How do I access Google, Gmail, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter from China? VPN advice when traveling in China

So you’ve landed in Shenzhen and are ready for the Canton Fair.  But wait, why can’t I connect to Gmail?  I’m having problems connecting to Facebook.  I can’t watch Netflix or my Youtube videos!  Welcome to China my friend.  The Great Firewall means that many of your favorite sites cannot be accessed here.  Here’s the solution.


VPN – Virtual Private Network.  I won’t get into a detailed explanation how it works but the 80/20 is that you need one of these to access the sites mentioned above.  See my suggested VPNs below.  There is no one size fits all solution.  For example Astrill worked well for me several years ago but the local authorities are catching on and they are tinkering with the Great Firewall.  So VPN accessibility is becoming more shaky.  So that means you might be able to connect from your hotel but when you visit the factory, it may not connect on their network.  Or it may not work on your cell phone’s internet plan (China Mobile, China Unicom, etc).

Honestly there is no best solution and everyones needs are different.  I’ve included some paid VPN providers to get you started.  I would stay away from Free VPNs because there is too much traffic on them.  Even if there were to connect speeds would slow down to a crawl.  Note the links below may have affiliate links – in fact it’s win-win because both you and I can get a free month.

Best practice: The real pros in China signup for multiple VPNs.  Not cheap but you have a backup solution if your primary VPN isn’t connecting.

12VPN – Value solution and good for those who don’t use torrents (they don’t allow p2p or torrents).

ExpressVPN – Works for Google, Gmail, Facebook, and Torrents.  Youtube and Netflix videos can get painfully slow at times.  Sometimes it’s hard to connect.  Get a 30-day free trial here.

Astrill – I found it about the same as ExpressVPN.

Please signup for my newsletter for a “deeper dive” into China sourcing best practices.  Good luck!

Author: Gary

I work with many Amazon sellers to help them source from China. I’ve managed multimillion dollar sourcing campaigns and have been sourcing from China since 2008. I also am an Amazon Private Label seller myself so I know what you’re going through. My goal is to teach you how to source from China quickly and easily so you can own a 7-figure online business.

5 thoughts on “How do I access Google, Gmail, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter from China? VPN advice when traveling in China”

  1. Thanks so much.

    Are all the VPN services mentioned above work on both mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android) where they are useful for quick research while on the go and laptop back in hotels ?

    I have a vpn (paid) that only works when i am using it on my laptop in my hotel room but does not work on my mobile devices while i am out at trade shows which is what i need most.

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