Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) is one of the secure ways of accessing and routing data over the Internet. Many companies and Internet users rely on VPNs to route data securely across the globe to their branch offices in the same region or in another part of the world. While you expect this to be the norm everywhere in the world especially in developed countries, it is not the case in China.
China is among the foremost countries to impose restrictions when it comes to accessing data over the internet or using internet services such email, downloads or accessing social media websites. Ever since the Chinese government tightened its grip on the Great Firewall of China (GFC) role of internet censorship, even the best VPNs in China such as 12VPN, Witopia, PureVPN and PandaPow have been reporting total blockage or disruptions to their services in different parts of China.
It became worse when it was reported that the most commonly used VPN protocols such as Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) were blocked in March, 2011 due the protests in Middle East. Many Android and iPhone users were left without a way to access their favorite sites. Many popular VPN services had their main domains blocked.
Although many users of VPNs in China still claimed they could access China VPNs such as Witopia while still using L2TP and PPTP VPN protocols, several VPN services reported heavy refund to their Chinese customers while many hesitated, taking time to study the situation. Sites such as search engine Google and news site MSN become difficult to access. A number of universities and businesses even warned their users not to try to evade GFC.
Eventually many of these services recovered, some with mirror sites to provide access to users in China. This was followed by an influx of new VPN services (both good and bad) targeting users in China. Most didn’t survive long, and got blocked but some have proven to be reliable China VPN services but still with restrictions. It is very difficult to tell the best VPN in China owing to the sporadic disruptions.
There are several VPNs that provide services in China but many have their domains blocked, which means fewer users are able to sign up while living inside China. For example, HMA is blocked in China, but if you were to sign up for an HMA account outside China, it would work fine. Chinese authorities have been using GFC to block IP addresses of servers of major VPN providers in China. In some cases when the IP addresses of such servers are changed or new servers are recruited, the access is restored.