ChinesePod blocked in China

jennyzhu
October 03, 2011, 04:41 AM posted in General Discussion

A nightmare situation has happened. Our site is blocked in China. We are working hard to determine the cause but with the current holiday, it might take a few days to get to the bottom of the problem and see what we need to do to get the site back for users in China. In the meantime, could I trouble users in China to use a proxy if possible? Our sincere apologies. Thank you for your support! 

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toianw
October 03, 2011, 05:02 AM

Hi Jenny,

The site is working fine for me in Beijing.

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bodawei

hi toianw

Can you clarify that comment .. do you mean that it is working without a proxy?

I can't say if it is currently working in Yunnan - I am out of the country.

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toianw

That's right - no proxy

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bodawei

thanks for confirming that - we've had examples here before of the firewall operating differently in different places. the firewall works in mysterious ways...

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sinologia

i dont know where you re sitting but i could not get any connection to chinesepod without vtunnel yesterday. today is another story, its fine.

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toianw

Judging by Jenny's comment below, I guess I escaped the problem because I use OpenDNS. I didn't notice any problems at all. This suggests to me that the site wasn't blocked, as you can't get through the Great Wall just by changing your DNS settings.

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kong_yi
October 03, 2011, 05:26 AM

I couldn't get on Chinesepod without using my vpn and I live in sichuan.

 

I usually use a vpn anyway for chinesepod because the skritter lite app doesn't run very well without it.

 

I hope it gets unblocked soon :)

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pangxiaodi
October 03, 2011, 12:03 PM

I'm in Dalian and it is blocked, I am using a VPN - I just got the premium service on 9/30 :(

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anonymous546627
October 03, 2011, 12:18 PM

Current situation according to websitepulse.com (http://bit.ly/q3thPP):

See this screenshot:http://bit.ly/pSiABV.

No connection to ChinesePod in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But in Hong Kong.

ChinesePod should allow connections via https protocol...

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jennyzhu
October 03, 2011, 02:49 PM

Dear all,

We are very sorry about the disruption which has caught us by surprise.

We have tested and confirmed that by switching to Google public DNS on your computer, you can visit our site in China without a VPN. We are still trying to determine whether this is a problem with China Telecom's DNS server or we are being blocked by China. Both are possible. (The curveball is when you are blocked in China, the authorities would not tell you. They just keep disrupting your service.) While we work hard to determine the exact cause so that we can work towards a solution, we'd truly appreciate it if you could use a proxy or change DNS. (Using Google public DNS will make visiting foreign sites in general smoother.)

Here is instruction from Google on changing DNS:

Microsoft Windows

DNS settings are specified in the TCP/IP Properties window for the selected network connection. 

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Microsoft Windows 7

  1. Go the Control Panel.
  2. Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and click Change adapter settings.
  3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, right-click Local Area Connection, and click Properties.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, right-click Wireless Network Connection, and click Properties.
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and then click Properties.
  5. Click Advanced and select the DNS tab. If there are any DNS server IP addresses listed there, write them down for future reference, and remove them from this window.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Select Use the following DNS server addresses. If there are any IP addresses listed in the Preferred DNS server or Alternate DNS server, write them down for future reference.
  8. Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers:
    • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844

Mac OS X

DNS settings are specified in the Network window. 

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Mac OS 10.5

  1. From the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Network
  2. If the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the window is locked, click the icon to make changes, and when prompted to authenticate, enter your password.
  3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select Built-In Ethernet, and click Advanced.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, select Airport, and click Advanced.
  4. Select the DNS tab.
  5. Click + to replace any listed addresses with, or add, the Google IP addresses at the top of the list:
    • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844
  6. Click Apply and OK.

 

 

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xiao_liang
October 03, 2011, 09:23 PM

Wow. What a nightmare. Hope you guys get it fixed soon. xx

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babyeggplant
October 04, 2011, 01:29 AM

Site is loading for me without a VPN today in Shanghai (but wasn't working the past few days). However, the downloads have been incredibly slow (or not downloading at all today) for me the past 2 or 3 weeks. It now takes me over an hour to download one mp3 where as it used to take less than a minute. I have tried multiple computers/browers/ect and keep having the same problem. Thankfully I can still use the VPN to download at a faster rate, but I don't always have access to it. All this makes me wonder if it's really an issue with the server rather than being blocked.

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calkins

Downloads are normal outside of China. I downloaded the latest QW, here in Taiwan, in less than a minute. I have no idea how the great firewall works, but does it also make downloads slower?

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babyeggplant

Actually, I have noticed it slowing down a torrent program I used before, so I guess it's possible.

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kong_yi
October 04, 2011, 02:45 AM

Ok its working now from Sichuan without VPN.

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sinologia
October 04, 2011, 05:14 AM

Beijing is fine too. Even the app works fine and can get content. But what caused the problem?

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caesar83
October 04, 2011, 06:38 AM

Hi,

I am also in Sichuan and I can browse through Chinesepod, but cannot download or stream any media content, neither in my computer nor Iphone app.

I also tried to change the DNS as instructed by Jenny and still cannot download.

Does anybody have the samo problem? Might it be related with China blocking it?

Thanks!

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kong_yi

hey where do you live in sichuan!?

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caesar83

I live in Chengdu, and still have problems when downloading; it either goes really slow or doesn't download at all.

I hope they stop blocking the site...

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jennyzhu

We are very sorry about the access problem and download speed. We will look into the problem as soon as we get back to work this weekend.

Thank you for your understanding!

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skib
October 06, 2011, 10:25 AM

Website is totally blocked here in Jining, Shandong. Using VPN right now...

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skib

Seems to be unblocked now for me. I wonder what happened?

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aisini
October 07, 2011, 01:23 AM

I cannot acces the website from my Windows PC which uses Google Chrome.

But I can access it from my Apple Mac which uses Safari.

I'm in Qingdao.

 

 

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aisini

On the PC,it seems to be an intermittent problem. Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Usually doesn't these last few days.

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kong_yi
October 07, 2011, 01:29 AM

This morning, in Sichuan, I couldn't get on to chinesepod.com without a vpn 

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kingbee
October 08, 2011, 02:33 AM

In Changsha, Hunan, it's OK for me.

It would be a nightmare if blocked though- I use my school's computer during work time and it refuses any attempts at a VPN!

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skib
October 13, 2011, 05:23 PM

Chinesepod.com is blocked for about a day every few weeks recently. Perhaps it isn't the job of Chinesepod to refund me for time lost, but I'm much less likely to subscribe to a service I'm not sure I'll recieve.

Recently, the two VPNs I use have also been blocked. Maybe this is a Jining, Shandong problem. I don't know.

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jennyzhu

We really want to improve the experience for our China users. After all, we are running this business out of China. We are looking into the option of hosting a mirror site in China, on a .cn domain.

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bababardwan

Jenny, I'm curious why the site isn't in China in the first place?

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johnb

There are unfortunately a whole host (pun only somewhat intended) of reasons why an internationally-focused internet company (even one with a lot of Chinese customers) wouldn't want to host their site in China, from regulatory issues on down.

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zorro8998

Yes please,

A cn version would be great. download speeds through your site have been crazy slow, especially the lesson mp3's. Seems like the lesson files are hosted at amazonaws. It would be nice if they were hosted in China instead. At least have the lesson content hosted with a mirror in China. The main site is slow but ok. I'm sure the Chinese market is important to Chinesepod.

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skib

Perhaps the .cn version could be more of a backup version of content? Without a way to comment or ask questions--for obvious reasons.

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skib

Then again, it wouldn't be the "full Chinesepod experience" I had paid for. Just a stop gap for the odd day that the Pod was down.

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lishuai1981
October 14, 2011, 06:41 AM

I'm in Heilongjiang and it's working fine here, but occasionally the site won't load.  No proxy server needed on my end...

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user39422
October 15, 2011, 11:01 AM

I'm in Dalian, and have been unable to download any of the lessons in the past few weeks. I have raised this issue through this site, but the responses from your IT team have been less than satisfactory and the issue is not resolved as of now. VPN that the IT team suggested didn't work and the solution suggested above didn't work, either. If this site is blocked in Dalian, then, does that mean that there is nothing I can do? Please help ASAP. Thank you.

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emilyvg

Hi

Im also having the same problems in Dalian. The changing of DNS as above hasnt worked. Unfortunately the university blocks any other VPNs so this is not a solution for me either. Please let me know of any updates. I have been finding these lessons so helpful and would love to continue with them! Thanks

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ma_tai
October 16, 2011, 11:16 AM

So, what's up today? I used to be in China, but right now I am Australia, and I can't access the lesson feed page or download through Itunes.

 

Have any of the links been changed?

 

I can access the site, but when I click on my feed it says the page does not exist.

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kimiik

To fix this issue, you must log out and log back in again, and then get the feed address from your Dashboard (it will be different than your old one).

If you're using iTunes, you will need to change the address that your subscription is pointing toward.

see:

http://chinesepod.com/community/conversations/post/12295#comment-223957

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Mo4li3xiang2
October 16, 2011, 01:15 PM

In Taiwan, and having to use a vpn, that's weird. Tried today to access the site to no avail, now using a vpn and can access the site, what's the problem? I've never had to use a vpn in taiwan before, for anything. 

 

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jcheinbockel

Hi the_ripa,

When you say you can't access the site, do you mean you can't even log-in without a VPN, or are you having trouble downloading content?

There was some down-time on the site last night, which might explain the problem. Are you still having issues?

JC

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Mo4li3xiang2

still using vpn today, I usually just open Safari and it's there shining pretty at me but at the moment it just a white block, and then when I try to access it w/o the vpn nothing happens.

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Mo4li3xiang2

Still having to use vpn, is there something happening with others in Taiwan?

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calkins

I am getting the same blank (white) page in Taiwan also. It's very strange, as it seems to happen if you have cpod saved as a home page. I have http://chinesepod.com/community/conversations setup as a homepage and when Firefox opens, it just goes to a blank white page. But if I copy that same url and paste it into a new page, it opens properly. Now that is weird....who can figure that one out?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure you don't need a VPN in Taiwan (still a democracy here ;-), so just try the above to see if that works.

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calkins

Hey hey, where did my halfatar go?! I've been relegated to the gray running cpod man.

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calkins

WOW, strange things abound......and the avatar has mysteriously returned. Is this some kind of spooky lead-up to Halloween?

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Mo4li3xiang2

my avatar is gone to, oh, not too worry all seems back to normal. Initially, I did try reloading the page and tried it on mozilla as well, but it was out. Now although it's just white and doesn't load, if I reload it there seems to be no prob. On another note perhaps the chinese government stole your avatar because you said it wasn't a democracy.

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Mo4li3xiang2

or were devise, naughty boy hehe

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jennyzhu

I've reported the problem to John B. He will get back to you. We are very sorry about the inconvenience!

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xiaophil
October 17, 2011, 12:17 AM

Yesterday I couldn't logon to ChinesePod and I'm in America. Any other site worked just fine. Perhaps you guys were tinkering?

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jcheinbockel

Hi Phil,

Unfortunately there was indeed some down-time early last night, The bumps should be smoothed out now, though.

Are you still having issues?

JC

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xiaophil

Nope, all good.

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zorro8998
October 18, 2011, 05:30 AM

The main problem in China is that http://aws.amazon.com/ (where the files are hosted) is really slow. Maybe it's similar to how google.com is very slow in China. It could be deliberate .

I guess the only fix to this is to change hosting. I'm sure the Chinese market is very important to you.  No one will subscribe to your service in China with such a problem.

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tubaozi
October 18, 2011, 07:56 AM

I have just changed DSN setting but it has not made any difference. I only renewed my subscription to Chinese pod yesterday. As I had not used Chinese pod for a month I was not aware of the problem in China. Chinese pod need to put a clause in to subscribers to let them know of this problem. I certainly would not have taken up another subscription with this problem unresolved and will seek a refund if there is not a quick resolution as the site is of little use at present.

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johnfatz
October 18, 2011, 10:05 AM

Agreed - trying to download the files in China is pretty much a no-go right now.

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langnase
October 18, 2011, 07:27 PM

proxy is too unsecure

use a vpn service ( like hotspot shield - it is free )

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alotofitthere
October 19, 2011, 12:31 AM

wow, what a terrible situation. Why in the world would CHINESEpod be blocked in CHINA???????

kooky.

So, fortunately I still have service but in the event that this problem gets worse how do I get my money back?

Thanks for any help. Good luck solving your problems... whatever they are.

 

 

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alotofitthere
October 19, 2011, 12:44 AM

maybe you have to check to see if you pressed caps lock by mistake....?

Jenny, it seems as though you stopped responding to this issue. It's been two weeks. Any suggestions or clarifications for us?

Thanks for any insight into the situation!

 

 

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jcheinbockel
October 19, 2011, 02:25 AM

Hey guys,

Right now, the situation is unfortunately unchanged. Users across China are still having issues with downloads.

We've been working hard to get this straightened out, and will begin using a different media host (hopefully) by the end of next week. At the same time, we're looking into a few other options as back-ups.

We're all keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be back to normal soon.

 

 

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jennyzhu
October 19, 2011, 03:19 AM

I will add to jc's comment by saying we are preparing to switch from amazon s3 to amazon cloud server, which will speed up connection and download speed for users in China and around the world. Although like most tech thngs in China, there is no guarantee but after careful evaluation, we think this is the best solution to the problem. Some Poddies suggest hosting in China, this is something we'd like to do and been strongly advised not to because of the potential risks involved. I don't want to get into them here, but trust me if we could, we would. I know this has been a very frustrating experience lately, and I sincerely apologize for it! We will keep you updated on the development. Lastly, thank you very much for your patience!

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alotofitthere

For all you guys who are worried about getting off pace re: learning dont worry while c-pod is figuring this all out you should stay on schedule other ways...there are lots of great resources out there. I'm guessing Chinese pod will most likely extend subscriptions to those affected when this is over anyway and we will all have a good laugh about it over drinks someday "hey, remember when chinesepod was blocked in China?" and you'll be like "oh my god, wasn't that crazy?"

Here's to that day...eh fellow poddies....

Hey how about we think of a new nickname for ourselves while we are waiting.... Podsters anyone??

Great, it's decided.... Podsters.....

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podster

sorry, that name is already taken ;)

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lotusl888
October 19, 2011, 03:59 AM

Hi - I'm in the U.S. and am having problems with iTunes. New lessons are not being downloaded.  Would this be explained by the blocking? I can listen to lessons on CP website.  Last lesson downloaded to iTunes was on 10/9. Thx!

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jcheinbockel

Hi Lotus,

The RSS system has had some trouble over the past few days, but everything is resolved now. You should log out and log back in, then refresh your RSS feed settings.

Let us know if that works. Thanks!

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tubaozi

This sounds good news. How do you reset RSS settings? I have followed some online advice but it does not seem to have improved the situation. Could you give some step by step pointers please. In Mozilla which I use there was no refresh option that I saw.

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jcheinbockel

iTunes has a button for refreshing feeds. I'm not as familiar with other clients. If you're using Firefox or one of the Mozilla news readers, I think you'll want to actually just resubscribe.

In your dashboard, there is a small cog icon. Clicking on it brings you to your subscription settings, where you can copy your RSS feed address. Paste it into whatever client you use to receive feeds.

The most important step is the "log out/log in" step. It's the tech equivalent of giving your old TV a quick smack.

I hope this helps!

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lotusl888

Hi...I logged out and back in, refreshed, and found the RSS feed address but not sure where that needs to be pasted in iTunes. Is it under Advanced ->Open Stream? I know I'm a dweeb...thx!

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dominic_au

I think it's Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast...

I had the same issue, and I re-entered it, refreshed, and it worked.

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jcheinbockel

Hi Lotus,

This is admittedly tricky stuff, so don't get too down on yourself.

Dominic is correct: You'll paste the feed in "Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast."

Thanks for the help Dominic!

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lotusl888

Hi...thanks to you both, but it didn't work for me. Pasted in the feed, logged out and even closed iTunes, logged back in, refreshed but no go. Other suggestions? Thx!

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jcheinbockel

Hi Lotus,

I just tested your feed on my computer in the office and everything worked normally. Please try one more time.

Thanks,

JC

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chris
October 19, 2011, 02:33 PM

Internet connection speeds have been atrocious in SH for last couple of weeks, in particular trying to download PDFs/videos/etc from any sites hosted outside of China.  It took me about 2 hours to download only a 1mb PDF of a company's annual report today from the office (usually would be a few seconds).  My point is that I don't think this is a CPOD-specific issue.

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jennyzhu

Ai, sometimes I wonder why we live in China...

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lshepherd

I cannot download lessons on my iPhone with the ChinesePod app - When I click the "Not downloaded - Tap to Download." links nothing happens. Is this caused by the same problem?

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jcheinbockel

If you're downloading with wifi, then yes, it probably is. If you're using a data network, we can't be sure.

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skib

I have the same problem using a Wifi connection. A big reason I subscribed to Chinesepod was the app support... Grumble grumble grumble...

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instantcalmer
October 21, 2011, 02:00 AM

Growl, grumble, aiya

Since I moved from Nantong Vocational College in Jiangsu to a Nantong High School, Chinesepod has not been working properly. I thought it was the new location but now I see that on October 2-3 you started having trouble in general. By dogged persistance I have been able to download new lessons sometimes at 1,30am. This makes me think you are not totally blocked by being put thru the thin (surveillance or difficulty) pipe. Mafan - fans si le.

Incidentally www.blockedinchina.net says you are not blocked

The net result is that I have not been able to use your web-site for over 2 weeks

As Jenny said - sometimes I wonder why we live in China

 

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joschka
October 21, 2011, 03:29 AM

Over here in Taipei, downloads from Chinesepod are every bit as fast as normal.

If the problem was in Shanghai, I'd expect to see the trouble here too.

Very strange indeed; especially since there are reports that Chinesepod is sponsored by the PRC Government.

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skib

You may want to look at which areas are included in the GFW.

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taye
October 21, 2011, 01:21 PM

Hello from Xiamen :)  Still having a lot of trouble here downloading lessons as a podcast in iTunes: slow or non-existent progress.  But if I switch on my OpenVPN, which thinks I'm in London, it races through the downloads.

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zorro8998
October 22, 2011, 05:53 AM

I see the new host is up. From Beijing the speed is very fast. My connection 2mb and my transfer is 210 kB/sec. Your lessons are downloading fine now. thanks for fixing this.

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johnb

Glad to hear it's working for you. We've only switched the full lesson downloads over for now to make sure it is working before making the full switch, but it does seem to be so we will likely be switching all of our media over to CloudFront next week.

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xiaophil

Hi John

As far as you know are download speeds okay in America? I have been a non-paid subscriber for a while, but have been wanting to change that. However I would rather wait for when there isn't major tech problems if possible.

Thanks!

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mark

My experience is that in the US, Chinesepod is performing as well as ever.

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xiaophil

Thanks Mark!

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emilyvg
October 25, 2011, 02:27 PM

yay its working!! very happily downloading my next lesson set here in Dalian. thanks!

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user39422

I'm also in Dalian, but still can't download. Can I ask whether you are using the VPN to access and download?

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user39422
October 29, 2011, 09:25 AM

Hi, I'm in Dalian, and it's still not working. I can't download anything.

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jennyzhu

I used your account to test. The downloads and streaming are both fast. We switched to Amazon cloud server to speed up download for all users. For the past week, our own experience and users' feedback has been the media files are fast to download.

Which OS and browser are you using? Do you have the problem chronically or just sporadically?

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balotinrodrigo

Hello, I'm in Shenzhen and I'm not able to stream the audio of any lesson when I'm not using a VPN (same thing in my android mobile). I have windows 7 and I've tried using Chrome and IE.

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RomanT

If you use ChinesePod android app to download audio lessons, please make sure you have version 2.1.4 (or later) installed. It is currently available at Android Market.

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balotinrodrigo

I have Android version 2.2.1 in my mobile Motorola ME722, but I'm still not able to stream any audio content.

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jcheinbockel

Hi!

I just want to check, are you using the most recent update of the ChinesePod app? Version 2.1.4 was released just last week.

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balotinrodrigo

Hi,

I misunderstood what RomanT said before. I just checked and I'm using the version 2.1.3. I'll download the now one and see how it goes.

Thanks.

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balotinrodrigo

Working fine now. Thx.

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balotinrodrigo

Working fine now. Thx.

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skib
November 03, 2011, 05:03 AM

Chinesepod is usually blocked here in Shandong. Some days (like today) I can get to it. The app in my phone also can't download audio lessons.

Is there anyway to suspend my account, or get a refund? I paid quite a bit of money for a 6 month subscription, but haven't been able to use it.

Every VPN I used has also been blocked.

I e-mailed customer service but got no response.

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jcheinbockel

Hi Skib,

When did you send your email? I don't believe I received anything here at the support desk.

JC

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skib

On Oct 12 I e-mailed the address "atsupport@chinesepod.com" with the subject line: "Chinesepod blocked in Jining, Shandong 济宁山东 suspend account or refund?"

ATM I can access Chinesepod fine, but it's erratic...

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dominic124
April 18, 2012, 02:44 AM

Chinesepod still seems blocked in China. Any update on this? Is this going to be permanent? Very inconvenient if you're based here.

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jennyzhu

We are not blocked. From various feedback and our own experience, China's internet infrastructure and policy might cause problem in accessing audio files from time to time. This unfortunately is beyond our control.

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chris

Dominic, you may have tried this already, but if not I would suggest you log-out of Chinesepod, close all open internet browsers and then reopen and log-in afresh from the Chinesepod home screen. I had been having several months of severe audio issues recently (based in SH), but as soon as I did the above, everything has been fine. I don't think I had logged out and logged in again for over 3 years since I first got my current laptop! Hope this helps.