There are plenty of arguments in favor of hosting your website in another country. Saving money. Enjoying more permissive Internet laws. Reaching customers your business might otherwise be unable to connect with.
At the same time, there are plenty of risks to it, too – and if you aren’t careful, they arguably outweigh the rewards.
An Unfamiliar Regulatory Environment
We’re still many years away from global Internet laws (if we ever see them at all). What that means for you is that the country in which you base your website will have different rules and regulations than what you’re familiar with. At best, these could require you to jump through a bunch of hoops you ordinarily wouldn’t have to worry about (take a look at the GDPR if you want to see what we mean).
At worst, you could open yourself up to government snooping, seized or intercepted data, or a laundry list of regulatory penalties.
Assuming you aren’t hosting in another country because that’s where your clientele is based, you’re pretty much guaranteed to suffer at least minor performance issues by hosting overseas. Even a formidable content delivery network can only do so much. You’ll never be able to beat the level of quality you can provide by going where your audience is – and even if it’s only a minor difference, every little bit counts.
Issues With Hosting Providers
Working with a web host in another country could easily mean you’ll have to deal with language barriers that make troubleshooting even minor issues a challenge. The fact that your host is in a different time zone may also mean their hours differ wildly from your own, while cultural differences could be a source of friction. There’s also the chance that, if you don’t do your research, you might wind up with a host that rips you off and run – that happens domestically too, but it’s a lot easier for someone to get away with it if they’re in another country.
Suffering In The SERP
The importance of local search engine optimization is one that’s been widely covered. If you host your website somewhere that isn’t local (and you aren’t trying to optimize for search in the region you are hosting), there is a chance that could impact your search engine rankings. Probably not by a great deal, mind you – but every little bit matters.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Ultimately, our advice is to host your website as near to your target audience as you can. Go where your market does. Whether that’s local or overseas is entirely up to you.