Western web design in China

Designing a website from scratch can be quite a big task depending on the scale of your site and the kind of complex features that will run behind it (server-side scripting, etc.). You might have a lot of files to upload at the end of the day, especially if you are going to use some local server-side scripts to generate content pages. Nothing is more annoying and disruptive to a web-based endeavor than having a slow connection or an unreliable connection. The Chinese Internet is known to be restricted, unreliable, and slow, especially when it comes to viewing foreign websites or interacting with servers that are outside the Chinese firewall.

It is very difficult for Chinese start-ups that are also heavily involved with the internet, such as web design agencies or Chinese SEO companies. Government restrictions are impeding any online business growth and oppressing many companies that want to work with clients or businesses outside of China. Foreign companies operating in China have it even worse, because many of their operations will involve interaction with entities outside of China. A good example is that a UK branch in China will need to communicate with its headquarters on a regular basis. If the data center is outside of China, this significantly slows down the business and frustrates both staff and customers.

When you are spending some time in China and doing a lot of web design or blogging, make sure you are well prepared! Before you go, buy some remote storage from a company that has servers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is just outside the Great Firewall of China, so it has a very fast connection with the rest of the world and reasonable with China. You’ll get much better performance this way rather than connecting to a server in the UK from China. You also run the risk of China blocking your blog, website, and any remote ftp storage services you use. This means access it will be impossible from anywhere in China, no matter what computer you try to use. So this means you have something else to add to your shopping list, and that’s a VPN or proxy. Don’t bother with the free ones if you want reliability. They are cheap and you can purchase a monthly subscription to match the time you are visiting.

The adverse effect of traveling to China and not realizing the internet restrictions they have there can seriously affect your freelance work, blog or website. Going out for a month and not having access to them could cripple your income or your business. Remember to be well prepared and have everything set up correctly before you go to avoid any nasty surprises!