May 16 2011
Here it is, the answer you have all been waiting for to easily the most asked question I receive living here in Vietnam: ‘Is it possible to access Facebook in Vietnam?’ The answer, in short, is ‘Yes!’ Although it will take a few more steps, on your part, to make your photo/status updating dreams come true. (And, er, to also keep tabs on Travelfish.org on Facebook, right?!)
Since November of 2009, Facebook has intermittently had its service blocked for locals and expats alike. This has created a game of cat and mouse between Facebook users, determined to let the world know what they are doing, and those who attempt to block it. For those addicted to Facebook and those who are tired of responding to Facebook messages via e-mail, these next steps are crucial in order to continue sharing your stories and adventures with family and friends.
Your first option is to change your Domain Name System number, or DNS. Your DNS is just like a phone book; it organises computers by replacing their host names with numerical IP addresses. Here are the steps to change your DNS for Windows operating systems.
Open Network & Sharing Centre and click Change Adapter Settings in the left hand panel.
Right click your network adapter and choose Properties.
In the following window, you will see a box labelled ‘This connection uses the following items.’ In this box, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
Under the General tab click the Use the following DNS server addresses circle, and enter one of the following DNS numbers.188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199
Make sure that the ‘Validate settings upon exit’ box is also checked, and hit OK.
Windows network diagnostics will now notify you of any problems with the addresses you have submitted.
This may take a little trial and error as some of these DNS numbers can be blocked as well.
If changing your DNS doesn’t work, or you are looking for a more permanent solution, you can try editing your host files. This is the solution I personally use but it is more difficult for those who aren’t as tech savvy.
To edit your host file:
Click the Start button, find Notepad, right click Run as Administrator.
Click open in Notepad, and select the path to the Windows hosts file, C: Windows System32 drivers etc
Select the ‘All files’ tab to display the file in this directory.188.8.131.52 facebook.com 184.108.40.206 www.facebook.com 220.127.116.11 apps.facebook.com 18.104.22.168 login.facebook.com 22.214.171.124 graph.facebook.com 126.96.36.199 static.ak.connect.facebook.com 188.8.131.52 developers.facebook.com 184.108.40.206 error.facebook.com 220.127.116.11 vupload.facebook.com 18.104.22.168 upload.facebook.com 22.214.171.124 secure.facebook.com 126.96.36.199 connect.facebook.com 188.8.131.52 channel.facebook.com
Click Save, and you’re finished!
If that does not work, Facebook has a few more IP address options for you here.
Your final option would be to use a Proxy Server. A proxy is a web page that allows Internet users to access web sites that may be blocked through a portal. This is the easiest option, as it doesn’t require you to edit any computer setting, but it is the slowest as you are going through another programme to access your site. An added benefit of a Proxy Server is that it allows you to access sites that have content that is limited to other countries; I tend to use my proxy the most for US-only sites such as Hulu and Pandora. Here are a few options, both free and paid, that will have you surfing the web with ease.
TorBrowser is a free proxy and the one I personally use. It works well enough to watch low quality streaming videos and to access Facebook, but at times it can be slow loading the video.
Hidemyass.com is a faster, more secure proxy that does come with a monthly or annual membership cost. I would recommend the service over Hotspot Shield if are more concerned with cyber security or if you hate annoying advertisements.
Always be careful when using a proxy server. Since you are going through a single server there is a higher chance that all Internet activity can be tracked including any personal information. Whichever option you choose always be sure to have updated virus protection on your computer — Sophos Anti-Virus or AVG Free Antivirus, for instance.
On a final note, it is important to keep in mind that these servers are subject to change. I will do my best to check in and update as often as needed. Recently, there’s been news about one of the major Internet providers in Ho Chi Minh City signing a partnership with Facebook; hopefully this is the first step toward having the site permanently unblocked.
If you are living in Vietnam and have other tips that work for you, it would be great if you shared them below.
I’ll be covering how to access Facebook from you Mac in my next post.
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