Hosting your site overseas could land you in hot water

  • Wednesday, 06 April 2011

Privacy Minister, Brendan O'Connor, has indicated the Federal Government will "crack down" on business storing digital information in countries which have lower privacy standards than Australia.

Most websites that gather information from a user, be it email addresses, contact information or credit card details, usually store that information in a database on the server where the website is hosted. Many Australian companies host their sites overseas due to the high cost of hosting in Australia.

A quality Australian host generally costs around $49+ per month compared to the vast multitude of overseas options as low as $5 per month with higher storage and bandwidth allowances. Generally, they all offer similar software and services so it's very tempting to take the cheaper option.

Even though you adhere to Australian laws and are honest with your Privacy Policy, if the information is stored on overseas hosts it's potentially available to people not covered by our Privacy laws with less than honourable intentions.

Minister Brendan O'Connor raises these concerns.

"...[using overseas providers] gives rise to difficult jurisdictional issues, particularly where the laws of two or more countries could potentially apply.

"In this potentially fraught legal environment, businesses will need to think carefully about who and where they are sending personal information and about what privacy protections, if any, the recipients of the information have."

Exactly how this "crack down" will play out hasn't been defined but he said that new principles will be put into place based on recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission.

As always, we recommend Australian hosting. Our experience has generally been that the quality and speed is better and there are definite SEO advantages to hosting your site locally.

Some more reading on this issue:

john-pitchers-avatar-300About John Pitchers

John Pitchers is a specialist in back-end Joomla development and development of Joomla based websites. He is also the developer of the FocalPoint maps extension for Joomla. John has been building CMS based web sites since 2004, originally working with Mambo before it became Joomla. When not writing PHP, Javascript or CSS you'll find John carving up the hills around Baldivis on his longboard (long before Walter Mitty made it famous).

Find out more about John on his page and . Follow John on Twitter.