There are a ton of reasons to get an IP address from Hong Kong, but unfortunately there are really only a few legitimate means of doing so without compromising your safety. Today, we review a short list of VPNs that maintain secure servers in Hong Kong, allowing you to spoof a local IP from anywhere in the world–including China.
Although Hong Kong is–controversially–part of China, it has kept many of the liberties it had as an independent country. As such, Internet access is not restricted in any way, you may still want to benefit from a Hong Kong IP address. It could be useful, for instance, to access some local content that might not be available from IP addresses out of the country. Fortunately, getting a Hong Kong IP address is not that complicated. Most of the top VPN providers have servers in the country that will help you accomplish just that. Read on as we’re about to reveal how to get a Hong Kong IP address from anywhere in the world.
Before we have a look at the actual way you can get a Hong Kong IP address, we’ll first explore why one would need to do that. As you’ll see—or perhaps as you already know—it has to do with the country’s politics and restrictions. So, we’ll first discuss what the state of the Internet is like in the country. And since this is about IP addresses, we’ll explain what they are and what it means to have an IP address from that country. It’s no big mystery that it has to do with access filtering, as we’ll see. Next, we’ll introduce Virtual Private Networks (VPN) as they are the best—if not the only—way to get a truly secure IP address from a different place than you are.
IP addresses in a nutshell
You can think of IP addresses as the street addresses of the Internet. Each resource connected to the Internet is assigned a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Just like a street address, the IP address uniquely identifies a single resource on the Internet. And also like street addresses, IP addresses also indicate the location of an Internet-connected resource. IP addresses are 32-bit binary numbers but, for the sake of clarity, we usually represent them as a sequence of four decimal numbers, each replacing 4 bits, separated by dots. This notation is called dotted decimal. For example, 192.168.0.1 is easier to handle—and quicker and less error-prone to write—than 1100 0000 1010 1000 0000 0000 0000 0001.
IP addresses as a mean of filtering
Of the 32 bits of an IP address, some specify the network where the device is located while the remaining bits uniquely identify a specific device within a network. In the example above, for example, the first 24 bits represent the network and the last 8 the host.
Since part of the IP address specify the network where a device is connected, it is relatively easy to extrapolate its physical location as the correspondence between networks and locations is public information. For example, if the country existed, it would be known that all IP addresses in the Republic of Santa Banana start with 24.48.
This, of course, signifies that IP addresses can be used to identify the location of any device on the Internet and, consequently, it is a widely used technique for limiting access. For instance, some websites within Hong Kong could be set up to only accept incoming connections from local IP addresses.
Getting a Hong Kong IP address
From what we’ve discussed so far, it should be obvious that the best way to appear like we’re in Hong Kong when we are not is as simple as getting an IP address from that country. And although that would normally require that we are physically there, the magic of Virtual Private Networks make that possible.
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About virtual private networks
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are systems that provide users with the best privacy and security while using the Internet. They do that by encrypting all data transmitted using strong algorithms that render data undecipherable. The virtual part of their name comes from the fact that they build a virtual tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. All data from our computer goes through the tunnel encrypted and is only decrypted right before being sent on the Internet at the other end of the tunnel.
You may be asking “if my data is decrypted at the other end of the tunnel, how is it more secure?“ Well, some degree of security and privacy is achieved through the fact that, even though the data is not encrypted between the far end of the tunnel and its destination, it is still untraceable to you or your computer. Once the data exits the tunnel, it is seen as originating from the VPN server, not from your computer.
Also, the most “sensitive” part of the data transmission is your end. This is where someone (like your ISP, government agencies or malicious users) would be trying to intercept your traffic to spy on you. When using a VPN, this part of the communication is encrypted and anyone examining your usage would only see unidentified traffic between your computer and a VPN server.
How a VPN can help to get a Hong Kong IP address
Do you remember that we said that all traffic exiting the tunnel is seen by its destination as coming from the VPN server? Well, this is the key to getting an IP address in Hong Kong—or actually anywhere. All one has to do is establish a VPN tunnel with a server located there.
The great news about this is that most of the best VPN providers do have servers in that country. After all, it is a popular destination and deploying services there is not particularly hard, especially when comparing it to nearby restrictive countries such as China or North Korea.
The best VPN providers with servers in Hong Kong
We’ve searched the market, looking for VPN service providers that offered servers in Hong Kong. This was a not difficult task. Most providers are offering that option. Let’s see what the best five have to offer.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs and considering today’s media-intensive apps, you know how speed is important. This provider offers consistent speed across all its servers and it does so without compromising security. The service uses resilient encryption standards like OpenVPN connections encrypted with 256-bit AES as default. The service’s 4096-bit DHE-RSA keys are protected by an SHA-512 hashing algorithm. The provider has over 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, including 6 locations in Hong Kong.
For an excellent level of privacy, ExpressVPN retains minimal individual data. It is based in the British Virgin Islands and is, therefore, not legally required to retain any user data at all. The client app features a “network lock” which is equivalent to other provider’s kill switch that further protects your privacy by blocking all network traffic if the VPN connection ever drops, which is a rare occurrence. This may not be the provider with the largest number of server and the most server locations but what it lacks in number of servers, it makes up for in speed and quality.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocking Netflix USA, iPlayer, Amazon Prime
- Superfast servers (minimal speed loss)
- AES-256 encryption
- Strict no-logs policy for personal information
- 24/7 Live Chat.
- Slightly pricier than competition.
First on our list is PureVPN, a VPN supplier which is known for its fast and unrestricted access to the internet. The provider has a huge network of 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries. They’re almost everywhere and, of course, there are plenty of servers in their home base of Hong Kong. PureVPN features speedy connections, strong encryption practices, a zero-logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, DNS leak protection, and a quick kill switch to make sure your data always stays safe in case the tunnel ceases working unexpectedly.
As far as encryption goes, PureVPN leaves nothing to be desired and uses only the best. The supplier uses top-of-the-line, military-grade (up to) 256-bit encryption to protect and safeguard user’s data from falling into the wrong hands. Furthermore, PureVPN offers all the latest security and connectivity protocols. Those include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. The usability of a VPN is closely related to the client application it comes with. To that effect, PureVPN writes its own software for all major platforms, giving you an excellent integrated experience.
Read our full PureVPN review.
NordVPN has been around for more than a decade. It is one of the oldest providers out there. Its popularity does not see to fade, thanks to its huge server network and excellent value for the money. The provider’s servers fleet is one of the largest with 5,800 servers in 59 countries, including 84 in Hong Kong alone. The company has been criticized in the past for suffering from speed issues but this is something NordVPN has made great efforts to address recently. Privacy is NordVPN’s strongest point and being based in Panama means they are free to not retain any user information whatsoever.
NordVPN provides 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys as standard. The service also offers several additional useful security features including a kill switch and shared IP addresses. Other unique features include double VPN servers (where your data is encrypted twice and rerouted through two successive VPN servers for extra protection) and Onion over VPN servers (where your data is redirected through the TOR Network as well as a VPN for even better security).
Read our full NordVPN review.
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- Different IP addresses aervers
- Strong security features
- Retains no metadata of your browsing
- Money back guarantee policy.
- Can't specify City or Province in App.
CyberGhost is another well-known VPN provider. It made our list because the service works great and delivers what’s expected. This provider has whopping 6,000+ servers in 87 countries. Among these, 70 servers are located in Hong Kong. This makes CyberGhost an excellent option to unblock many kinds of American geo-blocked content.
By default, CyberGhost uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES Encryption and 2048-bit keys. For ultimate security, the provider also uses perfect secrecy. By generating a random key for each session, intercepting the connection is made much harder. CyberGhost has a strict zero-logging policy. The provider doesn’t even keep user’s email addresses. It chose to have purchases processed by resellers so the only personal information it ever has about its users is their usernames. Other important features of the service include an Internet kill switch that will automatically disconnect your network if the VPN connection goes down as well as DNS and IP leak protection. As for the VPN client apps, that are available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
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- 3,600+ servers, 55+ countries
- Apps for ALL devices
- Strict no-logs policy
- 24/7 Live Support.
- Doesn’t work well in China.
PrivateVPN, the last entry on our list, is an excellent provider. Its VPN will allow you to safely stream, surf, and download content from the web, or simply check social media accounts or your e-mail with full anonymity and from anywhere. Important features of the service are its speed and its ease of use. It is one of the best VPNs for general daily use. As for the client software, it is available for smartphones, desktop and laptop computers, and even Fire TV. It boasts a lightweight and easy to use interface. This provider is a great option for anyone who wants to use a VPN but doesn’t want to have to deal with complicated interfaces.
PrivateVPN’s network is comprised of over 150 servers in some 60 different countries, including Hong Kong. This provider can certainly deliver the speed, security, and location variety that seek. On the security front, it uses 256-bit AES encryption and it keeps your connection safe with an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection. The supplier has a zero logging policy on all traffic for an excellent level of privacy.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
What if what you need is the opposite?
Given the Internet access restrictions and censorship which are common in Asia, and considering that you might want to access some geo-blocked content while travelling in Hong Kong, what you may be looking for is instead the opposite. What if what you need is to have unrestricted access to the Internet from within the country? Well, a VPN can also help you with that too. When a VPN tunnel is set up between the client running on your computer and the VPN server. Its traffic becomes virtually invisible. Strong encryption makes it impossible to see what type of traffic it is and the only destination that is shown is that of the VPN server you’re connected to.
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Some organizations will block VPN traffic but the best providers make use of various stealth technologies to prevent that blocking. They can, for instance, masquerade the traffic so that it looks like some kind of legitimate traffic. For example, they’d use the port number normally reserved for HTML traffic. That would make filtering engines think it is ordinary web browsing traffic.
All of the VPN providers we’ve just reviewed will work just as fine when you need to get out of Hong Kong as when you need to get in there. They’re all excellent picks for that very purpose.
About the Internet in Hong Kong
Contrary to China, there is very little Internet censorship in Hong Kong. It has laws that criminalize the distribution of unlicensed copyrighted material and obscene images such as child pornography. Otherwise, Hong Kong law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. Freedom of expression is well protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. No websites, regardless of their political views. There is, however, some monitoring of the Internet and democratic activists claim the central government authorities closely monitor their e-mails and Internet use.
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If you’ve been looking for a way into Hong Kong’s digital borders, use one of our five recommended VPN’s. In doing so, you unlock not only a world of geo-restricted content, but can browse the free and open Internet with all the same privileges as native Hongkongers. You could try to do it with a free VPN or proxy service, but you won’t get any of the protection VPN encryption offers. If you’re connecting from a free country, this might not be a big deal. But, if you’re in almost any nearby Asian country with poor Internet rights, you owe it to yourself to take the safe route.
What will you use your Hong Kong IP address for? Do you already have experience with our recommended VPN providers? Weigh in with a comment below.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.