How to unblock WeChat with a VPN
Heidi Finigan | Last Updated:
VPN Streaming Expert
WeChat is one of the largest web messaging apps in the world, with over 1.2 billion active monthly users in 2021. It’s no secret, however, that the company has close links with the Chinese government, who are notorious for spying on their own citizens. Other Chinese tech companies, such as TikTok and Huawei, have been accused by the US government for spying on their users, and it’s very possible that WeChat monitors its users in similar ways.
But if want to continue using the messaging platform, there are steps you can take to better secure your privacy. Using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself online: A VPN service routes your internet traffic from the chat application or website that you are using to one of its servers, where it is encrypted before reaching your original destination. This extra layer of encryption stops third parties such as government authorities, your ISP or any potential cybercriminals from intercepting your private messages.
How to Use a VPN for WeChat
Want to get started with using a VPN for WeChat immediately? Check out our quick five-step guide below:
- Pick out and subscribe to a VPN you like – we recommend using NordVPN for WeChat due to its impressive security features.
- Download and install the VPN program onto the device you use for WeChat.
- Open the VPN program and login to your account.
- Choose a VPN server to connect to. We recommend picking a server near your location for faster speeds.
- You’re all set! Now you can start using WeChat to chat with greater security – register for an account on the messaging app if you don’t have on already.
Best VPNs for WeChat
Not sure which VPN provider to trust? We’ve picked out and reviewed two VPN services below which we think work best for WeChat.
NordVPN stands out for its impressive suite of security features, which make the provider our top recommendation. It employs military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, an encryption algorithm so strong that all of the world’s supercomputers combined would be unable to crack the code. This makes your private WeChat messages undecipherable to anyone who potentially intercepts them.
And if you’re using WeChat in China, you’ll be glad to know that NordVPN’s obfuscated servers allow it to get around the country’s VPN restrictions. Even though China heavily limits VPN use, these obfuscated servers disguise your VPN connection as just another ordinary internet connection, allowing you to continue using NordVPN undetected.
NordVPN also accepts cryptocurrency payment, which we highly recommend that you take advantage of. While not perfectly anonymous, cryptocurrency transactions are still much harder to track than those made with your PayPal or credit card. Sticking to cryptocurrency payments are a good idea if online privacy is your main concern.
You can rest assured that no records are kept of your WeChat use either, with NordVPN’s strict non-logging policy. While many paid VPN services claim to keep no logs, NordVPN is one of the few who have actually proven their claim by subjecting themselves to an independent audit.
NordVPN is also incorporated in Panama, one of the most privacy-friendly countries in the world with no data retention laws and not party to any information-sharing agreements with other countries. This means that the provider cannot be legally compelled to give up information on you to your government.
Below are the latest NordVPN subscription prices, current as at August 2021:
ExpressVPN is our second choice, first and foremost for its incredible server coverage. With 3,000 servers in 95 countries and 160 distinct locations, you’ll be hard pressed to find another provider with a wider spread of servers. This is important since wide server coverage gives you more choices for close servers to connect to, if you’re planning on bypassing your government’s ban on WeChat by connecting to a foreign server.
ExpressVPN is also no slouch when it comes to security. Like NordVPN, they employ military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, the highest-level encryption method available currently. The company is also incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which has strict privacy laws. There is no legal requirement for companies to retain your data, and it is difficult for foreign governments to legally compel ExpressVPN to hand over the little information that they do have on you.
Additionally, ExpressVPN offers a whole host of convenient features, such as split tunneling, 24/7 customer support and a kill switch, allowing users to easily customize the program to suit their needs. There’s no commitment either: they have a 30-day free trial for new customers, so come test out this great service for yourself!
Below are the latest ExpressVPN subscription prices, current as at August 2021:
WeChat, despite being one of the most widely used messaging platforms in the world, suffer from many security problems. Using a VPN can help with some of these concerns, and also allow you to use the app in countries where it is banned. We recommend NordVPN for its great security features, while the more expensive ExpressVPN comes in at a close second.
What advantages are there to using a VPN for Wechat?
Using a VPN is the best way to access the messaging app in India, where the app is currently banned. The messaging app has also been previously banned in Russia, and it came close to being blocked in the US as well during the Trump administration.
Using a VPN also stops your government and ISP from potentially intercepting and reading your private Wechat messages. If you’re on a public WIFI network, VPN encryption is necessary to keep cybercriminals from stealing your private information over the internet.
Could WeChat get banned in my country?
At the moment, the only country which has banned their citizens from using WeChat is India. However, that may be set to change: In 2020, the US Trump administration imposed a sudden ban on both WeChat and TikTok through an executive order, citing the programs as threats to national security. While the order was halted by a federal judge, and later completely dropped by the Biden administration, it is clear that many Chinese apps are on shaky legal ground in the US.
And there is a history of similar bans: the Chinese tech titan Huawei was previously banned from operating in the US, after the company was accused of being a national security threat. WeChat was also briefly banned in Russia for a week in 2017, supposedly for a registration error.
Is it safe to use Wechat?
WeChat is known to heavily monitor and censor private messages sent by user accounts registered in China, but there is some evidence to suggest that messages sent by foreign accounts are under surveillance as well. WeChat also collects and records information on its users, such as their location, their contact network and the places they visit.
And unlike many other secure messaging services, WeChat does not apply end-to-end encryption for your private messages. That means the content of your messages can be easily read as they pass through WeChat’s servers unprotected. Due to these privacy concerns, we recommend not using WeChat to send any messages with sensitive information that you want to stay private. WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal are great alternatives for a more secure messaging service. If you live in China or another country where these apps are banned, using a VPN can help you unblock access to these services.
Are Free VPNs Good for Wechat?
We don’t recommend using a free VPN for WeChat – in fact, we don’t think using a free VPN is good for any application, for many reasons. Not only are many free VPNs slow and offer only a small handful of servers to connect to, some free VPNs have been known to engage in shady business practices. Some unscrupulous providers collect and sell information on your VPN use, while others trick their users into downloading Trojan programs which allow criminals to gain access to your device.
Here are some other chat related websites that you may also be interested in finding more information about: