Many small businesses purchase web hosting services from massive, faceless corporations. Local web hosting doesn’t even cross their minds. People assume that the biggest players can offer the best services for the lowest price.
But is this actually true?
The truth is that local hosting providers can offer concrete business benefits that the major players could only dream of. This includes savings in both time and costs, as well as clear boosts in your revenue.
Today, we’ll look at five of the major advantages of local hosting. But first, let’s go back to basics.
What is Local Web Hosting?
Let’s break this down. Your web hosting is where the files which make up your site are stored. When someone visits your site, their browser finds these files on a server and interprets them to display your site.
This is a very simplistic explanation. For more details, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Web Hosting.
As the name suggests, A local hosting service is a company which provides this in your local area. But why would anyone care about where their website is physically hosted? Isn’t the whole point of the internet that geography doesn’t matter?
Let’s take a look at four tangible benefits of local hosting.
1. Customer Service and Hosting Support
With the best will in the world, sometimes things can go wrong with your hosting. Servers can go down for a number of reasons, and countless problems can arise with how files are transferred back and forth from your host to your users.
Local hosting companies will invariably offer a swifter and more personalised response.
Major companies may have millions of clients, so it’s impossible to have an in-depth knowledge of your particular needs. They may also have servers and customer service teams on different continents, which slows down their responses to your queries.
2. Technical and Local SEO
SEO and hosting go hand in hand. A huge part of this is load speed. This is where local hosting really shines. For obvious reasons, the closer a user is to your servers, the faster your website will load.
In fact, all else being equal, a local server will always be faster, and therefore more SEO friendly than an international equivalent.
Additionally, local hosting offers benefits for local search. A local search is any query where Google determines that the user is looking for something in their immediate area, whether this is stated in the search term or not.
The key here is the server’s IP address. This is a piece of data that denotes the location of a server. For local searches, Google will prioritise sites which are hosted on a server with a local IP address.
This is crucial when you consider the profitability of local SEO:
3. Pricing and Cost-Effectiveness
Of course, your choice of hosting provider is a major investment decision. Of course, this means that we can’t get away without talking about money. Often, the major international providers are able to offer lower upfront costs, largely due to economies of scale.
But the question is whether or not these are actually more cost effective.
Every shrewd business person knows that upfront costs aren’t everything. In reality, the return on any investment comes down to:
- Operational savings,
- Profit generation,
- The extent of hidden costs.
With regards to hosting, each of these can come into play in a number of ways. We’ve already touched on the first two to a certain extent. Specifically, this means:
Cost savings relating to eliminating the losses you’ll incur if your site is down for long periods,
Better local and technical SEO from local hosting companies will lead to more revenue generation, as you attract more traffic.
But what about hidden costs?
This is actually a huge issue when it comes to purchasing hosting from major companies. This is because web giants will be just fine with or without your business. This prevents them from going the extra mile.
Even moreso, it leads them to impose a number of financial catches on their clients. For example, almost all hosting packages will impose limits on you in terms of:
- Storage space,
- Transfer speeds,
The hidden costs come into play when you exceed these limits. Many large companies will impose heavy overuse fees. By contrast, this is less likely to happen with a local web hosting company, as they are more eager for your business.
They’re also typically more empathetic to your business needs, and will exercise greater flexibility.
4. Security, Data Protection and Compliance
Data protection is a more important issue than ever before. Today, most people have at least a basic awareness of the GDPR. However, there is a lot more to data protection than just following the EU’s rules.
In reality, different jurisdictions have their own rules and regulatory frameworks.
As such, from a compliance point of view, it makes much more sense to choose a local hosting provider, as they’ll have a better understanding of your particular regulatory situation. This will be especially important for Northern Ireland companies in coming years, if the UK data protection regime diverges from the GDPR post-Brexit.
This might seem counterintuitive, but local hosting companies are often more secure. This is because they are less of a target for hackers, so you’re less likely to suffer a breach. Since a local host handles less data, they’re also likely to notice and report breaches much faster when they do occur.
How to Gain the Advantages of Local Hosting
Many businesses are put off by the idea of changing hosting providers. They think it seems like an unnecessary hassle. However, in reality website migration has never been easier or more straightforward.
In fact, these days, migration can take place with no disruption to your online business at all.
The key thing is to speak to a local web hosting expert. That way, you’ll be confident that the best migration plan is put in place to meet your unique business goals. Speak to ProfileTree today to see how local hosting can benefit your business.