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Does local hosting or international hosting suit you better?

Local vs International Web Hosting: Which is Right for You?

To host overseas, or not overseas? That’s the question. While both local and global hosting will get your website online, only one will be just right for you. In this post we’ll lay out what to look for when considering local versus international web hosting.


Local vs international web hosting: What’s the difference?

Local web hosting means you use web hosting services from the country you live in to host your website. So, when people want website access, they’ll usually request the data from the in-country server.

International web hosting is when you choose a global web hosting company to host your website. They’re likely to have servers in many different countries, sometimes including yours, but usually not.


Performance

Performance should always be one of the leading factors when you think about web hosting. This has to do with the speed, and hardware resources like RAM and storage.

The further away your server is from your audience or customers, the longer it will take for your website to load. Visitors will tend to leave your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Other resources like RAM and storage also impact how well your website runs. You can always fix this by upgrading your resource package. 

If you only plan to service local customers, hosting your website with a local company is the obvious choice.

Local hosting pros

  • Low latency.

International hosting pros

  • Higher quality resources usually.
A pie chart showing the percentage of users that might revisit a poorly performing website.

Data laws and regulations

Each country will have its own data privacy laws. The rapid growth in internet usage means countries need to create laws and acts to protect users online.

Some countries are further along than others. An example is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation law passed in 2016. You’re affected if you:

  1. Host a website in any of the EU territories.
  2. Process EU citizen personal data

That means it’s quite broad. You should have privacy systems in place regardless of where you host. Hosting an international website can be trickier due to the different laws.

Local hosting pros

  • Limited number of privacy laws you need to follow.
  • Lower chance of receiving a fine due to privacy laws.
  • You’re likely to be familiar with the privacy laws of your country already.

International hosting pros

  • Following many privacy regulations means you can operate globally.
Two donut charts showing what percentage of Baby Boomers and Gen Z feel tech companies have too much control over personal data, respectively.

Customer support

Technical support is something you’ll need at some stage in your hosting journey. Having a customer support system that operates during your daylight hours makes a big difference.

Sometimes an issue can be fixed in five minutes during a phone call, but can drag out for an hour via email. This can be the case if the time zones have a massive difference.

Another potential issue might be the language barrier. Speaking to someone in your home language makes dealing with the issue much easier. Especially if you’ve become frustrated by it.

Local hosting pros

  • The same language usually.
  • The same time zone.
  • Operates during your working hours.

International hosting pros

  • Some hosts have  24-hour support.
Charts showing customers' view on an immediate response, and also indicating that immediate means less than ten minutes

Pricing

Usually hosting overseas will be a bit cheaper. This can change depending on your country’s currency strength. A poor currency can make hosting that was supposed to be affordable costly.

In a growing economy, local hosting solutions like shared hosting might suit you better. This is because the local currency can easily fluctuate. That would mean pricier hosting, with less of the benefits that come with a good price.

Local hosting pros

  • Not swayed by currency as heavily.
  • Won’t need to sacrifice speed for cost.

International hosting pros

  • Usually cheaper, especially if currency is strong and stable.

Reliability and uptime

Time is money. The more time your website spends offline the more money you lose. The industry standard is 99.9% uptime. Anything less than that is a hosting product you generally want to avoid because it can cost you big time. 

Overseas hosting companies will usually have plenty of redundancies in place to keep your website online. Poorer countries or poor resource management in countries can cause some networking issues.

If power outages and networking issues are common in your country, this could affect your uptime. Check the web hosts uptime guarantees and ask about their redundancy plans.

This will let you know what to expect from a local or international hosting company.

Local hosting pros

  • Familiar with local networking or power issues and can create contingencies accordingly.

International hosting pros

  • Will usually have redundancies in place for server issues.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization has to do with your website being found and available to people surfing the internet. Google will prioritise a local website for a local audience.

So, if your target audience is Kenyan but your website is hosted in Europe, that will impact your SEO rankings negatively.

Google and other search engines will always try to provide content that is country-specific. A local website helps you along in that regard. If you’re looking to learn more about SEO, we’ve written quite a bit about it in our blog.

Local hosting pros

  • Better for SEO if you have a local target market.
  • Usually competing with local websites for rankings.

International hosting pros

  • A chance to appeal to a global audience for a specific term if your SEO is excellent.
A donut chart showing that 30% of all mobile searches are related to location.

Conclusion

So, a case can be made for you to get either kind of hosting.

If you’re running a mostly static page that doesn’t need to load many things, international hosting is fine for you.

Running an online business with products, checkouts, and other material means you need low latency. A website that’s hosted locally will suit you better.

The local web hosting versus global web hosting comparison shows us that both are sound options. It all depends on what you expect and require from your website.

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