3 VPNs For Getting Around The Great Firewall Of China

Although China is the country we all love to hate for their insane control of its population and blatant disregard for human rights, more and more of us seem to visit this great country of the Orient. However, many of us have serious addictions to social media and other online provisions, and we struggle to figure out how we can go for weeks and weeks without it. However, if we really are an internet addict, we know that there are ways to get our fix. In fact, there are some relatively easy ways to get around the Great Firewall of China, so long as you know what you are doing.

One of the best ways to get around it is to work with a Virtual Private Network – or VPN. These networks can totally nullify any effort China has made to block people from accessing certain websites. Best of all, a VPN can cost as little as $9, which seems a small price to pay just to be able to stick your fingers up at the great Chinese oppressors. When you sign in through a VPN, you can access the internet, Twitter, Facebook and any other site that is stringently censored by the Chinese government.

China had a go at cracking down on VPNs, However, they failed, because they didn’t look at the bigger picture. They only considered corporate connections and universities, rather than looking at home users, who are actually the biggest users of VPNs. But we also have to understand that China doesn’t actually want to block every single user. It isn’t practical or feasible to censor all of the 513.1 million people in China who have access to the internet. However, the government will make sure that it is incredibly difficult to access social media, thereby hoping that users simply won’t bother. And it is certainly true that their strategies have always worked, because nobody Googles anything in China.

china google censor

Google has now been operating in China for six years and their version is monitored by the government from start to finish. Google took four years to say they would have no more of this and would no longer censor themselves. Since then, almost nobody still uses Google in China, using Baidu instead. There is almost no understand of how Google can help in an online search. Similarly, the Chinese don’t seem to want to access Twitter or Facebook, sticking instead to Weibo, which has similar features. Naturally, China has banned the American social networks anyway, but they always do so by providing an alternative, such as QQ for Instant Messaging.

If you do want to get around the Great Firewall of China, you need to use a VPN. There are three fantastic services that you could consider for this. These are HideMyAss, Express VPN and IPVanish. Let’s take a look.

HideMyAss

HideMyAss is one of the web’s most popular VPN services. It offers both free and paid-for accounts and is perfect to help you cloak yourself, whether you want to do this to get around the Great Firewall of China, or whether you simply don’t want everybody to know your business. It hides you from network spies and hackers, includes full SSL encryption for any site you access, allows you to search anonymously, doesn’t require any software installation, bypasses internet restrictions, completely hides your IP address, stops pop-ups and advertisements from appearing and is able to work with the various video sites such as YouTube.

Express VPN

Express VPN is also very popular. It is very easy to download and install and will work not just on your computer, but also on your mobile devices. It offers full support for questions and doesn’t require you to have any advanced computer skills. It allows you to surf the web anonymously and it keeps you safe from hackers, governments and corporations. The world-wide network is incredibly fast and it gives you peace of mind when you access the internet through a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

IPVanish

Lastly, there is IPVanish. They are able to protect all your online data, including your identity. The VPN software itself is completely free. Although it does not necessarily hide your IP address, it allows you to control its location. This means you are fully protected if you access the internet through a Wi-Fi hotspot as well. Any unwanted marketing is quickly blocked. Just like with Express VPN, you can use this software on a variety of devices. It uses three protocols (L2TP, OpenVPN and PPTP). Lastly, the connections are incredibly quick and you will receive unlimited bandwidth.

HideMyAss Pro VPN Review

With free public WiFi hotspots becoming more prominent, being able to secure your information and identity becomes just as important, especially when hackers can simply connect to the same unsecured network that you’re using and start eavesdropping on your information. This might come easily to networking gurus who already know how to cover their tracks, but the general public is quite clueless about some of the steps they can take to secure their data.

Accessing the internet through a VPN service is just one of the things you can do, but most people don’t even know what it can do for them or even how to set one up. One particular VPN service that tries to make it easier for the average PC, tablet and smartphone user to take advantage of VPN is Hide My Ass Pro VPN. So what sets them apart from the competition aside from the catchy name? Read on to find out in my full review.

Hide My Ass Pro VPN Logo

Understanding How VPN Services Protect Your Privacy

Accessing the internet through a non-secured network is one of the easiest ways to get your information and identity compromised. Hackers connected to the same network can easily listen in, capturing things like your usernames and passwords, which eventually allows them to access your accounts and identity. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts the information you send and receive over the network while in transit so that even if hackers are listening in, they won’t be able to make anything of it.

VPN services also allow you to browse the web anonymously. Anonymity is important because it protects your online identity from hackers and network snoops. A VPN can also function to allow you to virtually reside in another country and bypass geographical blocks and censorship laws. Ever try to access your Netflix subscription while vacationing in Asia? If you answer yes then you probably already know what I mean.

You might be confusing VPNs with Web Proxies at this point. They are very different in that a web proxy works within a browser, while a VPN encrypts everything to and from your computer and the internet, regardless of the application. That way, you can send emails via your browser, communicate via your instant messaging client, or simply share files without having to worry that anything will be intercepted on the way.

Pros of Using HideMyAss Pro VPN

HideMyAss Pro  currently gives you access to over 53,000 IP addresses through 442 VPN servers in 110 different locations distributed across a total of 61 countries. And those numbers are growing, as every month, Hide My Ass adds about 15-20 new servers. This aggressive growth helps assure high speeds regardless of where you are connecting to the VPN service from. In fact, HideMyAss has the most number of IP addresses and servers of all the VPN services I’ve tried.

Of course, speed isn’t the main reason people use VPN services. What’s more important is speed, and while HideMyAss automatically gives you a new IP address every time you connect, it also takes it one step further by allowing you to have it changed every so often while you’re connected. You can even change how long that interval is.

There’s also a feature called Secure Bind that makes sure that you can only connect to the internet through a VPN connection. If the software detects that you are no longer protected by a VPN, it will automatically disconnect you. That way, you don’t run the risk of accessing the internet unprotected without knowing.

PC Interface

Another thing I like about this service is that it supports multiple platforms. You can use it on a PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and even configure it directly on your router to make sure that all your devices at home are protected. Other VPN services might be more affordable, but a lot of them stumble when it comes to the number of platforms they support. Hide My Ass Pro VPN doesn’t make that mistake.

Linux is supported, which is nice. The interface is command-based though, but you can request for an Alpha build that comes with a UI. Luckily, I’m not a Linux user so I don’t have to tolerate Alpha software.

One last thing I like is its money-back guarantee. Yeah, it’s not exactly a feature, but being a paid service, there has to be some way that interested customers can try out Hide My Ass Pro without any risk. You can cancel within 30 days, but if you exceed a 10Gb bandwidth cap, you will no longer qualify for a refund.

Cons

To be honest, there aren’t any cons I can think about when it comes to the service. However, trying to get in touch with support is limited to email, live chat and a community forum comprised of Hide My Ass users. It would have been nice to have a phone number to call, but I guess less and less services offer that nowadays.

Pricing and Recommendation

HideMyAss VPN offers three different pricing plans: 1 month, 6 month and 1 year. The 1 month plan is priced at $11.52, which is a bit steep. The 6 month plan is more affordable on a monthly basis, being priced at $49.99 for the entire period, or $8.33 a month. I would recommend going for the 1 year plan, which is $78.66 for an entire year, or the equivalent of $6.55 a month.

Pricing

If you only access the internet through one or two platforms, there are cheaper VPN services out there that focus on PCs, Macs or mobile devices. Hide My Ass isn’t the most affordable VPN service out there, but it offers the widest platform support and most easily configurable software of all the services I’ve used. Heck, the PC and Mac versions of the software allow you to connect with a single button, and the Android and iOS versions require no app at all since they already have built-in VPN settings. If you need a VPN service that doesn’t require any technical knowledge to set up, HideMyAss Pro is an easy choice.

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