China HTTP Traffic to Cloudflare
April 12, 2012
● How do we reach as many people as
possible on a censored Internet?
● Can WordPress do this?
● How do we make a WordPress site so that it
can’t be blocked?
● What can we do if the site gets blocked?
You are not operating
on a level playing field
“WordPress is used by 59.4% of all the
websites whose content management system
we know. This is 28.5% of all websites.”
Internet management, network infrastructure,
surveillance and content restrictions are the
sovereign right of nation-states. The Internet follows
terrestrial boundaries and borders.
Ideas on Internet Sovereignty
are quickly being adopted by
countries that are known to be
“enemies of Internet” to
legitimize censorship of all
Blocking Sites Outright
- Iran: SmartFilter
- Russia: Roskomnadzor,
- China: “Golden Shield Project,” aka
Great Firewall of China
- Turkey: Judicial blocks based on
Forced Data Localization
- Russia requires local registration of bloggers with more than
- Apple removed VPN software in the Chinese app store
- South Korea
DDoS For Hire
- WP Engine customer based out of Phillipines often the target of
Chinese DDoS. Likely for criticizing Duterte government.
- /wp-login.php is a ripe location for lazy script kiddies triying to get
into to sites to deface and take down content.
Designing around censorship
- Know if your plugins
- Ie: Jetpack
- Decide if hosting overseas or
- Run tests around the world:
- Full SSL could result in full
- PHP 7 is a must
- External advertising services
- Consider global CDNs
How do I know if my site is blocked?
What do I do if my site is blocked?
- Check if recourse is
- Move to a new server
- Decide on hosting in-
country or overseas
- Check for noisy
- Check if your domain or
IP is blocked
- There may be nothing
you can do
- Net Neutrality
- Continued push for
What does the future hold?
The first thing they think of smog: like this photo from my apartment.
2. They think of the great firewall
This is when I realized that the Great Firewall wasn’t quite like your corporate work network that stops you from wasting company hours on Facebook. This was much of complex than that. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of my free time reading and learning about the Great Firewall, and understanding how it affects business, privacy and the global security of the web. I won’t be able to talk about everything I want to, but this is going to be a start.
When I was working on that Shanghai Beer Week project in China, there were a few concerns the site owner had about building a site in a closed network. As such, we had to understand the limitations of the environment we were working in. Censorship in China was pervasive, and you had to know the rules of the game. One of the first rules I learned was:
In almost all the of the countries I’ve listed, WordPress.org, the website used to acquire the open source WordPress software itself, is not blocked. This is great news for those that are self-hosting their sites in countries that have issues with Internet censorship.
Because WordPress now powers 28% of the entire web, it would be an economic barrier from allowing people to use WordPress itself. It’s just a tool in this situation.
To understand the limitations we first have to figure out why there are limitations to hosting on WordPress in the first place. The best way to understand internet censorship and WordPress is to understand Internet Sovereignty. The idea that your country’s internet works the same way as your local laws is antithetical to the purpose of the internet, but is also the basis for almost all types of Internet Censorship.
Any rationale a country gives for blocking internet content in their country is wrapped up into the idea that it’s sovereign right to do so. So, the question becomes:
Iran: US corporate management software used to block websites for the whole country Russia: Blocks sites based on complaints and broad legal precedent. Fairly transparent but bad for shared IP customers China: A complex system of DNS injections, IP & domain blocks, local content management and legislation
Some Walled Gardens provide unequal access. Internet “Fast Lane” for preferred web services. Think: Free Spotify for T-Mobile