Onshore vs. offshore hosting
Recently, there have been a number of instances where we have been asked to put a site onto offshore hosting. Often this hosting looks professional and legitimate, but it isn’t always, and we can tell you horror stories as a result. You need to be careful because you’re putting your customers and your business at risk.
Here are the hosting basics:
Offshore web hosting is simply when your website is hosted overseas. It’s an attractive option given its low price. As a result of this, many people outsource their hosting needs to developing countries to save on costs. But cutting these costs can be putting your customers at risk.
On the other side of this, developing nations often look to first world countries for their hosting needs. This gives them access to better security, advanced confidentiality and a wider range of features.
We always recommend onshore:
Onshore hosting is always the safer option. You may end up paying more, but these costs go straight into performance and security. Hosting within Australia means your website will run faster and perform better. Onshore they regularly update servers, keep backups of websites and have all of the most up-to-date software to keep your website running smoothly.
Plus, you get access to fast, local support. If something goes wrong with your website you’ll be able to call your host and sort it out straight away. Your host will understand any questions you have and be able to explain the process in a simple, straightforward way without sounding condescending, which is a real benefit when something goes wrong. Ultimately you’re paying more for people who are able to go in and fix your problems on the spot.
You’re also paying for better security. Australia has strong laws concerning data privacy. When you host in Australia, your website will be bound by the Australian Privacy Act, which guarantees the privacy and protection of your data and your clients’ data.
The dangers of offshore hosting:
Aside from cost, people look into offshore hosting when they want to skirt the law. Avoiding local regulations, taxes or legal residency make offshore hosting an attractive option. These aren’t factors that many reputable businesses are searching for.
From a practical perspective, offshore hosting means you’re looking at slower loading speeds and an unfavourable Google ranking. You’ll have to consider the difference in time zones and the working environment of your host country when you need changes made quickly. The only contact you’re likely to have will be over email, and if you need something fixed in a hurry you have to contend with long wait times and the possibility that they won’t understand what you’re asking for. It can take hours to hear back and that can cost you valuable business.
If you do go down the offshore path, make sure you’re getting exactly what you want, and you’re not paying for extras you don’t need. Choose a host that people are talking about so you know they won’t disappear into the blue with your website.
Offshore you can be faced with major limitations on your website size and email hosting. Often you can only get small websites hosted and if your size exceeds their hosting limits it can cause serious issues. This often results in you having to upgrade your hosting package and you can end up paying prices that resemble onshore hosting.
Key tips for choosing your hosting:
Offshore hosting can be a big risk, and it’s one that Circle Media doesn’t recommend taking. But whether you’re looking at hosting onshore or offshore, here are a few basic questions you should ask to ensure you’re getting a legitimate service.
First, start with the basics:
- Are they providing backups?
- What happens if you want to swap your hosting?
- What’s your bandwidth limit? (3 gig a month should be fine)
Make sure you know what you’re signing up to before you commit.
Then, ask a few simple questions to make sure you’re talking to someone legitimate.
- How do I set up email on my phone?
- What’s an SSL certificate and do I need one?
If you start getting pushback or they don’t know these answers you’re probably talking to the wrong person.
At Circle Media, we offer a range of hosting packages. Our servers are onshore with a trusted local provider and are always monitored. If you’ve got more questions about hosting, we’ve got the experience to help you make the best decision. Talk to the team at Circle Media today.