Since our inception in 2018, knok-studios.com has been instrumental in launching a variety of websites for our clients based in Vietnam.
One common question we address is: What are the best hosting options for my website, and is hosting in Vietnam always the right choice?
In the following sections, we will explore when hosting in Vietnam is advantageous and when other options might be more suitable.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Host a Website in Vietnam?
Is it the same as having a .vn domain name?
Hosting a website in Vietnam and having a .vn domain name are two distinct aspects of establishing a web presence in the country.
Hosting in Vietnam refers to the physical location where your website’s data is stored and accessed. By opting for local hosting services, your website’s data resides on servers within Vietnam. This can lead to faster loading times for local users and potentially better compliance with national regulations.
On the other hand, a .vn domain name relates to your website’s address or URL. Registering a .vn domain indicates a connection to Vietnam, be it through geographic location, cultural identity, or business operations. It can enhance your website’s credibility and relevance in the eyes of local users and search engines within Vietnam.
We have explained this in detail in our guide, “Everything You Should Know About .vn Domain Names.”
In summary, it’s important to remember that both aspects are crucial but serve different purposes:
- Hosting is about the technical performance and reliability of your website.
- The domain name is about its identity and visibility in the Vietnamese digital landscape.
How Does Hosting Affect Your Website’s Speed and Performance?
We’ve decided to write this article because the hosting service you choose is crucial in determining your website’s speed and overall performance. This performance also impacts your rankings on Google.
Let’s break this down into a few key points to understand why:
- Server Location and Load Times: If your target audience is primarily in a specific geographic area, hosting your site on a server close to that region can significantly reduce load times. For example, a website aimed at Vietnamese users will generally load faster if it’s hosted on a server in Vietnam since the data has less distance to travel.
- Server Quality and Resources: The quality and capacity of the hosting server are critical. High-quality servers with sufficient resources, such as CPU, RAM, and storage, can efficiently handle more traffic and data requests. Conversely, overloaded or outdated servers may result in slower response times and even downtime during periods of peak traffic.
- Hosting Type Matters: The type of hosting you choose – be it shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud hosting – has a significant impact on performance. Shared hosting, where multiple sites are hosted on the same server, might be more economical but can lead to reduced performance, particularly if other sites on the server attract high traffic.
- Optimization and Configuration: The setup and management of your hosting environment also influence speed. Proper server configuration, such as enabling caching, optimizing databases, and ensuring regular updates and maintenance, is crucial for enhancing website performance.
In summary, wisely choosing your hosting is essential, as it significantly affects your website’s speed and performance. This is not a decision to take lightly.
Why is the Underwater Cables Question Crucial for Web Hosting in Vietnam?
When considering hosting a website outside of Vietnam, it’s vital to understand a key factor: your website’s data will need to pass through one of the several underwater cables connecting Vietnam to the rest of the world. This transmission typically wouldn’t be an issue if the cables functioned normally.
Recurring Cable Performance Issues: A Problem for Vietnam
Unfortunately, the reliability of these underwater cables has been a recurring concern. There have been multiple instances of malfunction, including a notable period in early 2023 when 4 out of 5 normally functional cables were experiencing issues. These problems lead to significant performance degradation for websites hosted outside Vietnam, while sites hosted locally are generally able to maintain decent performance.
An Issue of the Past?
It’s important to note that, as serious as these problems are, they are usually resolved after a few weeks of disturbance. More importantly, Vietnam is actively working to enhance its connectivity with the rest of the world, aiming to make these cable issues a thing of the past.
For instance, the new ADC submarine cable landed in Vietnam in April 2023. It spans 9,800 km with a capacity of over 140 Tbps, backed by an initial investment of 290 million USD. This project is the first among several others planned, as the country is expected to have four to six new undersea cables by 2030, according to the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA).
Is There a Legal Obligation to Host Websites in Vietnam?
The question of whether there’s a legal obligation to host data in Vietnam is complex and currently evolving.
The key factor shaping this situation is Decree 53, an extension of Vietnam’s 2018 Cybersecurity Law. This decree outlines specific local hosting requirements, but its practical enforcement is yet to begin.
Here’s a structured breakdown:
Decree 53’s stipulations:
- Domestic and overseas companies engaged in data-related activities on telecom networks and internet services in Vietnam must store a wide range of data types locally. This includes credit card information, email addresses, network addresses (IP), and registered phone numbers associated with accounts.
- Overseas entities holding data subject to local storage, as mentioned above, and doing business in Vietnam, may need to establish a local presence. This applies to a wide range of sectors, including social media, e-commerce, payment intermediaries, and more.
Challenges in Enforcement:
Despite these regulations, the EuroCham Whitebook 2024 highlights critical concerns about the decree’s unclear application and enforcement. Key issues include the lack of clarity on which entities are subject to these data localization and local office requirements.
Given these ambiguities and challenges, Decree 53 is not currently enforced in a clear and consistent manner. This leads to a situation where, although the legal framework for data hosting within Vietnam exists, its practical application remains very limited or non-existent.
Knok-Studios’ Opinion on the Question
Our observations indicate that, so far, among customers and partners, almost no company has initiated changes to their hosting policy in anticipation of the possible enforcement of Decree 53.
For those planning to operate a large-scale online business in Vietnam, where full enforcement of this decree could significantly impact your operations, we recommend collaborating with a law firm to proactively address this issue.
But, if you are running a medium or small-sized business, our view is that this decree should not heavily influence your decision on whether to host your website in Vietnam. The scope of the decree is still unclear, and its enforcement has not yet begun.
Can Foreigners Access Local Hosting Services in Vietnam?
Currently, there are no regulations preventing foreigners from using local hosting companies to host their websites in Vietnam.
It’s important to note that you will be required to go through a KYC (Know Your Customer) process, which usually involves submitting identification documents. Also, hosting providers often ask for a local address during the registration process.
Should I Always Host My Sites in Vietnam If I Am Targeting the Vietnamese Market?
After considering the aspects of speed and potential future legal implications, you might conclude that hosting your website in Vietnam is essential when operating a business there. However, this isn’t necessarily true.
You need to be aware that hosting is a critical component of your web presence, and a poor choice can lead to several issues:
- Uptime: Frequent downtimes make your website often inaccessible.
- Loading Speed: Slow performance leads to a poor user experience.
- Security: Increased vulnerability to cyber threats and data breaches.
- Scalability: Challenges in handling increased traffic as your site grows.
- SEO Rankings: Lower search engine rankings due to poor site performance and reliability.
- Data Integrity: Risk of data loss or corruption due to inadequate backup solutions and poor data management.
For these reasons, we’ve historically favored hosting our customer sites outside of Vietnam, except when specifically requested otherwise.
Vietnam’s development in the digital sector is fairly recent, which has made it challenging to find trustworthy companies offering reliable hosting service and good customer support, especially if you need English-speaking customer service.
To put Vietnam’s tech sector growth into perspective, consider Viettel’s beginnings.
This was Viettel in 1989, starting with just 9 employees, all former members of the army. Now, it’s a telecommunications giant worth billions, with the Viettel brand alone valued at 8.8 billion dollars, making it the most valuable in the country.
This recent surge in the tech sector, while impressive, also highlights a key challenge: as the industry is still in its relative infancy, many Vietnamese hosting providers haven’t had the opportunity to establish a lengthy, proven track record yet.
What Are the Different Types of Hosting Available in Vietnam?
Despite the relative novelty of many hosting providers in Vietnam, you will find a broad spectrum of services available.
Below are the main types of hosting services you can access in Vietnam.
Shared, Dedicated, Managed, and VPS Hosting in Vietnam:
- Shared Hosting: This is the most basic and economical option, where your website shares a server with other websites.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting: VPS hosting simulates a dedicated server within a shared environment, offering a balance between shared and dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated Hosting: This option provides you with an entire server for your exclusive use. It’s more expensive but ideal for large, resource-heavy websites.
- Managed Hosting: Available in shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud formats, managed hosting adds an extra layer of support and management.
Specialized Hosting in Vietnam:
- Reseller Hosting: This allows you to use your allocated hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites for third parties, effectively making you a hosting provider to your clients.
WordPress Hosting: Specially optimized for WordPress sites, this hosting can be on shared, VPS, or dedicated servers and includes features like one-click installations and automatic updates.
- E-commerce Hosting: Designed for online stores, this hosting is optimized for running an e-commerce site.
Please note that this is only an overview of the available services in Vietnam. Some providers may offer additional services not listed here.
Also, be aware that these services are sometimes bundled under generic terms like “cheap hosting” or “business hosting.” Always make sure you understand exactly what you are purchasing.
What Are the Best Hosting Providers in Vietnam?
We can suggest a few names, though as previously mentioned, we generally recommend hosting outside of Vietnam for most of our customers. However, if you are considering local providers, you might want to compare these options:
- Vinahost.vn: Established in 2008, Vinahost provides a wide range of specialized solutions, including WordPress hosting and e-commerce hosting. They have an English website and offer English support.
- PA Vietnam: Operating since 2001, PA Vietnam claims to be the largest .vn registrar, managing nearly 200,000 domains. They offer a broad spectrum of hosting services and have an English website (note: we have not tested their English support).
- Hostvn.net: This local company has over 10 years of experience in hosting services. However, they do not offer an English website or support.
Additionally, the telecom and software giant FPT also provides hosting services. They have an English website, but it’s important to note that hosting small or medium-sized websites is not their primary focus.
How Much Does It Cost to Host a Website in Vietnam?
Comparing the prices of different hosting services in Vietnam is difficult due to the variety of options and settings each provider offers.
- Type of Hosting: Options range from shared (cheapest), VPS, to dedicated hosting (most expensive).
- Level of Resources: This refers to the allocation of CPU power, RAM, storage, and bandwidth.
- Additional Features: Factors like security measures, scalability options, level of support, and backup solutions also play a role in pricing.
We’ve come across hosting offers in Vietnam for less than $10 per year, but these often provide minimal options that might not suffice for running even a basic website.
It’s important to assess your specific needs and thoroughly understand the actual services offered by your potential hosting provider before making a price comparison.
Overall, the pricing for hosting services in Vietnam aligns closely with what you would expect in other parts of the world.