About Sapore di Cina

Sapore di Cina is a website that provides first-hand information about living and traveling in Asia. You can check our About Us page to learn more.


  1. oli says

    i am from main land china using OneVPN with Cisco anyconnect client its flawless, work for me like a camp.

  2. Terry says

    I live in China and have done for the last 25 years, so no nipping home and loading a new VPN. Totally agree with Huge Mason. Windscribe is good, reliable and has a free option. Also there are some very good free services out there which unlike the paid ones do not grind to a halt at the week end. They limit user not band width and speed, which the rip you off boys cannot do. Obviously ExpressVPN pays the best affiliate link commission!

    • Sapore di Cina says

      Windscribe free accounts limit bandwidth and you grant them the permission to send you mail advertising and include adds during browsing. The paid version might be a good option for China and we might consider testing it, but I don’t like their refund policy (at least Express and the other VPNs recommended here, can be tested and if you don’t like their service they give your money back). Anyway, I always suspect services that promise privacy but at the same time, they offer free accounts.

      • Bryce says

        Sorry, Windscribe ‘free’ does not send ads or include ads while browsing. It has been as reliable as Express , which was blocked for me last year.
        The CCP plays cat & mouse; frequently pulling the plug on Express, Nord, etc..

        • Sapore di Cina says

          The free version give’s you 10GB and limited bandwidth, you can allow them to send adds to your email to increase you bandwidth. What I want to say is that no VPN is really for free and I prefer to pay for a good service instead of trying to find out where they get the money from.

  3. Hugh Mason says

    How can you guys keep pushing Express and Nord unless you are getting paid to do so. Before I cam to China and after reading articles such as you put out. I bought a subscription for both Express and Nord, Express never worked full stop managed to get my money back. Nord does not work as it says I had to go over to their OpenVPN which does work, nut why should I go to all this trouble to get it working. Its like buying a car then having to tune and reconfig the engine before you buy it. From comments here and other blogs it is obvious that China blogs are bought by the big VPN suppliers and do not represent actual working conditions here in China.

    • Sapore di Cina says

      You can read our disclaimer to know more about this, you have plenty of options faster than Windscribe. The big suppliers offer faster speeds and they are more reliable long term, but obviously are also a target in periods with increased restrictions. If you want the best performance of a VPN is normal that you need to adjust their settings.
      Anyway, in my case, most of the time I use ExpressVPN because it’s fast. When Express have problems, I usually use VyprVPN or other smaller providers like Ivacy or Surfshark

      • Hugh Mason says

        I understand I have other options than Windscribe, but it has never let me down like Express and Nord. Sorry I cannot believe you use Express most of the time as my experience and the experience from a lot of other expats in China is that it does not work, period. Sorry to go on about this but I am really peed off that after extensive searching for VPN to use in China before coming here, the two highly rated, by reviews, turned out to be crap and I was lucky to have a freebe that actually worked and got me out of the poo.

        • Sapore di Cina says

          Hi Hugh, I know that Express isn’t perfect but, at least in my experience, when it works is the one that gives me the best performance (I always follow their recommendations for China).

          About Nord, it had problems recently but it’s still is a big provider that has the ability to fix the connectivity problems faster than smaller providers.

          Also, in this article, you have some other good alternatives: Vypr, Ivacy, Surfshark, Strong and Astrill. VPN Area and PureVPN are also good VPNs but sometimes are a bit too slow or less unreliable.

          The idea is that there isn’t a “perfect VPN” and you should try some of them and stick with the ones work better for you. Almost all of them have the 30-day refund policy

  4. Bart Goeltz says

    ExpressVPN is not the most effective in China, you just say so because of affiliate referral like everyone else. The trusted research site https://cc.greatfire.org/en?d=1 measures speed and reliability in real time updated everyday. Express is for normies, but tech savy researchers do not respect ExpressVPN but rather free software like Tor, Lantern, VPNGate, Psiphon, and I2p. According to GreatFire, today the free Lantern circumventor is 84% faster than Express in China.

    • SDC says

      Our experience is really different from what the greatfire says, in our experience, PureVPN and HideMass (that they rank quite good in greatfire) don’t work or have really low performances in China. We test the VPNs in real conditions not automatically and considering user experience.
      Ps. greatfire is full of affiliate links
      Ps2. Lantern is a peer to peer tool and I will never recommend it because may pose a risk to its users

      • Bart Goeltz says

        I believe GreatFire is less biased. I’m pretty sure peer to peer is a good thing. It makes the circumventor more sustainable, decentralized and resilient.

        • Sapore di Cina says

          Yes, and more difficult to control security threads.
          I don’t say that GreatFire is biased, it’s a great resource, just that most of the data is collected automatically and our personal experience is different of what they get.

    • SDC says

      The last time we checked Tor wasn’t working and only covers browsing
      Also, just a suggestion if you use a free VPN you have to be really careful, most of them are basically malware

      • Bart Goeltz says

        There are a couple ways to get Tor working in China. You could find or be given a Obfs4 bridge through a social network. You could run your own private Obfs4 bridge back at home in the West and connect from China. And you could use the Meek bridge. You could technically force Tor connections for your whole operating system by using something like TailsOS, but installing additional programs is not user friendly.
        Unlike a paid VPN, Tor is anonymous. Also the free tools: Tor, Lantern, VPNGate, Psiphon, and I2p are very legit software, and highly respected by tech researchers. But some of them may or may not be ideal for privacy :-/

        • Sapore di Cina says

          Hi Bart, thank you for the feedback. There’re excellent ways to circumvent de GFW. However, for common people without thechonlogy knowledge is easier and safer to use a paid VPN. I would never recommend to use Tor to a person that don’t know what is doing.

          • Bart Goeltz says

            Tor is slow and tricky to get working in China, therefore I recommend Lantern. But if anonymity is part of your ‘threat model’ I recommend Tor. I’m not denying, VPNs can have great benefit too: circumventing geo-blocking, preventing ISP throttling, prevent web tracking (but only if you isolate/delete cookies), hence getting unbanned from a site, securing your local connection in an insecure environment (library, coffee shop wifi, school, or doggy ISP), and even saving money on an airplane ticket!

    • tyler says

      Well said @Bart, Expressvpn is crap, constant disconnects, It gets blocked every other week and then have to wait for them to fix, The Author is completly biased because of affiilate referrals… waste of an article, should have juts title the post, Advertisement for Expressvpn!

      • Sapore di Cina says

        Do you have a better one? All the VPNs mentioned here have good performance and they are secure to use. I’ve been using Express for a long time and even is far from being perfect is still the most reliable for me.

        • Bart Goeltz says

          Here are some better ones: 1. the paid version of Lantern, 2. Freegate, 3. XX-Net, 4. Outline with google cloud

  5. D19H says

    NordVpn has been down for nearly 2 weeks and its impossible to get a clear answer on when they will be back up. Very dissappointed with my subscription and if not back up soon will ask for a refund.

    I was with ExpressVPN for a few years and there service seemed pretty good and reliable, however when I came to renew last year the price had shot up. More than double what I had been paying. So I decided to try an alternative, now I’m thinking this might have been a mistake. I might give Vypr a try next time however.

    • SDC says

      Yes, all the popular VPNs are having problems this year, this is why I have always a backup. Vypr is not a bad option, but also was down sometime this year (but they recovered quite fast). Anyway, still Express is my preferred option when it works well is faster than any other VPN in my personal experience

  6. John Roor. says

    I am staying in Shenzhen in China and I recently bought Nord VPN in August 2019 but I could not use it because it did not work so Nord VPN refunded my money. So I advice other people that don’t by Nord VPN if you are in China.

    • batuhan says

      try using pure. youll be able to use the pptp protocol which is fast as well. thats the only one currently working consistently in china. also its very cheap at the moment because of halloween so worth a try

      • SDC says

        Pure has a lot of problems in China, it’s a long time I don’t try to use PPTP protocol, but in my experience was the first protocol to be completely blocked in China (almost 8 years ago)

    • LC says

      Just want to share my latest experience in China.

      ExpressVPN: not working well after the recent CPC conference (apps), but my VPN router is working fine. You may need to switch the server location if the router is not working.

      Nord VPN: not working. have talked to the customers services and Nord provides me a “special troubleshooting” method. It’s not very user friendly but at least the problem is solved.

      Windscribe: it’s my backup VPN for free. It’s working surprisingly well and even better than ExpressVPN and Nord. Good enough for short trip traveler.

      Hope the above information can help.

      I guess it’s time to leave this country. Start feeling annoying to stay in China.

  7. Lake says

    I was in China for two weeks in mid May 2019. I tried both Express VPN and Shadowsock (hosted by Digital Ocean), for purpose of comparison.
    Both worked well at beginning in Shanghai, Beijing and several days in Nanjing. Shadowsocks had more reliable connection. While ExpressVPN had more bandwidth when connected. I was amazed by the good results on my Android phone and laptop. But both stopped working around June 1. I tried different server sites of ExpressVPN including US, Hong Kong, Japan etc. None worked. Shadowsocks had the same story. Both were useless until I left China, regardless I continuously trying. Very frustrating. I had no clues at that time. Thinking back, it is coincident with the time when China imposed counter measures against US’s sanctions early June. This is an observation for reference. Consumer VPNs (like ExpressVPN and Shadowsocks) are vulnerable to be sacked by China’s Great Wall. They are big targets. I would like to hear whether they are usable now in China. Both are not reliable tools in my case.

    • SDC says

      Hi Lake, at the moment I can tell you that Express is working quite well but they are still are working to recover the 100% functionality from the 1st June “attack”.

      Yes form time to time China is able to nearly shut down the use of VPN; however reliable providers don’t take a long time to recover from it.

      About Shadowsocks, I have little knowledge at the moment

  8. kt says

    I’ve been using expressVPN since 2017 so far their services are good and the speed is acceptable but after 6/1 all the servers were blocked, below the apps said that connectivity is impacted due to political events. I have a back-up VPN (Thunder VPN) but all the servers are also down. I don’t know if all other VPNs are affected by the said political event but are there any other VPNs that are still working.


  9. SSRocket says

    Hi, there, I really want to recommend a new service provider to you right now. It’s called SSRocket. It’s a new service based on the socks protocol. You can go to our website, they have some introductions

    Now we offer a trial in a small range at a very low price of $6.99 per month,And if you are not satisfied, you can get a refund at any time. We also support PayPal payment.
    Another important point is that because of the working principle of traditional VPN, its traffic characteristics are very obvious, which can be easily recognized by GFW and thus blocked. But we don’t have that concern at all.

    If you’re interested in trying,You will get unlimited data traffic, secure, stable, fast, and very nice customer service.

    Hope you guys all best.

    • mike kane says

      My fiancee lives in China until her fiancée visa is approved to come to the US. How can she get skype downloaded so we can talk to each other.

      • Furio Fu says

        Skype doesn’t work very well in China… She can either get a VPN, or you can get WeChat, which is free, and you guys can talk via WeChat

      • SSRocket says

        If she has a VPN, she can talk to you using Facebook messenger, which is better than WeChat. WeChat notifications are often problematic. We provide free trial and guide

  10. byue says

    My business between China to Hong Kong, so I will be at China every night, also communicates with my client using WhatsApp!

    So I subscribed NORDVPN at the end of last year for my two iPhone & one MacBook pro, at the first five month so far so good, I can connect VPN server using iOS app/Mac OS App. When iOS VPN disconnect suddenly it can be connect again automatically. But you must enable Connect On Demand before you connect VPN. Go to the setting → VPN→”i” you will see it!

    Some day of April 2019, 99% NORDVPN obfuscated servers offline, just two location within three server online only, at that time very hard to connect server.
    Next day, NORDVPN obfuscated servers a 100% offline. I ask custom support what’s going on? They said it will have new servers launch at few days, tell me wait patiently (I am being cheated at that day)!

    Also custom support want me to install IkeV2 profile to my two iPhone and send me some server address list and they say it could be connect servers, I follow their instruction setup, install, input server address, after that connect successful but it is a nightmare beginning!

    Every time when I connect NORDVPN at China using IKeV2 it could be success but after few minutes or a hour must disconnect automatically, so you need to connect manually again because it don’t have Connect On Demand function you can enable it. You need to eyes on your iPhone every minutes or hours to check connection, if you don’t you will miss a lot of instant message like WhatsApp, FB, Line, etc.…..

    I ask custom support again when the new serves online? They always same answer, (few days will be launch, ETA, try to IKeV2 profile etc.…) I begin anger and ask again is that any way to connect NORDVPN, and they reply me it is only way I can do now! Some of custom support tells me networking reset, WIFI network reset, Renew Lease; I can say it is noting to help the connection!

    One more question I ask custom support did they support iOS now? But they don’t want answers me! Just tell me manual connect IKeV2!

    When you want to subscribe NORDVPN service please consider what they can provide? If you are using iOS, don’t subscribe! Android, Windows, Mac OS, I think it should be fine!

  11. sudha says

    I think VPN is a must yeah things might be different with various brands but for me, I have been using Express VPN and it seems to be best for me

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