How To Spot A Blogspot Blog (A Quick Fix)

96 Comments
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UPDATE May 12/09: While this solution may still work, if you are in China for any length of time, we recommend getting yourself hooked up with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). For a super-fast and versatile solution, check out WiTopia. If their inexpensive yearly fee is too much for you, give the slightly slower (but free) Hotspot Shield a try.
UPDATE May 11/08: This hack is somewhat dated now. However, it does still work (as of May 11/08) for Blogspot and WordPress – Wikipedia is out, and LJ never really worked. More detailed installation instructions (for Mac/PC – Firefox/Internet Explorer) can be found here: Access Blogger and WordPress Blogs in China.

greatfirewallsml.jpgLast November I wrote a post with a collection of “tools” to help you get around the GFC. At the time of writing (literally within hours) Blogspot were released from their “blocked” status in China, and so there wasn’t much use for the otherwise useful PK Blogs site.

A few months on, my predictions of tides changing and it again being blocked have come true. I was slow to post about this because really… it’s just not very interesting anymore. The blocking and unblocking of Blogspot, Wikipedia, BBC News, etc., used to be mysterious, nefarious even. The validations of fears that the CPC was watching us. Sort of a 1984 meets 1989.

Now however, it’s just ‘life here’. It’s annoying, childish and … annoying. I visit a number of Blogspot blogs and this kinks my visitation rights. I am fickle about reading online and often can’t be bothered to go through a proxy service (like those mentioned previously).

That said, Ya I Yee, an interesting new Chinese blog (written in English), has a cool little trick to thwart the Wall seamlessly and visit all the Blogspot blogs you want (note, these instructions are for Firefox – which you should be using anyway).

The Blogspot blog block quick fix:

Use Notepad (or any plain text editor) to write a file with the following codes:

function FindProxyForURL(url,host){
    if(dnsDomainIs(host, ".blogspot.com")){
        return "PROXY 72.14.219.190:80";
    }
    if(dnsDomainIs(host, ".wikipedia.org")){
        return "PROXY 66.230.200.101:80";
    }
    if(dnsDomainIs(host, ".wordpress.com")){
        return "PROXY 72.232.101.41:80";
    }
    if(dnsDomainIs(host, ".livejournal.com")){
        return "PROXY 204.9.177.19:80";
    }
    return "DIRECT";
}

Save the file as proxy.pac (note, be careful Notepad doesn’t add a .txt extension to the file) and put it in your root directory (usually C:\). In Firefox, click Tools->Options->Advanced->Network->Settings… fill the text below in the blank under “Automatic proxy configuration URL”:

file:///C:/proxy.pac

Press Reload on the right, press OK, and OK. Relaunch Firefox, and you’re done! Free to surf Blogspot (and the continually blocked WordPress.com) till your heart’s content.

Thanks a lot to Yee and Fermi Zhang for this script.

*** UPDATE ***

Since the original post, Fermi has updated this fix to include LiveJournal and Wikipedia – you rock man – and I’ve therefore updated the code above to reflect this.


Talk on How To Spot A Blogspot Blog (A Quick Fix)


96 Comments
  1. Thanks for that. It works brilliantly. Straight onto blogspot without any lag at all. Now what has petite anglaise been up to in my absence…

  2. @Russell: An excellent question. This is the best I can do. I really don’t know where the IP came from – nor if it will need to be changed… but it works for now :-)

    Anyone with any input on this?

  3. I just saw this thread after seeing Ryan’s cross post on The Humanaught. Here’s what I commented on over there.

    That’s really clever, but is really dependent on the kindness of Google to allow you keep on using that IP address.

    Check it out at http://www.ip-adress.com

    I find it highly ironic that in this way, Google is helping you beat The Man in China.

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  6. CAUTION: This IP address for livejournal isn’t working for me, and I’m pretty sure it’s a fake. Be careful not to log in with your username and password.

  7. Hi,
    this works like a charm here in China – in the shadows of the Great Firewall…
    Thanks again to Ryan and all others for helping out.
    I also use Firefox (of course) and encourage all friends to use it too… but sometimes need the one convincing argument to switch to Firefox. I know it is better and so, but I would like some ideas as to what can move people and convince them to try it…

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  9. Okay, I’m the only one who seems not to be able to get this to work.
    Now, I’m no genius, but I know how to follow instructions (Man, I will likely eat those words), but has anyone had ANY problem with this? I’m quite sure I’ve done everything correctly, but I still can’t seem to get it to work.
    Any pointers?
    (I am making sure that the file isn’t saved as a .txt file by the way)

  10. Hi Ryan – I am using a Macbook (a new user not that familiar with root directories) therefore could you help me by explaining where I should put the .pac file.

    Also, I am assuming the
    ‘file:///C:/proxy.pac’ sentence will need to be different as I don’t have a ‘c drive’. Do you know what it should be for Mac?

    Thanks
    Debbie

  11. @Debbie,

    Ryan asked me to repond to this. i’ve tried to get it working a few days ago, and again just now, but to no avail. as far as i can tell, putting that file in the mac root directory is simply:

    file:///proxy.pac/

    but that didn’t work for me. I also tried putting the file inside my own user’s library (/Users/myusername/Library/) but that bore no fruit either.

    not sure where i’ve gone wrong. since i have a blogspot blog, and read many others, it’d be nice to sort it out… any advice from more seasoned mac veterans?

  12. its fantastic now that i can access to blogspot! :)thks! tis is totally brilliant!

    but can anyone advise me on how do i access xanga as well?

    thks! :)

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  15. Hi

    I have tried this and followed the instructions, but I can’t get it to work. I have a blogspot blog which would be nice to be able to access, read commments etc. But I have saved the file as a .pac and done everything else according to the instructions. Is there anyone who have an idea what I could have done wrong? I would really appreciate some help!

  16. Thanks for this! It worked wonderfully for blogspot — however it doesn’t work for livejournal. Does anyone know another way to get to livejournal? I’m not that computer savy so if you could write detailed instructions like the one above that would be very helpful. Thanks.

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  20. many thanks, you are playing a critical role.

    any idea how to get around googlepages.com / pages.google.com which are also blocked?

    all the best,

    joe

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  22. is there some work around for googlepages.com ? That’s the page that i use for my exporting business. I can access it in chongqing, but i came to shenzhen and that entire domain is blocked.

  23. Good question Kevin. There must be a similar IP switch that can be done. Unfortunately, I’ve no idea how the boys original found those alternative IPs.

  24. OK, I am bamboozled. Ryan’s directions instruct the following: “In Firefox, click Tools->Options->Advanced->Network->Settings… fill the text below in the blank under “Automatic proxy configuration URL”

    My Firefox Tools has no ‘options’ section, and I can’t find anything that would be similar. I’m using 1.0.7 on a Mac.

    Please help! I too seek liberation beyond these walls.

  25. Thanks, Ryan. I missed it on the Weifang Radish the first time. Blogger now seems available, but alas, wordpress does not (my preferred service). Thanks though!

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  27. Hi,
    I am new to China and also trying to set up blogger blog up using the directions but am unable to access the link for MAC user directions posted above. Can anyone spell out how to do this on a MAC?
    I don’t know why I can’t access the link…

  28. Profile photo of

    @Qingze: Because you’re from Singapore.

    ;-) Really, not sure. The fix still works for Blogger blogs, as I’m using it currently. Just be sure to follow the instructions word for word.

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  30. I use a lot of public computers, and I run Portable Firefox off of a USB thumb drive. I can’t just point Firefox to C://proxy.pac, since the drive letter assigned to the thumb drive is always changing.

    Any clue on how I could get this fix to work off of a thumb drive?

  31. You could try a relative path… so instead of having:

    file:///C:/proxy.pac

    you could try:

    file:////proxy.pac

    I’m not certain it will work, as I’m not sure how Firefox is fetching the file, but worth a go.

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  37. Thanks so much for this little work-around! This script should also work wonderfully for accessing flickr as well.

    Is the wikipedia proxy still alive? I can’t seem to be able to ping it…

  38. I have been living in China for the last 8 months and finally I can get to my LJ – thanks a lot! (mind you, Russian part of LJ also works fine for posting and updating photos). Now I’m trying to get to my friends’ page but it keeps showing errors. Is it possible to get it fixed? please heeeelp!

  39. I just re-installed this hack on a new system and though the LJ and Wikipedia entries don’t work – both the WordPress and Blogspot items do.

  40. Profile photo of

    @Jeremy: What new hack? The original proxy.pac file in this post still works for Blogspot/Blogger and WordPress.com. It doesn’t work for Wikipedia or Livejournal though. See the link at the start of the post for detailed instructions on how to install the hack.

  41. Since china had already lifts ban on wikipedia, continue the proxy on wikipedia will somehow fail to load the page.
    Just simply delete the phrase
    ” if(dnsDomainIs(host, “.wikipedia.org”)){
    return “PROXY 66.230.200.101:80″;”
    from the proxy.pac will do.

    Same goes to livejournal =)

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  45. Ryan, thanks a lot for the work-around! This is my first time in China and I’m glad that I’m not stuck with having to forgo access to my blog or having to deal with routing services. Occasionally, I am unable to login to wordpress, although the viewing blogs is still fine. Has anyone else encountered such a problem?

  46. Forgive me if I’m being utterly clueless right now..

    Silver said that China lifted the ban on Livejournal, but I still can’t access it. Since Silver said this almost two months ago, does anyone know if it’s still blocked? I haven’t tried the code yet since I’m on a borrowed computer and don’t want to screw something up. Any help? :]

  47. @Anna: No, sorry. This hack doesn’t work for Xanga blogs.

    @Jasper: You can’t login to the WordPress.com site with this hack installed?

    @Danielle: It would appear that LiveJournal is still blocked, and unfortunately this hack wont fix the block.

  48. need to access blogspot from work in central america…however I don’t have access to the root, only mydocuments (where I have full access, and installed firefox). Any suggestions?

  49. @Morgan: You should be able to just change:

    file:///C:/proxy.pac

    to whatever path you can use. Simply save the proxy.pac file to your My Documents folder, and then get the full path to that folder (in relation to C:\) and format it like the above line… I don’t use XP, so am not 100% on the path, but it is likely something like:

    file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/[user name]/My%20Documents/proxy.pac

    Where [user name] is replaced by your user name on the PC. This, of course, assumes your My Documents (and Windows) are installed on the C: drive – if that’s not the case, just adjust the path accordingly.

  50. The workaround for the wordpress works, but it doesn’t let me log in, since it uses https:// and I can’t get in. I can view my uncompleted wordpress, but I can’t log in, because of the https://.

    Is there a work around?

  51. It does not seem to work for me. Iam in India, and am using firefox 3. i have put the proxy.pac file in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox and in the automatic proxy URL thing i have entered file:///C:/Program%20Files/Mozilla%20Firefox/proxy.pac but still it says connection timed out when i access blogspots. please help!!

  52. @Newbie: I’ve not tried this work around in ages. My suggestion would be to get yourself hooked up with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A good free option is Hot Spot Shield, but in my experience it’s a bit slow. Personally I use WiTopia, which is very fast (it’s cheap, but not free).

  53. Cherry – see the comment above yours (or the rather striking UPDATE box in the original post) for alternatives.

  54. This is a big problem for me as I teach history and was working on two sites hosted by Blogspot for my classes. Ultrasurf I find is best, but as I use lots of images they don’t all load. HotSpot Sheild takes ages and also doesn’t load everything. Proxy.pac was the best option but now no longer works (I’m not technically-minded so maybe there is a way and I’m not savvy enough).
    The problem with Ultrasurf for youtube is it constantly tells me an error has prevented files from loading and to try again; with proxy.pac I was able to use the file for all sites. Has anyone a new code to replace my old .pac file?
    Thanks for keeping these comments alive, Ryan.

  55. I was in china a couple of months and the Hotspot Shield would work fine, but now nothing… i cannot access blogs or youtube…

    Any ideas?

  56. I’m using WiTopia now (took me three attempts to open the page for some reason). Works great at home but is so slow at work I’ve given up which pretty much defeats the point when your work is a school and you’re primarily worried about getting your kids a real education (ie- not spending the day outside pretending you’re a wall with your arms outstretched).
    I pay $60 p.a.; there is another version at half the price but I was told it could easily be disabled by the regime.

  57. Profile photo of

    @Keir: It may be that your school is already using some sort of proxy/firewall to control what sites are able to be accessed. I’ve had a few friends say they’ve had trouble at companies with proxies of some sort.

    And yeah, I believe the first, and cheaper option at WiTopia is using similar tech as Hot Spot Shield, which might explain why HSS is no longer working.

  58. Freedur is just the best option I’ve tried so far, easy setup. I’ve gone from trying as many free proxies and they’re all just such a hassle to use, especially because if you’re going to try proxy sites they eventually get blocked. Besides, China’s blocked the many popular ones already so I just decided to move away from proxy sites.

  59. Just wanted to say that I’m in the process of setting up a VPN with strong VPN, and they are really helpful, especially for people who don’t know how to use computers well. They have 24/7 live chat, which is really really nice, and they will set up the VPN remotely if need be. I’ve never used a VPN and until a few days ago i didn’t even know what it was, so I won’t have anything to compare them too, but so far they’ve really been wonderful.

  60. Good advice. I am using Witopia now and am hoping that this allows me the freedom of continuing my wordpress blog no matter what censorship happens in the future.

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