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IRCTC blocking certain countries?

IRCTC Agency

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or most commonly known as IRCTC is the only authorized government portal in India through which someone can book a Train Ticket. It also provides booking for flights and buses but its primary use for most people is to book rail tickets online.

And like thousands of other people I also use the site intermittently while booking train tickets, especially for my parents who are in India and when I want to book tickets for them. A few days back they asked me to book a ticket for them and that is when the fun started.

I found out that when I tried to access the website day before yesterday (4th July 2018), instead of the familiar login page I was greeted with an error that page cannot be loaded. I thought maybe something wrong and I would try later. After a day I tried and faced the same error. Now a little bit curious since I actually never seen the site down for a prolonged time, blamed it on my Comcast connection and connected to my school VPN. But even then got the same error page. This got me curious, and I tried with a bunch of different servers and also with my T-Mobile connection, And always consistently got the same error that the site is unreachable.

Still, I tried to double check, I used two website uptime detectors, namely 
  • https://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/irctc.co.in
  • http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/irctc.co.in.html
And both showed me that the website indeed is down (and it still continues to show me that). As you can see from the screenshots.
That left me with no choice to try again later. Which I did today. And faced the exact same situation of the site not reachable. Now definately sceptical I asked one of my friend residing in India to open the webpage for me and imagine my surprise when he said he can access the site fine!

Which led me to investigate and to this blog post. 
I believe IRCTC is actively blocking certain countries from accessing the website.
Which is similar to what UIDAI does for all Aadhar related websites (none of them is accessible outside India).

I did a quick test to find out which countries were blocked (if any other than the United States) and what I found was pretty surprising.

IRCTC Censored Countries
Tested Not Blocked Access Blocked
 Australia  United States
 Austria  Canada
 Brazil  Netherlands
 France  Russia
 Germany
 Britain
 Italy
 Japan
 Poland
 Romania
 Singapore
 Spain
 Sweden
 Siwtzerland
 Turkey

You will not be able to access IRCTC if you reside in any of these countries through normal means. Use your googling skills to bypass the geo-restriction.
If you find out more countries from where IRCTC is not accessible for you. Please drop a note in the comment section and I will add it to the list.

This blog post was written on 06.07.2018 3:13 AM CDT.

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