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How to Install a VPN from Inside China in 2021 (Even If It’s Banned!)

How to Install a VPN from Inside China in 2021 (Even If It’s Banned!)

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You have arrived in China and realized that you want to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short. Unfortunately, all the VPN sites that are supposed to help you bypass censorship… are censored. so, what are you doing? How do you install a VPN from within China?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Getting stuck in China without a VPN is a common problem that many people face. I get emails about this all the time 🙂

It is usually the case that people are landing in China and not realizing that a certain app or website has been blocked in China.

Panic ensues.

The short answer to your question about how to install a VPN from within China is one of two ways (I’ll go into more detail about each method below):

  1. Use dynamic VPN links: Some VPN companies effectively replicate their website in multiple locations to avoid censorship. Using links like this for ExpressVPN or even this one for NordVPN, your traffic from within China will (usually) be directed to an unblocked version of their website.
  2. Connect VPN-Enabled: If for some reason the dynamic links are not working, the next best way to install a VPN from within China is to link to a VPN-enabled device. This way, you are using another device’s VPN services to set up the VPN yourself. I will explain this method in detail below.

So here is a brief description of how to install a VPN from within China.

If you need more details or want a step-by-step explanation, continue reading below.

Noticeable: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use any of the services listed here.

There are a number of definitions of dynamic links, but in this case, dynamic links refer to links that automatically direct you to an available, unblocked website.

Dynamic VPN links are links that automatically direct you to an unblocked version of the website.

In other words, when you click on a dynamic VPN link, there is a process happening behind the scenes that checks to see which of the many mirror sites have been blocked.

Once you locate the available version of the site, your browser will automatically be redirected there.

It all happens within seconds and there’s nothing you need to do as a user, but it’s an important process.

Not every VPN offers this type of link and it is one of the many indications that a VPN serves the China market (where they always have to play a cat-and-mouse game with Chinese censorship).

VPNs that provide dynamic links to China

I recommend a number of great VPNs for China and these dynamic links act as an important rating factor.

Here are some VPN services that use dynamic links that should work to allow you to install a VPN from within China.

ExpressVPN | Best VPN for China overall

ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable VPNs for those in China and one of the best when it comes to dynamic links to avoid censorship.

There is a good chance that you will be able to subscribe to this VPN from within China using this link.

NordVPN | Best VPN Apps

If you read a lot of my content, you’ll know that I almost always recommend a backup VPN. For me, this is NordVPN, in part because it’s a really high-quality VPN.

They also happen to use dynamic links to avoid censorship in China. Try it:

VyprVPN | Most trustworthy VPN in China

Finally, if the first two options don’t work, one of the final options to try would be this link from VyprVPN, another excellent Chinese VPN.

VyprVPN has a long history of doing business here in China, so they know what it takes to stay unblocked.


If, for some reason, these dynamic links do not work to allow you to install a VPN from within China, all hope is not lost.

There is still another way to try.

Method 2: Connect the VPN-Enabled Device

The tethering method to install a VPN from within China is a bit more complicated but the probability of success is higher.

Time required: 10 minutes.

I will guide you step by step on how to install a VPN by connecting your device. The essence of the process is that you are taking advantage of your existing VPN to set up a new VPN. Heres how to do it.

  1. Find a VPN-enabled device (from a friend/colleague)

    The first and most important thing you need to find is a friend or colleague who already has a phone set up with a VPN. This should only take a few minutes of their time, so I hope they don’t mind.

  2. Run a VPN on your friend’s phone

    Ask your friend to connect to their VPN while using their cellular network (not WiFi). They cannot use WiFi because the tethering process requires the use of this WiFi network.

  3. Turn on your friend’s personal hotspot

    In the settings of the VPN-enabled phone, find the section on “Personal Hotspot”. I’ve included a screenshot below of what this might look like on an Apple iPhone, but it can also be done on Android. Make a note of the username and password to use in step 4.

  4. Call (or “Tether”) your friend’s hotspot

    Once you set up your VPN-enabled phone with Personal Hotspot, open the WiFi settings on your phone, tablet, or computer. You should see an option[Friend]”Phone” or whatever name they gave them. Using the password in step 3, log in to the phone.

  5. Purchase, install and setup a VPN

    Now that you are connected to your friend’s phone, which should already be connected to the VPN server, you should have an unsupervised internet experience. The connection will probably be slow, but at least you can do what you want to do. From here, go to ExpressVPN or NordVPN, purchase a subscription to one of their services, and get all the login information you’ll need.

If you are a tech savvy, you don’t have to download the app to install a VPN from within China. You can subscribe to a VPN service and then install the VPN manually on all your devices.

Manual installation instructions can be found on the tutorial pages for each VPN service.

Final thoughts | Set up a VPN inside China

If at all possible, then obviously the easiest way to install a VPN from within China is to try to use the dynamic links from the providers I mentioned above. you can try:

In most cases, this stuff has worked for me and hundreds of other users I’ve worked with over the past year.

However, the Chinese internet does not work in the same way across the whole country, so if you are in a place where it does not connect to a VPN, the second method will be your best choice.

Find a friend who already has a VPN running on their phone and ask if you could take a few minutes to connect their devices.

The good news?

Once you install a VPN from within China, you will never have to do this process again! Fortunately, you will have unsupervised access to the Internet in China to do what you need.

Further reading and resources

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