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Choosing a hosting company for an International Website

This post is intended to educate web designers and e-commerce managers about one specific danger in hosting a site with an international audience that is important to your success.

If you have an e-commerce site, or a content site that depends on International customers being able to view your website then you need to be worried about IP address blocking. This is a practice that is regularly exercised by almost every country on the planet (Including the United States)

In the past, most people have discussed “how to block people in certain countries from viewing your website”. Now that countries have stepped up their IP address blocking activities, the conversations has begun to change to “how to stop my website from being blocked”.

With the rapid growth of influential Chinese customers, it is becoming more important to make sure that China does not block your website.

Here iw what most people do not understand. It does not matter if your content is offensive to the country where your customers are located. It only matters how you can respond if your website is not viewable to those people.

If you have a standard web hosting service, then you are on a shared server with a bunch of other websites. If only one of those websites offends the country where your customers are located, then your website is blocked. How? Simple. The country does not block your domain, but rather the IP address that your domain is hosted. (Example: John Doe puts up and anti Chinese government website, and he is hosted on the same server as you are hosted. You can be sure that within a few days your website, because of the IP address on the server you share with John Doe, will be blocked from the Chinese customers who want to view your site.)

If you think getting your own dedicated IP address is the solution, think again. When countries block IP addresses, the don’t always make it one address. Maybe some of the content is hosted across several servers. Maybe your IP address is just in the middle of the logical string of IP addresses that are being blocked. (Example: John Doe puts offensive material on and also on lets say that your server is It is very possible that the country will block all IP addresses between .159 and .186 which means you are blocked.

The important thing is to be prepared for this happening. It is more of a random lottery pick than anything else. Just bad luck unless, of course, you are putting out offensive material on your site.

How to prepare? Simple. Contact your web hosting company. Ask them about the process to become unblocked. Make sure that they offer you a service of rapidly switching your IP address (migrating your site to another server) so that you don’t lose business.

DO NOT think that you can have a country “unblock” your IP address. That is a waste of time and breath. Your only hope of getting your customers back to your website is your hosting company.

NOTE: From personal experience I know that not all hosting company supply this service. Godaddy does not assist its customers when they are being blocked. Their customer service simply said “oh well. Nothing we can do about that”. Even when I told them how to solve the problem for me, they told me that they do not provide that service. So for your own good, don’t use Godaddy if you are hosting an International Website.

  1. April 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm


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