Instructions to Unblock your Website

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Do you have a blog about China? Or a business site selling to the Chinese market? And one day you realize it is not accessible from China anymore? It might be accidentaly blocked by the Chinese censorship system (GFW). Click here to see how to avoid this, and how to check if it has already happened, and what to do in that case.

 

Chinayouren is Free Again

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

After a few months in the shade of the GFW, I wanted to get active again on the internet, so as a first step today I have unblocked my blog. I think there has been a few quirks this morning as I was moving to the new URL and some of you might have seen weird things come up in the RSS- sorry for that.

With the previous experience of 2009 and following my own instructions, this time it has been a piece of cake, I managed to get the site completely open in less than 2 hours. Unfortunately, the GFW mechanism has also learnt since last time, and they have done  a URL block on the string “chinayouren.com”, which has forced me to change my URL. My new address is: http://chinayouren-free.com, write it down.

Yes, I know, how original. It is not supposed to be a statement of any kind, nor am I trying to rub it in. On the contrary, for those of you who have been paying attention, you know the only reason my unblocks are effective is because I am not well known to the censors. The minute I start getting too smart about it I will be down again in a click. This is not a campaign, and I am not an activist.

I chose free as in FOS, because it is easy to remember, but this operation is not free at all for me. I had to pay another 10$ for the new domain, and if this continues too long the GFW officers are going to squeeze Chinayouren dry. I feel also for the guys at the travel agency “chinayouren.com.cn” who have lost all the incoming connections from out of the mainland due to the URL string reset. They are mere pawns, as it were,  in an altogether larger game. [1] Click to continue »


NOTES:
  1. this is a good example of how the Wall behaves in both directions. the server of that site is hosted in China as all the .cn, and you are trying to view it from outside, you are crossing the wall on the inverse direction and tripping the block as well. If you view it from the mainland without a VPN you will have no problem at all []

Instructions to deal with the GFW

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I have written a lot recently about the Great Firewall of China (GFW). I had my site blocked for two weeks and this inspired some frustrated posts until eventually I worked my way through the Wall. The good news is I learnt a lot in the process, and now I can write some tips to help others with the same problem. Anyone who has a website hosted outside China can use these instructions to try to keep it accessible here. Here is the index, follow the links for details.

Prevention – Try to stay out of trouble

From the beginning when you set up your website, there are a series of measures you can take to reduce the probabilities of getting blocked and/or making your life easier if this happens. If you follow these points hopefully you will never need get to the next Section.

  • Be careful with what you publish. >>>
  • Try to avoid writing GFW keywords. >>>
  • Choose where you want to be hosted. >>>
  • Choose a good, flexible hosting service. >>>
  • Host your blog/site on a subdomain. >>>

Action – When trouble is at your door

Then one day you realize that your Chinese readership has fallen to zero, and you wonder why you can’t open your website from China. If this happens to you, these are the simple steps to follow:

  • Make sure it is really the GFW. >>>
  • Check if there is an IP block. >>>
  • Find out if the target is really you. >>>
  • Check if there is an URL block. >>>
  • Move to a new IP address. >>>
  • Change your URL and Redirect. >>>
  • Check that you don’t have links. >>>
  • Try to eliminate the keywords. >>>
  • Take it easy, and send feedback. >>>

Notes and Disclaimers

  • Don’t forget to read the party of the first part >>>

Click to continue »