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Problems with Heroku in China

#1 by Moritz

Hi all,
I’m preparing a study to be carried out with Chinese participants. We use Heroku. However, the app seems to be inaccessible from mainland China. We have conducted studies using Heroku  in China before and did not experience this issue.
Googling suggests that there might be issues related to China’s firewall when using Heroku. Has anyone else experience this issue? Does anyone have suggestions for alternatives to Heroku with servers situated in mainland China (this should solve the issue)? 
Thanks a lot!

#2 by xuxu1989

Heroku is not banned but blocked in China. It is sometimes recognized as a security threat because of the end random codes in the end of session/room-wide link, even in FB. You may try to customize the session link so it looks more serious, i.e., give an room name and have a room link. NO AD, I noticed this company that can help with Heroku difficulties in China. I'm not sure about their rate.

#3 by Moritz

Thanks a lot for these suggestions!

#4 by GergelyH

Hi All,
I wanted to follow up on this conversation. My Chinese student is trying to conduct an experiment in China but the participant links cannot be opened, even if we created a link. Any suggestion? Is heroku available in China?

#5 by Moritz

We weren't able to figure out a solution that involves Heroku. We're now working with a Chinese company that recruits students as participants and also hosts our experiment on their own platform.

#6 by GergelyH

I see thank you, I think I know which company you refer to. I will seek similar solution.

It is a pity that heroku is not working in China anymore, wondering if there could be some solution, like setting up a different server for otree in China.

#7 by kendo

We are able to access our app in China if we give our apps  custom domains and routed through cloudflare. However if we used xxx.herokuapp.com it doesn't work 


#8 by na_zou

Hello! @Moritz and @GergelyH, I have a similar issue and would like to follow up this question. Could you please share which company you worked with to host your experiment instead of using Heroku? Other suggestions and recommendations are also welcomed. 


#9 by gr0ssmann

Just set up your own Linux server with nginx+oTree (or have your lab manager do it for you).

#10 by Moritz

We used this company: https://www.yanzhonglab.com/account/login?callback=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.yanzhonglab.com%2Fresearcher%2F

#11 by na_zou

Thank you both @gr0ssmann and @Moritz for your suggestions.

#12 by SamY

In late fall last year, one of our clients similarly faced accessibility issues with their Heroku App in China, primarily due to the country's internet regulations and the global cloud infrastructure used by Heroku. Seeking a solution, we turned to 21YunBox (mentioned above #2), a service recommended for bridging the gap between international cloud platforms and China's unique internet environment.

21YunBox performed a thorough analysis of our app, identifying resources that were slow to load or blocked within China, including images, CSS files, JavaScripts, ect, ect. Their service then optimized these elements to ensure fast loading and accessibility without compromising the app's global performance. To evaluate the improvements, we accessed the app via a specialized URL provided by 21YunBox, which showcased significantly reduced load times—from previously blocked statuses to an impressive 100-150 ms reach time in mainland China.

Since our implementation in mid-October, despite initial minor hiccups, our client's web app has been as accessible and functional in China as it is globally.


Hope this helps! Good luck ‌👍‌

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