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6 VPNs that can help you break through China's 'Great Firewall'

Leah Stodart
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Coined more than two decades ago, the term "Great Firewall of China" refers to the Chinese government's ongoing efforts to regulate and censor the internet within the borders of the country's mainland. It's a play on the name of the Great Wall of China — as in, the sprawling, millennia-old landmark that's one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 

You could make the argument that the Great Firewall is a world wonder, too — as in, it'll have you wondering how the heck you'd make it through a trip to China without a means to stay in touch with friends, pull up driving directions, or fight off jet lag with Netflix. Read more...

More about Tech, Apps, China, Cybersecurity, and Censorship

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BEST OVERALL CHOICE (PAID)

ExpressVPN

Reviewers overwhelmingly recommend this one for a reason: It's got the perfect blend of speed, security, and customer service as well as a large server network.

  • Monthly plan: $12.95/month
  • Six-month plan: $9.99/month
  • 12-month plan: $8.32/month
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IMAGE: Mashable

BEST OVERALL CHOICE (FREE)

TunnelBear

An uncomplicated VPN with a bear-y cute mascot that shares a lot of features with the paid services on this list.

  • Basic plan: Free
  • Monthly plan: $9.99/month
  • Annual plan: $4.99/month
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BEST FOR VPN NEWBIES

PandaPow VPN

A no-frills VPN that'll walk you through every step of the setup process. Be sure to check out its VPN router, too.

  • One-month plan: $9
  • Three-month plan: $24
  • 12-month plan: $84
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BEST FOR SPEED

PureVPN

Potential logging issues aside, this VPN is one of the few that's fast enough to get you your Netflix fix.

  • Monthly plan: $10.95/month
  • One-year plan: $4.08/month
  • Two-year plan: $2.88/month
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BEST FOR COMPREHENSIVE SECURITY

NordVPN

If you're really worried about getting hit with one of those $145 fines from the Chinese government, NordVPN will quell your concerns with top-of-the-line privacy features.

  • Monthly plan: $11.95/month
  • One-year plan: $6.99/month
  • Two-year plan: $3.99/month
  • Three-year plan: $2.99/month
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IMAGE: Mashable

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE

Buffered VPN

A helpful chaperone for the VPN world with a bare-bones spec lineup.

  • Monthly plan: $12.99/month
  • One-year plan: $6.59/month
  • Two-year plan: $4.12/month