Blocked? The Data So Far

I posted yesterday about the blocking of Gates of Vienna by ISPs in the UK and elsewhere, asking readers to supply information about whether their access to this site has been limited. It was my hope to crowdsource the data collection in order to assess the extent of the issue; to research it by other means would have been difficult, time-consuming, and beyond my level of skill as an internet sleuth.

There were numerous responses in the comments and via email, enough to get a start on the dataset. I collected everything in a table as it came in, and the results are below. As you can see, there were twenty-three responses — not a large enough sample yet to do a statistical analysis, but a good start:

Country   Local   ISP   Browser   Blocked?
Bahrain               No
France       Free       No
Netherlands   Eindhoven   KPN-NL   Chrome/IE/Win7   No
Sweden               No
UK   Greater London   Sky   Firefox   No
UK   London   Sky       No
UK       BT   Firefox   No
UK       BT       No
UK       EE-phone   Firefox   Yes
UK               No
UK       PlusNet   Chrome   No
UK       Sky   Chrome/IE   No
UK       TalkTalk       No
UK       THREE-cellular       Yes
UK       T-mobile       Yes
UK       Virgin Media       Yes
UK   NW   TalkTalk       No
UK   Scotland           No
UK   Sheffield   O2   Chrome   No
UK   W. Yorkshire   Virgin Media       No
UK   W. London   BTinternet   Firefox   No
USA   Maryland           No
USA   Schenectady, NY   Time Warner       Yes

Notice that there are several ISPs that have both blocked and not blocked this site. That’s a sign that there’s more to this issue than a simple blacklisting of URLs or IP addresses.

There is an inherent problem with collecting data in this fashion, since it is a self-selected sample that must of necessity exclude a fair number of data points where access is actually being blocked, because the blockee would be unable to see my request for information.

To make the process work, we’ll need to get data from people who can’t read this post. So if you have friends and family members who have attempted to access Gates of Vienna and were unable to, or if that has happened to you in the past, please drop by and leave a comment that includes as much relevant data as you have. Country and ISP are the crucial parameters.

27 thoughts on “Blocked? The Data So Far

  1. DNS settings would probably be helpful also. IIRC most site blocks are done via DNS. If this is the case, the block can be circumvented by using an alternative DNS to the default one your ISP reccommends. Eg. openDNS ( and It’s a one-time reconfiguration, and will work just as good (sometimes even better) as your ISP’s default.

    -more on DNS (with list) here ->

    And, if things get hairy, consider getting a VPN. Not only does it add a layer of extra security (anonymity), but it also allows you to log in via different countries. I highly recommend PIA (private internet access) ->

  2. It’s also possible that the ISPs are not blocking you at all. There are a couple other possible factors.
    1. That you’re being subject to DNS poisoning attacks. I doubt that individual ISPs would be blocking on-and-off, but the pattern of randomness here sounds more like a DNS problem of some kind.
    2. You seem to be hosting behind a proxy that’s acting as a firewall. To check out #1 I was going to suggest you give people being blocked your IP address and see if it’s blocked as well as access by name. But seeing this, it’s entirely possible that your proxy is selectively or temporarily booting out ISPs if it’s getting too many hits from them, or feels it’s under a denial-of-service attack from other computers in the same block as your users. In that case it might shut out the whole IP range for an hour or two.

    Before thinking you’re being blocked, I would consult with the Sucuri people who are managing your firewall and make sure it’s not a problem on their end.

    Source: I work in IT.

    • I don’t think we’re being blocked, except maybe by Sky, partially, since that has at least a semi-independent verification. Based on the reports so far, there seems to me no systematic blocking.

      And yes, I know exactly how our firewall protection works. Believe me.

  3. A friend in London checked. His response: “Ok for me on Sky broadband. But in mobile data on O2 I have to prove my age so haven’t tried accessing on data yet”.

    And apparently the “age block” on O2 mobile is only on certain specific websites.

  4. To any UK lawyers out there – let’s say that there’s a “right-wing bigot” who’s running an ISP, and suddenly decides to block access to the Guardian, or the Socialist Workers’ Party. Is there anything in law to stop them doing that? And could the same not apply for blogs like GoV?

  5. further to my post yesterday, though you are NOT blocked in Bahrain, you ARE BLOCKED in the UAE

    • Wow! Turkey used to block us at the national level, as did Pakistan. I didn’t realize that had changed.

  6. Use a VPN and none of this will happen. There’s some very good, very cheap and very reliable suppliers around. I use Private Internet Access, but, as noted, there are many other good and cheap options.

  7. UK, London, London Trust Media Inc, not blocked
    UK, South Hampton, Hosting Services Inc, not blocked
    Singapore, – , Netblk-Softlayer-Apnic, not blocked
    Turkey, Istanbul, Istanbul Datacenter Ltd., not blocked
    Sweden, Stockholm, Interconnects, not blocked
    New Zealand, Welmington, CachedNet LLC, not blocked

    • Wow, thanks for all this data. A verdict of “not really blocked, or not much” seems more and more likely.

      Turkey is the big surprise for me. We used to be blocked in Turkey and Pakistan.

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