Dato CMS does not work in China
Dato CMS does not work in China

TLDR; DatoCMS doesn’t work in China. Websites built with DatoCMS’ headless CMS load in 40+ seconds and have broken images and videos. Many DatoCMS sites are not even accessible in China. This article explains why DatoCMS has poor performance in China and then provides you with the only solution to fix your DatoCMS site that is fully compliant with the laws in mainland China.


In this article, we will walk you through some speed tests we conducted to determine if DatoCMS works in China or not. Our staff conducted the tests in Shanghai (China Mainland) and Hong Kong (outside Mainland China) and we used 3rd party testing tools to ensure our tests weren’t biased.

By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of DatoCMS and if it works in Mainland China or not. Also, you can contact us to get a free speed test of your DatoCMS site for China.


What is DatoCMS?

DatoCMS is a cloud-based headless CMS designed to work with static websites, mobile apps and server-side applications of any kind. Freelancers, agencies and businesses use DatoCMS to allow non-technical clients and team members to manage the content of their digital products within a web-based CMS.


Does DatoCMS Work in China?

The short answer is no.

Below is the long answer if you want to understand why:

  1. DatoCMS claims that you can scale globaly using their CMS, but actually, mainland China is not included. DatoCMS relies on Western cloud providers (like AWS) to host their platform and, these services do not work well in China as we’ll see below.

  2. If your business doesn’t have any legal licenses for your site and content in China, it is operating illegally in China.

Luckily we have put together solutions to make your business and DatoCMS site work fast and reliably in China.

Don’t just take our words. Let’s look at some popular websites powered by DatoCMS and see how well they work in China


How do we check if a website works in China or not?

There are two tests we need to perform to conclude if a website works in China.

  1. How fast is the site in Mainland China?
  2. Does the website operated by the business comply with the laws in China?

The second part of the test is a must for most businesses or organizations, not optional. If you are unsure why it’s a must, read Untold facts about ICP for China, and why you should get it.


Speed Tests Results

We picked 10 websites from DatoCMS’s Customers and considered these websites to follow DatoCMS’ best practices.

Then we follow the test questions mentioned earlier for each website and create a report with the following format:

1. A figure to see how fast the site performs across Mainland China.

Example of a fast website in China
Example of a fast website in China

This figure basically shows how fast the website loads across Mainland China (green = fast 👍, red/orange/yellow/grey = slow 👎)


2. A video to see the site’s performance in China visually.

We made a screen record of the website loading in Shanghai, China. This provides you with an intuitive way to see how fast the site visually loads and understand what people in China actually experience when they visit the website.


3. A yes-no check to see if the site complied with the laws in China.

If the site passes the legal check, it’s a green check. If it doesn’t pass, we will tell you why it doesn’t pass.

Now, let’s dive into the reports for each of the selected websites using DatoCMS.

 

Vercel, www.vercel.com

Vercel is a deployment and hosting platform for frontend frameworks and static sites, built to integrate with headless content, commerce, or database.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on the Vercel’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Vercel's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
Vercel's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Vercel’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit Vercel's site under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Vercel’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not have an ICP license displayed at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.

Finding if a website has an ICP license is pretty straightforward, just scroll to the bottom of the page, if you see a number like this (see below Nike’s websites for China), then the business behind the website has an ICP for China. If not, they don’t have it. You can check if your website has it or not.

Below is an example of Nike’s website in China, and its ICP number.

Nike's ICP Number for China
Nike's ICP Number for China





Similarly, we ran the same tests for the rest of the selected WordPress user’s websites.

 

Chilly’s, www.chillys.com

Chilly’s is a London-based company that manufactures and distributes insulated and reusable water bottles worldwide.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Chillys website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Chilly's website could be accessible in China
Images on Chilly's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Chilly’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.chillys.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Chilly’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Dovetail Studios, www.dovetailstudios.com

Dovetail is an international digital product agency, venture studio and VC firm dedicated to co-creating and investing in the world’s most promising companies.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty opening on Dovetail’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Dovetail's website could be accessible in China
Images on Dovetail's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Dovetail’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit Dovetail's website under China network conditions, you see above

Does the Dovetail’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the international website does not have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Wonderland, www.wonderlandams.com

Wonderland is an international digital agency focused on UI/UX design. They develop complex websites, iOS/Android mobile applications and elaborate online business services worldwide.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening Wonderland’s global website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

wonderlandams.com's speed test across China
wonderlandams.com's speed test across China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Wonderland’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.wonderlandams.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does Wonderland’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

DatoCMS, www.datocms.com

For the last case study, lets take a look at DatoCMS’s own website.

From our speed test, people in China have difficulty viewing the images on the DatoCMS’s website. (that’s what the below figure means, red/orange/yellow means unable to display images).

DatoCMS's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China
DatoCMS's Access Speed is Slow if Accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses DatoCMS’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.datocms.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does DatoCMS’s websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because DatoCMS does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Payfit, www.payfit.com

PayFit offers technology that simplifies and automates payroll and HR processes for small and medium-sized businesses.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Payfit’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Payfit's website could be accessible in China
Images on Payfit's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Payfit’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.payfit.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Payfit’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Ready Player Me, www.readyplayer.me

Ready Player Me is a cross-game avatar platform for the metaverse. It lets you create a 3D avatar with a selfie and use it in 600+ compatible apps and games.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Ready Player Me’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Ready Player Me's website could be accessible in China
Images on Ready Player Me's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Ready Player Me’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.readyplayer.me under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Ready Player Me’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Polestar Automotive, www.polestar.com

Polestar is a Swedish automotive brand established in 1996 by Volvo Cars’ partner Flash/Polestar Racing and acquired in 2015 by Volvo, which itself was acquired by Geely in 2010. It is headquartered in Torslanda outside Gothenburg, Sweden with vehicle production taking place in China.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Polestar’s website (that’s what the below figure means, red/orange/yellow means unable or slow to display images).

Images on Polestar's website could be accessible in China
Images on Polestar's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Polestar’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.polestar.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Polestar’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Wagamama, www.wagamama.com

Owned by The Restaurant Group (RTN), Wagamama is a British restaurant chain, serving Asian food based on Japanese cuisine.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Chillys website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Chilly's website could be accessible in China
Images on Chilly's website could be accessible in China

To see the site load in action, here is what a normal user would see in China:

The website cannot be reached by the user
The website cannot be reached by the user

Since Wagamama’s website cannot be reached by the users in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we did, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Wagamama website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




 

Hashicorp, www.hashicorp.com

HashiCorp (HCP) is a software company with a freemium business model based in San Francisco, California. HashiCorp provides open-source tools and commercial products that enable developers, operators and security professionals to provision, secure, run and connect cloud-computing infrastructure.

From our speed test, people in China will have difficulty viewing the images and opening them on Hashicorp website (that’s what the below figure means, red means unable to display images).

Images on Hashicorp's website could be accessible in China
Images on Hashicorp's website could be accessible in China

Here is a more intuitive way to see it, we screen-recorded the process when a user browses Hashicorp’s website in Shanghai, click the video below to see it in action:

If you visit www.hashicorp.com under China network conditions, you will see the above

Does the Hashicorp’s website comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the business does not even have an ICP license at the footer of their website.

If you don’t know what an ICP license is, click here to learn more.




In short, if your business is going to China, make sure your website passes the two tests we mentioned above to have a fast speed of first load and good viewing and browsing quality for your users in China.

Reducing page load time by 0.1 seconds will increase the conversion rate by 8%.

Google, Deloitte

If you need help going to China, please contact us, we are happy to help.


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