How local is your 'New Zealand' web host? 3 tricks to look out for
A quick guide to spotting hosting providers that aren’t as kiwi as they look, starring HostPapa, Freeparking and Crazy Domains.
If you’re searching for local New Zealand web hosting, it’s not always easy to tell exactly what you’ve found. There are a lot of ways that providers can look pretty local without actually walking the walk.
What do we mean by a genuine New Zealand web host? For us it means having servers and hosting infrastructure here, and basing our team in New Zealand, and being fully kiwi-owned rather than shipping profits overseas.
Our data centre is very much in Auckland (and smothered in 384 solar panels, as you can see).
Some of our competitors do their best to look local without ticking all those boxes. Here are some of the methods they use, and how you can spot them.
A .nz website doesn’t mean a New Zealand company
A lot of overseas companies have NZ websites.
Did you know that you don’t need any sort of connection to New Zealand to register and use a .nz web address? That’s right, TotallyRealCompany.co.nz could actually be based anywhere. This makes us different to places like Australia where regulations help make sure that local-looking websites belong to local operators.
New Zealand’s free-and-easy approach to handing out .nz addresses means that a lot of overseas companies have NZ websites. So when looking for a local web host, look past the URL.
HostPapa, for example, has a .nz web address, and even a local phone number. They also have an “About” page that explains how proudly Canadian the company is. There’s no actual HostPapa presence in New Zealand, and that 0800 number rings overseas.
As we’re about to see, there are a few big names that appear over and over when you compare hosting brands. They don’t appear in large fonts, though. Check website footers for disclaimers like “A division of Dreamscape Networks International Pte Ltd” or “A Newfold Digital Company”. Look above the top menu and see if you spy “A Web.com Partner” tucked away in a corner. All of these things tell you that it’s not a New Zealand-owned company, no matter how they dress up.
Kiwi founders don’t mean kiwi owners today
When massive multinational giants buy NZ-grown hosting companies, it’s predictable what will happen next.
How can a web hosting company founded by New Zealanders not be a New Zealand company? In some ways it’s a mark of those founders’ success. It’s also down to one of the biggest trends in the web hosting industry - mergers and acquisitions.
Building and selling a successful business shows that you’ve run a good race. The problems come when the new owners don’t value their customers and understand local business like the founders did. When massive multinational giants buy NZ-grown hosting companies, it’s predictable what will happen next.
All around the world, countless hosting providers have been rolled into a few gigantic conglomerates. Newfold Digital, Web.com, Dreamscape Networks, Crazy Domains…you might think we’re naming different companies, but these are actually all different parts of the same many-headed beast that swallowed up two of our leading NZ competitors - Openhost and Freeparking - in recent years.
When they were NZ-owned, those two competitors weren’t always easy to keep up with. But after they were acquired their customers started knocking on our door. We heard stories of rushed migrations going wrong, sites going down and support teams going missing, and worse. The online reviews told the same story.
When Openhost were NZ-owned, they earned plenty of 4 and 5 star Google reviews. Post-acquisition, the tide turned.
As an aside, these same acquisitions left us standing as the largest NZ-owned hosting provider. It was a bit of a strange way to earn that badge, but we think it looks good on us and we plan to leave it on for as long as we possibly can.
NZ hosting without NZ servers? Yeah, nah.
If you can’t find a straight answer to the question, 'where will you store my data?', ask.
There are multiple reasons why local servers matter. Smaller distances mean quicker load times for your customers. Local storage from a local company takes away data sovereignty hassles - did you know that Australian and American companies are bound by their national data laws no matter where their servers are?
We’ve found multiple web hosting and domain providers with “NZ” in their name, but no hardware in the country. Look out for phrases like “powered by Google Cloud” and “backed by Webcentral”, for example.
And if you can’t find a straight answer to the question, “where will you store my data?”, then ask. For example HostPapa’s website - the one with the .nz address - is pretty cagey on where exactly they store data, so we asked on live chat and got this answer:
"Currently our servers are located in Canada, Europe and United States."
This is pretty disappointing news when you’re on a New Zealand website, but it’s often the way.
MyHost is your genuinely local option
We were founded in New Zealand and we're still 100% kiwi-owned. We run our own data centre in Auckland, too. We don’t outsource customer support or sales, so whenever you contact us you really are talking to us. Having an in-house support team is one of our biggest differentiators, and one of the best things that people notice when they switch to us from our huge multinational competitors.
(Full disclosure: We have learned from experience that our 24/7 support is better when it comes from people who don’t work regular night shifts. So while most of us are in New Zealand we have a small number of team members dotted around the globe. Everyone is a full team member, and there’s no outsourcing involved.)
If you want to discover the difference that genuine kiwi service makes, you can join MyHost right now. Or if there’s a direct comparison you want to make first, see how we measure up against Freeparking, Crazy Domains, or HostPapa. From reviews to prices to local know-how, we reckon we’ve got the upper hand over all of them. And if there’s anything else you want to know, we’re right here ready to talk.