In this article, we discuss the challenges that businesses are facing with hosting their static sites in China and then explore what solutions are available within China.



What is Netlify?

Netlify is a web hosting and automation platform that accelerates development productivity. Its built-in CI/CD, (Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery) pipeline makes it easy for developers to push and see a static website preview with a dedicated URL.



Does Netlify work in China?

The short answer is No.

Why? Netlify CDN (Content Delivery Network) is mainly located outside of China, and Netlify can’t help you get ICP filing so it can’t be used for business purposes in China.


Here is the long answer:

If you aren’t going to subscribe to their “Enterprise” subscription plan, the nearest CDN or server that your web page content will be served on Singapore. Meaning when your users from China visit your website, your web page content is in Singapore.

Even if you buy their “High-Performance CDN”, you will be unlocked to use more CDN nodes, the nearest CDN you can get are Incheon in South Korea or Tokyo in Japan.


Netlify CDN Locations (as of Apr 2021), https://answers.netlify.com/t/is-there-a-list-of-where-netlifys-cdn-pops-are-located/855/2
Netlify CDN Locations (as of Apr 2021), https://answers.netlify.com/t/is-there-a-list-of-where-netlifys-cdn-pops-are-located/855/2


And that’s why probably why people are asking questions like “Site blocked in China? Netlify and the Chinese Great Firewall (GFW)” or “Content Distribution in China” on their forums. And their response from their supporting staff is:


Netlify's response on Content Distribution in China, https://answers.netlify.com/t/content-distribution-in-china/10153
Netlify's response on Content Distribution in China, https://answers.netlify.com/t/content-distribution-in-china/10153


So simply put, Netlify will work with your team to create a go-to China solution for your company, but “would take an enterprise-level contract” before everything happened. This means it won’t be a budget-friendly option for you, also they are likely to lack experience in helping companies to launch in China. You are unlikely to get good support from them when it comes to China.

I guess you are reading this blog, most likely you are looking for a budget-friendly Netlify in China solution. With that assumption, Netlify just doesn’t work for you in China.

Even though we know it doesn’t work in “theory”, we want to know how if a website is published and hosted via Netlify CDN, whether the site can be loaded in China or not. More specifically, how fast the site loads in China. Here are the speed test results:


Fact checks

To run this speed test, we deployed a website on Netlify during the Starter subscription plan. Here is what the website looks like:


A static site deployed with Netlify, https://adoring-saha-8d24b3.netlify.app
A static site deployed with Netlify, https://adoring-saha-8d24b3.netlify.app


Then we ran a speed test to see how it loads in China.


Netlify CDN loads test in China
Netlify CDN loads test in China


From the figure above, we can tell that some major cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou took over 1600 ms to get a response. Noticed that 1600 ms doesn’t mean the website is completely loaded, it just means it takes at least 1600 ms to open and see something on the screen. The browser still needs to load media assets like images or videos, this means the whole loading time is much longer than 1600 ms. If you have lots of assets on your website, you can imagine how slow it would be to completely load. In other words, your reader will be waiting forever to see the images show up on their screen.


Getting Netlify to work in China

Before we tell you how to make your website work in China, Let’s look at the outcome first:


Speed Boosted Netlify with 21YunBox, https://hexo.21yunbox.com/
Speed Boosted Netlify with 21YunBox, https://hexo.21yunbox.com/


So basically, it’s all GREEN 🙌

What does this mean? If you speed test your website (published with Netlify) outside of China, your website likely to load in milliseconds. This means if you publish your website with the tip (I’m going to tell you below), then your website is the same or equivalent load time as you have outside of China.

This is how 21YunBox comes in to help to get your website up to speed in China with the tech you are using.

If you are interested in getting Netlify to work in China with business level support and availability. Reach out to us and we will give your site a speed boost!