DNS in China

Written By Wolfgang Geiger

WordPress developer in Hong Kong specializing in making websites work in Mainland China. More information on the About Me page

There is one problem in Mainland China that I haven’t found a solution to so far, and that is DNS.

If your customers or visitors in China can’t even start to load your website, it’s either blocked or the domain can’t be resolved to the IP address of the server to start loading content.

To further complicate things, this isn’t either working or not, it might be working for certain areas of China and not for others.

3 major ISPs

The reason for this is the rather complicated setup of telecom providers within Mainland China which even Alibaba seems to fight from time to time.

The three major internet service providers China Telecom, China Unicom and China mobile each have their own system of resolving domains to IP addresses – and they don’t work together much.

On top of that, each area in Mainland China has its own branches of those 3 major ISPs, which again, don’t work together very well with other branches of the same company.

You can see how this whole thing can lead to having your website work perfectly fine in one area of China or with a certain ISP while not working in other areas or with other ISPs.

What to do

The big question – that I don’t have a great answer to unfortunately.

The “easiest” way would be to get an ICP license and use a nameserver in Mainland China. However, as discussed above, even that wouldn’t guarantee things working flawlessly.

If your website loads nowhere in Mainland China, try switching servers, this might then not be a DNS issue but rather a blocking issue.

If you are a bigger company, you might want to get in touch with Alibaba Cloud for services like their DNS Cache Refresh. I have never tried that, but especially if you have recently switched servers, this might be worth a try.

On top of that, hosting a nameserver in Hong Kong on AliCloud might also be worth a try.

All in all, however, it’s a game of trial and error where you should consult with an expert in that field. As a web developer I unfortunately only know the basics about DNS.

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