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Is your website blocked from China?

Editorial Staff

It's a valid question - indeed, not only businesses outside China need to know if their sites can be accessed by the world's largest (apparently) biggest on-line population but people within China need to know whether the site they can't reach is blocked or there is some other reason.

Here's a handy short list of services that will help.

If there were prizes for ugly websites, this might be in the top five and that's surprising given that it shares many of its design cues with the search page at - irony of ironies - Google which is, of course, inaccessible from China without some kind of shenanigans.


It doesn't pretend to do anything clever and it doesn't place any trackers on your computer (or, at least, Ghostery and a couple of other cookie and ad blockers we use don't report any). In fact, Firefox's reports show that it doesn't place any cookies at all, at least with the settings we use.

All it does is this: enter the address (www.website.etc) and you'll get a result that, in our case, was

Latest results for www.financialcrimeriskandcompl... ...
Beijing OK
Shenzhen OK
Inner Mongolia OK
Heilongjiang Province OK
Yunnan Province OK

All servers were able to reach your site. This means that your site should be accessible from within mainland China.

There's an simple URL Ad link at the bottom of the results page: "powered by viewdns.info" but still no cookies or trackers

Many websites are blocked by "The Golden Shield" project which prevents access to websites from China. However, as JustHost.com explains, that's a very blunt instrument and many sites might be blocked as an unintended consequence of action against an entirely unrelated site:

We offer shared hosting. In shared hosting, we host several hundred websites on one server; those same sites will share one single IP address, referred to as a shared IP address.

Instead of having a unique IP address for every domain, you share one IP address with all of the accounts on your server.
The downside to a shared IP address is that some countries, like China, censor particular websites by their IP address.
If a website they censor is on the same server as yours, and China blocks that website using the shared IP address, then your website and the hundreds of others on that server are also blocked.
This means that any clients in China would be unable to view your site.

Getting a dedicated IP address would make your website separate, by having its own unique IP address. So if the shared IP address was blocked, your site wouldn't automatically be blocked along with it.

It's important to understand that this is a dedicated IP address for your server which is in a server farm and it has nothing at all to do with whether you have a dedicated IP address for your internet connection from your home or office. Also, just to confuse the issue further, a shared IP address for the server does not mean that you have to have a dedicated server i.e. a server just for you. There are many different ways of configuring one piece of hardware for one or many users each with one or many websites. You really do not need to know how that is done, only that it is done.

The next question is whether the website is blocked or down. While the go-to site for this is often considered to be Down for Everyone or Just Me, the page has recently had a lot of advertising added and ghostery had a hissy fit. Then again, it had a near heart-attack at Is it Down Right Now. Down.com had only one tracker and that was the near-unavoidable Google Analytics - which Ghostery blocks easily. So that would be our site of choice. It's fast and simple and uncluttered which is pretty much all we could ask for.

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