Blogging in China

Many sites are blocked in China, impacting on blogging

The first essential lesson when moving to China: accounts (and Blogspot accounts) are blocked! can be accessed though. Second essential lesson: try to find a solution for your blog BEFORE moving. This will make your life easier, especially if you also wish to use your blog for keeping your family and friends up to date about your adventures in the Middle Kingdom. Those people that will start emailing you incessantly if you do not update your blog upon arrival. So get a VPN account or find another webhost.

1) One solution is to get a VPN account. This account allows you to bypass the so-called Great Firewall of China. I am no IT expert, but VPN gets you an IP address in one (or more) other countries. It is much harder to access info on VPN through a non VPN account in China so read up before leaving. If you have identified a provider you like (google VPN China for a list, Hide My Ass and Strong VPN are names ushered by other expats in Beijing), check with them whether you should download anything before leaving, or they can give you a list of mirrorsites where you can access their site within China. Most expats have a VPN account. They usually don’t break the bank, depending on the provider 50-80 dollars per year.

Pro: you will be able to access also other websites blocked in China (such as Facebook, Twitter).
Con: people within China will not be able to access your blog (unless they have a VPN account). Internet in China is not that fast and VPN makes it even slower.

2) Find another server: You may be able to access your blog when it is hosted through another, unblocked server eg in your home country. Some companies offer webhosting and domainnames for just a few dollars a month or even less. This worked for me. I registered a domain name with a provider that has wordpress as (one of) the operating systems for its websites. I exported all my (not that many) posts from WordPress (dashboard under tools) and then imported them to the new site. This worked reasonably well, just some nice plugins were not provided for by my new host.

Pro: Access from within China
Con: possibly slow, best to have someone in China check whether it works before you go.

3) Option number 3 is to write blogs on your laptop and book a monthly trip to another Asian country where you then post everything all at once :)