The location of your website hosting servers is one of the important factors when choosing a hosting provider. The best solution will be the location of your personal project on a server in the region where the main target audience of your site is located.

If you are unable to host your site in China, we recommend that you first look at hosting providers in Hong Kong (since Hong Kong is under the jurisdiction of the PRC, but has its own laws) or in the nearest Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia. When choosing a hoster in an alternative country to China, check with tech support whether the hoster has a direct connection with Chinese operators. Because in most cases, for example, traffic from Taiwan can travel to China via Los Angeles, and this is due to the policy of the Chinese operators themselves, which for “local” inclusion require huge sums of money, while in LA can be included in many times cheaper.

What is hosting in China for?

As an entrepreneur, you can approach the Chinese market in various ways. One strategy involves developing an online presence in mainland China, but for this, you need an ICP license.

  • ICP License. Websites that do not have an ICP license are constantly at risk of being blocked in China. The Chinese block websites by IP address. That is, if your site is on shared hosting (where thousands of other resources may also be located), one “violator site” on this IP can be the reason for blocking all the others. Read more about what an ICP license is and how to obtain it in the article below.
  • Slow Site Loading. Foreign websites open very slowly in China, unlike those located in Chinese data centers, due to the deliberate limitation of bandwidth for foreign traffic.
  • Poor Impact on SEO. The Chinese search engine Baidu, like Google, assesses the availability of a site and its response speed (ping), which is taken into account when ranking in search results. If the site is located outside of Chinese data centers, it can lead to poor accessibility and consequently poor indexing.

How to avoid site blocking in China

  1. Get an ICP license for your site. ICP license is not required for sites hosted on foreign servers.
  2. Use a VPS or dedicated server with a unique IP.
  3. Avoid publishing political content in both Chinese and English.

Required information about China for WebMaster

  • Huge market: China has one of the largest and fastest growing Internet markets in the world. This presents huge business opportunities, especially in the areas of e-commerce, education, entertainment and information technology.
  • Regulatory Requirements: China has strict internet censorship and control regulations known as the Great Firewall of China. To host a site in China, you may need to obtain an ICP (Internet Content Provider) license, without which your site may be blocked. The process of obtaining an ICP license can be complicated and takes time.
  • Mobile Internet: Chinese users actively use mobile devices to access the internet. This means that optimizing your website for mobile devices is not just important, but critical to success in this market.
  • Social Media and Marketing: China has a unique social media ecosystem with platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and Douyin (TikTok in China). Actively utilizing these platforms to promote your website can greatly increase its visibility.
  • Search Engine Optimization for Baidu: Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, so you need to optimize your website and know the technical details of how Baidu’s algorithms work to be successful in this country.
Required information about China for the Webmaster Required information about China for the Webmaster

  • Country level (Global SDG Indicators): Tier 2
  • Buy China national top-level domain .CN. To purchase a .CN domain, you need to provide additional documents: for legal entities: a copy of the company’s registration document (of any country), or a link to a valid government website where the relevant information can be viewed. A copy of the ID of the authorized contact person of the company: for individuals, a copy of the ID card. All registrants must provide a signed letter of commitment.
  • Official languages: Chinese
  • Currency: Chinese yuan (CNY)
  • Phone code: +86
  • Time zone: UTC+8

Top Best Hosting Providers with Servers in Mainland China

Below are the companies offering shared hosting, domain name registration, VPS/VDS, Windows hosting, dedicated server rental and server hosting in mainland China data centers.

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TOP Best Hosting Providers
195+ locations worldwide (750+ data centers). VPS can be selected with a tie to a city, not just a country. Dedicated servers with GPU.
Data center:
Hong Kong
United Kingdom
New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Recommended minimum price for 1 Wordpress site:
Test period:
Test period for shared hosting.

What is an ICP license?

An ICP license is a permit issued by the Ministry of Industry and Informatization of the People’s Republic of China that entitles websites to operate officially in China. ICP license numbers must be posted on your website.

An ICP license is required for:

  1. registering a website in the .cn zone;
  2. purchasing hosting/servers in China;
  3. participating in the Baidu advertising network;
  4. running a legal Internet business in the PRC.

An ICP license is not required for sites hosted on foreign servers, but a site in any domain zone and located in China must have a license.

You may be exempt from a license if:

  1. The domain is not used for a website.
  2. The domain is used for a website that is hosted on a server abroad.

How do I get an ICP license in China and how much does it cost?

An Internet Content Provider (ICP) certification is an authorization issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) that is required for a website to operate in mainland China. ICP certification is required for anyone who wants to host content in China, either on their own server(s) or on third-party servers such as a content delivery network (CDN).

The price to obtain an ICP license will vary from agency to agency. Agencies charge per domain, so the more domains you have, the more it will cost you.

Businesses operating in China need two main ICP certificates:

  1. ICP Filing (ICP Bei An, ICP备案) – also known as an ICP record, is required for general content providers who use the website for informational purposes only, i.e. no direct sales.
  2. Commercial ICP License (ICP Zheng, ICP经营许可证) is required for e-commerce websites with online payment integration. Websites hosted outside mainland China cannot obtain an ICP Registration or Commercial ICP License. This includes websites hosted in Hong Kong. However, websites delivered to or from Hong Kong do not require these certificates.

Getting an ICP application can be difficult, especially if your domain has user-generated content (UGC).

Two requirements that many people have difficulty with:

  1. having a legal entity in China;
  2. availability of a source server located in China.

Most of the other requirements are documents such as proof of domain ownership, proof of business registration, and proof of identity of legal representative. The ICP application process also requires that you temporarily shut down your website during the process or at least make it inaccessible to visitors from China.

You need to provide information and ID/passport of your company’s legal representative as well as your webmaster in China. You also need to take a photo of your legal representative or webmaster at your hosting provider’s office in front of a poster with the hosting provider’s logo.
Algorithm for obtaining an ICP license in China.

Who can apply for an ICP license in China?

  • Chinese partially or wholly owned enterprises can apply for Business ICP;
  • Individuals from China who hold a Chinese passport issued by the state can apply to submit an individual application for the ICP;
  • Foreign individuals with a foreign passport who are physically present in China to apply can apply for individual ICP application.

Foreign companies with no legal presence in China CANNOT apply for ICP registration.

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