You probably have a fair idea of how much hosting costs in your home country, whether you’ve made the switch to a virtual private server/VPS hosting, you’re sticking with basic, or you’re making the big leap to dedicated. However, how do some other countries—with populations bigger than the US—handle hosting? In China, which is quickly becoming one of the world’s tech leaders, web hosting can cost anywhere from $45 to $357 per year. Basic plans start at the $45 range, and VPS hosting can easily cost a few hundred.
There are other factors at play, like the quality of the web host, exactly what package you choose, and other considerations that are the same in the US. However, China is clearly behind when it comes to making VPS hosting on par price-wise with basic shared plans. You get the same benefits with VPS hosting in China as you do in Western countries, including a lot more security and control. However, it’s clear that many individuals and startups can’t afford hundreds of dollars per year for VPS (also remember that in more rural areas, the average household income can be very, very low by US standards).
Where China Can Improve
It’s no secret that China is home to the biggest digital marketplace in the world. Experts are estimating that it will continue to grow—to the tune of three times compared to retail. Investors who are trying to lure in Chinese consumers know that having a website registered in China is critical. This means buying a domain name, registering, and ensuring your site isn’t blocked by the country’s notoriously stringent regulations. You have to file your website with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which is a procedure unique to the country.
It doesn’t matter where your business is based. If you want to do business digitally in China, you need a subsidiary in the country. Usually this includes scanning your business license to include with your MIIT registration. The MIIT also approves all domain names/registrations. The cost of a new domain is just under $8 per year for the .com. If you plan to change the company’s name or other key information, you must submit a domain name registrar for modifications within 30 days.
China country code domains are popular, known as a China country code top level domain (ccTLD)—this is .cn for the Chinese audiences, and it requires approval by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). It’s tougher to get a .cn than a .com, and requires an auditing process that can take a few weeks. Applicants have to file a .cn domain application, a copy of their national ID (you must be a valid Chinese citizen with a personal ID to even apply) and a copy of your business license proving that you’re registered in China.
Technically, you can set up a foreign domain but it may not be accepted by the country and might not rank at all in Baidu (the Chinese Google). Plus, the government strongly discourages retailers from doing business in China without a physical presence.