Why the country you host your website in still matters

Before signing up to that cheap overseas hosting consider why you should host your website in your country of origin

With the global interconnected nature of the internet you might not think that it matters where your website is hosted, but it does.

Search engine placement

Google and other search engines tailor their results based on the location of the person searching, so someone searching for a service is more likely to see relevant local businesses ahead of foreign companies. This is just one of the many ways that search engines try to show more relevant results. To determine the country of your website search engines are looking at the country in which your website is hosted, this is not the only factor they consider but they are considering it. They will also be looking at the content of your website to see what country you say you are located in and at your domains's tld (ie. whether your domain ends in .nz). Search engines do not assume that your business is located in the same country as your domain, many foreign businesses use country specific domains to target that market but are not actually located in that country at all.

Speed also has a big impact on search placement, search engines will prioritise websites that load quicker, there is no doubt that websites located closer to their target market can load faster due to the shorter distance that the data travels.

Legal issues

Different countries have different laws, when hosting your website in another country consider how that might affect copyright, libel, obscenity and privacy laws. Your website could be subject to unexpected legal obligations within the hosts jurisdiction.

To ensure legal compliance, it’s crucial to thoroughly research the laws and regulations in the country where your hosting provider operates. This may involve consulting with legal experts or working closely with your hosting provider to ensure your data is stored and managed in accordance with NZ law.

New Zealand businesses are required to comply with the New Zealand Privacy Act but a foreign country's privacy laws may not be compatible. This is especially important if your site collects personally identifiable information such as through an account registration or checkout form. 

It's not just the location of your web host that matters here but also the country that administers your domain name, for example Richard O’Dwyer, a UK citizen who ran the site TV Shack, faced extradition to the U.S. on charges of criminal copyright infringement. Even though he and his site were both in the UK, the U.S. is claiming jurisdiction because of the fact he used a .com domain.

Maintenance downtime

All web hosts will need to occasionally restart services after software updates or take servers off-line while performing hardware upgrades and maintenance. Hosting companies will usually schedule these tasks during periods of low traffic usage such as during the night, if this coincides with a peak period in your local timezone this may result in your site being unavailable to your customers. 

Local support

If your web host is in the same timezone as you are then you are more likely to receive timely same day support and receive phone support without paying toll charges. Foreign support might also result in language and cultural barriers.

Beware of foreign companies masquerading as a local

Just because a web hosting business is using a local domain name does not mean they are a local business or that their servers are located in your country. Certain international web hosting companies operate localised versions of their websites using a local domain, but they are not located there at all. Also beware that some web hosting companies might actually be re-selling an overseas companies services or using servers hosted overseas. It really pays to thoroughly research your hosting provider before signing up.

BoltHost is a 100% New Zealand business, our support and all of our servers are located here in New Zealand.