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Key Consideration When Choosing a Foreign Web Hosting

Internet is a vast network with no geographical boundary. Any local websites can sell their products or services to any foreign web visitors. Likewise, any local web visitors can purchase the desired goods from foreign websites. In general, web visitors are not interested on the physical location of a website. They are interested only on the products, services or information provided by the websites as well as the server connection speed. As long as that website is providing good content and information with acceptable server connection speed, most of the web visitors will continue to visit that website. However, as an owner of a website, you will have to consider various key aspects when deciding upon a foreign web hosting provider.

Web Hosting Price

Overall, foreign web hosting providers offer very competitive hosting price in comparison to local web hosting providers. Why? This is achieved through economic of scale. Foreign web hosting providers acquire hundred thousands of customers in order to reduce the average operating costs. Then, those cost savings can be passed on to customers by lowering the monthly hosting price. In contrast, the number of web hosting customers is much lower in the local web hosting industry. As a result, local web hosting companies cannot gain from the advantages of 'economic of scale'. Inevitably, they can't compete with foreign web hosting providers based on price.

In fact, the hosting price difference between local and foreign web hosting providers sometimes can be up to three or four times in some countries. For example, the monthly cost for a standard hosting plan by Lunarpages (an America web hosting provider) is only US$6.95. But a similar hosting plan offered by local web hosting provider in Hong Kong could be as high as US$30 per month.

If you just starting out on your Internet business and hope to keep your website operating cost down, then the cheaper hosting cost provided by foreign web hosting providers could be a good option.

Web Server Location

If you plan to host your website with foreign web hosting provider, obviously, your website will be hosted on the web server located at the foreign country. Will these websites, hosted on foreign web server, slower in response? In theory, local websites have better response when visited by local web visitors. But connection bandwidth from country to country has been improving over the years. To a large extend, a local web visitor when visiting foreign websites will not be able to tell the difference in accessing speed. If you have visited foreign websites such as Yahoo! or Microsoft (if you are not living in US), did you find the response slower on these websites? Likewise, the current website 'Cheap Web Hosting Services Review' that you are reading now is hosted on Lunarpages, a US web hosting provider, did you find any difference compare to any local websites? Most likely, not!

In fact, the accessing speed of a website affected by many aspects, including:

  • Data Center IP backbone
    Obviously, it is better to have websites hosted on data center that is connected to the Internet using highest performing IP backbone. Internet backbone connection line at data center comes in various speed:

              T1 - 1.544 Megabits per second (24 DS0 lines)
              T3 - 43.232 Megabits per second (28 T1s)
              OC3 - 155 Megabits per second (84 T1s) 
              OC12 - 622 Megabits per second (4 OC3s)
              OC48 - 2.5 Gigabits per seconds (4 OC12s)
              OC192 - 9.6 Gigabits per second (4 OC48s)

    Generally, the Internet backbone for foreign web hosting providers are high in order to meet the demand of the huge number of websites they are servicing. For example, the data center of IPOWER is using OC48 and OC192 Internet backbone to ensure all the websites can be accessed at the highest connection speed.

  • Number of websites on a web server
    In shared hosting, many websites are sharing a same physical web server. Depending on the server hardware resources and speed, a physical web server can hosts few hundreds to even thousands of different websites at one time. If your website is hosted on such heavy loaded web server, inevitably, the response will be slow. Some web hosting resellers who wanted to maximize profits would overload a web server with too many websites. As a result, those websites will always experience slow response. In order to avoid this kind of problems, you should only look for reputable web hosting providers that always strive to ensure good server response.

Web Hosting Payment Methods

In general, local web hosting providers accept various payment methods, including: check payment, inter-bank money transfer and credit card payment. In contrast, foreign web hosting providers only accept credit card payment for International customers. With the number of credit card fraud on the rise, some web hosting providers even require their International customers to fax in a copy of their credit card. They need this information to perform verification in order to curb credit card fraud. This fraud verification system is in place to protect consumers such as yourself. In general, your web hosting account will be activated as soon as the verification process is completed, which normally takes 2-3 days. Unless you have credit card, otherwise, you will have trouble paying the foreign web hosting provider.

Web Hosting Supports

Often than not, foreign web hosting providers are providing their service and support using English as the communication medium. Apart from that, the 'Control Panel' website management system is in English. If your mother tongue is not English or you can't communicate well in English, then you will have communication problem when dealing with foreign web hosting providers. Good command of English is vital when you perform website management or when technical support is required if you choose to host with foreign web hosting providers.

In addition, you may not be able to get immediate attention from the foreign web hosting support due to geographical time difference. This is especially true if the foreign web hosting do not provide 24 hours support. Any serious web hosting issue that you need immediate solution will have to wait till the 'office hour' of the foreign web hosting support in order to get a response.

Depending upon your business needs, budget and hosting requirements, the above few key consideration could be helpful to you before choosing a foreign web hosting providers.

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