Tag Archives: CloudFlare

Steam Is Suddenly Banned Entirely In Vietnam!

Steam has suddenly been banned entirely in Vietnam! Here is what we know so far about this developing situation…

 

Steam Is Suddenly Banned Entirely In Vietnam!

Earlier this week, Steam appears to have been banned entirely across Vietnam, with Vietnamese players taking to Steam to complain about how Vietnamese internet service providers have blocked access to both the Steam app, and the Steam website.

Currently, neither the government of Vietnam, nor Steam, has commented on the matter. So it is unclear, at least officially, what led the Vietnamese government to ban Steam. However, it appears that domestic game publishers in Vietnam may be responsible for this ban…

Recommended : Circus Electrique : How To Get This Game For Free!

 

Possible Reasons Why Steam Was Banned In Vietnam!

According to a translated story on VietNamNet, domestic game publishers were more than a little annoyed that Steam was releasing thousands of titles into their market “without having to ask for permission”, which they saw as “an injustice”.

Less controversially, domestic game developers pointed out that they are required to censor violence and sexual content from their games, while Steam freely offers such uncensored games to Vietnamese gamers.

VietNamNet then suggested that a possible middle path might be to use a restricted version of Steam in Vietnam, like what was done for China, serving a much more limited number of game titles that the authorities have approved.

Steam is Valve’s video game distribution service launched in 2003 as a software application that automatically delivers games and was expanded to distribute third-party titles.

Talking to VietNamNet, many domestic game publishers believe that they are being treated unfairly, when the Steam platform is releasing more than 100,000 unlicensed computer (PC) games into the Vietnamese market.

It is unknown when Steam will be reinstated in Vietnam, if ever. What seems certain though is that Vietnamese gamers will not be able to access Steam in its current form…

 

A Possible Workaround To Access Steam In Vietnam!

Enterprising gamers have been able to bypass the ban on Steam in Vietnam by simply changing the DNS servers used by their computers, or routers.

Here is a quick guide on how to do that in Windows:

  1. Go to Network & Internet settings.
  2. Select the Change adapter options.
  3. Right click on your Wi-Fi or LAN connection, and select Properties.
  4. Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4, or select it and click Properties.
  5. Switch to Use the following DNS server addresses.
  6. Then key in the alternate DNS addresses from one of these excellent options:

Cloudflare
Primary DNS : 1.1.1.1
Secondary DNS : 1.0.0.1

Google
Primary DNS : 8.8.8.8
Secondary DNS : 8.8.4.4

NordVPN
Primary DNS : 1.1.1.1
Secondary DNS : 1.0.0.1

  1. After keying in the DNS servers you want, click OK, and you are done!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Gaming | SoftwareTech ARP

 

Support Tech ARP!

Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

Cloudflare Services Down For Almost 2 Days In Major Outage!

Cloudflare services have gone down in a major outage, due to a loss of power affecting its data centres! Find out what’s going on!

Updated @ 2023-11-04 : Added new information and updates
Updated @ 2023-11-03 : Added new information and updates

Originally posted @ 2023-11-02

 

Cloudflare Dashboard + Services Down In Major Outage!

At approximately 11:54 AM UTC on 2 November 2023, Cloudflare customers started experiencing problems with its APIs and Dashboard services. Any user logging into their accounts would only see this announcement:

The Cloudflare Dashboard is temporarily unavailable.

Please reload this page to try again. If the issue persists, please visit the Cloudflare Status page for up-to-date information regarding any ongoing issues.

Cloudflare Edge security features, and Cloudflare CDN caching services were not affected. But all other services relying on the Cloudflare API infrastructure went down – Alerts, Dashboard functionality, Zero Trust, WARP, Cloudflared, Waiting Room, Gateway, Stream, Magic WAN, API Shield, Pages, and Workers.

Recommended : WhatsApp Block Button Scam : What You Need To Know!

 

Cloudflare Services Down From Datacenter Power Loss!

Just over an hour later, Cloudflare reported that the outage was far worse than it initially reported, and they were still “actively investigating the problem”. They also provided a more detailed list of its services that have gone down:

The following products are currently impacted at the data plane / edge level, meaning that the full product functionality is either partially or fully affected: Logpush, WARP / Zero Trust device posture, Cloudflare dashboard, Cloudflare API, Stream API, Workers API, Alert Notification System.

These products are impacted at the control plane / core level, meaning that only the changes to the existing configuration are affected, but the product is functioning at the edge: Magic Transit, Argo Smart Routing, Workers KV, WAF, Rate Limiting, Rules, WARP / Zero Trust Registration, Waiting Room, Load Balancing and Healthchecks, Cloudflare Pages, Zero Trust Gateway, DNS Authoritative and Secondary, Cloudflare Tunnel, Workers KV namespace operations, Magic WAN.

At approximately 1:58 PM UTC, Cloudflare finally revealed that the outage was due to a loss of power at its datacenter, which caused services to fail simultaneously.

Cloudflare is assessing a loss of power impacting data centres while simultaneously failing over services.

We are continuing to work on a fix for this issue.

Several hours later – at 5:08 PM UTC, power was partially restored to its core North American data centre, and some core services were transferred to a backup data centre. In three subsequent updates, Cloudflare reports that it was seeing “gradual improvement” to its affected services.

However, at almost 11 PM that day – almost half a day after the outage started, Cloudflare was still working to restore full functionality.

At 2:40 AM UTC on 3 November, Cloudflare released an updated list of what is now functioning, and what still remains down:

Data plane impact (i.e. full product functionality is either fully impacted or partially impacted):
* Cloudflare Dash: degraded availability but accessible
* Stream API: not available
* Healthchecks: not available
* Radar: Degraded

Control plane impact (i.e. product functionality is online however changes to configuration is impacted):
* Cloudflare Pages: restored
* Magic Transit: not available to make changes
* Magic WAN: not available to make changes
* Argo Smart Routing: configuration now working, smart updates and analytics are offline
* Waiting Room: configuration updates are propagating with delay
* ZT Gateway: degraded but online
* DNS Secondary: not available to make changes
* Billing API: Degraded
* Cloudflare API: degraded but accessible

Some six hours later, they appear to be making some progress, although it seem obvious that they are a long way from a full restoration of services.

Data plane impact (i.e. full product functionality is either fully impacted or partially impacted):
* Logpush: more jobs are being restored
* Cloudflare dashboard: degraded availability but accessible
* Stream API: not available
* Healthchecks: not available
* Radar: Degraded

Control plane impact (i.e. product functionality is online however changes to configuration is impacted):
* CDN API: potentially impacted
* Access API: Degraded
* Magic Transit: configuration plane is working internally (contact your account team to make any urgent changes)
* Magic WAN: configuration plane is working internally (contact your account team to make any urgent changes)
* SOC Proactive Alerts: not available
* Argo Smart Routing: configuration now working, smart updates and analytics are offline
* Billing API: Degraded
* Email Noticatifications: Emails updates from Cloudflare are being delayed or not sent
* Lists: List configurations are working, but there may be delays in list updates propagating throughout the cloudflare network

Almost a day later – at 10:59 AM UTC, Cloudflare said that it was still continuing to work on restoring service for the impacted applications. It is unknown if power has been restored to their North American datacenter in full… or if they are facing other problems

The good news is that – the Cloudflare Dashboard is now working, although certain services or features like Analytics are “temporarily unavailable”, and you may get error messages about certain API requests failing.

It was only at 6:42 AM UTC on November 4, 2023 – almost 2 days later, that Cloudflare finally reported that it restored all services to “operational status”.

Now, we wait to see whether it would reveal what actually happened in this exceptional downtime, for a company that prides itself on helping to keep its clients online and available…

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Business | InternetTech ARP

 

Support Tech ARP!

Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

Cloudflare Went Down, Knocking Many Websites Offline!

Many websites were knocked offline today, after Cloudflare suffered a major outage and went down!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Cloudflare Went Down, Knocking Many Websites Offline!

At around 6:30 AM UTC, Cloudflare – the popular content delivery network (CDN) went down, knocking large parts of the Internet offline.

This is ironic, because many websites rely on Cloudflare to not only speed up page loading for their users, but also to mitigate or prevent downtimes from DDoS attacks and server failures.

Cloudflare declared it a critical P0 incident at around 6:34 AM, noting that “connectivity has been disrupted in broad regions“. Instead of loading, all affected websites would show a 500 Internal Server Error message.

Tech ARP was affected, and so were many popular websites and online services like Discord, Omegle, Medium, Feedly, Epic Games, etc.

 

Cloudflare Now Up, After Down For An Hour!

They finally identified the issue about 23 minutes later. The fix took another 23 minutes, but by 7 AM UTC, they restored connectivity.

After monitoring for about an hour, the Cloudflare team declared the P0 critical incident “resolved”0 at 8:06 AM UTC.

Cloudflare has not revealed what caused the outage, but right now, most people are just glad that they resolved in within an hour!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Internet | BusinessTech ARP

 

Support Tech ARP!

Please support us by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or donating to our fund. Thank you!

This iThemes Security Setting Can Block Search Engine Bots!

We were recently beset by a sudden, MASSIVE drop in the number of search referrals from Google. We discovered that something was blocking search engine robots from accessing our sitemaps or crawling our website!

At first, we though it was due to a CloudFlare SSL configuration. But now, we have confirmed that it is due to an iThemes Security feature!

It is critical that you check and make sure that this iThemes Security setting is not preventing search engine robots from reading your sitemaps, and crawling your website.

 

iThemes Security

Formerly known as Better WP Security, iThemes Security is a very popular WordPress security plugin. While the paid Pro option offers a ton of cool security features, even the free plugin gives you the ability to lock down WordPress, fix common holes, stop automated attacks and implement a blacklist (this is a pivotal feature in this article).

 

What Happens If You Block Search Engine Bots?

if you block search engine bots accidentally or otherwise, you prevent them from indexing your website. This essentially makes your website “invisible” to search engines. Your website pages will no longer appear when people are searching for a relevant topic.

How does that happen?

  • Your website pages no longer appear in Google searches. If Google can’t see them, Google cannot display your pages in search results!
  • Even if your website pages do appear in Google searches, the links may be corrupt or nonsensical. Look at this example of this search result which leads to a bad link.

  • The description of your website page may also be nonsensical, as the example above also demonstrates.

 

This iThemes Security Setting Can Block Search Engine Bots!

A key feature of iThemes Security is the ability to set up a blacklist. iThemes Security will automatically populate the blacklist with the IP addresses after a number of failed attempts to login. This prevents a malicious attacker from trying to brute force its way into your system.

Unfortunately, it can falsely detect search engine bots as malicious hackers, and add them to the blacklist. That was precisely what happened to us.

Google reports that all of our sitemaps are inaccessible. Here is a view showing all five of our sitemaps were inaccessible.

If you click on the reported errors, they will all show HTTP 403 error (Forbidden).

You can verify if any search engine bot is being blocked by keying in the sitemap (or robot.txt or your website) at Redirect Checker. You can also try loading the sitemap or robot.txt in your own web browser.

If Redirect Checker or you have no problem accessing your sitemaps or robot.txt file, then something is blocking the Googlebot (or other search engine robots) from accessing your sitemaps, or crawling your website. That “something” is most likely iThemes Security’s blacklist.

 

The Solution

The solution is simple.

  1. Log into your website’s WordPress admin panel.
  2. Go to Security -> Settings.
  3. Look for the Banned Users section, and click on Configure Settings.

  1. In the Banned Users page, you will see a list of banned IP addresses.
  2. Delete the whole list of banned IP addresses.

  1. Uncheck the Ban Lists option.

  • Click Save Settings, and that’s it! The search engine robots will now be able to read your sitemaps!

 

Pro Tips

[adrotate group=”2″]

For those who still want to use the blacklist to block malicious attackers, here are the IP addresses used by various search engine robots.

Google will eventually read your sitemaps and reindex your website. But you can speed things along by :

Both guides were written with help from Kok Kee from Nasi Lemak Tech!

 

Suggested Reading

Go Back To > Articles | Home

 

Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donating to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

How To Detect + Fix Sitemap Problems In Google Search Console

If your website pages are not showing up in Google, you may have a problem with your sitemaps. This is a serious problem because it prevents Google from directing people to your website. Let us show you how to fix sitemap problems, and get Google to reindex your website!

Credit : This guide was written with help from Kok Kee from Nasi Lemak Tech!

 

How Serious Are Sitemap Problems?

Sitemap problems are HUGE, because they greatly sap the number of people who visit your website from a Google search. When we started having sitemap problems, the number of unique visitors to Tech ARP was instantly halved.

How does that happen?

  • Your website pages no longer appear in Google searches. If Google can’t see them, Google cannot display your pages in search results!
  • Even if your website pages do appear in Google searches, the links may be corrupt or nonsensical. Look at this example of this search result which leads to a bad link.

  • The description of your website page may also be nonsensical, as the example above also demonstrates.

 

How To Detect + Fix Sitemap Problems

  1. Log into Google Search Console.
  2. Go to the Sitemaps section (Crawl > Sitemaps)
  3. It will show you the sitemaps for your website, as well as any sitemap errors.

  1. Click on the error to find out what’s wrong.

  1. You will need to use the information listed to figure out what’s wrong, and fix the problem.
    a) if the sitemap was deleted, or is corrupt, you will need to generate a new sitemap
    b) if the sitemap is inaccessible due to a permission setting, you need to change its permission setting.
    c) if you are using CloudFlare, try disabling Always use HTTPS.
[adrotate group=”1″]
  1. After you fix the sitemap problem, you will need to resubmit the sitemap to Google. Go into each sitemap information page, and click on the red Resubmit button at the upper right corner.

  1. After submitting the new sitemap, you can refresh the page to check its status.

  1. Repeat the steps for all of your sitemaps,
  2. Google Search Console should no longer list any sitemap error.

 

Suggested Reading

Go Back To > Guides | Home

 

Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participating in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donating to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!