When I arrived in China, I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the blog and to work on my other assignments (#digitalnomadlife).
Because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google are prohibited in China. It has been like that for many years already.
So, here I was, connected to my hostel’s Wi-Fi (or at least, trying to). I couldn’t access anything. Well, I could, but my home page is Google, which means that it wasn’t working. I asked the staff what was going on with their Internet and they told me I couldn’t access Facebook or Google as it was prohibited. I thought he meant that it was prohibited in this hostel… He should have showed me the sign next to their front desk so I would have understood better.
Anyway, I didn’t manage to understand how to make it work on the first night. The next morning, I met a lovely Canadian man who told me about VPNs and what was going on with the Internet situation in China. Thanks to him; I understood everything and I installed a VPN.
So what the hell is a VPN?
It’s a virtual private network. Basically, this is going to by-pass the prohibition and secures your experience online.
So, I signed up with ExpressVPN for a month. It’s not too expensive: around US$ 12 (you could also take a longer plan if needed). It is also possible to install a VPN on your mobile but I’d recommend you download the app before your trip. You can search for free VPN or install Betternet, which apparently works fine! (Apparently; as I had to use ExpressVPN on my mobile too as GooglePlay wasn’t working). Looking for other options? Read this; VPNs that actually work.
Reminder – Before your trip
- Do you have a VPN?
- If your answer is yes; try it out! If your answer is no; install one on every devices and try it out! (You can also find free VPN for your laptop too!)
- Enjoy it in peace!
Reminder – During your trip
- If you need to install a VPN, you’ll have to use Bing instead of Google.
- Once it’s installed, you’ll have to configure it.
- On your mobile device, if you have Apple Store, you’ll be just fine to download Betternet. If you have GooglePlay, good luck! Some VPN providers have instructions to set it up on your mobile, so don’t you worry!
So, as long as you have Wi-Fi, you should be able to use your VPN.
BUT… Because, yes there is a big but here: if your Internet Connexion is low, you might lose your VPN every 5 minutes.
Good news: you’ll be able to work on your patience!