International web hosting is the process of hosting your website on a server located in a foreign country. When shopping for the best web hosting company, you may not pay much attention to the location of the server. However, it is essential to know where the server is located and understand its impact on your online business.
What is International Web Hosting?
In your search for an excellent web hosting company, you consider storage, space, security as the factors influencing the profitability of your business. However, the location of your server is an essential factor that might influence all or some of these factors and in turn, the survival and growth of your online business.
If your website, e-commerce site or blog, targets foreign markets, deals in products, services banned in your country, and publishes content that is not allowed in your country, needs to avoid censorship, laws etc., of a particular country you may want to choose to host your website on a server located in a different country.
While a server located in another country may help you evade local laws and censorship, etc., but it may impact the speed, user experience and in turn the profitability. Therefore, before you decide to host your website on a server in a foreign country, you need an understanding of the issues you may encounter with international hosting.
Why Choose International Web Hosting?
#1 – Price:
One of the primary reasons many webmasters choose servers located in a foreign country is for the cost of hosting. Web hosting companies from developing countries such as India, China charge lower prices as compared to their foreign competitors as they have the advantage of the low cost of living, low cost of labor, etc. Also, many web host service providers have their servers located all over the world; you need to check with the company and check their pricing policy for hosting your website on servers located at different countries.
#2 – Legal Issues:
If your blog or store deals with shady products or services such as online piracy, peer-to-peer sharing networks, etc., you could land in serious problems if you host your website on a server located in a country that bans such content or products and services. You may have to host your website on a server in a different country that does not have strict laws or does not ban websites with such content. With international hosting, you can host your site anonymously to keep your online business or blog running without facing serious legal problems.
#3 – Avoid censorship:
Your blog may not contain banned content or promote any prohibited products or services. Still such material may be subject to censorship, such as adult industry-related content, etc. In such cases, you may plan to host your website on a server located in a country that is friendly towards such businesses.
#4 – Global Audience:
If your website targets a global audience or audience in a wider geographical area in a particular region, you may choose to host your server that is closer to your target audience. For example, if a US website targets the European audience, then you may want to host your site on a server located centrally in Europe.
Factors to consider when choosing International Web hosting
#1 – Page Load Speed:
Page load time or speed of the website is a crucial element of search engine rankings. A site with high page load speed has better chances of ranking high on search engines.
One of the factors that impact the speed of your website is the location of the server on which you host your site. The closer the server is to your target audience, the faster would be the page load speed, as the data has to pass through less number of nodes as compared to data from a server located in a foreign country.
#2 – Local SEO:
If your target audience is local, it is better to host the website on a server located within the country, provided your website does not contain content, promote products and services banned locally. When you host your site on a server located in a foreign country, your local SEO will be negatively impacted.
#3 – User Experience:
Research has established that users mostly spend under 5 seconds on a website, so you have 5 seconds to impress your visitors and make a sale. However, when you have a website on an international server, it may take more time for your website to load, resulting in frustration for your users. This results in negative user experience and a poor brand image for your business.
#4 – Profitability:
With high page load time, your website suffers in search engine rankings, and negative user experience resulting in users going to your competitors the sales, revenue and the profitability of your business would suffer much.
#5 – Support:
International web hosting companies may offer support in English or other languages, and not necessarily in your local language. If you face any issues with your hosting, you will have to speak in a foreign language, if they do not offer support in your language or have a local office in your country.
Make sure the web hosting company you chose to host your website offers support in your language if you have to choose international hosting.
However, with the help of Content Delivery Networks (CDN), you can improve the page load speed while choosing an international web hosting service. CDNs store cache of your website at multiple locations. Where they have servers, to help users access your website from a server that is located close to them.
International web hosting has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hosting from a server located in a foreign country may offer financial benefits to some, and for some others, it may help avoid local laws, censorship, etc. However, before you sign up for such a hosting service, you need to understand the SEO impact, the data privacy laws, etc.
Research well about your industry, the laws in your country about your niche, and the laws relating to online businesses, SEO practices for international hosting, and the support hosting companies offer.