Updated: May 12, 2017
- First, get a VPN account setup
- Then download + install the VPN software onto the device(s) you want to access Facebook in China from
- Open the software then connect to a server location where Facebook is available, like a US server
- Go to Facebook and you will have full access to login to your account or create a new one
How to Access Facebook in China
in more detail:
Ah, Facebook! What an absolute beast this social network is. To many people, Facebook is an annoying but unavoidable part of daily life, while for others; a truly personal way to keep in touch and updated with connections all over the world.
To be honest, I am somewhere in between those two opinions! However, I can say with absolute certainty that I definitely appreciate having the choice to have Facebook in my life or not.
This is not the case in China. China has official blocked access to Facebook with full backing from the government, making access to the social network goliath virtually impossible. I can't imagine having the choice to access the second most visited website in the entire world taken away from me, regardless of how annoyingly addictive the site is!
So I wanted to use my knowledge of online privacy/freedom protection to put together this super quick and simple little together on how to access Facebook in China in less than 5 minutes and with absolutely no "technical expertise" required.
Why is Facebook Blocked in China?
Back in 2009 there were some very intense riots going on, and during these riots social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were accused (by the Chinese government) of helping to coordinate said riot movements.
Of course in reality what was actually happening was that a small amount of users on these websites were using the sites to help get out photographs and and updates on how poorly the Chinese government was actually handling these riots.
In any case, this was the reason that Chinese government decided to completely block Facebook from being accessed by users located within China. Many thought that this block would be lifted or at the very least be eased back, however it is now 2016 and Facebook is still as completely inaccessible from within China as it was during those riots back in 2009.
How is Facebook Blocked in China?
Understanding how the Chinese government is actually blocking Facebook, like, technically, will help you understand why the solution I lay out below works so effectively.
So because Facebook is blocked at the governmental level, this means that all ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are legally demanded to block all users on their service from accessing the website at that level. this means that the second you connect to your home or local cafe's WiFi in China; you are on a connection that is blocking Facebook completely.
Right, so is there a way to get around this block? Legally, securely and effectively?
By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN allows you to connect to your standard ISP but via a privacy-protected, secure network on a server located wherever you choose. What this means is that when you connect to a VPN, you are essentially giving yourself a new IP address that -- instead of representing your local IPS and its location -- represents you as being connected through this new IP address and the location it represents.
This means that by using a VPN and connecting to, for example, a US-based server location, you will make your location "appear" to be within the US, rather than in China. This gives you full access to Facebook in China.
How to Use a VPN to Access Facebook in China
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
After personally reviewing all the top-rated VPN providers around nowadays, I decided to go with ExpressVPN just because this provider best suited my budget and requirements. So for this quick step-by-step setup guide I will use ExpressVPN as the example.
The first thing to do is go to ExpressVPN's website and choose the price plan that fits your commitment and budget best. Once you've done that just select the payment method you prefer then confirm your account details via an email you'll receive upon payment being processed:
With your account confirmed, you will then want to move onto the next step of actually downloading and installing the VPN software onto the device(s) you want to access Facebook in China through.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
In the confirmation email you will receive a link to the download area on ExpressVPN's website. In this area you will see the many devices and operating systems that ExpressVPN software is compatible with. As you'll see, basically every single device you would ever want to access Facebook in China through is compatible with this VPN:
So go ahead and download the according software for whatever device you are using. For me this the OS X download link since I use a Macbook. Installation is straightforward -- just click through the steps as prompted.
Also I wanted to use my Android smartphone to access Facebook in China, so I went to the Google Play Store through my Android mobile device and downloaded + installed the dedicated ExpressVPN Android app accordingly.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
As soon as you have your ExpressVPN software (and/or mobile app) downloaded and installed on your desired devices, the software will automatically open up and you will see just how clean and simple the software is.
Now all that's left for you to do is choose a location. This is the all-important moment where you will be changing your IP address -- and thus your "location" -- to whatever server location you choose to connect through on your VPN. So you want to choose a server location that you know Facebook is fully accessible in, right?
I would go ahead and connect to a nearby country that you know has access to Facebook, like Hong Kong for example, since a general rule with VPN connections is: the shorter the distance to the server location you choose; the faster your internet speed will be.
In the example below, I connect to a US-based (New York) server location through my Macbook ExpressVPN software:
You can of course do this from China, and your IP address will change to show your "location" as within the US accordingly.
Here's a quick look at how connecting to ExpressVPN looks on my Android device:
Step 4: Sign Up/In to Facebook
Once you are connected to a non-China based server location on your VPN, you will now be able to access Facebook in China!
So if you do not yet have a Facebook account, then you can go to Facebook.com and signup in a few minutes. If you have a Facebook account but have not been able to access it since the Chinese government block -- then you will now be able to sign in and enjoy Facebook from within China. Enjoy!
There you have it -- a very quick and non-technical solution on how to access Facebook in China in less than 5 minutes. 100% effective, secure and privacy-protecting.
As I mentioned earlier in this guide, there are a lot of VPNs out there and after reviewing a host of the best-rated ones, I narrowed down my selection to the following five before going with ExpressVPN:
Any of the above VPN providers will allow you to access Facebook in China effectively, and all are very affordable and sophisticated in their service.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or feedback do let me know in the comments section below.