You must have seen several hosting companies from around the world offering their services. Driven by the competitive market today, overseas hosting presents itself as a cheap alternative to local hosting.
Overseas hosting, while it may be cheaper, comes with a lot of challenges. There are several important factors to take into consideration before using an overseas host.
Make your decision whether overseas hosting is for you by answering these questions:
- Who is your target market?
- What sort of support are you expecting?
- Will you have a backup plan, should something go wrong?
It’s not always just a matter of price; it is a question of service too. The customer support and performance offered by the host are crucial for the success of a business.
When looking at overseas hosting, make comparisons between several overseas hosts as well as with the local hosts.
Where is the server located?
Overseas hosting obviously means that the servers are located in their country. There are a lot of advantages in hosting your business on a server close to your target market. Although, the loading time may not be solely related to the location of the server and is also dependent on other factors; the difference in distance between your audience and your host can mean slower webpage loading. This can be a problem if your website has many media files and other interactive features.
When is the customer service most active?
Customer service should always be given top priority. An overseas hosting company may be offering 24-hour customer support, but due to the time-zone difference, your day time may be their night, and we all know that at night, the customer support staff is usually the minimum and getting hold of a capable employee can be a hassle. You may have to wait until morning to get your issue sorted. Apart from the customer support, you will also have to look at the language barrier, as you may have a difficult time communicating with non-native speakers. Look for a host that communicates effectively in English.
Looking at it from the search engine optimization point
There are some that say Google looks at the domain extension first and decides on where the website is from based on that extension, like .au is from Australia. However, the general consensus in this case seems to be that if you are aiming at a specific target audience, then you would do well to use web hosting in that area. While a site that is hosted overseas may find it difficult to rank well in the global market, the same site may do well in a limited market; especially because search engines can not only find the domain extension, but also the IP addresses and physical addresses.
Compare the cost with the facilities offered
While this is the first thing many webmasters look at and may be the only reason for choosing an overseas host, it should in fact be the last. The functionality issues should be given a priority.
Find out why the overseas host is offering a cheaper price. What is the difference between the local host and the overseas host? Agreed, labor is cheaper in many countries, so they can afford to give hosting at a cheaper price. But look into their customer support and performance levels.
As you can see, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into your decision of whether to use a local or an overseas host. Even if you have made up your mind to go with an overseas host, there are so many options out there, that you have to find the right one that suits your business needs.
Personally I suggest Hostmonster web hosting. For only $ 4.50 a month you can get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, and a free domain name! Check our the complete top 10 web hosting reviews at AlreadyHosting.com.