Hong Kong remains a famous tourist destination and is also a favored global financial center. However, visitors may have to rely on Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to get access to the websites, services, or even apps they are normally used to (see instances of censorship).
Premium vs Cheap vs Free VPN – What to Expect?
|VPN||Must Have||Recommended for ...|
|Above $5/month|| |
|Below $5/month|| |
|Free VPN|| |
What Makes a Good VPN for Hong Kong?
- No logging policy
- Company based outside 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance Country
- Robust encryption
- High connection speed
- Excellent network coverage
- Capable to bypass tight censorship
- Compatible with major devices and platforms
More details at the bottom of this article.
Notable VPN brands including ExpressVPN and Vypr have been observed to fall slightly below their usual high standards in China. Tests observed using these services indicate poor connectivity (into and out of China mainland) as a whole.
As an example of this, our test data indicates that NordVPN connections from China fail to reach servers about 66% of the time. Even if you do manage to connect, download and upload speeds are low, making this (one of my favorite VPNs) literally useless there.
ExpressVPN, another popular and very reputable choice, fails to connect in China at most times. These facts are depressing but there are a number of surprising VPNs that have been able to maintain decent China operations.
Here is the list of top VPNs that work for Hong Kong:
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN service but has gained momentum in recent years. This is not surprising as it’s one of the very few VPNs that offers unlimited simultaneous connections across several platforms. So, when you’re in Hong Kong, you won’t need to worry about protecting your whole family.
Private & Secure
With 3200+ servers worldwide, including in Hong Kong itself, you’ll enjoy high connectivity options. They can help assure digital privacy 24/7 and offer related features for you to choose from.
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Local & International Streaming
For example, obfuscated servers can help you completely mask your VPN traffic. Nobody will know you’re even using a VPN – so you will get be blocked. Additionally, you can access both local Hong Kong streaming sites and foreign content with no hassle; ViuTV, TVB, RTHK, Bloomberg, BBC, CNN, TVMost, Netflix, HBO Asia among others.
Also, along with security features such as 256-bit encryption (a powerful encryption standard), kill switch, protection against leaks, split tunneling, the Camouflage Mode and the CleanWeb suite, which blocks ads and malware, all these make Surfshark the preferred choice.
SurfShark Speed Tests
|Location||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Ping (ms)|
|Benchmark (without VPN)||305.78||119.06||6|
|United States (WireGuard)||174.71||115.65||176|
|United States (No WireGuard)||91.31||27.23||190|
|United Kingdom (WireGuard)||178.55||131.56||194|
|Holland (No WireGuard)||170.59||2.71||258|
|South Africa (WireGuard)||168.38||86.09||258|
|South Africa (No WireGuard)||47.61||4.28||349|
How Well Surfshark Works in Hong Kong?
Data indicates that connecting to Surfshark in China had no problems – on average a whopping 100% connectivity with 286ms taken to reach a chosen VPN server.
Based in Nevis, West Indies, TorGuard states that it has a strict no-logging policy. However, this claim is rather vague as there are no public audits available. Unlike Surshark, TorGuard can support up to simultaneous five devices only.
It offers AES-256 encryption with SHA-512, alongside unique uncrackable protocols like Stunnel, OpenVPN, SSTP and SSH tunnels. Unfortunately, as encryption levels increase, speed will suffer. You’ll need to weigh your need for speed versus security at all times.
The kill switch function is App-specific, so you can terminate specific processes in case of a VPN connection drop. This gives you more control. TorGuard’s Stealth Mode helps to overcome geolocation restrictions. Additionally, they claim to have protection against known leaks.
Unfortunately, the interface can look rather dated and also doesn’t provide a good user experience. Furthermore, using TorGuard may require some technical knowledge. So, for those of you who are not tech-savvy, using TorGuard can be rather intimidating.
How Well TorGuard Works in Hong Kong?
Having deployed 3000+ servers in 50+ countries, including Hong Kong, TorGuard ensures you get access to local content along with foreign content without any restrictions. Overall, great stability and potential.
Based in the Cayman Islands, FastestVPN has its foundation in autonomous British Overseas Territory. They’ve pledged not to share data with any third-parties but the evidence of this is unclear.
FastestVPN offers limited servers – available in 40+ countries. However, they do have a presence in Hong Kong. The service supports IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP, as well as OpenVPN (both TCP and UDP).
Security is based on AES 256-Bit encryption. Equipped with a built-in NAT firewall, which is akin to having a wall against unsolicited incoming traffic, FastestVPN helps increase the security for your devices.
Unlike Surfshark, FastestVPN allows connection up to 10 devices simultaneously with one account. Some have claimed that FastestVPN is not that configurable and its speed is slow.
How Well FastestVPN Works in Hong Kong?
FastestVPN can overall be good if you’re living in a highly urban area or on a very tight budget. If you have more specialized needs and are looking for something more of a premium provider in Hong Kong, it is best you consider better options like Surfshark.
Why You Need a VPN for Hong Kong?
While the Chinese government blocks much digital access to the outside world, Hong Kong maintained her belief in a free lifestyle. It was part of the much-vaunted “one country, two systems” policy introduced by Beijing when Hong Kong returned to the motherland in 1997.
Yet slowly but surely, China was unable to resist tightening its grip on Asia's World City. Increasingly biased politics pushed by inserted CCP loyalists resulted in mass protests in this tiny region.
The result was heightened policing, mass scrutiny on digital media, and lockouts of CCP-unfriendly content. This naturally brought about a spike of interest in VPNs.
If you’re a visitor you may be unaccustomed to having all your digital activities being monitored, being restricted from many sites, and the overall danger of getting hauled in by the police for a comment you post online. That’s where a VPN comes in handy.
Read more: 10 countries that ban the usage of VPN
How to Choose a VPN for Hong Kong
While China’s strict internet censorship regime does not apply to Hong Kong and internet access is almost ubiquitous, many have turned to VPNs to protect their online security and privacy.
So, when looking for a VPN in Hong Kong, there are certain criteria you need to be aware of:
A zero-logs policy aka no-logging policy, assures users that a VPN provider will not collect, store, track or share information such as your IPs, the websites you access, the amount of time you spent on a website, downloads, or such similar data.
Bear in mind that your VPN is privy to everything you’re doing. After all, they own the servers and government agencies may make demands for that information. However, if you opt for a VPN provider with a strict zero-logs policy, such requests are useless as there’s nothing to hand over.
Furthermore, if your VPN provider is based in a 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance country, they are legally obligated to provide your data to government officials as and when needed.
So, it is best to avoid using VPN providers from these countries.
Encryption and Other Security Features
Robust encryption is needed to protect your privacy and prevent your data from being intercepted. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the most common encryption used by VPNs while some use military-grade encryption, which is AES-256. So, even if a hacker intercepts your internet traffic, the chances of them being able to decrypt it are almost null.
Your VPN will also need to have DNS leak protection and a kill switch feature. These will ensure your data and privacy remain intact, in the event of a leak or sudden dropped connection. Remember, a VPN is only as good as its ability to keep you and your data safe.
A VPN reroutes your traffic through its servers. By doing so, your internet connection speed can suffer. To counter this, many VPN providers deploy vast networks of servers across the globe. This is so that chances are, you’ll be able to connect to a server nearer your location and thus reduce the distance, which translates into faster speeds for you.
While speed is important, it does seem to be of lower value than actual working connectivity for those in China or Hong Kong. Yet too slow a speed is still meaningless – so make sure it fits your usage needs at the very least.
Having an extensive number of servers worldwide is crucial when it comes to bypassing a wider range of geo-blocks. Most streaming sites will aso utilize anti-VPN software to blacklist any IP address connected to VPN servers.
So, if you opt for one with fewer servers or locations – these can quickly be blacklisted to oblivion by some service providers. VPNs with a larger global network presence will be able to avoid blacklisting by constantly adding new servers, giving it time to remove IP bans.
Although censorship is now not that rampant in Hong Kong, this might change in the near future. Many use a VPN to get around censorship. However, this is easier said than done as government firewalls are becoming more and more notoriously powerful.
Only the strongest VPNs are able to bypass this level of censorship. Don’t confuse the level of censorship that China enforces with that of most other countries. They’re serious about what they do and enforce it rabidly.
It’s no use to have the best VPN in the world if you can’t use it on your device. Fortunately, most VPNs support major devices and platforms. If you’re one who wants to use your VPN on multiple devices at the same time, go for one that allows multiple simultaneous connections on several platforms, like Surfshark.
Although many find using a VPN fairly easy, it’s always good to go for a VPN service that offers decent customer support. You’d want quick response times from knowledgeable representatives. Having 24/7 support is essential if your chosen VPN is not based in the same country as you.
Hong Kong’s constitution provides civil rights and democratic freedom. However, due to growing interference from China, her core democratic values are being eroded, leading to a decline in freedom and increased self-censorship.
Hongkies believe that Chinese authorities are monitoring their web activity, emails, and online communications. Because of this, even visitors to Hong Kong are strongly encouraged to protect their digital rights and privacy by using a VPN.
This is especially important when you use Hong Kong’s many public and/or unsecured Wifi networks. The three VPNs above all work well in Hong Kong with Surfshark taking the trophy as the top choice.