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Get Dropbox working in China


You may be aware that the popular file-sharing software Dropbox is intermittently blocked in China. This is probably because dissidents could use Dropbox to share their secret plans for political naughtiness.

Whatever the reason, it’s a bit of a pain if you rely on Dropbox to get various things done, like I do. You don’t actually need a VPN or proxy to get Dropbox working in China consistently though – you just need to edit a file so that your computer has the correct IP address with which to access the Dropbox servers.

In Linux, you need to edit this file:

/etc/hosts

For Windows, the file you want is:

C:WINDOWSSYSTEM32DRIVERSETCHOSTS

In either case, open the file in a text editor and add these lines at the end:

# Dropbox servers
174.36.30.73 www.dropbox.com
174.36.30.71 www.dropbox.com

Restart and you should find that Dropbox can now connect and operate normally. Comment below if you have any questions!

 


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  • luka

    The client can be accessed to in China. Not blocking!
    As for the web, a tiny little trick can be done:
    enter https instead of http, and the rest of the address.
    Bang. There you go on the way!
    This works for the official website as well as your file’s downloading address.
    But, hush, this is secret. I only found it recently! By googling, I found little entry about this method. So just keep it low key, u know, in case the big brother might hear it and fail it.
    :)

  • DB

    Amazing! Any thoughts on how to do this on Macintosh?

  • Pingback: Staying in contact with someone in China - East Asia Student

  • Mr V

    To DB:

    The same thing applies on OS X: you need to edit this normally hidden file to add these IP addressess.

    You need to do:

    sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

    after you have opened Terminal application.

    And ad in a file:

    174.36.30.73 http://www.dropbox.com
    174.36.30.71 http://www.dropbox.com

    Read here instructions:

    http://decoding.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/how-to-edit-the-hosts-file-in-mac-os-x-leopard/

    I copy pasted here whole because you need VPN probably to read that website:

    Step 1 – Open the Terminal.app

    Either by start typing Terminal on the Spotlight, or by going into Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.

    Step 2 – Open the hosts file

    Open the hosts by typing on the Terminal that you have just opened:

    1 $ sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

    Type your user password when prompted.

    Step 3 – Edit the hosts file

    The hosts file contains some comments (lines starting with the # symbol), as well as some default hostname mappings (e.g. 127.0.0.1 – localhost).
    Simply append your new mappings underneath the default ones. Or edit one of the default values if you know what you are doing!
    You can navigate the file using the arrow keys.

    Step 4 – Save the hosts file

    When done editing the hosts file, press control-o to save the file.
    Press enter on the filename prompt, and control-x to exit the editor.

    Step 5 – Flush the DNS cache

    On Leopard you can issue a simple Terminal command to flush the DNS cache, and have your host file changes to take immediate effect:

    1 $ dscacheutil -flushcache

    You can now test your new mapping on the browser!

    • http://eastasiastudent.net Hugh Grigg

      Thanks for sharing that, very useful :)

  • John B

    If it works… you’re the boss man!! Let me restart my computer!

  • Pat S.

    Working like a charm, never been happier to see the little blue spinning arrows. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.east-west-connect.com Tait

    We tried Dropbox today in China and were able to use it without a VPN.

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg (葛修远)

      Yeah I think it varies. It was definitely blocked at the time of writing, but now seems to be accessible again, which is great.

  • Feng

    To Tait, yes, I was able to use dropbox without VPN during that time in China too.

  • Simon

    As an alternative, you can use IQBox, which uses any FTP server and supports FTP-SSL:
    https://code.google.com/p/iqbox-ftp/
    I’m one of the developers. It’s free and open-source. You can use FileZilla Server as a backend.

  • http://www.nommoc.com nommoc

    Work is hard enough, why all the 麻烦 sigh…

    Thanks Hugh for the tips!

  • Cris

    What about BOX? I’ve recently signed for a free 50GB (yes, 50, it’s a special offer for Android users) but though I can freely access their website, the desktop app doesn’t work without a VPN, which sucks since I don’t have any (I use goAgent instead, that is for free).
    I would greatly appreciate any help guys!