With the rise of online tools and the sharing economy, we are now able to pick and choose services like webhosts from anywhere in the world. But is it better to have someone local to provide this important service or do you get just as much by shopping on the global market?
We look at the pros and cons of a local webhost.
What are you looking for?
First of all, most businesses look for three main components for their website hosting:
- Low costs for good all-round delivery.
- Reliability in terms of uptime and security.
- Enough speed to satisfy content download and customer needs.
Another requirement that could be put into the mix here is how much your local webhost knows about your culture and business. Particularly if you are delivering a local service yourself, you might want to settle on a provider who lives close by and can, perhaps (and it’s a big perhaps) deliver the tailored webhosting that you need.
Be wary of GREAT offers
There are plenty of different webhosting companies on the market and there are some that operate out of what are considered countries that are not as well developed economically. While these low cost solutions might be enticing, you also have to take into consideration issues such as whether systems are secure enough and whether going with a provider such as this is opening your business up to some quite severe systemic risks.
This leads us onto the local regulation that local webhosts have to comply with. If your webhost is in the far reaches of Timbuktu, you might expect there to be less regulation – which means you could again be opening up your business to some unquantified risks. Most local website hosts, and we’re talking about those in the UK, Europe and places like the US and Canada, have governing regulations that need to comply with and which are designed to protect the consumer.
Local Know How
Someone who is local to your business is more likely to understand your needs, particularly if you are trying to reach a consumer base solely within the vicinity where your business operates. It may be slightly more expensive but you can be sure the infrastructure and the customer service is in place that suits your particular needs.
Is Speed the Bottom Line?
When it comes down to the bottom line, speed of download is important to businesses. If your visitors have to sit twiddling their thumbs while they are waiting for a page to download, the chances are you are going to start losing customers quickly. Speed is vital and the chances are you are more likely to get this by choosing a local service. That doesn’t mean you won’t get an equal or even superior service by heading abroad – there are plenty of companies in the US and indeed in Europe or Asia that will provide what you need.
The only other issue for choosing a company abroad might be the delay when information is sent from one server to another, though with modern systems this is less of a problem than it perhaps used to be.
While choosing a local host might have been the sensible business solution a few years back, it’s perhaps not as vital as it was. Competition and online reviews mean that we can look a little deeper into webhosting services and our advice is always to do your research comprehensively – even if you are opting for a local host. Key to this is making sure, as in every form of IT support, that your needs align as closely as possible to the service you are hiring.