How to Use Signal App in China

Signal in ChinaSince it launched in 2014, mobile users have flocked to the well-known Signal App. This cross-platform app is known for its end-to-end encryption methods. That means the company itself does not have access to the messages written by users. While that sort of privacy is great for users, some governments don’t care for it. Of course, one of them is the Chinese government. Even though it has become increasingly more strict on its citizens as of late, it did allow the app to work. However, on March 16th, 2021, the government stopped it from working. That said, it will still work if you connect to a VPN. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

Quickstart Guide for Using the Signal App in China

As we mentioned, the Chinese government is strict on this app because they are not fond of end-to-end encryption. If you are traveling there, be sure to do this first.

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN (includes a 30-day money-back guarantee).
  2. Open the client and locate a server outside China.
  3. After connecting to a secure VPN server, open the Signal app. Once you log in, you’ll be able to send and receive messages again. If you do not have the app yet, you’ll need to connect to a VPN to get it.
  4. Enjoy using the Signal app as you like.

Get ExpressVPN

How to Use Signal with ExpressVPN

ExpresVPNExpressVPN is the best choice to help you unblock the Signal app while in China. It is our #1 option for a good reason. That is because they constantly keep their software updated to allow usability. In addition to unblocking apps like this one, the ExpressVPN team has combined their VPN service with a Smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer to help you watch blocked content. The combination of both will protect your privacy and unblock access to a wide range of content all over the world. You can run the ExpressVPN app on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and router. If you are using a PC or Mac, you also can access ExpressVPNs browser extensions (Chrome and Firefox). The MediaStreamer service extends support to streaming media devices (Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Kodi boxes, etc.), Smart TVs, gaming consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Switch), and more.

ExpressVPN app

The team at ExpressVPN is currently offering our visitors a discount on their all-inclusive VPN service. You can enjoy unlimited access to both their VPN network and MediaStreamer service for 49% off with 3 months free. Also, they are offering a 30-day money-back guarantee to all new members so you won’t feel rushed while testing the service. You’ll have a month to watch live events, unblock streaming services, and fully experience the advantages of ExpressVPN. You can expect to be quite impressed with the service.

Get ExpressVPN

How to Use Signal with NordVPN

NordVPNNordVPN is a good choice for unblocking live sporting events, streaming services, and apps like Signal. This VPN will help you unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many more channels. Of course, you’ll still need a subscription for paid services like CBS All Access, but NordVPN will help you unblock the geo-restrictions and censorship issues. They are one of the few VPNs that can still access Netflix US from outside the United States. This makes NordVPN a great choice for those who want to stream content from other regions of the world.

NordVPN app

As you can see, the NordVPN app is easy to use. You can select a server location from the map or a list of countries. Unfortunately, NordVPN doesn’t let you choose a specific city in locations like the United States. However, it will pick a server based on your current location. We found this to result in slower speeds than ExpressVPN. At times we had to try a few different servers to find one that offered the desired performance. Otherwise, NordVPN offers everything you need to unblock your favorite websites.

Get NordVPN

How to Use Signal with PIA VPN

Private Internet AccessPrivate Internet Access often referred to as PIA, is one of the world’s most popular VPN services. They are headquartered in Silicon Valley and have contributed heavily to the privacy community. You have likely seen PIA in the news as they support a wide range of privacy-related campaigns. The PIA team is a strong privacy advocate from full-page ads to promote privacy bills to support the open-source community. You will find the VPN service offers everything you need to encrypt your connection and unblock access to many of your favorite websites.


We have experienced positive results when trying to access Netflix through PIA. You will find that popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer are getting good at blocking VPNs. It’s a cat and mouse game where the VPNs find ways to stay ahead of the game. In addition to unblocking restrictions, PIA is also very popular in the file-sharing community. Torrent users turn to PIA to secure their privacy with sites like TorrentFreak promoting the service. You will find that PIA has a lot to offer for a very reasonable price.


About Government Censorship and Geo-restrictions

While China is the most notorious government to censor apps and websites, they are not alone. Other countries are starting to block apps like Signal because of the end-to-end encryption it offers. Additionally, world licensing and broadcasting rights from media companies will block anyone outside of their targeted area. In other words, if you are traveling, want to watch region-specific coverage, or just want to see what shows are on at the time, or gain access to a blocked app, the blocking software will stop you from accessing it. Since the “Great Firewall of China” can detect IP addresses, it can tell if you are inside or outside the targeted area. By connecting to a VPN, the blocking software will think you are located outside the country. That way, whether you are trying to watch blocked content or get access to blocked apps, you’ll be able to do so.

Not All VPNs Will Unblock Signal

The truth is, ineffective VPNs litter the community. You have to remember that China is one of the most internet restrictive countries in the world. Though some VPNs may help you in other ways, they won’t do you much good if they can’t unblock apps or geo-restricted content. Even some of the more well-known providers don’t work well for getting past those types of blocks. There is no point in trying to access Signal if the VPN service is not working as intended. That is why we suggest the options we mentioned above.

As you can see, you now have some great tools to use so you can unblock the Signal app. Even though other providers are available, we feel the options we just provided are the best choices. If you are looking for a specific song or want to check it out, you don’t have to miss out because of where you are. If your goal is to unblock Signal in China, we are happy to help you.

Get ExpressVPN