I am currently in China, and if I want the most stable skritter experience, I still have to use a VPN. I’ve tried both skritter.com and skritter.cn without any noticeable difference. I’d really love not to have to use a VPN because they can be flaky, especially as the government continues to ramp up efforts to clamp down on VPNs…there’s really no reason skritter shouldn’t be able to work without a VPN.
I don’t know if this is just me, but basically without a VPN skritter will periodically stop working. Sometimes this will just be API calls starting to fail and I have to wait a little and reopen the site, and sometime the site just becomes completely inaccessible. Do y’all have any idea what would cause this? Has anyone else experienced or reported this? I’d be happy to run any commands in the console or give you any system stuff that would be useful to you (I’m not really a network person but could imagine running wireshark and waiting until skritter becomes inaccessible or something).
I’m not sure how your chinese mirror is setup, and my guess is the issue might be that china doesn’t play fully nice with foreign cloud providers… I imagine the 100% solution here is to have a version of skritter hosted entirely in china, but there may be other ways. Like I said, I’m happy to help troubleshoot this with whatever information I can provide but I’d really love to have a stable skritter experience within China.
Is this on your radar?
EDIT: I should add that when I use a VPN, I have not had any flakiness with skritter’s APIs, except for when my VPN is having issues, which generally has been less than when using skritter without the VPN, though lately my VPN has been a bit flakier, and I really am afraid of fallout from the ongoing war against VPNs.
EDIT2: there is precedent from other apps migrating to the chinese cloud for customers in china…I know that evernote did this. Obviously it isn’t ideal. I’d be happy to pay a migration fee or something. Just talking out loud… and as I wrote this, my VPN or skritter had issues and I had to wait and reload the tab. -_-
I currently am living in Guangzhou and have internet through 中国电信. The site works without needing a VPN for me, but I have noticed that different providers and locations in the country perform differently. We rely on proxies to try and the dot cn domain to try to get around the firewall, but at the heart Skritter is built on App Engine (a part of the Google Cloud).
Where are you located and which provider are you using internet through?
I’m in Guilin, and for stability, I’ve found going through my phone’s internet has been best, which is 中国联通.
Now is a good example…I was studying fine for an hour or so without VPN, all of a sudden the app hangs, and now I can’t even reach skritter.com. Time to fire up the VPN I guess
Thanks for the information. I have also noticed that websites in general seem to work better when using mobile data. Unfortunately until we can break away from Google for the majority of our backend we don’t have a reliable of way of making things consistently work in China.
The main reason it’s so hard to fix is it’s so unpredictable. As you just mentioned it was working fine for an hour or so and then stopping working. From home in the morning it might work, then in the afternoon it might not. I go to a coffee shop and it works, then I return a few days later and it doesn’t. I make a few changes to see if that helps, but I can never be 100% certain if my changes helped or the internet just magically started working again.
I don’t know if there are any 3rd party solutions that help App Engine customers in China. We have mostly been relying on using reverse proxies to attempt to circumvent the great firewall.
I’ve never been to Guilin, but I have been to Yangshou 阳朔 a few times to relax.
Yeah, I don’t know if there’s a great solution. I used to work in Google Cloud actually, but don’t know the people on the app engine team…
I see there are services like this https://go.appscale.com/resources/use-case/chicos, but I have no idea how expensive or effective they are.
EDIT: I’ll say that after the hiccups earlier, it was fine all day. You’re right, the variability is really the killer.
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