Blog: China Hosting News, Web Hosting Promotions and more

ICP License Crackdown

December 6th, 2009 shadmin

We have been informed by the various datacenters we use in mainland China that the ministry of information will be more strict in enforcing the existing requirements for China-hosted sites to apply for and obtain an ICP license. Over the last two weeks, we have already seen a couple of clients sites being shut down because of the lack of the ICP license, including some clients who were only using China servers for email-hosting. We believe the crackdown will only intensify in the period leading to the world expo in Shanghai in a few months.

If your site has already obtained an ICP license then there is no need to worry. If that is not the case, please take appropriate measures to fill the ICP application form and send back to us for our staff in charge to fill the application. You can download the form from

Please note that if you have filled this form previously and sent it back at the time you set up an account with us, this does not mean automatically that you have obtained an ICP license. Applications can be denied for various reasons and a new application will be required. You can verify your ICP registration status on the related government website (Chinese language proficiency required):

Important. Personal sites can be registered under your own name with your passport number (please provide a real number as sometimes a copy of your passport would be required for verification). For business sites you will need a business license from a China-registered company. ICP license cannot be obtained under foreign companies business licenses (including Hong Kong or Taiwan companies). As a web host also we are unable to register the ICP under your name for clients sites as ICP registration information need to match the site owner information.

If you are based overseas without a company in mainland China, and do not have a Chinese partner to register the ICP license under, we advise you to move your site to our Hong Kong server. Please open a support ticket through your client area and our admins will assist you in the process.

If you site does not have an ICP license and you want to apply/re-apply now, please send your application form to , Andy Li in our Shanghai office will be helping in processing your application on a first-come first-served basis.

For any questions feel free to contact us at (English) or (Chinese). For efficiency reasons ICP-related issues will not be handled over the phone.

For more details on the ICP in general, who needs to apply for it, and more, please check the blog post we have written on the subject:

ICP License in China: What you need to know

April 2nd, 2009 shadmin

There are many misconceptions about the ICP concept so this post would attempt to clear them.

By definition, all websites hosted on a Chinese server are required to register for an internet content provider (ICP) license. It is basically a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that is needed to operate a website in mainland China. The license can be obtained through a simple registration at , where relevant information about the website owner, its content, the hosting provider etc. needs to be provided.

Once the application is submitted, the hosting provider will confirm this information which finally is submitted to the relevant bureau for the province the server is physically located in. It can take from a few days to a couple of weeks for the application to be confirmed. If rejected, reasons will be sent to the registered email for further modifications and re-submission.

In most cases, in order to avoid mistakes or repeated submissions due to rejections, your hosting provider will handle the application for you. You still need to provide the relevant information though. SinoHosting, for instance, will send to all new clients who signed up for a China plan, an ICP information form to fill and will take care of the rest.

A Chinese address and a contact person in China (with local phone number) would be required for the application, which can constitute a problem for companies operating overseas without a presence in China. In this situation, we recommend to ask a Chinese partner, agent or even friend to make the application on your behalf. He/She will not have any legal implication in doing so.

If you just have nobody to help you with the registration in China but still want to have better connectivity from the country, the next best alternative is Hong Kong. Indeed, Hong Kong is also considered “overseas” and in that regard websites hosted in Hong Kong are not required to apply for an ICP license, while being less likely to be blocked (which happens sometime though). SinoHosting provides Hong Kong web hosting services as well, feel free to contact us if you need more information on that regard.

Officially, business sites need to provide a business license number to register but in reality the registration can be successful even when done under a personal name (Chinese name + ID card)

[UPDATE: Now ICP licenses applications for business sites with a personal ID or passport are rejected. You need a a China-registered business to apply for an ICP license for such website]

Other useful facts about the ICP license:
-If your website is hosted overseas, you do not need to have an ICP license. In fact, you cannot apply for it (as during the submission you need to specify the provider, which should be in the ministry of information database, and which in most cases is China based).

-ICP licenses are not a guarantee that your site won’t be blocked.

-Without an ICP license, your site can be taken down anytime. If hosted in China, your site can be tracked down to its host who can be instructed to take the site down if its registration doesn’t appear in the ICP database.

-Applications done entirely using overseas addresses and contact persons have, to our knowledge, always been denied.

-It is illegal to operate a website in China without an ICP license. Hosting companies are required to shut down websites which do not obtain an ICP license within a certain period of going live, although this is loosely enforced.

-Domain extension is irrelevant to the need or not of an ICP license: it doesn’t matter if your domain name is a .com, .net, .org, .cn,, .hk, .asia etc., or if you bought your domain name in China, the US or elsewhere. What matters is the physical location of your web pages, if they are in China then the ICP license would be a requirement.

-The ICP registration is free, although some hosts would charge you for it. You must understand that this fee is not paid to the government. We used to charge for it as well but now this is included in our China hosting packages.

We will be updating this resource from time to time with more updated information if any, so make sure to bookmark it and check back later.