• How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting for UK websites Feb 21, 2021 at 10:21 PM
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    As we all know, the United Kingdom is now out of European Union. Many UK-based websites hosted outside the UK face data protection and GDPR compliance issues.

    As a website owner, you might have an online contact form, user registration form, or other order processing system that collects user information. This information is then stored on a server in a database. As a business owner, you are responsible for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal data collected through your website. Personal data is anything that relates to an identified or identifiable individual. Because the situation is changing, the data's location is a critical factor in the compliance process. You must also inform your customer about any steps you are taking to mitigate the breach's effects and advise them on what to do to protect themselves.

    Most UK web hosting companies are physically located in the UK. However, it does not guarantee that their infrastructure is 100% UK-based. Let's say you have a WordPress website with a .UK domain and your target audience are in the UK too, and you are looking for a WordPress Hosting company in the UK to host your website. I can guarantee that cost is your primary comparison criteria, and this is where many business owners make the biggest mistake by choosing the cheapest from the list. You must also consider the following technical details from the compliance point of view.

    Website performance for UK clients

    Your website must perform better for UK clients; otherwise, you will not have any clients in the first place.

    Web Server Location

    Your website server receives all incoming requests to your website, including data submitted through your website forms and registration pages. As per UK law, you must protect your customer's data and inform the authorities if any breach happens. The servers' location guarantees that the data never left the operating country and should not be available to other global territories. A UK web server ensures that the data is only transmitting to a UK infrastructure.

    Web Space Location

    The web space is a storage unit. The web server controls your website contents and the data through your website, then saves it into a web space. The web space location is number two on my list because it physically stores your data into tangible drives. It's crucial that these drives are part of the infrastructure and located locally in the region.

    Email Storage Location

    Many WordPress websites use 'Form to email' plugins that collect user information typically and sometimes identity documents, which then automatically sent to the business owner's email. There is where the email storage location comes into the picture. To keep the user data in the UK, you must host your email in UK-based. Although you can control this part by using the MX record, you must ensure that the external email provider is also hosting in the UK.

    Database Location and Data Replication

    Before we move to backups and restore, let's discuss the database and replication location. WordPress websites are based on the database. When you first set up your WordPress website, it creates a database to store your website data and configuration. It also holds your customer's data, which you collect through your websites. This data is sometimes replicated to different server locations for uptime and logs. Ensure that your database and replication location are in the UK to satisfy the compliance requirement.

    Backups Location

    Many UK-based hosting companies use 3rd party storage, aka 'platform-as-a-service' to store your website data backups. The primary reason to use 3rd party is for disaster recovery and to achieve uptime SLAs. These 3rd parties are mostly highly reputable suppliers like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure. However, these are deliberately kept invisible to website owners. It's important to know where your data is physically backed up because, in case of a data breach, you need to do a self-assessment to determine whether your organisation needs to report to the ICO.

    CDN Location

    CDN is a distributed network system outside your web hosting infrastructure that efficiently delivers your website content worldwide. These contents are generally website supporting files required to run the website. A slight misconfiguration can lead your confidential documents to become a part of CDN and then distributes globally without your knowledge. Another major issue with CDN is caching, which is also a default CDN feature and can sometimes lead to a document expiry issue.

    Managed WordPress Hosting technical support location

    One serious issue with managed WordPress hosting is their tech staff's physical location. Many companies outsource their technical staff to other countries. These staff members need your data to solve your technical problem. In my experience, the technical team always has more rights than any other department, which sometimes leads to an over-permission.

    I hope this information will help you choose the right WordPress hosting for a UK website.
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