I know you are an experienced website owner and your blog are very popular.
I am in trouble in choosing the proper website host service, and what’s your website provider service?
Could you recommend some web site host service offered by foreign countries with the high ratio of quality to price?
It is a good question. It is hard to make recommendation, especially when no service is really good from the unreachable high expection from a hosting customer’s point of view. I just share my experience.
First Question: Host it in China or Outside
Both way work but you need to consider a lot of factors.
By default, people host in China. It is straight forward unless you have specific reasons not to do so.
Language and time-difference barrier are big for some people. If you host in China, you can call directly at working time, but to call someone in U.S., for example, the iPowerweb, you have to wait after mid-night.
Most people have difficulty to pay service outside China. International credit card is still not common. If you happen to have one, you can try. Many credit cards in China does not work so well on Internet. For example, I just got an email complaining that payment using CMB credit card (the same I am using) to iPowerweb was rejected. I had that experience for some times also. The manual work from the hosting company worked.
To pay services in China also have problems. For example, I have my domain wangjianshuo.com hosted in www.net.cn. The only working method for me is to go to post office and send money Beijing. There are some online banking systems, but none of them works for me. It either failed, or required me to go to the bank, sign the form, get a CD of the software (or at least a secret key), and install the software. Most times, the software does not work well. What a world! But we don’t need to get too angry. We cannot fly, but we don’t complain, right? Just kidding.
Risk of Being Banned
There is always risk to be shutdown, if someone or yourself post something bad (or regarded as bad thing to someone) to your site.
If you host your content in China, make sure you backup frequently, and you need to get an ICP. If there is no ICP, your site will simply be shutdown. There are many ways to shutdown the site. ISP with advanced technology will use software to disable the DNS. Most times, if you have your dedicated server, the operator just go to your server room and unplug the network cable. It worked as a charm. :-(
To host in U.S. is also not risk free. Although not many people will unplug the network cable, you can be banned by the great firewall. Sometimes, an ISP host hundreds of websites on one server, and if one of the site contains so-called not-so-good content, the IP will be banned, and your site may not be accessed in China. That is bad for a business running in China.
Also, in U.S, if someone post phishing content onto your site, the ISP may also delete the account and destory all the content you have according to the local law. It happened last month to this blog at ipowerweb. You also need to backup your stuff frequently. To host your content somewhere (in China or in U.S.), it means there is always someone who can destroy your disk and don’t have any liabitlity to you.
Here is my comment to the providers.
I hosted my domain with them for 5 years. Their service is stable – due to the fact that DNS is the simplest application on Internet. They have been down for only once, and was recovered in 20 hours.
CompanyCN was the hosting company for http://home.wangjianshuo.com for one and half year. Their advantage is, their price is low – 380 RMB (I don’t know the current plan), and provide Windows server that have ASP, PHP, and Perl. It is not common to have these on one server. Their service is so-so, better than others, but from my expectation, they archived 2 out of 5.
If nothing happens, ipowerweb.com is a wonderful solution. Their speed is good (even accessed from China), and their servers are stable. They didn’t restart the machine for 300+ days during my experience.
However, if something does happen, it is nightmare – worst than any hosting company in China. If you want to call them, they can tell you the estimated waiting time is 34 minutes at ease. The conclusion is, I hate ipowerweb when something goes wrong and love it when it is OK.
I just transferred to lunarpages. It seems better than ipowerweb.com. The reason I didn’t choose it (it is the largest one in Hosting in U.S. now) was, they don’t allow MovableType before.
Hosting business is a business to create frustrated customer everyday. People take it for granted that servers need to be as stable as a wooden table. If it is 100% up, people don’t appreciate it as much as people complain when it only archive 99% up time. For me, I won’t say anything good to an ISP who shutdown my site for continuous 10 days. What I mean is, I just want to be fair.