This Article is About
china
vpn connection
living in china
gfw
sensitive subject
browser bar
facebook
google
bad day
search engines
few minutes
I Can't Access Google In China, July 2012
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I Can\'t Access Google In China, July 2012

And Google is having another bad day again. Chances are, you won't be able to find this article - at least anyone in China. As of July 17, 2012, in the south of China, it seems that Google is completely inaccessible.

These things vary from place to place, and accessibility will vary based on which operating system you're running, and what terms you search for, but after a couple of tries on Chrome and Firefox, at home and at school, and switching between my VPN connect to The US and using my local Chinese IP, id decided to write this article.

Tricks to the trade

I've picked up a couple of tricks living in China, when it comes to blogging and maintaining a couple of websites using a Chinese IP. Many of my sites are VPN, proxy, Facebook, or other 'sensitive' subject oriented, so I frequently battle with The GFW. If you happen to find this article, and don't have a VPN connection for whatever reason, here are some things you can try.

In you're searching in Google and find a site you want to click on but think it may be blocked - don't click. Just copy and paste the link in your browser bar. Sometimes if you click links with banned keywords like "Facebook", as in a website called "unblockfacebookinchina", you'll get blocked. If you copy that same URL and paste it into your browser, you won't be blocked. The site is not actually banned, but it's banned from Google search.

You may run into the same problem when click links on articles. If you find that a link you lick gets you blocked from the internet for a few minutes, restart your browser. Right click the link, click "copy link location", then paste the link into your browser window. This is another good way to test whether a site is actually banned, or if it's just the way you're trying to access it that's getting you blocked.

You could also try another search Engine. Yahoo, and especially Bing have better relationship with China. You'll find fewer banned sites in their search engines (the results are censored), so you'll have less change of sites getting timed out. Though no one likes getting censored results, it's much more annoying to get DNS poisoning form your Chinese ISP and getting temporarily banned from internet uses (usually lasts 1-2 minutes unless you restart your browser).

VPNs still win

Though I was having problems with Google, you might ask, why not just use your VPN? I was just doing a bit of research on where my sites stand in Google search results, so I needed the Chinese IP. However, for web browsing and other online activity, I rarely connect to the internet without my VPN connected. Plus, with a US IP, I can access sites like Hulu Pandora and Netflix in China. You could do the same with a UK IP and BBC iPlayer.

Even so, I've noticed that two popular VPN services in China are not accessible from my location today. PureVPN and PandaPow, usually unaffected by China's GFW, seem to be blocked. It's too early to tell if this is a permanent block, and there's always the possibility that I've been infected with something that's causing my computer to react this way.

How's your connection to Google in China going? Please let me know (and others) so we can get up to date information on what's going on with Chinese internet. Please do not tell me how great your VPN service is though - these articles tend to be a magnet for advertisers and spammers trying to promote their service. Your comment will be deleted. However, if you are in China and have something to say about your browsing conditions, the discussion is open!


Street Talk

I live in Beijing. Even with a VPN igoogle seems to be inaccessible by any route, just goes to main google search page.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

With a VPN all websites should be accessible except for a few which block encrypted traffic. These are usually sites that have to do with paying for stuff, because some people use VPNs to hide their identity while using fake/stolen credit cards. There should be no reason for any of Google's services to block encrypted traffic, so it may be DNS poisoning. This is where China's censors use code to make your browser change your DNS settings for a website like Facebook or Gmail. This means that even while using your VPN, your browser will redirect indefinitely to a non-existent page, and look blocked. To undo this poisoning on Windows, go to to Start, Run, and type in ipconfig / flush dns. That should get you a fresh start. For Mac, open a terminal window, and type: lookupd -flushcache or set your DNS settings manually.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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