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We are adding internationalization to our site. We are getting the client's IP address from the headers and looking it up against the IP2location database to get the client's country.

Several of our clients reported seeing a blank page over the weekend. We'd like to be able to get screenshots or use a browser from many different countries on an ongoing basis for testing code changes.

I need to know what the site looks like when accessed from various countries since there are several elements that vary by country.

I've used Tor and Vidalia, along with the Tor customized Firefox browser however it appears the CSS is getting mangled. I have also used http://webpagetest.org to check the site, however the screenshot it gives is too small to be really useful.

Is there a site or a service I can use to get screenshots or interact with my website from various countries?

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How are you deciding which country the user is from? If you are using the computers locale you should be able to get a machine and reset its locale as appropriate. –  ChrisF Oct 9 '12 at 19:45
    
We are getting the client IP address and looking it up against the IP2location database to get the client's country. Several of our clients reported seeing a blank page over the weekend so we'd like to be able to get screenshots or use a browser from many different countries on an ongoing basis for testing code changes. –  Max Vernon Oct 9 '12 at 19:59
    
If I could get the browser to report a random IP address, that would work great too! –  Max Vernon Oct 9 '12 at 20:02
    
A proxy server that is based in that country perhaps? –  w3d Oct 9 '12 at 20:57
    
All of the web-proxies I've tried mangle the JavaScript really badly. –  Max Vernon Oct 9 '12 at 22:00

4 Answers 4

You shouldn't use geo ip as the primary way to switch locales. My primary language is spanish. If I travel to Germany and try to use a page who selects the locale based on the ip, I end up looking to a webpage in german...

The locale selection order should be

  • url (?land=es) - and persist with a cookie.
  • browser headers (Accept-Language: es; q=1.0, en; q=0.5)
  • geo ip

If you want to test a locale, the only thing you have to do is change the url.

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I agree with what @The Disintegrator said, but I have had the situation where a client insisted on using geoIP as the primary targeting tool. In this case, set up a dev version of the site and switch the result variable so you can see it locally. For example, if you're in the states and you want to see what users in China will see, switch the "if user is in China" to "if user is in the US" and you can work from there.

That said, look into at least using browser headers for serving out languages. As someone who lives in a country that does not use my native language, it's somewhat annoying the way sites like Mozilla and Skype serve out pages based on IP and not browser headers.

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Honestly the easy way would be to manually change the IP your website uses in the backend code on a dev computer. Saves you money over getting other software and is generally easy enough.

Sure its a little rough, but it works

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This worked for me in the past but the current version has mixed reviews:

http://download.cnet.com/Easy-Hide-IP/3000-2144_4-10714026.html

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I appreciate your help, but if I had 125 repuation, I'd -1 you for recommending a CNet download in your first post. That place is full of crapware... –  Max Vernon Oct 10 '12 at 2:28

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