Shanghai, 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.
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 our top choice of services to use while in Shanghai.
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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 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-c08, and found the speed to be 59.81 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.
With ExpressVPN, fast VPN access and MediaStreamer act as a Smart DNS service to unblock access to geo-restricted content. The service will help encrypt your connection and get around the Great Firewall of China. No matter what your reason is for visiting Shanghai, you will find some great advantages in using a VPN while there.
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As you can see in the table above, ExpressVPN manages a very large VPN network. ExpressVPN network boasts hundreds of servers in key locations to help protect their user’s privacy. That includes locations like Hong Kong (since it is the closest in the region). You can use their network to protect your privacy, unblock censorship, and enjoy the content you are used to seeing.
The ExpressVPN app allows you to select a server location down to the city but you can not choose a specific server. Instead, the client will select a 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 57.33 Mbps.
While ExpressVPN is sold at a higher price point than the other services in our list, the value is high given the size of their network and service features. You can connect a computer, handheld device, router, and game console (SmartDNS) with a single VPN account for just $6.67 a month with an annual subscription.
StrongVPN is headquartered in the United States and has one of the best VPN networks in the country. In the past, the company charged users based on the number of server locations and protocols they used. That has changed as StrongVPN now offers members full access to their network with hundreds of servers worldwide.
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The latest addition to the StrongVPN service is the StrongDNS feature. Everyone who signs up for a StrongVPN account also receives free access to StrongDNS which is a smart DNS service used to circumvent geo-restrictions. It is a great solution for those who plan to travel to other parts of the world and want to access Netflix.
StrongVPN hosts a number of servers in Hong Kong (since it is the closest region). You can not select a specific server. Instead, you will want to click on the server location drop-down and choose Hong Kong – Hong Kong. We selected OpenVPN UDP for the best performance. After connecting to a server in Hong Kong, we tested our speed and found it to be 22.53 Mbps.
StrongVPN 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 free SmartDNS access for just $7.50 a month or $52.49 a year. The annual account works out to just $4.37 a month. New users are covered by a 7-day money back guarantee.
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.
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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. Their 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.
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 12.36 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 3-day money back guarantee.
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.