Should you use an international or local web host?

Choosing a location to host your website is important. Cost, reliability and speed are the three main factors to be considered and different hosts across the globe can offer vastly differing levels of service. So, should you use an international or local web host?

Small businesses need to keep a tight budget and a good rule of thumb to have is that anything higher than US$10 per month is probably too much. The difference in costs between local hosts (USA) and many international hosts is very varied. It is impossible to say for sure that one country has higher or lower costs than another. However in many less economically developed countries (LEDC), with weaker currencies than the US Dollar, there are hosting companies willing to charge very little money in order to break into the market. So it stands to reason that you may find a deal suited to your company’s needs overseas, perhaps even where you least expect it!

Be wary

While you may find a cheaper deal with some obscure host in Outer Mongolia, can you be assured of its reliability? It is almost impossible to be 100% sure of the dependability of the host and, unfortunately, you are likely to part with some of your hard earned money before you learn the truth about a web hosting company.
It goes without saying that background research on the host is obviously critical. Find out who has said what about their service and their reliability, and remember, this is the Internet so there are sure to be many a scathing post if they have ripped someone off. Taking the time to read the difficulties others have had with a particular host is a surefire way to learn about what you might be getting yourself into.

Speed, speed, and more speed

A perpetual issue when it comes to choosing a web host, speed is often the “deal clincher”. A cheap and reliable host can go a long way, but the bottom line is that the attention span of most adults – and kids – is limited, with low tolerance for slow page loads. If your host can only offer those sorts of speed, you will certainly lose their interest and, consequently, a large amount of traffic. When a web page takes too long to load most people simply leave the page, often with a miss-guided perception of the company or product.

Add to this the reality that, when a server from a foreign country is accessed, there can be somewhat of a delay as the information is sent from one corner of the globe to the other. Although this delay can be relatively non-existent in some cases, the danger with a foreign server is that of the unknown affect it could have on your speed.

In an ideal world where everyone has equal access to the Internet and fiber optic cables crisscross the globe, making the sending of data online ridiculously fast, it would make perfect sense to find the most economical web host, regardless of where it was based. The reality of the situation means that you are probably safer off getting a local web host, one who you can trust and whose speed, or lack thereof, will not affect the day to day running of your company’s website. In other words, a local established web host is probably a safer option than the one in Outer Mongolia, even if it is a little more expensive!

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