Best VPNs for Shanghai

Shanghai, ChinaShanghai, China is the largest city in the world with a population of more than 24 million people. It is a global financial center and transportation hub, with the world’s busiest container port. There are many reasons to visit Shanghai and it is considered to be the showpiece of the booming mainland Chinese economy. If you plan to visit soon, you will not wan to use the internet without a VPN. Though there are some obvious reasons that we’ll tell you about in a moment, please take a look at our top selections for Shanghai.

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Shanghai’s history dates back to 771 BC and goes to a time before China was unified. The name translates into “Upon the Sea”. While there is some debate over how the name should be applied, the city was literally on the sea during the Tang Dynasty. Because of the alternative name, you will see the name Shen as part of sports teams and newspapers.

As you can see, the city has a long history. These days, there are many things that attract people and businesses to Shanghai. That includes the Shanghai Pilot Free-Trade Zone, Shanghai University, historical and futuristic buildings, amusement parks, museums, and many more. No matter what you want to do in the area, from business to pleasure, you can find it there.

China has a strange balance between modern western civilization, ancient Chinese culture, and hardline values. When there, you may almost forget you are in a Communist country. However, you will quickly remember if you try to use the internet. China has a firewall that is often referred to as the “Great Firewall of China”. That is why the first reason to use a VPN while there is to help you get around censorship and restrictions. By connecting to a VPN server in another location, you will make the software believe you are located somewhere else.

The next reason to use a VPN while there is to help protect your privacy. It is common knowledge that the Chinese government monitors internet traffic. By connecting to the VPN server of your choice, you create a secure connection to a server. That way, you don’t compromise your data. Keep in mind, though, it may be tough to completely block the government from monitoring you while there. If they really want to do so, they will find a way. In the case of China, we recommend using a scramble (obfuscation) feature that all of the VPNs in our post offer to help hide your activities from the Chinese authorities.

Those are the two main reasons why using a VPN is crucial in China. However, you may discover other uses once you sign up for service. From getting around the GFC to protecting your privacy, VPNs will help you accomplish your goals. Now that you see why it is important, let’s talk about provider and protocol choices.

Whenever you can, you will want to choose the OpenVPN protocol. Some providers have special protocols for the country, so if you see one of those, they are usually based on OpenVPN. There are many others, but most consider it to be the gold standard in the community. It provides a great mix of security and speed. If the provider offers you a choice between the UDP and TCP version. For those planning on streaming or just web surfing while in Shanghai, the UDP version is the fastest. If you have connection issues, selecting the TCP option is the better choice. The TCP version won’t disconnect you as easily, but it is slower.

Let’s take a closer look at our list of the best VPNs for Shanghai.

1. Best VPN for Shanghai: ExpressVPN


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ExpressVPN brings together fast VPN access with MediaStreamer which acts as a Smart DNS service to unblock access to geo-restricted content. The VPN service will help encrypt your connection and unblock live sporting events. You will even find a list of the latest live entertainment and sporting events on their website. Being in the British Virgin Islands puts ExpressVPN outside the 5 eyes and 14 eyes countries. They maintain a no-log policy that has been verified through high profile legal requests over the years.

ExpressVPN manages a very large VPN network. Beyond the USA, the ExpressVPN network boasts thousands of servers in key locations to help protect their user’s privacy. You can use their network to protect your privacy, unblock censorship, and watch your favorite streaming services from anywhere.

ExpressVPN Shanghai speed test

The ExpressVPN app allows you to select a server location down to the city but you do not need to choose a specific server. Instead, the client will select the fastest server in your chosen location. You will want to select the “All” tab and type in Hong Kong in the box that says “search country or city”. At this point, you can select the servers located there. As you can see, we tested a server in Hong Kong and the speed came out to 114.58 Mbps.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using ExpressVPN is their support for a wide range of devices. ExpressVPN offers custom VPN software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Connect from your desktop and mobile at the same time with up to 3 simultaneous connections. You can also install the ExpressVPN web extension for Chrome or Firefox. Want to protect your entire home network with a single VPN account? If so you can use the ExpressVPN router app to get all set up. The MediaStreamer feature adds Smart DNS support to devices like game consoles (PS4, Xbox Onw, Nintendo Switch, etc.), media boxes (Apple TV, Roku, Nvidia Shield TV, etc.), and Smart TVs.

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ExpressVPN performed very well in our speed tests. They are a great choice for privacy and to unblock geo-restrictions. Customer support is available 24/7 to provide assistance and answer any questions. Enjoy the best VPN for less with confidence as ExpressVPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee.

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2. Best VPN for Shanghai: IPVanish


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Though Shanghai is very large, it should come as no surprise that there are not servers located there. Instead, you’ll want to connect to a server located in Hong Kong (since it is the closest location that is still in the region). The servers located in Hong Kong are fast and should do the job well. Their speed makes IPVanish one of our top choices of services to use while in Shanghai.

IPVanish hosts servers on every continent other than Antarctica. The network has consistently been the fastest VPN in Asia in our speed tests. You will find multiple server locations in countries all over Asia. You can select a location or an individual server.

IPVanish Shanghai speed test

IPVanish hosts 19 servers in Hong Kong (the closest server in the region) and you can choose to connect to any of them. Interestingly, Hong Kong servers are listed in China, but different servers are listed with Hong Kong as the country. We tested an IPVanish server in Hong Kong, hkg-a07, and found the speed to be 107.06 Mbps.

When it comes to value IPVanish is hard to beat. They offer unlimited access to their VPN network and custom software for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick and more for $7.50 a month or $58.49 a year. That works out to just $4.87 a month on the annual plan. A 7-day money back guarantee covers all new members.

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3. Best VPN for Shanghai: NordVPN


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NordVPN is based in Panama which some users prefer to using a VPN company that’s actually headquartered in the United States. You will find that NordVPN has a strong presence in the US with servers located throughout the country. Members have full access to their network in the USA and beyond for a very good price.

You will find that NordVPN has perhaps the best mix of services for the price if you subscribe to a longer term account. All users have full access to their network and custom software. You can connect using the VPN client for Windows or Mac. They also have an easy to use mobile app for both Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad) devices.

NordVPN Shanghai speed test

NordVPN hosts a number of servers in Hong Kong. From the console, clicking on the 3 horizontal dots to the right of the country, you can locate the server area and see the percentages of the servers available. We tested a server in Hong Kong and the download speed was 93.97 Mbps.

Want to access streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world? If so NordVPN is a great choice. They are one of the only VPN services that can still unblock Netflix. You can sign up for unlimited VPN and SmartDNS service from just $2.99 a month with a 3-year membership.

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4. Best VPN for Shanghai: CyberGhost


Sign up for 36 months for just $2.75 a month (79% discount)

CyberGhost was founded in 2001 by 7 enthusiastic young team members in Bucharest, Romania. Since that time the company has grown into one of the largest VPN services in the world. The team of 50+ members is focused on protecting users privacy. Robert Knapp, co-founder and CEO, continues to lead the team even after they joined the Crossrider group in 2017. Since that time the CyberGhost network has expanded quite a bit.

CyberGhost offers a nice mix of server locations, strong encryption, and the ability to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, YouTube Red, and Amazon Prime. Some of the channels even let you unblock geo-restrictions for multiple regions. For example, you can access Amazon Prime video content in the US, Germany, or UK. The Windows client also gives you the option to surf anonymously, protect WiFi, torrent anonymously, unblock basic websites (Google, Facebook Instagram, etc.), and choose a server.

CyberGhost Shanghai speed test

Since we wanted to test a server in Los Angeles, we opened the Windows client and clicked on the “Choose My Server” option. From there you can expand any country and select a specific server. The CyberGhost network includes a number of servers in Hong Kong. We connected to one of them and tested the performance. As you can see, our download speed was 73.85 Mbps.

The CyberGhost VPN client is one of our favorites. It is very easy to use and includes a number of advanced features to help protect your online privacy. They have a development team in Germany that is continually adding features to the client and mobile apps. You can sign up for full access to the CyberGhost network from just $2.75 a month during their current promotion.

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5. Best VPN for Shanghai: VyprVPN


The VyprVPN team is based out of Austin, Texas and has a long history of fighting for user’s Internet privacy. They have hosted an annual privacy panel at SXSW for several years and have even spent time in Washington, DC lobbying for privacy reforms. You will find the VPN service to be in line with their values.

You will notice some added features with VyprVPN depending on which account you choose. The VyprVPN Premium plan includes 5 simultaneous connections, VyprVPN Cloud, and Chameleon protocol. The VyprVPN Cloud feature allows you to control your own VPN server in the cloud while the Chameleon protocol helps users in countries like China get around government censorship.

VyprVPN Shanghai speed test

The VyprVPN client does not give you the ability to select a specific server number in Hong Kong. Instead, you will want to switch the location to Hong Kong. From there. the client will automatically connect you to the best VPN server in Hong Kong. Since you can choose the specific protocol, they suggest using their proprietary protocol that they call Chameleon. We were able to achieve a download speed of 15.02 Mbps after connecting to a server in Hong Kong.

VyprVPN has been kind in offering our visitors a 25% discount. The coupon stacks on top of their normal term discounts. You can enjoy unlimited VPN and VyprVPN Cloud for just $12.95 a month or $60 a year. The annual account works out to just $5.00 a month. New users are covered by a 30-day money back guarantee.

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The providers we gave you are the best choices to use while in Shanghai. However, you can always take a look at our top 10 VPN list. Just be sure the provider you choose has servers located in or around the region. Our decisions are based on security, speed, reliability, and even price. We also looked for providers with servers in the same region as Shanghai. That way, you can get the best speeds possible. No matter which option you choose, you won’t go wrong. If you want to stream content, good speeds are very important. Use our guide to help you make an informed decision.