China Web Hosting Overview
China is one of the largest market on the planet. For it's fast growing economy, more and more companies setup their business in this country. Since E-commerce is the main stream, you always need to setup a product website when you're ready to accept business online. We'll check web hosting business in China and how should you deal with it correctly, because everything is different in China. In order to save your time and reduce potential problems, you should read the following stuff.
What's going on with China Web hosting industry?
China has the most people in the world and hosting business is also the largest one. But as you know, things in China are always working different than many other places in the world. Here I'll point out several reviews about china hosting industry.
Networking – Generally speaking, the Chinese networking is bad comparing to many other countries in the world. Althoug China has the largest number of internet people, their internet business is mainly located in southest and they have very limited bandwidth. In you have ever checked from some chinese hosting provider website, you can find only few disk space and bandwidth offered for their hosting plan and the price is pretty high if you have used to the cheap hosting is USA. That's quite normal in china, they have only few oversea internet connections and only 2 lines carry the most traffic (Located in Shanghai and Guangzhou).
Hosting feature – Most China hosting providers are still windows server 2003 based if you want to deal with windows hosting, but if you like to deal with Linux hosting, they do use the newest one such as lighthttpd and nginx. As for hosting control panel, only few providers be able to offer the industry standard or plesk, many of them use inhouse developed system which is pretty simple, you don't have too many permissions like from cpanel.
As for the exact hosting offers, it's really a shame comparing to US hosting companies, everything is limited restrictly such as disk space, bandwidth, number of domain hosting and database etc, if you like to purchase extra service, the fee is alway high.
Customer support – Unlike the modern US hosting industry, many of china hosting support are phone & ticket based. 24 x 7 support is not very popular yet. Most of the time you have to bear with zero support at middle night, but since the business is mainly at daytime in china, there wouldn't be too much trouble. But, as a foreigner, your daytime is their night and it will definitely cause problems if you manage the business from different places.
The Bottleneck to Host website in China
The biggest problem to host your website on China hosting server would be the "ICP License" application. It's a forced rule set by their government, if you want to host a website you need to keep a record to their government first or else you can't activate the domain. The process can be as long as one week to one month if it goes correctly. In this process you have to provide all your private data to the government record such as ID card, personal photo, phone number and many more!
Their ICP license policy is already the biggest problem for chinese webmasters and being complained a lot, but nothing changed regardless of the complaint. If you want to host your website on china hosting server, please consult to china hosting company in advance and make sure your website can be online in time.
Certainly there're other problems but most are political related which is beyond our discussion, Political and sexual materials are not recommended on your website or else your website might be blocked.
Most Famous China Web Hosting Providers
There're two – www.net.cn and www.xinnet.com, the two hosting companies are the leaders in China hosting industry, they're also in the largest hosting companies list on the planet. Of course, you can't expect that many nice features like from US hosting company and their price is pretty high. No problem if you're running a company business, but it's definitely not affordable to personal website.
Best Alternative Choice of China Hosting
Since there're so many problems to host your websit on china hosting server, is there any alternative option available? Sure it is, Hongkong should be the best place, although it's also part of China, it's a complete new society which is the same as US, UK or other western countries. Hongkong is the nearest place to mainland china and if you host your business website there you can avoid all problems mentioned above. If you are going to put your website in China, Hongkong is your perfect choice. Also, many china hosting companies are offering HK datacenter options in order to get more business.
UPDATE: Ixwebhosting now offers china hosting plans with local language support.
What's our opinion to China hosting?
Personally, I would not host my website on China hosting server even there might be better performance. If you dig more about this industry in China you will find more and more chinese webmasters are even seeking for oversea hosting. If China could offer the same level hosting service like from US or UK or other districts then I will consider to. Regardless of the service level, if they can give up the "recording" policy for hosted domain name then I can sonsider it, but things are always going like we expected.