Frequently Asked Questions
[Main Page]
What is this site for?

This site is a quick way to check if a particular country is disconnected from the Internet. It was set up in response to all the crises that were being seen in the Maghreb and the Middle East at the beginning of 2011, in which Egypt was draconianly cut off the Internet in an attempt to quell protests.

How do I read the main page?

The main page has a list of countries in alphabetical order, shown on a background. If the background is green, then as far as we can tell, the country is still connected to the Internet. If it’s orange, then we lack enough information to make a real decision on its status. If it's red, we think it’s disconnected. If you click on the particular country, you can tell when we last checked, and also see a news summary and twitter stream for things about that country.

How do you check whether a country is connected?

We have two methods of checking - Pings and HTTP requests. We have compiled a list of IP addresses that we believe to be in each country, based on WHOIS information of that IP range. We have generally selected DNS SOA servers, web servers from major telecomms companies in the country, government websites, and university web servers.

For Ping checks we send an ICMP Echo request, known as a 'Ping', to each server, and wait for a reply. If the Internet is working normally, then we should receive a reply shortly, and we assume that server to be up.

For HTTP checks, we try to connect to the web server and send a HEAD request which tells us if the server is working, and if so whether it’s alive.

We automatically check once an hour, or you can request a check in each country-specific page. We automatically rate-limit to make sure that we don’t overload people’s networks.

Hang on, it says my country is disconnected, and I’m reading you fine

Well, you caught us. Our checks are only as good as the data we have, and we know we need to refine our dataset somewhat. If you know of web servers or IP addresses that we could ping or check out that are definitely located within that country, then please let us known on the correct us form for your country. Even if you don't have the technical knowledge, we’re interested in people letting us know they can read us fine.

Where is your server based?

In a well-connected data centre in Gloucester, UK.

What are the limitations of this site?

We are still developing the platform.

We are unable to tell if there are massive traffic limitations. For example, at the time of writing, Bahrain is still connected to the Internet, but the connections themselves are limited and keep aborting, so many website requests, image uploads and the like are failing. We are working on ways to be able to detect this.

We are also unable to tell if the government is disrupting connections to particular sites, such as social networking sites or search engines. We are looking into working out how to tell these things.

This site is based in Gloucester, UK. As such, it may be possible that we are unable to see certain countries that people outside the UK can see, due to the way the Internet works. We are looking into distributing our monitoring service so that it is less of an issue.

Also, since we’ve set the site up, to our knowledge, no country has been disconnected, so we haven’t been able to do a real-life test. We’ll be checking ourselves to make sure it is working if we do see any news of that.

Do you check IPv6 addresses?

Sorry, our colocation centre doesnt' support IPv6 yet, so we're not checking them. That being said, if IPv4 doesnt' work in a country, it's unlikely IPv6 will. We've got it on our To-Do list all the same.

Are there any handy shortcuts?

If you just want to find out whether a particular country is connected, you can go directly to [ccTLD].isdisconnected.info where ccTLD is the Country Code Top-Level Domain for that country. That’s the bit at the end of a website domain name for a country. So if your country’s domains tend to end in, say, .at (in the case of Austria), then you can just go to http://at.isdisconnected.info/

To find a ccTLD for a particular country, you can check out this list, or just click on a particular country name on our main page for the full URL.

Are there any RSS feeds?

Not yet, but we’re working on them. There will be country-specific ones, and also a general one which lets you know when we think a country is losing it.

How can I help?

Please give us IP addresses or web servers to ping using the correct us form, or tell us if we have an incorrect status for a country. Other than that, feel free to bombard us with suggestions, though we regret that we may not be able to get back to all the ideas and communications we recieve.

How do I get in touch with you?

You can tweet us at @isdisconnected, or email us a isdisconnected@astound.eu. We are getting a surprisingly high volume of mail, so we may not necessarily be able to get back to you.

What improvements do you have planned?

We have a few things we’re thinking of doing:

  • Better database of addresses in countries
  • A way to tell if countries are having traffic issues
  • A way to tell if countries are suddenly firewalling particular sites.
  • RSS feeds
  • Twitter integration
  • a REST API
  • IPv6 support
  • BGP Announcement monitoring
  • Distributed checking
  • Android application (for submitting check data from your mobile)
Where is your blog? Who is behind this?

We are here to astound.eu

The idea was originally thought up by Giles Antonio Radford (@Moof) and expressed as a tweet. It was taken up as a challenge and coded up by Tom O’Connor (@metacheetr), and the site design is by James Cunningham (@jamescun)

How is this being paid for?

It’s a private project by the people behind the site, and at the moment, being paid for out of our own pockets. You’re welcome to donate to the upkeep of the site by clicking on the "Donate Now" button.