I am not usually up to promote specific hosting services or Internet hosting providers, but among the hundreds of daily unrequested emails that I receive, there was one yesterday that stroke my interest.
Photo credit: Magnus Larsson
The content of the email said:
We supply Bullet-Proof servers for you:
Two fresh IPs
512MB RAM DDR
36 GB SCS
Dedicated 100 M fiber
Unlimited Data Transfer
Located in China
Price: No setup fee
US$ 599.00 per month
What's the big deal?
While this may likely be great news for spammers and other unscrupulous marketers, who seek hosting solutions that provide them with some shield from western control and police-led investigations, it may also be the tip of a new iceberg, I surely would like to see come closer.
Chinese hosting providers as well as professional Internet providers from distant parts of the world have attracted my interest for some time now.
Risking again of being caught for a complete nut for my bizarre requests, I have not made it a secret to have been eagerly (and unsuccessfully) looking for hosting providers that are not US or Europe-based, and that stand politically independent of the main western coalition block.
I have tried Lithuania, Malaysia, India. But with no success so far.
Either the few companies I was able to reach didn't provide the typical full set of services I have come to expect from a US-based provider, or the prices they ask are simply out of the market (at least if compared with the ones available from North American and European mainstream providers).
But, my feeling is that we should see some notable growth in this sector, especially for those western publishers who, like me, may have serious interests in having mirrors scattered around globe or simply not under the direct jurisdiction of our traditional courts.
The issue is not me wanting to hide or fearing a totalitarian takeover of the Western block, but rather a gradual and increasingly stronger understanding that if online publishing is key to your survival, you need to take smart preventive steps before someone else does it for you.
If you are upfront in reporting sensitive news, in supporting radical initiatives, in not hiding truth from your readers, you may grow rapidly a colony of angry enemies with big pockets and lots of lawyers.
So, while this is not an issue for many mainstream bloggers or news sites, it is certainly a very sensitive issue for social and political activists, supporters of alternative news and counter-information sites, independent reporters, and many others.
It is also true that going abroad and to far and distant countries like the ones I have mentioned above, carries with it its own risks and handicaps. But, at least in my view, this is part of being on the cutting edge, and when you are exploring new and unventured grounds there are always high chances of error, fraud, underservice, or even worse threats than the ones you have been running away from.
So given the awareness that there is no perfect or ideal solution, the idea of exploring alternative venues to traditional US-based hosting providers remains an interesting one in my opinion.
There can be indeed multiple reasons for which you may want to consider having an hosting provider outside of your home country:
a) Controversial content you publish which may instigate companies with big money and lawyers to block your site if this is easy for them to do so (and boy is it easy in some of ur "friendly and democratic countries").
b) Protection from potential natural disasters or blackouts by guaranteeing yourself multiple mirror locations from which to publish.
c) Protection from forms of restrictive censorship.
d) Faster and more efficient delivery of content to audiences far away from your main hosting source.
e) Greater security and protection against hackers.
In fact, it may be soon possible to offer highly competitive hosting services from non-traditional regions of the world, leveraging the extremely advantageous labor costs, the minimal competition and relative lower costs of entry for newcomers.
Fire them out.