIA’s OpenVPN protocol is the best to use in China. It is PIA’s default protocol and is mostly stable. However, on rare occasions where OpenVPN doesn’t work, switch to WireGuard, which sometimes works in the region.

On What Devices Does PIA Work in China?

PIA works well on Android, Windows, and macOS in China because it requires little configuration but doesn’t work well on iOS. However, you can configure PIA for iOS devices using the OpenVPN app or manually install PIA’s OpenVPN profile on your iPhone and iPad unit.

How to Access the PIA Website From China?

PIA’s website is blocked in China, and the provider doesn’t provide mirror websites to bypass the main website block. Alternatively, you can always reach PIA’s customer care via email address: support@privateinternetaccess.com.

Thus, the best time to get the PIA VPN app is before entering China, as the Great Firewall might be too strong to get the app once you’re in the country. 

However, you can also connect to an unfiltered Wi-Fi network, ask a friend to send you the program files or roam the internet with a non-Chinese SIM to get the PIA app.

Reliable PIA VPN Alternatives in China

If you’ve tried all the ways to get PlA to work in China, but it still doesn’t connect, here are some top-notch VPNs that can break through China’s firewall.


private internet access connected to chicago server

PrivateVPN is the top VPN alternative to Private Internet Access in China thanks to its:

  • Special stealth mode: This obfuscation feature is enabled in the settings, and it adds a layer of protection to your connection, i.e., it makes your encryption (VPN traffic) look unencrypted (regular web traffic), making it difficult for the Great Firewall to detect your VPN.
  • Strict zero-log policy: PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, which has strict privacy laws on collecting or storing your data. So, you can surf the web freely, knowing the Chinese government can’t collect your data.
  • Kill switch and leak protection: PrivateVPN blocks your internet access when the VPN stops abruptly, so none of your data gets leaked.

Grab these cheap PrivateVPN deals and explore the VPN risk-free for 30 days.


unblock netflix with surfshark

Surfshark shines in China due to numerous features like:

  • Kill-switch: Surfshark’s industry-leading kill switch disconnects your internet when the VPN is interrupted. So, none of your data leaks to the firewall, China Telecom and other ISPs, or government authorities.
  • No Borders mode: This fantastic feature swings into action immediately Surfshark detects a geo-restriction and provides a server list that functions without network restraints.
  • Broader server coverage: Surfshark has servers in 100+ countries, more than that of PIA. So, you get to unblock content in more regions from China.
  • Camouflage mode: Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode eliminates VPN traces of OpenVPN VPN protocol from your internet traffic. Thus, making your connection look like any other conventional Internet connection while unblocking the web.

It doesn’t get any better than these, so grab these Surfshark deals and explore the VPN risk-free for 30 days.


astrillvpn servers

AstrillVPN is another reliable alternative to Private Internet Access in China because of its:

  • Stealth VPN protocol and smart mode: This AstrillVPN feature was designed to defeat website blocks to help you quickly bypass China’s censorship.
  • Super-charged servers: AstrillVPN has an expansive server network, including nearby servers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. These servers give Chinese users a fast internet connection without sacrificing security.
  • Safe Jurisdiction: AstrillVPN is based in Seychelles. This region has zero data retention laws and doesn’t have data-sharing agreements with other countries. So, AstrillVPN can’t hand over your data to foreign governments.

What are you waiting for? Grab these AstrillVPN deals and unblock anything in China.

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Defeat the Great Firewall

PIA offers a few tricks when its VPN doesn’t work generally in China, but that’s sometimes not enough to bypass the Great Firewall. In that case, you should go with any of its reliable alternatives in China.

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