We frequently receive demands from a growing list of nations to remove content that they believe violate a set of vague and seemingly arbitrary censorship laws. In some cases, the demands are initiated by government bureaucrats, without oversight from a judge or other neutral body, and other times they come in the form of court orders with no realistic chance of appeal.

Unfortunately, we must swiftly respond to these demands in order to ensure that WordPress.com is not blocked by a government or ISP for an entire country or region. This is not just a theoretical concern, as we have experienced this kind of country-wide block in both Turkey and Russia as a result of our refusal to comply with takedown demands.

If a reported site does not violate our policies or Terms of Service (for selling drugs or containing pornography, for example), we try to take the most limited and transparent actions available: blocking the content so that it is unavailable only in the specific region involved, and also blocking the minimum amount of content possible. We take this action with the goal of protecting all of the other 100+ million WordPress.com sites.

When a visitor with an IP address originating from the country in question tries to view one of the blocked sites, we display a variation on the following message (in both English and where possible, an appropriate language):

The above example is shown to users in Russia, which links to an EFF article on Russian censorship and official lists of the censored material. Users may also find our guide to bypassing Internet restrictions helpful.

The one exception to this approach relates to demands received from L’Office Central de Lutte contre la Criminalité liée aux Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (OCLCTIC) in France. For these we do not currently institute a geoblock on our systems, but instead move the sites in question to a dedicated IP address because we do not believe there is the same risk of a country-wide block as with other countries at the present time. As a result, the content is still available in France, and the impact of any ISP level IP block is minimized. We may revisit this in future and will update this page accordingly.

We forward all takedown demands to the site owners involved. However, in an effort to be more transparent about the sites that are subject to this kind of geoblock, we have compiled details below on the various site-wide blocks in place. The list contains the site URL, as well as the date and time (UTC) that the block was recorded in our system.

Notes:

  • Please be aware that some of the content on the below URLs may be considered offensive. We do not necessarily support or condone these websites in any way.
  • Some of these blocks predate our current blocking mechanism, and so may actually have been in place longer than the listed date.
  • Sites that were suspended for a separate violation of the WordPress.com policies or Terms of Service, or were deleted by the user, are not listed below.
  • The list does not currently include details on blocks that concern individual files or videos.
  • We receive takedown demands regularly, but the list is not updated in real time. This list was last updated on March 12, 2018.
Country Number of
sites blocked
Azerbaijan 6
France 56
Georgia 3
Kazakhstan 16
Pakistan 15
Russia 250
Turkey 320
Total 666

To download the full list as a text file, click here.

Sites blocked in Azerbaijan (6)

Sites moved to a different IP address for OCLCTIC, France (56)

Sites blocked in Georgia (3)

Sites blocked in Kazakhstan (16)

Sites blocked in Pakistan (15)

Sites blocked in Russia (251)

Sites blocked in Turkey (320)