Previously, we have an article explaining why airtable doesn’t work in China already. In this article, we are going to give you solutions in detail about how to make airtable load super fast in China without switching CMS.
Getting Airtable to work in China
We have two solutions for you to choose from, both of these solutions offer the best loading time experience to your websites’ readers as well as your content teams.
Solution 1: For teams outside of China
If you are outside of China, your website published with airtable is slow mainly because of two reasons:
1. Airtable doesn’t have servers or CDN (Content Delivery Network) nodes in China.
This is obvious, but I still want to put it here because it is just one of the two reasons why your website is slow in China. For longer explaining why servers of airtable are slow in China, read Does Airtable Work in China? for reference.
2. Your website hosting provider doesn’t have servers or CDN nodes in China.
This is another reason why your website is slow in China.
Let’s take a look at how this relates to your website and the airtable. If we look at the website deployment process at a high level and say you are making a change on an article on your website. Here are what happen behind the scene:
When you press the “Save” or “Publish” button on an article in the dashboard of the airtable, the airtable backend trigger a “build and deploy” message onto the hosting providers (the popular ones outside of China are Netlify and Vercel)
The hosting provider will pull the content from the servers of airtable and build the website inside the hosting provider’s servers.
Once the site is done building, the hosting provider will deploy the web pages on their content network.
If things go well with the above steps, the changes you just did on the article will be live and publicly accessible within the content networks by the hosting provider and the CMS provider.
So what happens when a user visits my website? The hosting provider will find the nearest server to the user and deliver the web page content from that server. The media assets also do the same when a user requests the content.
With that being said, what could go wrong here?
When your web hosting provider or the media assets provider have no servers in China, the default action they do is to find the nearest server (most likely to be in Hong Kong or Singapore) within their content network and serve the web page content and media from that server to your users. That’s the reason why your readers accessing the content fairly slow in China.
Now, we understand the problems then the solution is straightforward. Simply put, what your need is: a website and media assets hosting provider in China that integrated well with your website with airtable, which is exactly what 21YunBox does.
Talk is cheap, let’s show your engineers some code
Here are the guides and the corresponding source codes to get your engineers started and experienced the speed boost with 21YunBox.
We got the starter from Gatsby’s starter gallery, and here is the Github link: https://github.com/wkocjan/gatsby-airtable-listing. Then, we follow the guide provided by the author of this code and deploy it to 21YunBox Edge.
It’s ok if this doesn’t make sense to you, share this with your developers or agency that you work with, when they run the code on 21YunBox and I bet they will immediately get what I mean. The code solved the problem we described above.
Visually, what you will get is this after your get the starter deployed.
Once the website is up and running on 21YunBox CDN, we ran a speed test on the website in all the provinces and major cities in China, and here is the result:
The left one shows the load time with airtable Content Network vs the right one shows the load time with 21YunBox Content Network. You can see 21YunBox gives you the performance boosted (all solid green, meaning the image is loaded within 0.4 seconds).
Hopefully, by now, you have a good understanding of why your website with airtable is slow in China, and what you can do to fix it.
Solution 2: For teams in China
If your content team is in China already, they are likely to experience hangs of the user interface of airtable already. A quick and easy fix for this is to utilize VPN (Virtual Private Network) or some proxies on your content team’s computers so they can access the airtable much smoother.
Keep in mind that this only enhances the editing and publishing experience for your content team, it doesn’t help with your users’ reading experience. Then, you can use solution 1 above to give your website a speed boost in China.
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