Some countries on earth are trying their best to keep their citizens from accessing the Internet freely.
While motives may differ from country to country, it is usually the fear that citizens use the Internet to retrieve information that are not freely available in the country, for instance because they are banned.
China, notorious for blocking websites has started to realize that its citizens were able to read all those forbidden writings by simply accessing the feeds of blocked websites.
After discovering this the country decided to ban URLs starting with 'feeds', 'blog', 'rss' and probably a handful of other related words.
Several of my readers from China mentioned to me that my feed was blocked in China as well but the website was not. So, they started visiting my website again.
If you want to check if your website or feed is blocked as well in China you can use the website test behind the Great Firewall of China to do so. Just enter the url of your website, blog or feed, choose a location (Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai), enter the validation code and wait for a response from the script.
It is interestingly enough also possible to check non-Chinese locations. Available are New York in the US, Munich in Germany and Melbourne in Australia. This can be a useful option to make sure that the service itself can access the website and that the firewall is blocking access in China.
If you don't perform that test, it could very well be that the site is not accessible because of technical issues or other issues that have nothing to do with the firewall.
An alternative to RSS feeds is to get those feeds by mail or using a service on the web that displays them. Newsgator is supposed to work fine at the moment. It would be nice to receive information about Netvibes and Google Reader.
Update: Some RSS services mentioned in the article are not available anymore. I suggest you try out Netvibes to see if it displays the feeds just fine. Since it is pre-loading all contents for you, it should do that just fine.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.