How To Spot A Blogspot Blog (A Quick Fix)

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.