Let’s say you’re already past Part 1 of the running-marketing-sites-in-China journey, and after analyzing your current site’s user experience in China you’ve decided SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. The next big question is:
Do you need infrastructure IN China or just CLOSER TO China?
Let’s break down what each of those approaches entails, and how close each one gets you to what you’re trying for.
What’s Involved in Hosting in China?
Hosting your site in China gets you a number of decided advantages, but is a complex and rather involved process that comes with limitations as well. For example:
Significant latency penalty for Chinese visitors when hosted outside of China: As noted in the last article, hosting outside of China means you will most likely be subject to a significant penalty in terms of latency and quality-of-service as compared to in-China hosting. In some cases, and for some sites, your performance may be acceptable, but for others it’s a deal-breaker – and only your RUM analytics can tell you the story of whether you’re turning away customers due to a sluggish or unusable site.
Ability to use in-China CDN: In order to use an in-China CDN provider like Akamai China or China Cache, you need to be hosted inside of China, and also need to have a license for your content as well (see ICP license section below).
Subject to blocking & quality-of-service limits: If you’re outside China, your site experience will also be highly-variable, subject to potential blocking without recourse, as well as random (or seemingly-random) quality-of-service degradation.
Online Sales within China or accepting Payment: If your mission is to accept payment inside China or sell & deliver products & services to Chinese residents, you’ll need a licensed, hosted-in-China site.