Suggestions to Choose Hosting Company

The question:

Hi, Jianshuo

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 hosted in 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 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, 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 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.

20 thoughts on “Suggestions to Choose Hosting Company

  1. thank you very much indeed Wang:)

    Could you tell me whether your space supports CDO.message() or not?

    Howmuch does it cots for 1 year?

  2. I am using a Linux server and no COM, no CDO.xxxxx

    CompanyCN supported CDONTS, but you have to find a SMTP server (an open one).

    I used, but not sure it works today.

  3. Hi Jian Shuo…I wrote a while back asking about good areas of Shanghai to live in (affordable yet not old and rundown apartments). My friends have just moved over to Shanghai now (we are coming in April), and have been having a hard time finding a place to rent. Their budget is around RMB3500 a month, and they would like a newer place, near the subway line, not too far out… furnished simply and not old or rundown. They cant find anything good for under 5000RMB. It doesnt have to be fancy, just clean and newer. Can you help? Any suggestions how to find a place that is good?? Oh, on another note…they were just in a restaurant having dinner and someone stole their wallet, with all their money, passports and credit cards…this is awful for them….what an introduction to Shanghai. I have to admit, it makes me a bit nervous of moving over from Taipei, where things like this never happen! Sorry, but im so sad for them right now..please help if you can :) xyzah

  4. I know you may feel disappointed, but there is not too much I can help. Just like most people move to New York, the only place they want to stay is at the Manhattan island, not NJ, in Shanghai, they only want to stay near People’s Square to Xujiahui. It is for sure that the price will go up. I am not surprised that the price is that high, since rent less than 5000 RMB means the lord can only use the money of 3 or four months to pay for one square meter of the apartment. Bad things always happen. I am sorry to hear the story and hope your friend can have his/her passport reissued soon.

  5. thanks for the quick response. So, a good area on a subway line, that is not like manhattan would be which area? just to help them to narrow it down? if you have a moment…thks

  6. I am not a mainland Chinese but am currently staying in Shanghai. I have a non-commercial personal site hosted outside China, do I have to get the ICP? I’m guessing not, but they do have the right to ban my site? What about a commercial site hosted outside China?

  7. Jianshuo,

    I wrote about this on my blog a while ago. It really is rather difficult to choose a host for China. I concluded in my entry that the top 2 choices that I have any experience with are HostGator and DreamHost.

  8. The only problem with DreamHost (whom I also love) is the terrible FTP speeds one gets whilst in China.

  9. hi, i am new to hosting in china and looking for a reliable, inexpensive and good hosting company in china preferably based in shanghai. i am aware that several hosting companies have been dicussed above but this has been sometime ago. i am just wondering if someone has a newer update or can point me to the right direction. thanks!

  10. Hello ,

    I have been using for years , they are a Canadian company , I use the most basic $25 USD for 1 year , including domain registration and hosting. I am not sure how it will stack up with high volume sites , but as far as I know , for a small operation , with a basic need for receiving email and sending email. They work great.

    I am in Shenzhen , we were in a public bus, and a thief just try to snatch the handbag of my wife, what can you do, its China, just becareful. We don’t take our real passport out, just a photocopy version , I think being question by the Gong An about not bringing your passport , is better than losing the real thing.

    We don’t take any credit card with us, only enough cash –

    p.s couple days ago, just had my laptop taken from my car , it just dissappear, I suspect someone just open the door and grab it, my driver is just as confuse as he swear he is in the car at all time.What can you do – its China , petty theft is so high.


  11. 59Box ( is a new hosting company in Shanghai offering hosting to users more familiar to foreign style of hosting. We just got our ICP permit and operation is expected to start early March.

    Let us know what you think in our blog and our coming forum.

  12. Hi Jianshuo,

    thank you for you detailed information.

    But still, i feel lost: what hosting are you using now? you meantion to have moved to lunarpage in your post, but also you have several articles about Bluehost…

    which one are you on, finally?

    I find your site quite fast to load, i think it would be great for us to be hosted on same plan too.

    thank you!

  13. Hi,

    I’ve just signed up with Hostgator to host my site 10days ago. For the first five days everything is normal. Then the next day, I can’t access my website,the cPanel and unable to ftp by using filezilla. Hostgator’s staff told me that the Chinese govt blocked the IP address of my website, so it’s been black listed. Then I just found this great blogs by jianshuo while searching about blocked IP in Google.

    I’m now finding another webhosting company that would give me full access to my own website in China and the rest of the world (suggestions would be highly appreciated :D – I’m targeting at Hichina and ipowerweb). I’m currently in Chengdu, China and I wished I knew about Chinese govt blocking lots of the overseas websites. So, if you are in China and want to use hostgator, you should check more in depth about it.



  14. Dear Wang Jiang Shuo,

    It seems that my company’s website cannot be visible in China anymore. I have no idea of how it has happened, but while switching from one hosting company to another (both outside China), my website can now only be visible outside China. I have already tried with two different hosts (outside China) but I am now experiencing the same problem.

    Do you have any suggestion of how I can solve this issue?

    Your help will be very much appreciated.




  15. I have my websites running on they are based in Beijing… until now no problems. Also had one of my websites designed by them.

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