With so many web hosting options in the global marketplace, it can be tempting to go offshore. However, there are some very good reasons for choosing an Australian web host.
Protecting your digital assets is vital. That’s why you need to think carefully when selecting a web host for your business. If you are an Australian business owner with a predominantly local target market, it is best to host your website, eCommerce store or blog on Australian servers.
What are the advantages of an Australian web host?
The main reasons for choosing an Australian web host can be summarised as ‘the four Ss’: Speed, Service, Security and Searchability.
The closer you can be to your end user, the better. Local servers bring information closer to recipients which means your site will run faster. Using an overseas web host can slow down your site’s download speed by up to five times. Given that studies have shown that the vast majority of visitors will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within three seconds, speed is a critical component of keeping customers on your site and giving them the best possible user experience. Speed is particularly an issue for users of mobile devices. With around 30 percent of website traffic now being driven by these devices, it’s a consideration that can no longer be ignored.
Reliable customer service is an imperative aspect of good web hosting. If your site is down, or not operating as it should, it’s costing you money. If you are using an overseas web host, you run the risk of being unable to contact them for support when you really need it due to different time zones and conflicting business hours. You may also have to overcome language barriers to resolve a problem. Conflicting business hours can also impact on the performance of your site, as overseas web hosts may run upgrades during their local off-peak times. This may result in your site running sub-optimally during times of high traffic domestically. In addition, overseas-based web hosting providers will not be subject to the same laws as Australian web hosts, which may become an issue if there is a dispute in relation to the service. If you are dealing with an uncooperative overseas web host you may have limited avenues for recourse, whereas an Australian web host will be regulated by the state government departments of fair trading.
Australian web hosts are subject to strict laws on data security. If your website is hosted in a country with lower privacy standards than Australia, this could have serious implications for your business if there happened to be a breach. For example, in the US, government agencies often have greater powers than domestic agencies to access private data. It is your responsibility to ensure that your overseas hosting service does not breach Australian privacy laws. Conversely, if you are storing data overseas, you may be subject to laws that apply in the location of the servers that hold that data. This means that in the event of litigation, you could be required to submit to a foreign court of law. The European Union, for example, has particularly complex data hosting laws.
Google’s search algorithms are designed to show users the most relevant search results. One of the factors that comes into play here is localisation, meaning that sites that appear to have been tailored for a particular region will be ranked more favourably for users from that region. Server location – though the IP address of the server – is one of a number of components that determine localisation. So if your target market is predominantly in Australia, and your web site is hosted overseas, you could be compromising your search visibility and missing out on prospective customers.
Be wary of budget offshore operators
In recent years there has been a proliferation of cut-price web hosting providers coming into the global market. Selecting a reputable Australian web host might initially cost you a bit more than a budget offshore operator, but it could save your business a world of pain later on if cheap turns out to be less than cheerful.
Good for your site, good for the economy
In addition to the ‘four Ss’ noted above, there is a bonus ‘S’ in terms of ‘support’ for the local economy. Using an Australian web host not only makes a lot of sense for your business, it makes good sense for the country. With so many good reasons to keep your web hosting on Australian shores, why would you take the risk of going anywhere else?
CurtisE Digital is a proudly Australian-based provider of digital business and marketing services to small and medium businesses.