Offshore hosting: more privacy, anonymity, and freedom
In this article, I’ll cover the 3 best options for offshore hosting out there. Additionally, I’ll explain what offshore hosting is and how to select the right one for your site.
Technically, you can say that offshore hosting is whenever you host a website on servers located outside of your own country – a very common practice. And, you’d be right.
However, people generally only use the term if they’re doing it deliberately to achieve a specific goal. Usually, it’s for privacy, security, freedom of speech, or tax purposes. And, it’s a competitive market with plenty of offshore web hosts fighting it out.
But, not all of them will meet all your needs.
This is where I come in. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the best options available – meticulously researched and tested. But, before that, a brief detour to cover the offshore web hosts that value privacy and freedom above all else.
What is actually 100% offshore hosting?
The best offshore hosting providers will offer 100% commitment to privacy. This includes strong privacy policies, depending on the geographical location of the physical server, and various privacy/security measures like domain privacy protection, private host’s servers, payment via cryptocurrencies, and more.
If you’re looking for truly offshore solutions, these providers all offer very excellent options for offshore web hosting:
- Shinjiru – Shinjiru is one of the most experienced offshore web hosts. Based in Malaysia, it operates 8 data centers worldwide: in its home country Malaysia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Russia, and Singapore. Some of its offshore-favoring features include payments via Bitcoin and Ethereum, private hidden IP address, its own anti-DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack protection infrastructure, and private domain registration.
- Flaunt7 – Flaunt7’s data centers are in the Netherlands – one of the most popular locations thanks to its strong privacy laws and lenient adherence to the DMCA. Among other things, the provider allows payment via Bitcoin as well as IP logs deletion every week, no verification documents necessary, and no censorship.
- AbeloHost – AbeloHost offshore hosting is another service provider with servers based in the Netherlands. This comes from the fact that the Netherlands has strong privacy laws in place. Now as to the provider’s offshore-friendly features, there’s plenty. This includes accepting payment via Bitcoin and Chinese payment gateways (Alipay and WeChat Pay), no sharing of personally identifiable information (PII), and a wide variety of content allowed.
While these offshore web hosts prioritize privacy and freedom above everything else, some ‘traditional’ hosts offer pretty much the same features and protections but in a more well-rounded manner. Let’s check them out.
Best offshore hosting: ranked
- Hostinger – best offshore hosting provider overall
- HostPapa – best offshore hosting provider with generous security features
- SiteGround – performance-focused and feature-rich offshore hosting provider
If you’re not quite sure what makes a provider a good offshore hosting solution, feel free to first check out our list of features at the bottom.
More so, since Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 are right around the corner, check out our list of best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
|Features||7 server locations, payments in cryptocurrencies, DDoS protection, Cloudflare Protected Nameservers|
|Best for||A budget offshore hosting for any type of website|
Hostinger tops the list because it combines extremely cheap offshore hosting with plans from just $1.39 and rich features. The provider numerous offers offshore hosting locations around the world, various payment method options (including crypto), and many privacy-related measures. Plus, its performance is A+.
Here are what Hostinger offers if you’re looking for offshore hosting:
- 7 server locations across the world – the Netherlands, US, UK, Lithuania, Brazil, Singapore, and Indonesia – and many of them have strict privacy laws.
- Headquarters in Lithuania and Cyprus, which are free from the enforcement of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and many other data and censorship-related laws.
- Multiple payment methods, including cryptocurrencies, and requires only minimal information to register.
- Cloudflare Protected Nameservers to shield against DDoS attacks.
- Although it is not included with any of the host’s plans, you can purchase WHOIS domain privacy for just $5/year.
Overall, Hostinger, with its cheap pricing and rich offshore-friendly features, definitely ranks at the top of the list.
Offshore hosting is available on Hostinger’s 3 shared hosting plans. It also comes with an affordable price range from $1.39/mo to $3.99/mo.
All 3 plans come with a free SSL certificate, weekly backups, and Cloudflare Protected Nameservers.
Of course, they aren’t entirely the same:
- Single ($1.39/mo) – comes with 1 website, 30GB of disk space, 100GB bandwidth for about 10,000 monthly visits, and 1 email account.
- Premium ($1.99/mo) – offers 100 websites with 100GB storage, unlimited bandwidth for around 25,000 monthly visits, up to 100 email accounts, and a free domain for a year.
- Business ($3.99/mo) – includes 100 websites with 200GB storage, unlimited bandwidth for 100,000 monthly visits, 100 email accounts, daily backups, a free domain for a year, and free CDN.
Generally, Premium is the best option for most. It’s just a few cents more than Single but you get far more storage, bandwidth, and email accounts. Plus, you can host up to 100 websites and get a free domain for a year.
Hostinger’s performance confirms that it’s one of the best offshore web hosting providers.
It has the industry-standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, but my site saw an impeccable 100% uptime with absolutely no outages.
As for response times, there were some mild fluctuations but still very consistent – signifying good server health. They ultimately evened out to a fast 511ms, which falls under the market’s average of 600ms.
In short, Hostinger is a reliable and speedy performer that will maintain the highest quality of performance anywhere due to its many available data center locations. Even with its cheapest hosting package.
In summary, Hostinger is a good offshore hosting provider due to its many server location options, crypto payments, and good performance.
- 7 server locations around the world
- Accept various payment methods, including cryptocurrencies
- Very cheap pricing
- No free WHOIS domain privacy
- Free domain not available for entry-plan
|Features||3 server locations, free SSL, ModSecurity, server-level firewall, server monitoring, DDoS protection, brute force detection|
|Best for||All types of businesses and their offshore hosting|
HostPapa is a smaller fish in the industry but it’s no dud or a rookie either, making it a solid option for offshore hosting. The provider offers servers in several locations, tons of features even for its entry plan, and wide-ranging security measures – all at very affordable pricing. Plus, HostPapa is also very reliable.
An offshore hosting go-to for small business owners and budget-seekers, this is what you’ll find with HostPapa:
- 3 server locations – in the US, Canada, and Europe. For Europe, HostPapa’s servers are in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where privacy laws are taken very seriously.
- Only 2 payment methods: credit/debit cards or PayPal. As both methods store personal information, 100% private purchase is not possible.
- A slew of security measures, including SSL certificate, ModSecurity, server-level firewall, server monitoring, DDoS protection, and brute force detection.
- Domain privacy is only included in the premium plan but you can also get it for $9.99/year.
In brief, HostPapa offers a good value offshore web hosting solution with its extensive features – especially security-wise. But, it isn’t ideal if anonymity is a must.
HostPapa has 3 plans that are great options for offshore hosting. The pricing starts from $4.76/mo and goes up to $14.36/mo.
The trio comes with unmetered bandwidth, plus you also get a free domain, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, and Cloudflare CDN.
As for what’s within each plan:
- Starter ($4.76/mo) – 1 website with 100GB of disk space and 100 email addresses.
- Business ($4.76/mo) – unlimited websites, email addresses, and storage.
- Business Pro ($14.36/mo) – unlimited websites, email addresses, and storage as well as advanced security, domain privacy protection, Premium Wildcard SSL certificate, automated backup, and SiteLock Detect.
While HostPapa offers plenty of security features for all of its plans, Business Pro ($14.36/mo) has the most complete protection for offshore hosting.
When it comes to performance, HostPapa showed extreme reliability and below-average speed.
Monitored over 2 weeks, my HostPapa impressed with a 100% uptime – even though it only offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. There wasn’t a single outage and I feel justified in giving it 2 thumbs up.
However, its response times went down a different route with the average response time coming in at 1.19s. Sure, that isn’t disastrous, but, frankly, HostPapa could do with an improvement. In fact, I’d be satisfied even if it just reduces the response times to the industry-standard 600ms.
Overall, HostPapa’s reliability is immaculate at 100% uptime. Meanwhile, its response times could use a boost but it’s no dealbreaker.
As a whole, HostPapa is among some of the best offshore hosting options due to its numerous offshore server location choices, many security features, and high reliability.
- 3 offshore locations, including in the Netherlands
- Extensive security measures
- Impressive 100% uptime
- Payment methods limited to credit/debit cards and PayPal
- Slower server response time
|Features||6 server locations, real-time monitoring, custom Web Application Firewall, an AI anti-bot system, daily backups|
|Best for||A powerful and secure offshore hosting|
SiteGround made its way onto this list by offering heaps of offshore-friendly features, including numerous server locations and solid security measures. Plus, the provider has amazing performance results.
A top-notch option, here’s what you can expect from SiteGround for offshore hosting:
- Numerous server locations on multiple continents. SiteGround has servers in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. With this many jurisdictions, you’ll be sure to find one that’s suitable for your site.
- Automated daily backups are stored in different data centers for extra protection.
- Ample security features, including a real-time monitoring system, a custom web application firewall (WAF), and an AI anti-bot system.
- Domain privacy for protection from prying eyes is available at $12 for the first year. It then renews for $24/year.
- Keep in mind, only cards and PayPal are accepted for payment, which will limit your anonymity.
Overall, SiteGround offers a very well-rounded solution with vital features for offshore hosting – making it one of the top options out there.
SiteGround has 3 plans you can pick from for offshore hosting. They’re priced from $3.99/mo to $10.69/mo.
All plans include unmetered traffic, automated daily backup, as well as free email accounts, an SSL certificate, and CDN.
So, how are they different from each other?
- Startup ($3.99/mo) – includes 1 website, 10GB of disk space, and can fit up to 10,000 monthly visits.
- GrowBig ($6.69/mo) – allows hosting unlimited websites, includes 20GB storage, and can accommodate about 100,000 monthly visits. It also includes free on-demand backup copies and staging tools.
- GoGeek ($10.69/mo) – comes with unlimited websites, 40GB storage, and can support about 400,000 monthly visits. Additionally, it comes with on-demand backup copies, staging tools, and priority support.
The GrowBig plan is the best hosting plan for offshore projects. At a competitive $6.69/mo, you can host multiple offshore websites and utilize plenty of features and tools, including staging.
Incredibly fast and reliable, SiteGround’s performance is the benchmark for all hosting providers, whether offshore or otherwise.
For uptime, SiteGround has the standard 99.9% guarantee but it far surpassed that and maintained a 99.99% uptime for months, instead.
Speed-wise, SiteGround holds the record for the fastest response times on this list. Consistently between amazingly swift 175ms and 267ms, they ultimately averaged at a blazing fast 217ms. Barely just a half of the market’s average time.
In brief, Siteground blew past all expectations with its excellent reliability and remarkable speed. Wherever your servers are based, your audiences should see excellent performance.
Overall, SiteGround offers many server occasions, even more, security tools, and very impressive performance. All this and more make this host one of the best options for offshore hosting.
- Server locations in 4 continents
- An abundance of security features
- Very fast response times of 217ms
- Payment only via cards and PayPal
- No free domain
Best offshore hosting: final recommendations
A very in-demand solution, it’s no wonder that scores of companies are all clamoring to offer offshore hosting. It is a tight race after all so before you make up your mind, here’s a recap of each host:
- Hostinger is a cheap and fast provider with numerous data centers and crypto payment options.
- HostPapa is a feature-rich and secure offshore web host that comes with 3 server locations.
- SiteGround is a premium host with top-notch performance and rich features for offshore hosting.
What’s important when choosing offshore hosting?
The host’s server location is of utmost importance when you’re shopping for offshore hosting services since you need servers outside of your country for this purpose. Beyond that, you also want to look at anonymous payment options, a flexible content policy, and other security measures.
First, where your server is located, that country’s regulations and rules apply to your hosted site. And, some countries have very strict laws on censorship or have wide-ranging prohibitions affecting privacy and freedom. Meanwhile, other countries well… don’t.
So, when you combine the two, the answer is obvious. You want to go for countries with stricter privacy laws. Alternatively, countries with more disregard for data-related laws – such as the US’ DMCA – would work, too, to give you more wiggle room.
Popular locations for data centers include the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and Russia.
An offshore web host (in comparison to a traditional non-offshore host) tends to be more lenient when it comes to the type of content and activities it allows on its servers. For instance, torrenting, gambling, hacking, and adult websites are fair game to many providers.
However, it’s still best to check that the host allows whatever activities or potentially controversial content you’ve planned for your website before actually committing to the host.
Alternative payment methods for offshore hosting are crucial if anonymity is a priority. The ability to pay with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin means that your transactions can be untraceable and private. Meanwhile, methods like credit cards, PayPal, or even fiat currencies require identity verification and can be tracked.
Of course, if you’re not seeking 100% anonymity, standard payments won’t put you into trouble. Alternatively, the card or the PayPal can be under someone else’s name rather than yours.
Minimal personal information
If anonymous hosting is what you need, you want to find a host that doesn’t ask for any personal details and information during registration.
Of course, things like name, contact information, and identity verifications are off the table. However, in some cases, these can be faked.
Privacy-related security measures
To maintain a higher level of privacy, you also want your hosts to have various security measures in place.
For starters, domain privacy and protection will ensure that your personal information is kept private even with the ICANN’s WHOIS protocol. Some providers offer this for free while others charge for it.
Additionally, if the host has its own private servers, this ensures that the provider has full control over the server and can maintain a certain level of security at the offshore data center.
Best offshore hosting FAQs
What is offshore hosting provider?
An offshore hosting provider is one that has servers in multiple locations all over the world. This enables hosted sites to comply with local privacy and freedom of content laws. It also typically offers a lenient content policy, multiple payment methods, easy registration, and privacy-related features.
Which country is best for hosting?
The country that’s best for hosting an offshore data center is the Netherlands. It has strict privacy laws and doesn’t adhere to other countries' data-related regulations.
Is there free offshore hosting?
Yes, there are some free shared hosting solutions that can classify offshore (depending on your location). However, it is strongly advised against it as its security and privacy measures are weak or non-existent.
What is offshore dedicated server?
An offshore dedicated server is a private physical server located outside of your country. Dedicated servers offshore tend to offer better performance, improved security, anonymity, and freedom than shared or VPS hosting offshore.
Why is offshore hosting not free?
Offshore hosting isn’t free because the providers will have to fund the cost of servers, equipment, and maintenance in a foreign country (preferably numerous countries). Since any offshore provider foregoes ads to increase data protection, monetization to cover the operating cost is impossible.