Among many other things the country is known for, China is well known for its tough internet restrictions. A number of worldwide popular websites are banned in the Asian country, and it’s pretty challenging to access any VPN service there. To name a few, you can’t access Google, Facebook, or Wikipedia in China, no thanks to the Great Chinese Firewall.
If you want to access these websites and others through NordVPN in China, keep on reading to understand how to do it.
If you’re in a hurry for the answer, yes, NordVPN does work in China. However, accessing it requires some know-how.
Luckily for you, NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers on the market that gained a reputation for its ability to get past the restrictions.
If you take a look at the available servers of NordVPN—5,460+ servers—, you’ll find none of them in China. In other words, it means that the service keeps its users in China hidden and safe from privacy intrusion and other internet security issues.
In the end, you need to connect to a server that’s outside China if you want to access content blocked by the country’s government, and that’s exactly what NordVPN offers.
To hide your internet traffic, NordVPN utilizes its obfuscated servers, which are responsible for camouflaging your VPN traffic, making it seem like regular HTTPS traffic instead. Some VPNs refer to this method as Stealth VPN.
If you use an advanced obfuscated server, you’ll be able to access the whole internet through NordVPN, and I’ll show you how to do it.
How Does NordVPN Work in China?
The NordVPN developers are transparent about their methods of accessing the internet in China. On the site, they’re clear that they’re providing Obfuscated VPN Servers that enable users to acquire IP addresses in different countries.
It’s not clear how NordVPN uses its obfuscated servers to pass the internet restrictions. However, it still works in China, and at least you know you’re safe.
NordVPN is also located in Panama. Panama requires no data retention, which puts you at ease that you’ll be safe using the service in China, and your data will be private.
5 Easy Steps to Use NordVPN in China
Accessing the whole internet in China seems impossible by the government’s measures, but some VPN apps make it possible – NordVPN is one of them. You can have every banned site at your disposal with a few mere clicks on a button.
NordVPN offers its Obfuscated Servers for its VPN apps on Linux, Android, macOS, and Windows. Here’s how to do it, and bear in mind that it’s better to download NordVPN before you land in China.
Step 1: Launch NordVPN
Once you launch the VPN, you’ll see a tab called ‘Speciality Servers’ on the page’s left. Note its place because you’ll need to get back to it.
Step 2: Open NordVPN’s Advanced Settings
After you’ve launched the app, it’s time to access the advanced settings to find the Obfuscated Servers. To do that, you’ll find a Settings menu in the top bar, right beside the Servers tab. Click on it, then scroll down until the page’s end. You’ll find a ‘Show Advanced Settings’ button.
Click on it, and a warning message will appear. It appears to all first-time users, and it’s completely normal. All you have to do is click ‘I know what I’m doing’ and carry on.
Step 3: Activate the Obfuscated Servers
After you open the advanced settings, scroll to the end again, and you’ll find the switch for Obfuscated Servers right after the Custom DNS switch.
Turn the switch on by clicking on the slide; it’ll turn blue when you click on it.
Step 4: Go Back to the Main Interface
Now, go to the top bar once again and click on Servers. You’ll find the Speciality Servers tab I mentioned before on the page’s left side. The only word visible underneath it should be Obfuscated Servers. If it is, then you successfully did the mission.
You’ll also notice that the available countries are now changed because the Stealth Mode is on. In other words, you have access to all locations with Obfuscated Servers.
Step 5: Connect to Any Obfuscated Servers
The last step remaining is establishing VPN connection to one of NordVPN’s 450+ Obfuscated Servers. You’ll find a tab labeled Obfuscated Servers. When you click on it, either pick any of the pinned locations on the map or just choose a country from the list.
Now, you’re supposed to be connected, and NordVPN will update all the info on your chosen server.
Whenever you want to disable it, open the settings again and turn off the Obfuscated Server switch.
What If NordVPN Doesn’t Work in China?
What if you’re done with all the previous steps, but the VPN is still not working?
NordVPN is a pretty solid service, but there may be some hiccups every now and then, especially when you’re trying to bypass China’s Great Firewall.
If this happens to you, it’s time for some troubleshooting steps. Check them out here.
Step 1: Reconnect With the VPN
If the first server you choose doesn’t work, the problem may be simpler than you think. The IP address may have a history of suspicious use, so it’s banned in your area. While that’s a rare occasion with NordVPN, it happens to the best of them.
Reconnecting to the VPN and choosing a different server may solve your problem. Just disconnect from the server, let the VPN app sit for a few seconds, and reconnect to another server location.
Alternatively, you can restart the whole program by disconnecting from your wi-fi network, reconnecting, and restarting the app.
Step 2: Delete All Browser Cache
Every time you open a new website, you accept cookies without giving much thought to it. While it’s a simple action we all do to access the site’s content, it may be the reason NordVPN isn’t working in China.
For example, when you accept cookies for a site like Netflix, it starts getting you personalized content. When you visit Netflix in various countries in one night, the cookies may raise some suspicion.
In this case, deleting your browser cache is your best bet.
Step 3: Contact NordVPN
NordVPN has a candid 24-hour customer service that’s available to help you at all times. It shouldn’t be your first choice, but when clearing the browser cache doesn’t work, you need to take further measures.
In some rare instances, your knowledge of VPN services alone won’t be enough to access NordVPN in China, especially if it’s your first time trying to activate Obfuscated Servers. The Great Chinese Firewall may be more challenging than you thought, and you’ll need extra help to pass through it.
In this case, calling NordVPN’s customer service will be the best option because you’ll get answers from experts. The reason the service isn’t working for you may be a simple step that you did wrong, and customer support will help you.
Is It Legal to Use NordVPN in China?
Officially, NordVPN is restricted in China, as most VPN services are. This brings us to the big elephant in the room, is it legal to use NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers in China? After all, the government has been too obvious about the fact that it doesn’t want similar services operating in the country.
Technically, VPN services are legal in China if the government knows you’re using them. If the government knows, your efforts are deemed worthless because you won’t be able to access the blocked sites.
On the other side of things, there aren’t clear laws on whether using NordVPN is legal or not. Normally, it’s not illegal as long as you don’t use it for anything that’s illegal. But with the Chinese political climate, you can never be sure.
A lot of tourists in China have been subject to internet restrictions. For example, some were commanded to delete their VPN applications, and some others got their phones monitored by surveillance applications. However, these instances were mostly in the Xinjiang region, so those rules may not apply to the whole country.
Generally, it’s safe to use NordVPN in China, but you should be a bit cautious because the matter of whether it’s legal or not is still not clear.
Why Is China Blocking VPNs?
Why is China blocking VPNs when they’re available in other countries with similar political restrictions? That’s pretty much the million-dollar question, although its answer is pretty simple.
China simply wants to control the corporations and companies’ access to the internet. VPNs were originally created to give you access to all sites you want to visit, other than the known security reasons. Well, China doesn’t want that for its people.
The government only wants the Chinese folks to use private network services registered and verified by it. This way, if any corporation wants to build a VPN, they’ll need to get it verified by the government first.
Similarly, smaller companies will need to change the way they use third-party VPNs if they want to gain access to all the internet.
In the end, China is blocking VPNs to control the amount of information coming in and going out of the country.
How Does the Great Firewall of China Works?
As far as we know, China only has one great wall. Why are people talking about another Great Firewall?
Well, there isn’t such a thing as a Great Firewall of China. It’s only a term that people use to describe the legal restrictions and technological censorship methods the Chinese government uses to control the country’s internet access.
The Great Firewall is actually called the Golden Shield Project by the government.
How Does China Censor the Internet Content?
China has plenty of ways to block users’ access to the internet. The most famous way is IP address blocking. The Chinese internet service providers work on blocking all IP addresses of websites that the government wants to be blocked. They also use DNS poisoning and a lot of other tampering methods, such as deep packet inspection or misconfigured DNS servers that provide the users with false IP addresses.
The government has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. For example, it uses keyword filtering to monitor search engines, messaging apps, and forums for suspicious keywords. This way, it’s able to block the user immediately and any website that doesn’t abide by the rules.
Do Free VPNs Work in China?
If you have to go through all that hassle to access NordVPN, which is a paid service, how about free VPNs? It’s only logical that they don’t work in China, and they don’t.
All VPNs that don’t offer facilities to access blocked internet can’t work in China.
Of course, free VPNs don’t offer these kinds of services, so they’re unable to pass China’s internet restrictions.
That’s aside from the fact that these VPNs are often unreliable, meaning they leave your online activity exposed. The government will be able to track it in an instant.
High-end VPNs have kill-switch features to keep the users undetectable even when the connection drops. There are a lot of those that work in China, too.
Accessing blocked internet sites in China is by no means easy, but there are always methods available to get around rules. In this case, NordVPN is your best bet to do—at least in our opinion.
Your data will be safe, you’ll gain access to all blocked sites, and you’ll be able to do it easily by the steps I listed above.