Drupal does not work in China
Drupal does not work in China

TLDR; Drupal doesn’t work in China. Websites built with Drupal CMS load in 40+ seconds and have broken images and videos. Many Drupal sites are not even accessible in China. This article explains why Drupal has poor performance in China and then provides you with the only solution to fix your existing Drupal 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 Drupal CMS 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 Drupal and if works in Mainland China or not. Also, you can contact us to get a free speed test of your Drupal site for China.


What is Drupal?

Drupal is a free and open-source web content management system (CMS) written in PHP. It provides a back-end framework for at least 13% of the top 10,000 websites world wide.

Drupal is also at the core of Acquia’s popular digital experience platform. Powered by Drupal, Aquia is one of the leading Digital Experience Platform (“DXP”) by Gartner Magic Quadrant 2020.

Digital Experience Platform by Gartner Magic Quadrant 2021
Digital Experience Platform by Gartner Magic Quadrant 2021


Does Drupal Work in China?

The short answer is no.

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

  1. Most hosting providers claim to have Global coverage for your Drupal site, but actually, China is not included.

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

Luckily we have put together solutions for you to make your business and your Drupal site work in China.

Don’t just take our words. Let’s look at some popular websites powered by Drupal 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 Drupal’s Global Customers and considered these websites to follow the best practices powered by Drupal.

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.

This figure basically shows how fast the website loads across Mainland China (green = fast, red=slow)

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


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 Drupal.

 

Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), www.beltandroad.hktdc.com

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub.

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

HKTDC's Access Speed is Slow if Accessable in China
HKTDC's Access Speed is Slow if Accessable in China

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

If you visit HKTDC's site under China network conditions, you will see this

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

Yes, it appears that HKTDC’s Chinese site gets the green light for operating legally in mainland China.

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 HKTDC’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.

ICP on HKTDC's Chinese Website
ICP on HKTDC's Chinese Website

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





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

 

Brand USA, www.visittheusa.com

Brand USA is an organization dedicated to marketing the United States as a premier travel destination.

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

Images on Brand USA's website are not accessible in China
Images on Brand USA's website are not accessible in China

To see it 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 the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we do, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Brand USA’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.




 

NASA, www.nasa.gov

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is a U.S. government agency that is responsible for science and technology related to air and space.

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

Images on NASA's global website are not accessible in China
Images on NASA's global website are not accessible in China

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

If you visit www.nasa.gov under China network conditions, you see above

Does the NASA’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.




 

Pfizer, www.pfizer.com

Pfizer Inc is an American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation headquartered in New York City.

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

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

To see it 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 the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we do, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Pfizer’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.




 

Jack Daniels, www.jackdaniels.com

Jack Daniels is a brand of Tennessee whiskey and the best-selling whiskey in the world.

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

Images on Jack Daniels's website are not accessible in China
Images on Jack Daniels's website are not accessible in China

To see it 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 the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we do, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Jack Daniels websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website 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.




 

National Archives, www.archive.gov

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with the preservation and documentation of government and historical records. It is also tasked with increasing public access to those documents which make up the National Archive.

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

Images on National Archives's global website are not accessible in China
Images on National Archives's global website are not accessible in China

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

If you visit www.archive.gov under China network conditions, you see above

Does the National Archives’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.




 

Arsenal Football Club, www.arsenal.com

Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, London, England. Arsenal plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football.

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

Images on Arsenal's website are not accessible in China
Images on Arsenal's website are not accessible in China

To see it 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 the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we do, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

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

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website 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.




 

Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org

Autism Speaks Inc. is an autism advocacy charity and the largest autism research organization in the United States. It sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.

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

Images on Autism Speaks's website are not accessible in China
Images on Autism Speaks's website are not accessible in China

To see it 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 the website cannot be reached by the user in China, we don’t provide a screen recorded video, even if we do, you will only see a blank screen like the above image.

Does the Autism Speaks websites comply with the laws in China?

No. It doesn’t pass our legal check because the website 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.




 

Royal Museums Greenwich, www.rmg.co.uk

Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) is an organisation comprising four museums in Greenwich, London. The Royal Museums Greenwich Foundation is a Private Limited Company.

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

Images on RMG's global website are not accessible in China
Images on RMG's global website are not accessible in China

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

If you visit www.rmg.co.uk under China network conditions, you see above

Does the Royal Museums Greenwich ‘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.




 

Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français , www.sncf.com

Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), English French National Railways, state-owned railroad system of France, formed in 1938.

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

Images on SNCF's global website are not accessible in China
Images on SNCF's global website are not accessible in China

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

If you visit www.sncf.com under China network conditions, you see above

Does the SNCF’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.




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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