A well-known term in South Africa – local is lekker. It’s often referred to by SMEs and their customers, to boost support for small businesses that create employment and contribute to the local economy. But we can apply the phrase to more than just the physical act of buying and selling. The digital space is another area where local is most certainly lekker.

Whether you’ve already got web hosting or you’re browsing for web hosting companies, choosing a local provider has a number of advantages. What is local web hosting? Very simply local web hosting is where the servers that host all of your website data are located within your region. In our case, South Africa.

Want to get the most out of your hosting service? Here are four reasons why local web hosting is the right choice:

Faster website loading times

Both page and website loading times are significantly faster if using a local web host. Why? Simply put, the travel times of data, between a server and a device is physically much shorter. As data takes a lot less time to get to a user’s device, they land on your website and can browse your pages, at lightning speed. This makes for a positive user experience.

If your audience is local, then a local hosting provider is beneficial to both them and your business in general.

Tighter Security

While an international company may provide web hosting at a cheaper rate, they may not be as invested in each individual customer and not include robust security measures to keep your data safe. Whereas a local provider is more focused on the local customer and will provide a secure data backup feature. 

Whether you need shared, or dedicated server hosting, an international company might be more affordable, but a local company will provide more value in the long run.

Convenient customer service

A local provider simply means local time zones. For any support service, technical advice or maintenance, a local provider and customer service team will be available to assist you when it’s suitable for you. 

It is also more likely that a local support team will better understand the market, and therefore your business needs and requirements. This all aids in fast responses and minimal downtime.

Improved visibility on search engines

Search engines aim to find and provide the most relevant content to their users. If a browser is on the lookout for a local business, an engine such as Google will take the IP address into account in order to assess whether the business website will be useful to local searchers. 

With a local hosting provider, and therefore local IP address, search engines such as Google are far more likely to show your website to local searchers.

Additionally, site speed is another factor that search engines take into account. If your website loads fast for users, you have optimised for the user experience that Google likes to see.

Read more: Small business SEO checklist

In summary, the benefits of choosing local versus international web hosting are:

  1. Fast website loading times
  2. Robust security
  3. Better customer support
  4. Improved search engine rankings