HowtoForge is blocked in Kazakhstan

Discussion in 'Smalltalk' started by StudioMaX, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. StudioMaX

    StudioMaX New Member


    Today I accidentally discovered that HowtoForge does not open in Kazakhstan. After some checking, it turned out that it was not possible to connect to port 443 on your IPv4 addresses.
    This is not unusual; in Kazakhstan websites are often blocked if someone from government organizations does not like something there. Also, random blocking occurs frequently due to blocking by IP address (and not using DPI to block by domain through the SNI header).
    In such cases, I sometimes send an official request to our authorities, when it is obvious that the site is blocked by mistake (for example, was blocked because of a satirical post about the creation of a nuclear bomb, and BitBucket because of the spread of narcotic drugs).

    To record the unavailability of a website I sometimes use the service - a host availability checker (Unfortunately, I don't have enough rights to post a link here).

    But this time I was surprised that in addition to being unavailable in Kazakhstan (you can see 5 servers that did not receive a response due to timeout), HowtoForge also gives a 403 Access denied error for Russia and Ukraine. And here it is obvious that the blocking is happening from your side or from the firewall in Cloudflare.

    Therefore, before I send a request to our authorities with a question about the reason for the blocking, could you explain why the site returns a 403 error for Russia and Ukraine? It is possible that some other countries are also blocked on your part, but I noticed only these countries on the territory of the CIS. Since there is no point in trying to unblock the website in my country, if, as a result, it turns out that you are also blocking Kazakhstan via HTTP 403.

    PS. I usually use a foreign VPN, so I never noticed 403 errors.
    30uke likes this.
  2. till

    till Super Moderator Staff Member ISPConfig Developer

    We do not block access by country, but some IP addresses might be blocked at Cloudflare based on the behavior of the systems that are run on that IP. So probably the services that you used to do these tests are partially blocked, not the countries themself. I just had a look at the statistics and we have a few thousand user sessions from e.g. Russia each week, which means that these users must have been able to access our servers.
    30uke likes this.
  3. StudioMaX

    StudioMaX New Member

    Thanks for your reply. I will try to write to our government authorities about this problem.
    30uke, Th0m and till like this.
  4. StudioMaX

    StudioMaX New Member

    Hello there again,
    It wasn't that fast, but I still got a response from them. HowtoForge is no longer blocked. The reason was the "bad" neighbors on the same Cloudflare IP addresses. RIPE Atlas on probes from Kazakhstan also reports that it works now - hxxps://atlas[.]ripe[.]net/measurements/30002881/#probes .

    Full response:
    And via Google Translate...
    30uke, till and Th0m like this.

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