Why it pays to host your website locally
After you’ve designed a stunning website for your business, you need to choose a website host so your customers can start finding you online. You’ll quickly notice that website hosting packages vary wildly in price, capacity, inclusions, service, and one critical element: location. One of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you prefer an Australian website host or an offshore website host.
Let’s take a look at the key differences between Australian website hosts and offshore hosts, and (spoiler alert!) why Australian website hosts provide better value and service.
Australian website hosts provide better support, in your time zone
Offshore or overseas website hosts usually offer cheaper prices but, as with all things in life, you get what you pay for.
One of the main reasons offshore hosts are cheaper is because they don’t all offer 24/7 phone support. Most often, you’ll have to lodge a support request on their website and wait up to 48 hours for a response – usually by email – when all you really want is to talk to a real human.
And when you do get to speak to a real human at your offshore host, you might experience language difficulties or call lags. These communication issues can make it very frustrating to discuss tricky technical issues and get the support you need.
By comparison, a good local Australian website host will offer free-call phone support during Australian business hours, and many Australian hosts offer 24/7 phone support from native English speaking staff.
What’s more, overseas hosts run their maintenance updates during their local low traffic times, usually overnight. But when you’re in Australia, your offshore host’s overnight updates can fall in your busiest business hours. This can cause major headaches for your customers because your website can grind to a halt during updates. The good news is, an Australian website host will do updates during local overnight hours, so your Australian customers are less likely to be affected.
Local Australian hosts are worth the small extra cost
Let’s say a cheap overseas website host charges $10 a month for a basic small business website hosting package, while a local Australian website host might charge $20 a month for a comparable package.
a year. In the total cost of running your business, $120 extra each year is pocket change for all the advantages you get.
Here are some of the benefits of paying a bit more to choose local hosting.
Faster website speeds
A shorter distance between your hosting server and your customers can mean faster website speeds. When your website has faster response times, your customers experience better website performance.
If a website takes too long to load, customers simply give up and click away. It might be a matter of just a few seconds – yes, an extra 5 seconds load time is enough to make customers click away. That’s a lost sale in those 5 seconds, and the cost of lost sales can add up quickly.
Local Australian hosting improves your website performance and page load speeds so you can capture more customer leads and sales.
Better search engine rankings
When you’re targeting local Australian customers, you can get a small (but important!) boost in your search engine rankings by using an Australian website host. It’s part of the algorithm that responds to local area marketing, to capture customers searching for “Italian restaurant near me” or uses the Google My Business location search.
Understand website hosts’ infrastructure and uptime
In some parts of Asia where they offer cheap website hosting, the local weather conditions can cause havoc for your website. Typhoons and other severe weather events can wipe out power and critically affect servers. Imagine if that happened right as you were launching your latest product!
Before you choose a website host, ask them about their infrastructure and uptime guarantees. This means making sure they’ve got a rock-solid system of back up power and solutions to cope with adverse weather events, to ensure your website stays live
Beware of first year “introductory pricing”
Many website hosts lure customers in with a special low first year “introductory price” that reverts to the full price in year 2. When you’re comparing hosting costs, remember to compare the ongoing costs after the introductory period has expired. That cheap overseas introductory price might end up costing more than Australian local hosting in the second year.
Check which currency
Most overseas website hosts quote their prices in USD, no matter whether they’re located in USA, Singapore, India or somewhere else. When you commit to a price in USD, the price you actually pay will change month-to-month as the Australian dollar fluctuates. And when the Australian dollar isn’t doing as well against the US dollar, your hosting fees will rise.
By choosing an Australian website host, you’ll always know the price you’ll pay in AUD for the term of the contract, which makes it easier to plan your business expenses.
Dodgy websites on a shared server can affect your website
As a general rule, there are more dodgy websites on cheap hosting servers. When search engines see your website coming from one of the well known dodgy hosts, there’s a chance you’ll get marked as a toxic site by association, which can destroy your search rankings.
What’s more, virus-filled websites on the same server can cause you serious problems. That’s right, just like a snotty kid at day care spreading germs, a virus-infected website on your server can harm your website.
If security is important to you, consider paying a bit more for a dedicated server. Hosting your website on an Australian dedicated server typically starts from $49 a month. Sure, it costs more than a shared server from a cheap offshore host. But on a dedicated server, your website should be protected from viruses and rank higher in search results than if its health and reputation were tainted by hundreds of dodgy websites on the same server.
Consider a VPN hosting option
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, which is a private and secure connection between your computer and your server. All your website data travels through this encrypted connection, so it’s an extra level of privacy and safety for customers visiting your website. As an added bonus, VPNs prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from collecting and storing your customers’ location, personal information and browsing history.
Get started with website hosting
When you search for Australian website hosts, there are plenty to choose from, plus you’ll find lots of articles comparing the costs and service of Australian hosting providers.
And if you’re considering redesigning your website and signing up to a new hosting service, get in touch with our affordable website design experts on 1300 367 009. At Cheapwebsites.com.au we only offer Australian website hosting with reliable service providers, so you know you’ll get excellent service.