Is hosting in China worth considering?
Recently I was asked by one of our clients to think about hosting their website in China. This was also the reason for this blog. Where do you start when you want to host a website or digital platform in China? It is very difficult and probably impossible to find a Dutch party that offers servers in China. The reason for this is the government's attitude towards the Internet within China. The regulation of websites and digital platforms hosted within China and the servers used to host them is still far-reaching.
What are the advantages of hosting from China? The biggest advantage is loading speed. If you have ever been on vacation to China you know that the loading speeds of European or American websites are so slow. The biggest reason for that is the location of the server. All the digital platforms we build run at the well-known hosting providers Digital Ocean, Amazon Webservices (AWS) or Azure. These hosting providers have servers in strategic locations close to international fiber optic cables. However, even then the loading speed remains slower than with a server closer to the end user.
In order to host your website or platform in China you need to go through a few steps. The first is to fill out an application form for an ICP license(Internet Content Provider) An ICP form is only provided in Chinese and can also only be filled out in Chinese. Even if you host the platform or website in Hong Kong or Singapore, it is advisable to fill out an ICP application. This ensures that the chance of being blacklisted is much lower. Once you have an ICP certificate, it is important to display it in the footer of the website. This is necessary so that the Chinese government can do audits.
Next, it is a matter of arranging a VPS (virtual server). In this step it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons. Many companies also use a server in Hong Kong or Singapore. These servers are managed by European or American parties. They have good connections with all major Chinese cities and the Chinese firewall will cause little or no problems if you have an ICP certificate.
If you do make the choice to host your platform or website in China you need to be aware of a few things. The first is that the server does not belong to you but to the intermediary you hire to arrange it for you. As a result, you can't say anything about the security of this server either. Fortunately, there are things that allow you to reduce the risk but eliminating it is impossible (after all, the middleman can call Alibaba Cloud Server and ask for access to the server, for example).
Choosing a hosting company in China works just like in Europe. You have three major providers. Alibaba Cloud Server (aka Aliyun) and Tencen Cloud. Also, AWS via Sinnet (Chinese cloud provider) has been active since 2017. All have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of AWS is that you have a large party that does random audits at Sinnet.
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