China is home to some of the world’s most sophisticated digital censorship technology. It had a total population of 1.45 billion in January 2022, among which more than 1.02 billion are internet users(data reference from Datareportal). However, many popular websites, such as Linkedin, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are inaccessible to locals. As a result, people cannot freely access these websites.
Things can get tricky if you have a website you want to host in China. Due to stringent censorship laws and regulations, we’ve put together this blog post with everything you need to know to help you understand how to host a website in China and overcome these limitations.
What's the deal with hosting websites in China?
If you operate a business or have a personal blog, you will need to host your website on servers located in the country with a local server. Otherwise, your website will be inaccessible to the majority of your Chinese audience. Therefore, you’ll need to find a local hosting provider when hosting a website in China. Moreover, it would be best if you thoroughly understood data protection laws. For example, the Telecommunications Equipment Authorization and Registration requirement require telecommunications providers in China to store data for 60 days and make it available to government investigators. You should make sure your marketing contents always follow the local regulations.
Don’t overreact to this. Every country has data control measures. We must follow GDRP in Europe, California Consumer Privacy Act in Us, and LGPD in Brazil. It doesn’t mean you can’t control your sensitive information for marketing. What makes China a bit different is that it is a place with more strict restrictions for internet publishing, and you will need to prepare more documents before setting up a website to ensure they are legally allowed. Besides, you can’t publish adolescents’ content like pornography exposure.
US: California Consumer Privacy Act
China: the Data Security Law
Personal Information Protection Law
China's Blocked Websites: Finding Out Which Ones Are Currently Invisible
There is no single list of websites blocked in China. There are, however, several independent sources that track internet censorship in China. UN-funded groups such as the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the People’s Republic of China and the Article 19 campaign maintain lists of websites blocked in China. Other sources include China Censorship Monitor, GreatFire, and Golden Frog.
The following websites and applications are currently blocked in China:
- Dailymail UK
- The New York Times
- Times of India
- The world economic forum
How to choose a domain registrar in China
A domain name contains three components. These are the top-level domain, the domain name, and the optional sub-domain. For example, the domain address in the website address https://www.easymarketing.uk consists of three parts:
www. The optional sub-domain. Your website is accessible without typing this subdomain in the search engine.
easymarketing – This is the domain name, which is usually the same as your website’s name and your business’s brand.
UK- The top-level domain name, which can vary, is.com. Other examples include.co.uk,.org,.net, and.cn in China.
.com is short for “commercial,” .org means to an organization,.net refers to a network, and .cn indicates China.
When it comes to how to choose the domain registar in China, you may consider the following three:
1). The first thing you need to do is find a registrar accredited by the China Internet Network Administration (CNNIC). Some popular registrars include China Domains and Alibaba Domains.
2). Once you have chosen a registrar, you must submit specific documentation and fill out some paperwork. These documents will vary from registrar to registrar, so it is best to contact the registrar of your choice for more information.
3). If you want to host a website in China, you need a domain name ending with .cn
4). Make sure to prepare a registered copy of your business license before registering your domain. This document is used for verification purposes.
How to get around internet censorship in China
China is known for its strict censorship laws and regulations. For the most part, Chinese citizens have limited access to the Open Internet. They can use websites and applications, but they won’t have access to websites hosted outside of the country. Because of these regulations, you’ll need to get creative if you want your website to be accessible to Chinese audiences. If you want to host a website in China, you’ll need to find a host that is not based in the country. Alternatively, you can use a content delivery network (CDN) to host your website on a server outside China. Server providers have experience in this. They will recommend you the best CDN route for your business.
Hosting a website inside China
If you want to host a website in China, you’ll need to find a local hosting provider. Hosting inside China comes with a few significant downsides. For starters, you will need to find a website developer familiar with the operating environment in China.
The internet infrastructure designed in China is a different version. You will feel lost in the advertising even after you purchase the server, and you will have to allocate everything from the operating environment to document approval. For example, if you want the most popular WordPress application and access to the familiar WordPress dashboard, you will need a bridge application called Baita. Or else, you will need to learn to operate everything with a Chinese content management system. In addition, your website’s loading times will be significantly slower.
Besides, hosting inside China is also more expensive than hosting your website outside of the country. The servers like Alibaba and Huawei Cloud favour users to buy mobile data-based traffic, and you will find a slower speed if you purchase a more affordable version, the fixed traffic data monthly.
Hosting your site on an overseas server
If you want to host a website outside of China, you can find a host server outside China or a host server with overseas business. While it’s possible to host your site in countries like the United States or the UK, those servers won’t be fast enough for the Chinese market. Furthermore, hosting in the United States will put your website at a significant disadvantage. In addition to slower speeds, hosting in the United States will expose your website to surveillance by the American government. Hosting in the UK isn’t ideal either since your website will be slower than your Chinese competitors. And if you want to make money from your website, you’ll want it to load as quickly as possible. The better solution is to host your website from nearby. Before you choose a hosting solution, you’ll want to consider factors such as speed and price.
To host a website in China, you’ll need to find a local hosting provider and use a .cn domain name. Alternatively, you can host your website outside the country with a CDN and VPN service. Ultimately, you want to ensure that your website loads quickly and is accessible to as many people as possible, and if you still wish to complete control of your content, consult Easy Marketing. We design your website, create your WeChat Mini Program, and handle all of your China digital marketing. Let us make it easy for you!
China Marketing & E-Commerce Agency
Easy Marketing Ltd is based in the UK, with sub-companies in China that are your first choice to localise your product in the Chinese market. Our service includes Market Research, Business Negotiation with Chinese Contractors, WeChat Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, WeChat Mini Program, WeChat Store & PR, eCommerce Marketplace Operation and Local Strategic Partnership. While we offer customized services, our lifetime service sets us apart from our competitors. We support your Chinese marketing requirements with a profitable solution. Please send us your marketing to China requirements.
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