Keeping your website compliant with the laws of your local country can be a challenge. To avoid regional legal issues (often privacy or free speech related), many turn to the offshore hosting.
Technically, any site hosted outside your own country is "offshore". But there are a vast number of specialized offshore website hosts located in jurisdictions that grant legal protections for their sites.
But in a legally grey area like offshore hosting, how do you know which providers to trust with your data?
Well, unless you test out their services, you can't.
Which is why I trialed over 40 offshore hosting providers. After some exhaustive testing, I present to you the top 5:
- Visual Web Technologies (awesome for WordPress)
- IP Hoster (bargain prices)
- Flaunt7 (great privacy options)
- WebCare360 (straightforward location choice)
- OffshoreDedi (dedicated streaming options)
Prices from: $10 /month for unlimited storage and bandwidthVisual Web Technologies is a hosting service located in India with offshore servers in the Netherlands (Amsterdam).
The plans are all pretty straightforward and include unlimited storage and bandwidth, so you won't need to worry about exceeding any arbitrary caps. That makes this a great service if you want to use your offshore site to share data-heavy multimedia content with a large audience.
Thanks to 1-click WordPress installation and the inclusion of a WordPress security suite with a CSF firewall, VWT is also particularly good for offshore WordPress hosting.
But even if you host a non-WP site through Visual Web Technologies, you'll receive an impressive set of security features. Plans come with Cloudflare CDN software and offshore traffic is routed through multiple global scrubbing centers, reducing exposure to DDoS attacks.
One slight drawback to note regarding its customer service is that a bookable 1 to 1 session with their support team is only available to customers who choose the more expensive business plan. However, live-chat support is available 24/7 to all customers.
- 1-click WordPress installation
- WordPress security suite
- Great security features
- Starter plan does not include 1-1 support sessions
Prices from: $0.95/month for 3GB storage and unlimited bandwidthIP Hoster is an absurdly cheap offshore server hosting service from Estonia. They have servers located in France (Paris), Poland (Warsaw), Canada (Toronto) and Germany (Frankfurt).
If you are looking into offshore hosting because of privacy concerns, IP Hoster's Bitcoin payment option is a key selling point - it can be used to add an extra layer of security to protect your identity.
It's also nice to see that shared hosting packages include SSD storage as standard, so you won't have to trade page load speed for privacy.
But along with shared hosting, offshore VPS hosting and offshore dedicated hosting plans are available. I particularly recommend IP Hoster's dedicated offshore servers for hosting mission-critical applications. You'll receive full root control over the server and won't have to worry about shared resources being overwhelmed.
IP Hoster also allows mining of digital currencies on offshore dedicated servers which is another benefit for crypto enthusiasts out there. Dedicated plans begin at an amazing $23/month for 500GB storage. Similar capacity dedicated onshore servers can rarely be found for twice as much.
- Low prices
- Unlimited bandwidth with all plans
- Bitcoin payments accepted
- SSL not included ($10 /year)
- Wiki support page unavailable in English
Prices from: $0.99 /month for unlimited storage and bandwidth
Flaunt7 is an offshore hosting service with servers located in France (Paris), Holland (Amsterdam), Germany (Munich), Singapore, Russia (Moscow) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).
This is a great offshore option if you are focused on data security and hack-protection as well as privacy. Flaunt7 includes Cloudflare software which acts as a firewall to help prevent from DDoS attacks and eliminate bot activity.
And if software protection isn't enough, you can upgrade to a fully managed high-privacy VPS services plan. Besides giving you more dedicated resources, these plans grant access to a range of round the clock technicians who monitor your site for unwanted activity.
Flaunt7 also has a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) ignored policy, meaning its a great provider to use if you are worried about claims being made on the content you want to host. However...
Take 'DMCA Ignored' Claims With a Pinch of Salt
Although Flaunt7 may ignore a large portion of DMCA claims, it is rare for hosting companies to universally ignore all DMCA notices - even if they claim to. If the DMCA is followed up with a threat of a lawsuit - in whatever offshore jurisdiction your server is in - it's unlikely any hosting provider will keep your site online.
But of course, each case is different and Flaunt7 might be just right for you: simply remember that there's no 100% legal guarantee.
- Great privacy features
- Free domain
- Cheap shared hosting plans
- DMCA Ignored policy
- VPS and dedicated options could be cheaper
- Short money back period (3 days)
Prices from: $11.40 /month (€9.99) for VPS hosting with 10GB SSD storage
WebCare360 does not offer shared or dedicated hosting options but has a range of VPS packages. That's not a big deal, however, as the advantages of VPS hosting (such as scalability and security) make it an ideal form of offshore hosting.
Offshore VPS packages are all unmetered, and all VPS servers are encrypted so sites are fast and secure.
If that's not enough, WebCare360 also offers a separate specialized anti-DDoS package.
However, what really caught my eye when testing WebCare360's services, was the ease with which I could select the geographical location of my server.
Given how important your offshore servers' location is, this is a feature WebCare360's competition need to catch up on!
Watch Out - No Refunds Available!
While refund policies aren't as common in the offshore hosting world as they are for onshore hosts, I was still disappointed to find that no refunds of any length are offered for offshore VPS hosted packages.
- Easy server location choice
- Anti-DDoS services
- No refund policy
Prices from: $3.40 /month (€2.99) for 5GB storage with unmetered bandwidthOffShodeDedi hails from both Belize and Canada. It operates servers in Bulgaria (Sofia), Ukraine (Kiev) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).
OffshoreDedi offers affordable shared hosting, but dedicated hosting is costly, with the starter plan priced at $101.22/month (€89) which includes 1TB of HDD storage.
What differentiates OffshoreDedi from other services is its tailor-made streaming plans. They provide you with enough power to help you share high definition video content with a large audience. They don't come cheap though, beginning at $226.30/month (€199) which gets you 16GB RAM and a dedicated 1Gbps port.
What's more, you won't need to worry too much about your streaming content being removed - OffshoreDedi is a free speech focused startup and committed to its DMCA ignore policy. Although, as I already mentioned, you shouldn't consider that a 100% guarantee every notice will be discarded.
SSD Storage is Lacking, Though...
SSD storage isn't available except in the most expensive dedicated hosting package, and isn't included with any shared hosting plans - quite the omission! This doesn't mean that every site posted on OffshoreDedi is going to be very slow. HDD storage can still be pretty good - but on average, those servers might be a bit slower than the SSD ones would be.
- Dedicated streaming packages
- Cheap shared hosting
- DMCA Ignored Policy
- SSD storage not standard
So, Which Is The Best Offshore Web Hosting Provider For You?
When deciding between the above top 5 offshore hosting sites, you need to consider what type of hosting you need to protect your privacy, and you also need to take the server location into account when thinking about legal protection.
To help you decide, though, I have put some of the key benefits of each below:
- Visual Web Technologies is a straightforward route to offshore WordPress hosting
- IP Hoster provides extremely cheap shared and dedicated offshore hosting
- Flaunt7 offers very good privacy protection
- WebCare360 makes it easy to pick your server location
- OffshoreDedi is great for hosting offshore streaming sites
Also, it is worth to mention that these companies are not only there for small projects. All of my top offshore hosting providers (other than Visual Web Technologies) offer dedicated offshore hosting, too. And the summary above also applies when picking a dedicated offshore server host as well.
This post right here sums up, in my opinion, the best offshore hosting providers out there. Have you tried any of them yourself? Or maybe you think there's a better company that I have missed? Let me know in the comments below.