Tips for how to improve your service and measure China internet speed test

One of the biggest challenges of living in China as a foriegner is the internet. All our favorite sites are blocked including Google Twitter Facebook Youtube and most foreign news websites.

These sites are outright blocked by the Great Firewall of China but it doesnt end there. So many of our favorite sites are painfully slow or outright dont work at all even when the site isnt actually blocked.

The majority of internet sites use support scripts like Recaptcha and hosting services like cloudfare which are blocked and using these on websites may improve efficiency and data analytics Abroad but means our favorites sites dont work in China.

The Firewall can be overcome with a VPN, allowing a direct connection to a foreign server to be established with encrypted communication. I use  Express Vpn. It costs money, but it’s worth it and I believe it to be the best service with the best technical support to help you deal with the challenges of connecting. It slows China websites down, though and can generally only be used when needed and disconnected after use.

The general problem of a slow Internet connection in China is due to restriction of key servers hosted by Google or large hosting companies which havent registered a legal entity in China. Another major problem is routing. typically a round trip to America or even Hong Kong is routed via Singapore or LA to reach Middle East and this may be due to poor outside China network routes or misconfigurations on key China-world routes.

Another point worth mentioning is foreigners living in China don’t often realize that the service they are getting in their apartment can be upgraded to a faster service. The base local speed (China to China connections) may range from 10 Mps (10 megabytes/sec) to 1000 Mps. If you need a faster speed, check your with China Telecom, reachable by dialing 10000–(and yes, they do have English speaking support) and first  confirm you have a direct service with them. Oftentimes you may find your  signed  up to China telecom through a middleman who rents out a connection to 10's or sometimes 100's of people at the same time. Tip: if your paying 600rmb or less a year your going to have this kind of setup.

Finally, Understand your connection speed by doing speed tests. A good test that you can use is provided by China Telecom if your in Guangdong on or Shanghai: to test you download speed with local servers to see what your maximum speed is likely to be. It’s in Chinese, but you don’t need to understand Chinese to use it. Click on the green button that says “开始测速” (begin testing speed). The numerical result is in Mps. Other tests are not recommended unless they have servers hosted in mainland China. Tip; if you see ping times of over 50ms the server isnt hosted in mainland China.

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