How to Access Gmail in China

Thalia Oosthuizen Last Updated by Thalia Oosthuizen on November 11, 2019

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China has some of the world’s strictest censorship laws with many websites, Gmail included, blocked domestically. With a VPN you’ll still be able to access restricted content and keep up with your email and social media.

However, due to further regulations implemented by Governing parties, it’s becoming more challenging finding a VPN that will bypass the Great Firewall of China.

We have identified three of the best VPNs for accessing restricted content in China, so if you’re planning on traveling there soon, be sure to take our advice.

How to Access Gmail in China

Accessing Gmail in China is easier than you think if you follow these steps:

  1. Before you travel, download the VPN of your choice (see recommendations below)
    ExpressVPN stay anonymous
  2. Install the VPN app onto your device
    VPN to Access Gmail in China
  3. Once in China, use the app to connect to a server located elsewhere
    Express VPN UK-based servers
  4. Log in to Gmail
    VPN for gmail access China

China blocks VPNs

The stringent and suffocating censorship laws in China block and restrict access to popular websites like Gmail, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

One of the most effective ways to bypass firewalls is to use a VPN, although, with China blocking more VPNs each month, the viable choices are becoming increasingly limited. The firewall can detect and prevent OpenVPN traffic, which is one of the most common protocols for VPNs.

The VPNs listed below can avoid detection and offer you greater anonymity.

Best VPNs to Access Gmail in China


  • Fast connection speeds
  • Over 1,700 servers
  • Top-notch, robust security
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Servers in South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam

ExpressVPN boasts consistent and reliable performance plus dedicated apps for all major platforms and devices. If you need assistance, the 24/7 consultants can help you from within China.

Express VPN uses excellent obfuscation protocols and advanced technology for the best possible user experience.

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  • Military-grade encryption standards
  • 450+ servers in the Asia Pacific
  • Strong server connections
  • 24/7 live customer care
  • Configuration assistance from China

NordVPN recently announced significant advancements for using their service within China. Effortlessly unblock streaming sites such as Netflix or Hulu, which generally block most VPN services, plus you can check your Gmail with ease.

NordVPN has a strict zero logs policy for all user activity, and it maintains strong encryption standards. With specifically optimized servers improving security and speed, ultra-fast streaming is available, with anti-DDoS, Tor over VPN, and obfuscated servers excellent for bypassing censors.

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  • Bypass firewalls using L2TP protocol
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Servers in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Vietnam
  • High connection speeds
  • Over 100 servers in 56 countries
  • Kill switch and DNS leak protection

Military-grade encryption offers anonymity against the most intense observers, including the Chinese Firewall. PrivateVPN has fast connection speeds, access on up to six devices simultaneously, and a strict no-logs policy.

While this VPN has a relatively small network of servers, they can all bypass blocks and restrictions, making it an excellent choice for use in China.

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Important Notes about VPN Use in China

  • In 2017, the Chinese government announced that it planned to block all VPN use by February 2018. Although this has not yet happened, but it is becoming more difficult to find a VPN service that works
  • The Chinese government has blocked almost all of the VPNs that you can purchase on Apple’s app store
  • You must download before you travel otherwise you won’t be able to use the service. While there are some exceptions, like NordVPN, almost all VPN services require that you download their app before arriving in China
  • There are very few VPNs that work in China. All our recommendations currently bypass the restrictions and blocks that are in place.

With the harsh rules and regulations of internet usage implemented in China, accessing any content online without a VPN is unsafe and risky.

A VPN Offers You More

1 A VPN can boost your online speed

Wi-Fi access is widely available in China, but connection speeds are particularly slow. If you find that the public Wi-Fi provider or ISP throttles your connection, your VPN service will bypass it, giving you faster connection speed.

2 You get better security with a VPN

In addition to greater anonymity, a VPN encryption ensures protection from the malicious pop-ups and downloads that could infect your devices. Any online activity, irrelevant of what, is protected and deniable; this is far safer for everyone, especially if you aren’t familiar with China’s regulations and laws.

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Thalia Oosthuizen
After studying computer science at University for three years, Thalia developed a passion for online privacy and security. This passion has lead to her becoming a cyber security writer, sharing her knowledge with others so they have access to the information needed to protect their privacy online.