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We have some public marketing-oriented websites. We just discovered that our hosting provider is blocking all access from specific countries. That is, people in those countries cannot even browse to our sites. Is that standard practice? I can't believe it is.

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closed as not constructive by Sven, Brent Pabst, HopelessN00b, Chopper3, Ward Sep 5 '12 at 13:35

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Hi, Hopeless. No, our hosting provider just informed us explicitly that they were blocking entire countries intentionally at the firewall level. We had not been aware of it. – Emma Sep 5 '12 at 13:18
Short answer: If they don't let you opt out of their non-emergency filtering, find another provider. – David Schwartz Sep 5 '12 at 13:51
up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, it is not standard. It is IMHO a breaach of contract.

he CAPABILITY is nice, but the USER / CUSTOMER (i.e. you) should have control over that (check control panels). It may be a default setting, which still is odd without informing you (which you may have not realized).

But a provider should not make such decisions.

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I have heard some hosts will block countries that have a high level of malicious activity claiming they are protecting the customer. This however, seems ridiculous to me as well. Most will block IP addresses and not the entire country so it seems a little overkill to me. My recommendation is find a new host as they do not have the right to say who can or cannot visit your site.

It is also possible it is something on your end, it is possible for yourself to block out a country using GeoIP

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Some block the entire allocation unit, e.g. a provider in that country – Skaperen Sep 5 '12 at 13:38

Unlike TomTom I have a different view about this.

It really depends on the country the server hosting the content is located. In some countries they may have legal requirements to block access due to any number of crazy government policies currently in place.

Also, if a hosting provider has had repeated attacks or issues with specific IP ranges I am all for blocking those while working with the offending ISP to resolve the issues. This may mean entire countries are blocked. If this is the case your hosting provider should be upfront about it and let you know.

Just my take though.

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We basically agree, but to block entire countries without first trying to block specific IPs or ranges is overkill, IMO. – Emma Sep 5 '12 at 13:10
Well, if the country only has a single IP range and government run provider blocking the range could very well block the entire country. Especially in countries where the ISPs are state run. – Brent Pabst Sep 5 '12 at 13:12
It absolutely is overkill, but that's how some people like to go. I think that if a business chooses to block access to/from part of the internet for itself then that is up to the business, but when you're operating a service for others and you're blocking their access to/from large parts of the Internet then you're playing a very different game. One that I'm uncomfortable about unless the people doing the blocking are very up-front and honest about it. – RobM Sep 5 '12 at 13:13
+1 DJ Pon, fully agree. It sounds like the OP has a lack of communication with their hosting provider to fully understand WHY this is happening, we can provide opinions all day long but not the direct policy of the host. – Brent Pabst Sep 5 '12 at 13:15
Thanks, DJ and Brent. This is what the hosting provider wrote to us when we found out (direct quote): "We receive literally thousands to tens of thousands of Spam, Hackers, Virus and other daily. We implemented blocking the worst countries to try to reduce this traffic and to make the network safer for you." – Emma Sep 5 '12 at 13:21

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