Can’t access Twitter in China? You’re not the only one. Thanks to the Great Firewall of China, citizens of the country as well as travelers passing through the mainland’s borders are unable to access a wide variety of foreign news and social media sites, including Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and Twitter. The Chinese blocks are so severe that even normal methods of unlocking censored content often fail.
Fortunately, there’s still hope. VPNs can help you unblock Twitter in China with ease, restoring full access to the social media site on every device, including laptops, desktop PCs, and smartphones. With a VPN you can lock down your data and surf the web anonymously, slipping through the firewall blockade to enjoy the safe and open internet once again.
- 1 Accessing Twitter in China
- 2 Why Is Twitter Blocked in China?
- 3 Still Can’t Unblock Twitter in China?
- 4 Conclusion
Accessing Twitter in China
If you live or work in China, you probably noticed a lot of websites and services are banned. Even foreigners just passing through the country will be unable to access out of country sites, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter. Trying to open these URLs results in a cryptic “This site can’t be reached” message, all because of restrictions put in place by the local government.
Best Way to Unblock Twitter in China – Use a VPN
Most methods that attempt to unblock Twitter in China fail. Proxy services, websites, and other tools simply cannot offer the full protection delivered by a good VPN. Below we discuss some of the reasons why VPNs are the best way to unblock Twitter in china, followed by a complete guide on how to do just that.
How Do VPNs Unblock Twitter?
It all comes down to IP addresses. Each time you log onto the internet, your device is assigned a unique string of letters and numbers. This digital address helps deliver the content you request, just like writing your physical address on a letter. IP addresses also contain information about your current location, right down to the country and city you live in.
China’s firewall utilizes IP addresses to systematically block access to certain external sites. If you have an IP address from China and try to log onto Twitter, you’ll simply be denied.
VPNs get around this limitation by masking your real IP address and replacing it with a virtual, non-local, and anonymous IP. This means you can hop on the internet and visit any site you want, even while in China. Because your IP address doesn’t appear to be from inside the country, in most cases you can quickly and effortlessly use Twitter and countless other blocked resources.
Of course, proxy services can do this too. The difference is that your VPN covers your tracks with encryption, which makes all data running between your device and the VPN proxy server completely unintelligible to even the most sophisticated snoops, include the Chinese government.
What Makes a Good VPN?
How do you choose the best VPN for unblocking Twitter in China? Picking the right service is crucial, as if you go with a sub-par VPN, you could very well ruin your online experience, sacrifice your privacy, or worse. Below are the most important qualities any good VPN should provide. We used these features to make our recommendations in the next section.
- Intuitive software – You’ll interact with your VPN software every day. Make sure it’s easy to use and it supports Twitter feeds.
- Server network speed – Make this your top priority when looking for a VPN, as speed is everything when it comes to the internet.
- Strong device support – Your VPN should work on every device you own.
- Zero-logging policy – Only sign up with VPNs that have a strict zero-logging policy, no exceptions.
- Unbreakable encryption – The secret sauce of any VPN is undoubtedly its encryption, which should be enabled by protocols that are nearly impossible to break through.
Here is our list with the best VPNs to unblock Twitter in China.
1 – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services in the world. It earned its reputation thanks to fast service and easy to use software, all bundled together in a single convenient package compatible with both smartphones and PCs. ExpressVPN is perfect for anyone looking for a reliable VPN but who also doesn’t want to spend hours learning the ropes. It will connect to the fastest server automatically, and keep you safe and secure, operating quietly in the background throughout the day.
This provider’s VPN software offers a wide range of privacy features, including 256-bit AES encryption, a zero-logging policy on all traffic, and both kill switch and DNS leak protection. ExpressVPN’s server network covers over 2,000 locations in 94 different countries, giving you plenty of options for a fast connection no matter where you live or travel to.
ExpressVPN is especially good for unblocking Twitter in China thanks to its reliable network and fast server speeds. Once you connect, you’ll immediately be invisible and anonymous, making it easy to start tweeting as soon as you log on.
Check out our ExpressVPN review for more info about the company’s amazing features!
2 – NordVPN
NordVPN is fast and powerful VPN trusted by thousands of users around the globe. Its most impressive feature is the size of its server network, which currently sits at over 4,900 servers in 62 countries, nearly twice the number of the nearest competitors. This amazing variety lets NordVPN deliver fast speeds while penetrating censorship barriers around the world. There are also unique services only NordVPN offers, including protection against DDoS attacks, double encryption, and onion over VPN capability, all of which help keep you safe online.
The software packages everything you need to stay safe online, from 256-bit AES encryption to DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and an amazing zero-logging policy that covers time stamps, DNS requests, IP addresses, and traffic. When you need solid, fast protection, just fire up NordVPN and you’re set.
NordVPN’s fast servers and large network make it ideal for unblocking Twitter in China. It’s easy to use, safe, and affordable, too!
Learn more about the NordVPN experience in our full NordVPN review.
3 – PureVPN
PureVPN does far more than just anonymize your identity and encrypt your data. The service protects you from a wide range of cyber threats each time you connect, making it one of the best ways to stay safe on the internet. With PureVPN you’ll have instant access to anti-virus protection, malware shields, app blocking features, and website filters, all wrapped in a single package. No need to download extra software, just fire up PureVPN and you’re safe.
PureVPN also provides privacy features on top of its extras. It begins with a zero-logging policy on traffic and continues with an automatic kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption on all data, and DNS leak protection. These features work together to keep your data secure no matter what. PureVPN also runs a self-owned network of over 750 servers in 180 different countries for optimal speeds everywhere you go.
Why Is Twitter Blocked in China?
Twitter is an extremely popular service used by millions of people around the world. Why, then, would a country as big as China block its users from accessing it? As with many things in the world, it all comes down to politics. Twitter and other foreign-owned social media sites were used by separatist movements in China to communicate with each other. This led to violent demonstrations and riots, all facilitated by these platforms.
When the dust settled, the new ruling authority saw sites like Twitter as a threat to the country’s peace and welfare. Firewalls were set up to block any externally operated site that could help movements stage a coup against the ruling powers. Twitter was listed as one of these threats, along with the search giant Google and all of its operations, including YouTube.
The initial block in 2009 has since grown to encompass hundreds of new sites. It has been dubbed the Great Firewall of China, and it currently forbids access to the following sites and resources:
- Large news sites throughout Asia, North America, and Europe
- Google, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Search
- VPN services and websites operated outside of China
Why Are There Still Twitter Users in China?
The thing about the Great Firewall is it’s not 100% perfect. Despite the blockades put up by the government, there are still millions of Twitter users within the country, many of whom are active on a daily basis. This is in addition to the millions of users on the country’s internal Twitter-like services Wechat and Weibo.
Users inside of China who access Twitter often do it through powerful proxy services. VPNs, or virtual private networks, are the favored choice for accessing Twitter safely and securely from inside China. Not only do they mask the data passing through a user’s PC, but they also protect the identity of anyone using social media, making them the perfect shield against recrimination.
Start Tweeting from China with a VPN
Now that you’ve got a VPN up and running and are protected by the secure tunnel of encryption, it’s time to fire up your Twitter account and enjoy open access to the world wide web.
To get started, you’ll first want to download and install the VPN software. Sign into your VPN’s website and download the app for your device. Install it, launch the software, then enter your login credentials to activate the connection.
Most apps will automatically connect to a server as soon as it launches. This works well for our purposes, as it doesn’t matter where the connection is, as long as it’s outside of China and operates with high speeds.
You’ll want to verify your IP address to make sure the VPN is actually working. With your VPN active and connected, open a web browser and go to ipleak.net. Wait for the page to load and it will run an IP address lookup automatically. Look at the box beneath where it says “Your IP address”. If it shows the right country, you?re good to go.
Now you can safely connect to Twitter, read tweets, or even send out your own messages, all from the secure space created by your VPN.
Still Can’t Unblock Twitter in China?
VPNs are fantastic multi-purpose tools, but they aren’t perfect, especially when it comes to drastic measures like the Great Firewall of China. If you still can’t access Twitter from your new VPN, try one of the methods listed below. They’re a little more difficult to set up, but they’re often worth it.
Shadowsocks (SOCKS5 Proxy)
Shadowsocks was developed to allow free and open internet access in China. It operates by using the SOCKS5 protocol (Socket Secure 5) which transfers data between clients and servers by using a remote proxy server. SOCKS also provides a layer of authentication to make sure only the intended user can access the personal proxy, giving it similar qualities to a VPN.
To use this method you’ll need access to a shadowsocks server, which either requires deploying your own or renting an external service, which can be expensive. Once things are up and running, shadowsocks provides amazing access through the Great Firewall and works well with desktop operating systems, Android, and iOS devices alike. It’s also quite a bit faster than most other alternatives.
SSH tunnels, which stands for Secure SHell tunnels, are a method of wrapping data in an extra layer of SSH encryption, allowing them to pass through filtering services like the Great Firewall. SSH is a widely used protocol with a number of legitimate purposes, such as securely sending files from hosts to servers, which means it’s extremely unlikely to ever be blocked by any government agency.
The downside to SSH tunnels are that they can be slow. The technology wasn’t designed for large amounts of traffic, so if you’re downloading anything more complex than a basic website, you’re in for a long wait. Still, it’s surprisingly easy to make an SSH tunnel on Linux and Mac systems (Windows users will have to do some extra legwork), making it a viable alternative for Twitter access in China in case VPNs won’t work.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer tunnels) connections aren’t blocked by the Great Firewall. Online shopping, e-mail, web banking, and other services that deal with private data use SSL to offer secure connections through HTTPS, which makes them somewhat immune to censorship. By utilizing an SSL tunnel, you can wrap your traffic in encryption to make it look like a standard SSL connection.
To use an SSL tunnel you’ll need to download the stunnel software. It’s not easy or quick to set up, and you’ll need a fair amount of technical knowledge to pull it off. An alternative is to use a VPN service that offers SSL tunneling through their software. NordVPN is one of the best mainstream VPNs that delivers this feature.
Unblocking Twitter in China sounds complicated, but with the right tools you can crack it open with ease. VPNs do most of the work for you, in fact, freeing you up to sit back and tweet about your day for the whole world to hear.
Are you living in or traveling through China? What is your preferred method of accessing the free and open internet from behind the Great Firewall? Share your experiences in the comments below!