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When it comes to choosing a hosting provider for your business, there are many things to consider, such as;
One thing that may not cross your mind is where the server is physically located. Believe it or not though, that can actually matter, especially when it comes to the issue of data jurisdiction. So, that begs the question, should you choose offshore hosting (where the datacentre is located outside of the UK) or opt for hosting in the UK? Below we assess the positives and negatives of both options.
If you choose hosting services outside of your country of operation, this is referred to as offshore hosting. Some of the popular countries that offer offshore hosting include Panama, the Netherlands, India, and Hong Kong. Whether it makes sense to look at offshore hosting depends on your business, the applications that you run and your specific requirements. In this respect, it won’t suit every business or project so it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding.
One of the main reasons that a UK business may choose hosting on offshore servers is the seemingly reduced cost. The overheads can be lower outside of the UK, particularly in developing countries such as India and this can translate to lower prices.
Offshore hosting can be useful for less scrupulous businesses who want to bypass local laws or regulations, especially for issues such as copyright law. Also, if your business operates in a heavily-regulated industry, then offshore hosting means that you will be outside of the authority of these rules. This can be useful when it comes to data privacy, although the ICO have some stringent rules on transferring personal data outside of the UK.
If you are targeting customers outside of the UK, then offshore hosting in the country of your chosen audience could be advantageous if you have a country-specific domain name or would like to rank higher on local searches in that country. For example, an individual searching for your domain in Japan could see a business website rank higher if you are hosted in Japan.
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The low cost of offshore hosting in developing countries doesn’t always equate to quality or reliable service. When it comes to internet access and connectivity, it can vary from country to country and you run the risk of hosting in a developing country that has an inferior IT infrastructure to the UK.
Hosting outside of the UK means that you need to be sure of any potential time differences and the working environment of the host country and how they will impact on your relationship with your hosting provider. Language barriers could mean that communication becomes ineffective and inefficient when trying to fix issues such as technical glitches and this can be the detriment of your business.
Some countries have an agreement regarding access to information or data outside of their jurisdiction. This could range from search, seizure, or disclosure of stored data to intercepting communications which could mean if you do choose to host outside of the UK for legal reasons, the government may still be able to circumvent this.
When hosting overseas, providers can benefit from diminished culpability and some have been known to disappear without a trace. This means if you are choosing an overseas hosting provider, be sure to choose well-known hosts who have credibility, so you won’t be left in the lurch.
Although there can be benefits of choosing a hosting provider offshore, hosting in the UK can’t be overlooked and there can be many benefits to working with a local hosting partner. Again though, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.
If your business operates in the UK, then it makes sense to ensure that your server is in the UK too. This is because internet traffic must travel to and from your hosted platform and local hosting means it has a shorter distance to travel than overseas hosting. This can directly improve the performance of your applications.
As mentioned previously, having a server in the country that you operate in can benefit your search engine rankings. Having a server based in the UK is more likely to see you rank well on google.co.uk as opposed to other regional variants such as google.es.
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As you must abide by the laws in the country where your server is located, choosing a UK hosting provider can be advantageous due to the UK’s high levels of data security, advanced IT infrastructure and relatively stable government, when compared with some countries offering overseas hosting.
Hosting in the UK can be seen as playing it safe when it comes to facing the risks of a natural disaster. Whilst some overseas hosting providers need to accommodate for potential earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, the worst that your equipment might face in the UK is a bit of rain. Of course, this is still no substitute for an effective back up and disaster recovery plan.
Trying to get in touch with an overseas hosting provider can sometimes prove problematic. Having a hosting provider in the same country as you can mean instant availability in the case of technical issues or a crisis and a more efficient resolution.
Aside from this, UK hosting companies can often provide that personal touch when it comes to customer services. You can even meet up with your hosting provider in person if they are local and help form a better professional business relationship.
The main disadvantage of keeping hosting at home in the UK is that it can be slightly more expensive than other countries. This is mainly due to the higher overheads for electricity and equipment, and for administrative costs for compliance with UK data protection laws and EU directives. However, credible providers such as Veber will work hard to keep prices to a minimum.
So now that you know the benefits of offshore and UK hosting, it’s really down to you. Your choice will mainly depend on your business requirements and your target market. There can be no denying that UK hosting is usually the ideal option for UK businesses and offers the most reliable, efficient, and effective performance but if you have special needs that you feel it can’t meet, then overseas hosting might be worth considering.
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