Whether you are looking for ways to reduce the costs, override censorship or geographic restrictions, or for a way to remain anonymous, offshore hosting is an option that many people around the world are looking for and relying on.
But keep in mind that not all offshore hosting services are reliable when it comes to ensuring and guaranteeing the privacy and the freedom which you are expecting.
The best offshore hosting companies are committed to providing privacy for their customers, have more liberal policies for use, and accept payments of the hosting fees via cryptocurrencies which allow users to remain anonymous at all times. Plus, you should opt for a company that is headquartered in a country that has strong privacy and non-disclosure laws and regulations.
In some cases, it may be more suitable for users to use a reliable VPN instead of choosing an offshore hosting service for their website.
Picking the most suitable offshore hosting service can be overwhelming, which is why we are offering this detailed guide for choosing and using an offshore hosting service.
Our top selections for the best offshore hosting companies for 2021 are:
Read on to find out more about these leading services, as well as tips on choosing the leading offshore hosting service for your needs.
More about offshore hosting
Offshore hosting is any service and practice of web hosting outside of one’s own country.
Offshore hosting has become increasingly popular among website owners and users who are faced with certain restrictions or limitations due to geo-restrictions or due to their local regulations and policies.
The most common reason for website owners turning to offshore hosting services is in order to prevent intrusion by their local government and authorities.
While technically often times you may be using a hosting service that has its servers outside of your country, the term offshore hosting refers to those services which are dedicated to providing hosting services to website owners looking for freedom, privacy, security, or for the right to free speech.
Another plausible reason for looking for an offshore hosting service often is financial. In some cases, one may find a less expensive hosting solution located in another country. Also, one’s website may get better global exposure if it is hosted in a particular country than in others. And more exposure means more sales or more traffic.
Plus, in many countries, the governments show a particular interest in their resident’s business activities and in local communications. This is commonly done through direct censorship, regulations, certain taxes, restrictions, and even criminalization of certain businesses and activities.
This makes looking for hosting services in more liberal countries with stricter privacy rules and lack of censorship and restrictions quite reasonable.
Pros of using offshore hosting:
- In most cases, you will ensure global exposure and bigger growth of your website
- You will not be affected by your local cyber and other laws
- The pricing can be more affordable
- Most offshore hosting services accept anonymous cryptocurrency payments, so you can remain completely anonymous
- Double backups on remote servers
Cons of using offshore hosting:
- You may not have rights on the server space or the domain name in some cases
- Some anonymous payment options can get you in trouble
- In many cases, the prices are higher than choosing regular hosting
What are the benefits and reasons for choosing an offshore web hosting
A right to freedom of speech
If you want to post controversial or otherwise censored content on your website, then you risk having the content removed by your local authorities and can even face more serious punishment, including fines, lawsuits, and in some cases even jail.
In some countries where there are dictatorships, owning a website with such content is downright impossible and dangerous.
By choosing an offshore hosting service, the content on your website will be located outside of your own country, and thus it will be less likely that your local authorities can trace it back to you or request that it is removed from the Internet.
A right to freedom of the press
Imagine if WikiLeaks was hosted on a server on the territory of the USA? With this controversial site which released all of those classified documents, it would have been shut down immediately by the authorities in the country.
But the fact is, WikiLeaks is hosted on servers located in Sweden, where there are laws protecting the freedom of press and speech.
The Swedish government and authorities are not legally allowed to ask WikiLeaks to give out their sources and cannot have the website taken down either.
Evading local regulations
In some countries, websites offering online gambling is illegal. In others (like the US), selling prescription medications online without a prescription is illegal, and in most countries, there are strict regulations for websites with pornographic content. This is another reason for users to choose website hosting elsewhere.
Although it is risky to run an online business or website which is not legal in one’s country, by choosing to host the website elsewhere, some of these penalties or restrictions may be avoided.
Of course, the website owners should choose the country where the site will be hosted wisely in order to ensure that there are no other local rules or penalties for hosting their type of website or online business.
Legal residency and taxes
As with offshore businesses and bank accounts, many website owners seek offshore hosting in order to take advantage of the local taxes and residencies. Some locations which are well-known offshore havens include Monaco, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda,
Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Isle of Man, and others.
Complete anonymity guaranteed
There are offshore hosting companies that provide 100% anonymity to their customers and do not require any information provided for the use of their services. These companies usually accept payments via Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, and even cash, and all payments and communication are made via anonymous email accounts.
What are some of the cons and risks of choosing an offshore web hosting
While there are benefits of moving the web hosting to a country where a certain type of content or business is legal can help, there are some problems, and there are no 100% guarantees that the website owner will be completely protected from the regulations.
Here are some issues and facts which you should keep in mind before choosing an offshore hosting company.
You should consider the local regulations and laws as well
Just because you have chosen an offshore hosting service for a website with content that is illegal in your country (say, running an online casino), this doesn’t mean that you are safe from the risk of having problems with the authorities and that you are not engaging in business or activities which are illegal.
Keep in mind that you should always do the following before choosing an offshore hosting company:
- You should research and check the local and location laws and restrictions because even though you may be relying on hosting abroad does not mean that you are not breaking the rules
- Perform in-depth research of the location of the offshore hosting company before committing to it
- Perform an industry check because many industries have internal laws which can restrict or prevent you from working in the sphere or for carrying out your business plans
- Payments can be tracked even if you use Fiat money to pay for the hosting, so choose a provider who accepts anonymous cash or cryptocurrency payments instead
- Read through the company’s privacy terms – make sure that you check whether the hosting service offers the complete anonymity you are looking for by carefully reading through the terms of service and privacy terms provided and that the promised privacy and anonymity is not simply a marketing gimmick
Beware of government intrusion
Even if you choose an anonymous offshore hosting service for your website, there is no 100% guarantee that your local government will not intercept your activities. In countries where there is serious censorship and strict regulations, chances are that the governments will find ways to intrude in a restricted or forbidden activity.
Choosing between offshore VPS hosting and dedicated hosting
If you have decided to opt for offshore hosting, the next question you will likely be asking yourself is whether to choose offshore VPN hosting or dedicated server hosting.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a service that offers the website owners slices of its servers. The hosting service protects the allocation of resources via virtualization software. This helps protect the clients from other users using up the allocated resources and from actions that threaten the security of the website and data.
On the other hand, a dedicated server will provide you with the opportunity to use an entire physical server for your own website. This means that the entire physical server will be dedicated to your website only without any other websites neighboring or sharing it with you.
This ensures 100% control of the server’s configuration and often the right for using a dedicated IP address, which is unique and will identify you securely without the risk of spammers and other users using the same IP address.
The pros of choosing an offshore VPS hosting service include:
- The price for VPS hosting is much more affordable than for dedicated server hosting
- You will still receive a slice of dedicated resources for your website, which is 100% dedicated to you
- It is easy to grow and scale a website when using VPS hosting, as the partition can easily be adjusted and upgraded in accordance with your need for resources
The cons of choosing an offshore VPS hosting service are:
- You do not have 100% control over the hardware of the server
The pros of choosing offshore dedicated hosting:
- You will have complete control over the software and the hardware on your server
- Your website will be separated physically from others
The cons of choosing offshore dedicated hosting:
- The service is usually a lot more expensive than VPS hosting
- It may be difficult to choose the size of the physical server and assess exactly how many resources you will need and will require in the future
The top best offshore hosting services for 2021
Here are the top-rated offshore hosting services which we found in 2021:
Koddos is a reputable offshore hosting service that is focused on offering DDOS protection as well as on offshore website hosting.
It offers the widest variety of offshore hosting services which we could find. The types of offshore hosting you can choose from Koddos include Shared, Reseller, Dedicated, VPS, Hong Kong Dedicated, and Hong Kong Web hosting.
The offshore web hosting plans offered by Koddos start from $8.95 per month for the Mini Plan A Offshore Web Hosting. There are more than 25 different offshore plans offered by the hosting company, so there is a plan suitable for any type of website and for any budget.
The prices for the offshore hosting plans offer an excellent value for the money, with all servers guaranteeing at least 1Gbps connection speeds. The servers are located in the Netherlands, and there are specific offshore hosting plans located in Hong Kong. Plus, all customers will have access to reliable 24/7 live chat and phone customer support.
Since the primary servers are located in the Netherlands, where there are guaranteed freedom of speech and content (excluding child pornography and malicious pages, and SPAM), you can rest assured that your website will be up, and you will not be forced to remove any content from it, or won’t be in risk of any legal action.
Shinjiru is another leading offshore hosting provider service that offers a wide variety of offshore hosting plans. You can choose from the different shared, virtual, and dedicated server hosting plans, which include Budget offshore hosting, WordPress offshore hosting, Bitcoin hosting, and many more.
The prices for the offshore hosting services start from $3.96 per month for the Bulgaria Linux Basic Plan.
All customers will receive discounts of up to 60% of the price for the services if they opt for the 36-month subscription plans offered by Shinjiru.
Some of the perks of choosing the Shinjiru offshore hosting plans include a choice of servers located in 8 privacy-friendly offshore locations around the world, and an in-house DDoS Attack network, 24/7 customer support, unmetered bandwidth, and 99.99% uptime.
The company accepts Bitcoin payments if you want to remain 100% anonymous when signing up and using the service.
As the name of this offshore hosting company suggests, you can pay for the hosting plan of your choice with Bitcoin. But Ethereum and Litecoin are also accepted for a guaranteed anonymous payment.
You can choose between affordable Bitcoin offshore web hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting plans offered by the service.
The company guarantees an uptime of 99.99%, 24/7/365 customer support, cPanel, and more than 150 one-click install options, Patriot Act safe and DMCA, and a choice of servers located in different offshore locations.
The company backs all of its offshore hosting plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
The features to look for when choosing an offshore hosting service
Here are some of the key features to keep in mind when choosing the best offshore hosting service for your needs:
- Free domain – if you don’t own a custom domain name, then you may want to opt for a hosting provider which includes a free domain in its plans.
- Unlimited bandwidth – many offshore hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth (when used within reasonable limits).
- SSD storage – the solid-state drives are faster and more reliable than traditional hard disk drives, and many of the reputable hosting companies offer servers with SSD drives provided by default.
- Pre-installed software or one-click installs – depending on the software you are planning to use for your website, it is recommended that you pick an offshore hosting service that has the software of your choice (Joomla, WordPress, or other) pre-installed or available via one-click installation.
- Data security – it is recommended that you choose a hosting service that offers reliable security tools included in its plans.
- Databases – most hosting services offer MySQL, but other offer support of alternative databases such as Postgre SQL or MongoDB and others.
- KVM – if you use Linux, make sure that the hosting service supports KVM.
- Add-on domains – if you will need more than one domain address, then you can look for a hosting service that offers and supports the usage of add-on multiple domains.
Other essential features to consider when choosing the most suitable offshore hosting service
Naturally, the price is among the most important factors for most users when they are choosing the best hosting plan and company. But aside from the financial side, you will need to select a service that has servers in an offshore location you are interested in.
You should also consider the pros and cons of the different types of hosting services offered and choose the one which is most appropriate for your website and for your budget.
Most offshore hosting services offer shared servers, VPS server,s and dedicated server hosting plans.
The offshore shared server plans are the least expensive of all, but VPS plans offer more resources, while dedicated servers are the most expensive but provide users with the highest performance.