One of the questions we get often is, “We already have a CDN, why do we need 21YunBox?” In this post, we’ll explore the answer to this question and help you understand the best solutions for making your website work in China. We’ll address two fundamental questions:

  • Question 1: Why Foreign Websites Struggle in China?
  • Question 2: What do Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) do?

Why Foreign Websites Struggle in China

1) Compliance Issues: Failing to Comply with Chinese Laws

China’s unique internet ecosystem and legal framework demand compliance with specific regulations. Content publication in China requires proper licensing, such as ICP Filing or ICP Licenses, while strict adherence to the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) safeguards individual data.

If your website is hosted outside China and relies on services that don’t comply with Chinese regulations, it’s at risk of being blocked or performing poorly in China. We often hear from clients who initially had no issues but suddenly found their websites stopped working in China.

The root of these problems often lies in non-compliance with Chinese laws. To find a reliable solution, prioritizing compliance with Chinese regulations is the crucial first step.

Note: Websites using non-compliant services hosted outside mainland China, including Hong Kong and other special administrative regions, are unlikely to meet Chinese legal requirements.

Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation to determine the licenses you need to make your site function effectively in China.

Unlock Your Success in China

We offer free consultation calls to help you navigate the licenses your company may need for a thriving online presence in China. Don't let compliance hurdles hold you back – let us guide you to success.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

2) Technical Challenges: Compatibility

Incompatibility is a major reason why websites struggle to work in China. A typical website comprises around 60-100 components known as resources. These resources include images, social media embeds, scripts, fonts, and more. Many of these resources are either blocked or load slowly in China due to various technical constraints.

Compatibility issues are usually addressed on the webpage itself, posing questions like:

  • Does YouTube work?
  • What about Google Maps?
  • Are we using Adobe Typekit?
  • How about fonts?
  • Is Google Translate in use?
  • What about Recaptcha in China?

Some of these questions have straightforward answers, but the challenge arises when a website is originally built for a Western or Google-oriented environment. Shifting established processes can be difficult, so automation is often the solution.

Note: Google and its related services are blocked in China.

3) Technical Issues: Speed

Speed is another critical factor influencing website performance. Slow connections can result in certain resources taking too long to load or timing out, leading to poor user experiences.

Speed-related concerns involve both webpage and infrastructure aspects. On the webpage side, questions to consider with your Content Management System (CMS) include:

  • Are images compressed?
  • Are files minified?
  • Which components are blocking others?
  • Which initiators might be slow or blocked, affecting other resources?

On the infrastructure side, you should explore factors like:

  • Your choice of hosting provider
  • Is China part of your vendor’s services area.

China typically does not come with most of the “default plan,” so ask your service vendor if China is supported. They may require you to upgrade or pay extra to get China support. (For example, Cloudflare’s Enterprise plan does provide China support, but not on their other lower-tier plans)

  • Server capacity
  • Latency in China
  • Bandwidth and throughput in China
  • Reliance on third-party domains and their reliability
  • Use of HTTP/2, Brotli, or Gzip compression
  • Caching strategies
  • Differentiating static and dynamic components
  • And more…

What Do CDNs Do?

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) serve various functions, with the primary one being to accelerate content delivery. When you access a webpage or view a video, the content is stored somewhere on the internet. This location can significantly affect the loading speed.


Speed consists of two main components: Latency and Throughput. If, for example, your server is in San Francisco and your website visitors come from Europe or Australia, data must traverse considerable distances, resulting in latency. Throughput, on the other hand, measures how much data can transfer between two points in one second.

CDNs work by storing specific files on servers distributed globally, often referred to as Point of Presence (POP). For example, a file hosted with a CDN like Akamai might be stored on a server near your location, reducing latency and increasing throughput. This is crucial for a smoother user experience.


CDNs also play a vital role in website security. They offer features like Web Application Firewalls (WAF) and protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. Although security is important, it’s not the main focus of this article.

Where China Comes into Play

In the context of China, the challenges revolve around China compliance, technical compatibility, and loading speed. This involves various aspects of web development and infrastructure.

Area 1: Compatibility

This is where 21YunBox excels. 21YunBox identifies, modifies, and replaces incompatible resources to ensure smooth and rapid loading in China. It also addresses slow resources and optimizes their performance.

Identifying and addressing these resources can be challenging for in-house web developers. Often, when marketers attempt these technical tasks, websites break. While some Content Management Systems claim to streamline the process, they tend to be expensive and rarely deliver the desired results.

Area 2: Speed

Most non-Chinese CDNs host content globally, excluding China. To overcome this limitation, global companies must establish a Multi-CDN infrastructure. This helps with infrastructure-related speed issues, but the webpage side of the equation needs to be addressed as well.

Area 3: China Compliance

The default ports for HTTP/HTTPS (80 and 443) are blocked in China if you do not have ICP Filing already. This is required by the Chinese laws for companies to register with the MIIT before any content goes live in China.

Area 4: Deploy Directly to China

Unless you are using Netlify or Vercel, or have your own CI/CD build and deploy pipeline, having a China CDN means managing a Multi-CDN infrastructure – one for China and one for the rest of the world.

We offer a deployment experience similar to Netlify, allowing you to deploy to China in minutes, not days.

The 21YunBox Advantage

Fortune 500 companies and luxury brands worldwide choose 21YunBox to set up and manage their infrastructure and business operations in China. Our international, English-speaking team is based in the heart of Shanghai, and we understand the unique challenges foreign firms face when operating in the Chinese marketplace.

Contact us today to start a conversation about partnering with us to build a successful business in the world’s largest online marketplace.

Contact us today to start a conversation about partnering with us to build a successful business in the world’s largest online marketplace.

Ready to try 21YunBox?

Get Started