December 26th, 2007 admin
Based on Verisign’s quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, the Chinese country coded Top Level Domain (dot cn) has passed the dot uk (Britain) to become the second largest worldwide. Germany’s dot de remains the top ccTLD. Now the six largest TLDs are, in that order, .com, .de, .net, .cn, .uk and .org.
The number of ccTLDs has grown to 54.6 million by the end of the third quarter of 07, a 38% increase yoy, and the surge in Chinese Domain Names registrations this year has played an important part of that.
To read the full report, click here
December 22nd, 2007 admin
Should I host my site in China or overseas? This question is often asked when considering establishing an online presence for the Chinese market. We offer both China (Shanghai, Shenzhen) and overseas (Singapore, UK, USA) hosting, and we have clients coming to us for advice about the best location. At the same time, many do not clearly understand the issues involved and the differences between both choices.
Although making in China seems to be the way to go, we will see through this article that it makes sometimes sense to consider alternative locations.
Speed of access is the main reason why sites serving mainly a (mainland) Chinese audience should be hosted on servers physically located in China. Due to what is usually referred as the “Great Firewall”, overseas traffic to China is filtered, reducing substantially the speed of sites hosted in other countries. Especially when your site is in a shared hosting environment, it can make a huge difference. Clients and potential prospects may not have the time and patience to wait tens of seconds for your site to load, or to go from one page to another.
The second strong point for hosting in China is avoiding to have your site blocked in China. Whole blocks or specific IP addresses are randomly blocked from access in China (when for instance that IP is shared by a politically-“unfriendly”, adult or other types of sites judged not suitable for the Chinese audience, which can trigger the block). Locally-hosted sites are less susceptible of being blocked (unless your hosting company goes into trouble and servers are shut down). Many companies which got tired of having to move from host to host due to their sites being blocked in China ended up setting up an account with a domestic Chinese hosting company.
Now, what is negative about hosting in China and why should you consider hosting overseas instead? Here is a list of six factors that can be critical for your business:
1-ICP license. All sites hosted in China are required to apply for an ICP (internet content provider) license. The process can take from two weeks to a couple of months. The ICP can be applied as an individual, but for a corporate website your business license will be needed. You can sure operate your website prior to obtaining the ICP license (or not apply for one at all), but at any time the relevant authorities may ask your web hosting company to shut down your account.
2-Censorship: Hosting in China will force you to self-censor your website, as any sensitive content (especially if in Chinese language) may mean trouble for you and your host. If your site has blogs and forums in Chinese language, you will need to be very careful and you may even be required to apply for additional licenses.
3-Data security and copyright: There has been many cases of Chinese datacenters selling data hosted on their servers to third parties. The likelihood of having your site copied and your pages contents or confidential information stolen is definitely higher when hosted on Chinese servers. Rule of law in the hosting industry is almost inexistent, and for copyright infringement issues you will have all the trouble to get any assistance from law enforcement organizations.
4-Cost: hosting in China is more expensive when compared to overseas (especially the US), especially for larger space plans. It can make a real difference over a couple of years.
5-Technical support: English-language technical support is in most cases not available from most of the Chinese web hosting companies and datacenters. On the other hand, if you were used to a 24/7 support from your host overseas, in China you will have to settle for business hours only. If your site happens to go down or have problems on Saturday, your only option would be to wait till Monday for a technician to get it resolved. You can imagine the impact on your holiday sales.
6-Email: if email is an important part of your business, then you should definitely not host in China. Or, as we recommend to most of our clients, even if your web hosting is in China, keep the email hosting overseas. Many shared Chinese IP addresses are heavily used by spammers, ending up in blacklists, meaning your sent emails will in most cases find themselves in spam boxes of the recipients. It is true that European and US mail servers can be very slow when used in China (both for POP and SMTP servers), so alternative locations in south east Asia should be considered instead.
As we have seen, many factors need to be taken in account when deciding of where to host your website. If only part of your site is in Chinese or your site audience is shared between China and overseas, it makes sense to keep your main site overseas and get a sub-domain or a new .cn domain hosted in China for that specific market. From our own experience, Hong Kong and Singapore make excellent alternative choices if your site is to serve mainly visitors from mainland China, avoiding you the troubles of hosting in China while offering decent access speed.
December 11th, 2007 admin
Many voices in the blogosphere have reported a new scheme of scam involving generally a Chinese domain registration firm asking for people to register some domain names through them because “a third party” was trying to register them. An example would be a dot.com domain owner who would receive an unsolicited email from those bogus companies because of someone else trying to register some .cn versions of the same website, so they wanted the company owner to register these domains first with them to “protect their trademarks”.
There is no such a thing as a registrar contacting a company because a third party was trying to register a similar domain name. Chinese domain name can be registered both in China and overseas and immediately, provided that they are available at the very moment the search is conducted. On the other hand a domain name doesn’t automatically make a trademark owner unless related to a brand which has been properly registered with the country’s relevant organizations, and in which case the trademark would apply solely to that specific country.
Make sure not to fall for this scam. Nevertheless, if you have China-related operations or expect to be involved with China in the near future, it would make sense to register and park the Chinese extensions (.cn and .com.cn would do) of your domain if available, to avoid it being snapped by domainers, competitors or even scammers as the ones we just mentioned.
Below an email correspondence received by a client (whose website is www.shanghai-tv.com.cn) that would give you a clearer pictures of what is going on.
From: Liza <Liza@netinchina.org.cn>
Subject: Shanghai-tv-Intellectual property rights (TO CEO)
We are the domain name registration organization in China, which mainly deal with international company’s in china. We have something important need to confirm with your company.
On the Dec 10, 2007, we received an application formally. One company named ” Viva International Holdings Ltd” wanted to register following
Internet brand keyword:
through our body.
After our initial examination, we found that the keywords and domain names applied for registration are as same as your company’s name and trademark. At presentwe are dealing with it. If you do not know this company, we doubt that they have other aims to buy these domain names. Now we have not finished the registration of Viva company yet, in order to deal with this issue better, Please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.
China Net Technology Limited
Web: Link Removed
December 1st, 2007 admin
The prospect of moving an existing site to a new hosting account is often a daunting one. Whether you are planning the move because of poor service/performance of current host, or because of other reasons, including better price/value of the new host, location (moving your site to China for faster access within the country) etc., good planning and preparation is the key to ensure full success.
Depending of the complexity of your site (html vs database-driven, existing email accounts etc.), the move can be done from less than an hour to several hours or even days. It is therefore important to start the process well before your current account is due, and not to close that account until completion to ensure full access to your source files.
We have clients moving to us all the time so we are providing this quick guide that can help them in the process.
1) Create a new account: with your new host, and make sure that it has all the technical capabilities your site requires to function.
2) Back up your files: to your hard drive, through FTP. Depending of your site configuration you may need to back up existing databases from your old hosting control panel. If you have mails not yet downloaded to your computer, do it using your preferred email program (Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, Foxmail etc.)
3) Check your files and links: your new host may provide you with a temporarily url/subdomain. If not, you can use another site your own or create a sub-domain just for this purpose.
4) Create new email accounts: with your new host, from the Control Panel and matching your old email accounts.
5) Transfer your domain by pointing your DNS to the new host: to change the domain name servers values, you will need access to the control panel of your domain name. This can be a problem if the domain is with your old host, or worse, if the domain came for free with your existing account. Many Chinese hosting providers keep tight control over their clients DNS in order to force them to stay in business with them.
After DNS modification it might take several hours to a couple of days for them to propagate over the Internet.
6) Closing your old account: or letting it expire, once the switch is successful, your site working fine on the new hosting account and the email resolving well.
If your domain is with your old host or came for free, you might also consider transferring the domain altogether but the process is much more complicated. To keep things simple you might even consider keeping your domain name with your old host and continue paying them the yearly registration fees (usually less than $10 a year).
If you have a very active database-driven site, it is advised to temporarily stop your website at step 2 until the DNS are updated, since any change to the website will be reflected on the old database and not on the new one from the back up.
We hope this guide will be useful in migrating your hosting account. As you should find out, switching host is less difficult than usually thought if preparation is done well. If you require professional assistance feel free to contact us.