Exploring Server-side Blocking of Regions

TitleExploring Server-side Blocking of Regions
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsAfroz, S., Tschantz M. Carl, Sajid S., Qazi S. Asif, Javed M., & Paxson V.

One of the Internet’s greatest strengths is the degree to which it facilitates access to any of its resources from users anywhere in the world. However, users in the developing world have complained of websites blocking their countries. We explore this phenomenon using a measurement study. With a combination of automated page loads, manual checking, and traceroutes, we can say, with high confidence, that some websites do block users from some regions. We cannot say, with high confidence, why, or even based on what criteria, they do so except for in some cases where the website states a reason. We do report qualitative evidence that fears of abuse and the costs of serving requests to some regions may play a role.


We thank David Fifield for allowing us to use some of his code. We thank the ISP that allowed us to use their servers. We gratefully acknowledge funding support from the National Science Foundation (Grants 1518918 and 1651857) and UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. The opinions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any funding sponsor or the United States Government.

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security