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As of now, most businesses operating in Vietnam are free to choose any local or international hosting provider. This may change in the future as the Government is pushing for a new law that requires businesses operating or doing businesses in Vietnam to use Vietnam's web hosting provider. We are not even sure how this can be enforced if this law actually comes into effect.
In any case, as of the moment, you are free to choose any web hosting. However, there are several important factors that you should take into account:
Probably the most important success factor of a website, the loading speed of a website is partly decided by the infrastructure of the web hosting provider.
Are the physical servers set up and optimized properly?
Are the internal connections between servers good?
Is the data center well located?
Is the data center well connected to the world?
The closer your data center is to the visitors, the better. For example, if most of your website visitors come from Hanoi, Vietnam then it's best to put your website at the data center nearest to Hanoi.
It's worth noting that many website-hosting providers in Vietnam provide very slow outbound connections to the world, which means that your website can be extremely slow when being accessed outside of Vietnam. If a significant portion of your visitors come from other countries then you should consider an alternative:
You can host your website at a data center that is near Vietnam but well connected to the world (for example Singapore or Japan)
You can mirror your website and serve from both locations (can be rather costly to set up and maintain)
You can use a Content Delivery Network to bring the website content closer to your audience.
It's extremely important to know how Vietnam is connected to the rest of the world before making your hosting decision. There are several main cables/gateways that connect Vietnam to the rest of the world:
The Asia-America Gateway (AAG) is a 20,000-kilometre (12,000 mi) long submarine communications cable system, connecting South-East Asia with the mainland of the United States, across the Pacific Ocean via Guam and Hawaii.
The cable has landing points in the USA, Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam.
It is capable of delivering up to 2.88 Tbit/s (US-Hawaii & Hong Kong-South East Asia) and 1.92 Tbit/s (Hawaii-Hong Kong).
This has been the major gateway that connects Vietnam to the world. The cable has encountered frequent breaks and outages. Countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, which currently have fewer alternatives in place to reroute Internet traffic, are prone to severe service disruption when the AAG cable breaks. Disruptions can happen multiple times per year, each time this happens the whole Internet connection in Vietnam (to the world) slows down significantly for weeks if not more.
APG is a submarine communications cable system that connects Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. It will be about 10,400 kilometers (6,500 mi) long and is the latest gateway that has been recently added to Vietnam. The capacity will be 54.8 Terabits per second which is the fastest gateway Vietnam has. This new gateway was created in the hope that it would help to resolve the frequent service disruption due to the outages of AAG.
This is a submarine telecommunications cable system in the South China Sea linking Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. It has a transmission capacity of 565 Mbit/s, and a total cable length of 3,367 km.
This is an optical submarine telecommunications cable linking those regions and is the longest in the world.
This is a submarine telecommunications cable system interconnecting several countries in Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. It is a merger of the former EAC (East Asia Crossing) and C2C cable systems.
Use the above information to choose a data center closest to your audience and least prone to failure. From our experience, Singapore and Japan can be good locations for hosting your website if you do not host your website within Vietnam (hosts in Japan are sometimes slightly more expensive).
When you use a web hosting provider, you put your data on that particular provider's physical servers and hope that they strictly follow all the security protocols and secure your data. If your data is very important, consider the hosting providers thoroughly. From our observation (not fact), some web hosting providers in Vietnam do not strictly follow the security processes to safeguard the hosted data.
Do you prefer phone support over email/ticket support? Most hosting companies in Vietnam offer phone support during business hours.
If you do need 24/7 support your best bet is to try contacting the hosting yourself during late hours and see how responsive they are.
If you require Vietnamese support then probably your only choice will be hosting providers within Vietnam. If you are fine with English support then you will have a much wider range of choices since most global hosting providers provide support in English.
Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, developer, and founder of Nilead. He loves backend website development and has experience in eCommerce (owning an online store as well as being a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design, and Content Strategy.
Since 2005, Vu has headed and overseen UX design teams for projects in corporations, start-ups, individuals, etc., regardless of their size. He has been involved in both the creative and technical aspects of each project - from ideation to concept and vision, prototype building to detailed design, and build-up to deployment.