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Setting up Cloud Hosting in China – Why & How

There are many reasons to use cloud hosting in China for your website.

The constantly expanding market and new opportunities that open up everyday are causing more businesses to enter the market. Setting up a dedicated website to serve Chinese customers is an essential part of the process.

Setting up your site in China (for the Chinese market) isn’t as simple as setting up a site back home, so in this post we will walk you through some of the options.

First, let’s take a look at exactly where to host your website.

The best options for cloud hosting in China

Just as internet users in the west expect webpages to load quickly and cleanly, so do people in China. Because of the China firewall, websites hosted in Europe or the US tend to load slowly in China, and often have entire sections missing when they do.

If you’re serious about growing your presence in China, then serving your China based customers to the best of your ability should be top of your priority list. That means hiring specialists with localised China marketing and technical knowledge, and using cloud hosting in or very close to China.

Setting up Cloud Hosting in China is more complex that in the west
Setting up Cloud Hosting in China is more complex that in the west

Option 1: Host in Mainland China

For the fastest loading times, maximum uptime and minimal bandwidth restrictions, hosting directly inside mainland China is the best option. It makes sense – the closer your servers are to the people opening the webpages, the faster the page contents will load.

There is also the benefit of not having to cross any international borders, at which China is famous for implementing its ‘Great Firewall’, which heavily filters web content, slowing down delivery.

Cloud hosting in China may also help boost organic Baidu (China’s version of Google) rankings.

The drawback of this option is the complexity and high requirements involved in setting it up.

To host a website in China you must have an ICP License (Internet Content Provider). This is a mandatory requirement from the Chinese government. To qualify for an ICP license, international companies are required to have a registered business in China – an expensive and time consuming commitment. If you are looking to apply for an ICP license and have questions, it’s best to shoot us an email to see if we can help.

Option 2: Host in Hong Kong

If applying for an ICP license isn’t an option for your company, the next best option is to host in Hong Kong. There are no special requirements for hosting in Hong Kong, but it does help to have some local knowledge to smooth the process along.

A website hosted in Hong Kong will still load quickly in China, albeit not quite as fast as one hosted on the mainland. Hong Kong’s proximity to and close relationship with China mean your content will still be delivered quickly, and be subject to less stringent restrictions as content coming from the EU or USA.

It may be true that hosting in Hong Kong rather than the mainland can slightly reduce organic rankings in Baidu’s search engine. However, there are many other effective ways to drive traffic to your website, such as Baidu paid advertising and WeChat marketing.

This is the best option for most companies who want to get into the Chinese market, who don’t qualify for an ICP License or aren’t ready to commit to opening a company in China. If you are ready to get started, check out our packages for WordPress hosting in Hong Kong.

Where Should I Host My Site in China?

If you are a registered business in China, then you’ll likely be trying to decide which are the best servers in China to host your website. There are many companies out there, but since China strictly controls who can provide hosting services, those providers you may be familiar with such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft are either not in China at all, or provide their services via a local provider, because they are legally obligated to do so.

It might be better therefore to go directly for a local provider, and in terms of number of servers in their network, Alibaba Cloud or Aliyun has the most server nodes, the furthest reach and the largest share of the market, which makes them a safer bet.

Host on the cloud in China for better performance
Host on the cloud in China for better performance (source:

Setting up Cloud Hosting on Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun) has a large number of services and server options, many of which need a technical understanding in order to get up and running. Although you will find many server options that are similar to companies like Amazon, there is also a language barrier to using their control panel and website, with much of it being in Chinese. Therefore is it important to have local knowledge to not only set up the server, but also manage it on an ongoing basis.

At Eggplant Digital we specialise in setting up and managing websites for the China market. If you’d like help hosting your website on Alibaba Cloud China, contact us directly or choose a cloud server plan to get started.


If you are serious about serving customers in the ever-expanding China market, then you will need to take your web presence seriously too.

Cloud hosting in China or Hong Kong will radically improve your performance locally, and enhance your chances of success.

However, setting up your website on the cloud in China can be a complicated process, and you should also work with a specialist with local marketing knowledge. At Eggplant we provide those services, and look forward to helping your business succeed in China.

To make an enquiry, please get in touch today.

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