There are many reasons you might want a VPN in China. What are the top five reasons?
1. Unblock Social Media and Micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube
2. Keeping a personal blog (or reading others – both business and personal)
3. Entertainment – Both Hulu and Pandora are only available in the USA
4. Keeping in touch with friends and Family – Gmail and Skype may be blocked soon
5. The Chinese government may be spying on your chats and emails
Ok, so maybe I'm just getting carried away, but a VPN is needed even just for general safety at Wifi spots in airports, cafe's, hostels, and Hotels. Have you heard of this new program called Fire Sheep? (read here Fire Sheep) Apparently it's a Firefox application that basically lets you intercept and steal anyone's password who's using the same internet connection as you, i.e. wifi.
So the point is that there are plenty of reasons to get a VPN – and not just people in China need them. Recently, because I couldn't fit everything here on my blog, I've branched out and made another site. I've written some reviews of the best VPNs that are currently working in China. These are the services that I've had the best experience with over the years I've been here. You can check out the full reviews, HERE, but just know that all of the services are pretty good (ie, not expensive and have fast connections)
Check out an in depth review of the 5 Best VPNs in China.
Cheap VPN's are good for those trying to save money, but they're going to limit you somewhere. They may put caps on your bandwidth (meaning limited downloading and streaming), or they may prevent you from downloading torrents. They may limit your number of server switches or server locations. These may or may not be a problem for you. For example, when I first signed up for a vpn service, I used 12VPN's lite service (no longer available). It was only 30 dollars a year for this VPN in China service, and because I didn't do much with it but surf, it was plenty (limit 10MB bandwidth).
However, because of my blogging and web site maintenance, I found out down the road that these limitations made streaming video from Youtube and Hulu a bit difficult. Also, I used to not care where the server location was, but now that I know how cool Pandora is, I think it's very important to have a server location in The USA. Remember that a VPN in China will change your Chinese IP address to the IP address where your server is located. Most of the time the UK or USA is preferable, but Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia, and even Japan are also popular server locations.
What's the price range for a VPN that operates in China? It used to be two bucks minimum but with the recent block of PPTP and L2TP protocols in many areas, in China you need an SSL/OpenVPN or SSTP. These are more expensive so you're going to be looking at least five bucks a month. However, you shouldn't have to spend more than $15. The ten dollars a month range will get you a Grade A VPN. For an A+ VPN in China you're going to have to spend an extra five bucks a month.
What VPN's do we recommend? The site is full of tips and fact's about different VPN services in China, but here's three to get you started.
UNBLOCK FACEBOOK IN CHINA'S TOP THREE RECOMMENDED VPN SERVICES (2010-2011)
###Click here for the 2012 top 5 VPNs in China