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Tales From The Closed Web
John P. Gamboa
jpgamboa.com
@jgamboa
WordCamp US 2016
Working With WordPress Censorship in
China
@jgamboa
• Technical Success Manager
• 2.75 years at WP Engine
• Singapore 2009
• South Korea 2010
• China 2011-2013
• Austin 2014 - Present
Shanghai, China
2011 -2013
Danny and Jesse
Blocked in China
Great Firewall of China
• Most pervasive form of
Internet censorship
• Many foreigners pay for
VPNs for full web
access
• Many top Alexa sites
blocked
• DNS poisoning/filtering
• World’s largest Internet
population
But why?
• Promotes Chinese
“Internet sovereignty”
• Control points allow for
“Great Cannon”
foreign DDoSing
• Removes foreign
competition
• Prevents anti-CCP sites
and gatherings
• Allows monitoring,
management and control
• China’s first-ever beer week
• Host outside mainland China
• Reach foreigners and locals alike
• Can’t require a VPN
Shanghai Beer Week
Blocked Plugins & Functionality
• API/External WordPress
calls
• Politically-sensitive
discussions
(BBPress/Disqus)
• Blocked IPs and domains on
shared hosts
• Jetpack, WordPress.com,
Gravatar
• Google (Plus, Fonts, Photos)
• SSL
Developing Around Censorship
• Know your blocked plugins
• Avoid foreign social media
services/APIs
• Avoid SSL usage
• You are responsible for
your users
• Hong Kong/Singapore
hosting
• 96% all web traffic in China is
within the mainland
• River Crabs (河蟹), 50
Centers (五毛) & Big Mamas
(大妈)
• Avoid the Three “T’s”
Knowing the System
If you get blocked
• Confirm
- BlockedinChina.net
- Greatfire.org
- Viewdns.info
• Ask your host for help
- Noisy neighbors
- Domain blocks
- Change servers/hosts
The Future of WordPress in
China
• Continue to Support Non-English WordPress
• Keep Publishing
• Chinese WordPress community: wpdaxue.com
结束
John P. Gamboa
@jgamboa
jpgamboa.com

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Tales From The Closed Web: Working with WordPress Censorship in China

  • 1. Tales From The Closed Web John P. Gamboa jpgamboa.com @jgamboa WordCamp US 2016 Working With WordPress Censorship in China
  • 2. @jgamboa • Technical Success Manager • 2.75 years at WP Engine • Singapore 2009 • South Korea 2010 • China 2011-2013 • Austin 2014 - Present
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 9.
  • 11. Great Firewall of China • Most pervasive form of Internet censorship • Many foreigners pay for VPNs for full web access • Many top Alexa sites blocked • DNS poisoning/filtering • World’s largest Internet population
  • 12. But why? • Promotes Chinese “Internet sovereignty” • Control points allow for “Great Cannon” foreign DDoSing • Removes foreign competition • Prevents anti-CCP sites and gatherings • Allows monitoring, management and control
  • 13. • China’s first-ever beer week • Host outside mainland China • Reach foreigners and locals alike • Can’t require a VPN Shanghai Beer Week
  • 14.
  • 15. Blocked Plugins & Functionality • API/External WordPress calls • Politically-sensitive discussions (BBPress/Disqus) • Blocked IPs and domains on shared hosts • Jetpack, WordPress.com, Gravatar • Google (Plus, Fonts, Photos) • SSL
  • 16.
  • 17. Developing Around Censorship • Know your blocked plugins • Avoid foreign social media services/APIs • Avoid SSL usage • You are responsible for your users • Hong Kong/Singapore hosting
  • 18. • 96% all web traffic in China is within the mainland • River Crabs (河蟹), 50 Centers (五毛) & Big Mamas (大妈) • Avoid the Three “T’s” Knowing the System
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22. If you get blocked • Confirm - BlockedinChina.net - Greatfire.org - Viewdns.info • Ask your host for help - Noisy neighbors - Domain blocks - Change servers/hosts
  • 23. The Future of WordPress in China • Continue to Support Non-English WordPress • Keep Publishing • Chinese WordPress community: wpdaxue.com

Editor's Notes

  1. In early 2011, I moved to China after living in South Korea. It was a bit of crazy time for me as I was looking to do lots of different things to increase my skills and abilities while living overseas.
  2. The first job I took was an English teacher. Here I am working with some 1st graders during a summer camp program.
  3. I also worked as a freelance writer for some now-defunct publications, including this Chinese beer magazine Hops. I also wrote for booking magazines and small expat outfits.
  4. I also was a “secret diner” reviewing Chinese restaurants service and food in the burgeoning F&B field in Shanghai. As you can see, these “Dessert Nachos,” which appear to have been created by Buddy the Elf, didn’t past muster.
  5. And also worked as a technical editor and writer at Microsoft’s campus in far south Shanghai, as seen here.
  6. Living in Korea, I kept up a WordPress blog chronicling my life. Most of my family read it. But after winning a few Homebrew competitions, two American friends I met while living in Shanghai thought it would be a good idea to start a homebrewing blog for China. With such a small beer community, we thought we could corner the market for resources about how to find homebrewing equipment across all the neighborhoods in the city.
  7. The blog was successful enough that it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal before I left China and let the domain expire.
  8. Part of the life of living in China is the fact that some pretty major websites are blocked, like the following. It’s part of a system called…
  9. With my knowledge of building wordpress sites (like my own) and the homebrewshanghai.com blog, a friend of mine that was the brewmaster for a local craft brewery approached me to build a event site for China’s first beer week. Unlike my other sites, it needed to reach a bilingual audience of Chinese and foreign users, so we had to make sure that the site was accessible by all people and in multiple languages. This meant I had to do some research on the platform.
  10. One tool during my development process was to use Greatfire.org (I had to use and VPN to access it) to see what pars of the site were blocked in China. I had quite a few plugins active, including Jetpack, which was reliant on calls to WordPress.com, which I mentioned was blocked. So, I had to find ways to avoid using the tool. During the process, I learned quite a bit about what to avoid and how to not slow down your site.
  11. The final result was a little simple, and at the time, Google Maps wasn’t blocked (but lots of other Google properties were). The event was successful. Lots of local breweries and distributors. I was able to do the website the next few years and I became more efficient of making sure sites were not blocked as I went along.
  12. In general, you should know the following about developing in china.
  13. Tibet
  14. Tiananmen
  15. Taiwan
  16. You may not be able to remedy this. ICP is not a guarantee.