Should providers consider offshore hosting? In my opinion, no. However, this is not legal advice. This is the perspective of a website developer.

Take Eros for example, it’s an escort advertising company operating within United States. Hosting your website offshore while using Eros or any U.S. company for advertising is contradictory. U.S. advertising platforms could take your money, go out of business, and hand your private data over to the U.S. government on any given day.

You shouldn’t prioritize safety only when it’s convenient. If safety is priority number one, then make it so at all times, which means putting a stop to the use of all products and services with ties to the United States. Of course, that’s easier said than done knowing most of the traffic that you need comes from U.S. platforms.

If you’re trying to avoid any potential legal trouble then change website hosting, domain name, and advertising to offshore, not just web hosting. If you don’t go all the way then you’re still exposed and unprotected.

In my opinion, whether to host offshore has nothing to with recent law changes within United States to target sex trafficking. Your website should be hosted as close to the location of your clients as possible.

  • If you’re a provider from San Francisco, California and most of your clients are from the same region then get web hosting close to San Francisco.
  • If you’re from New York, get hosting close to New York.
  • If you’re from Australia, get hosting within or close to Australia.

Specifically, you need to host on a fast, low-density server that is sitting physically close to where your clients are. Some web hosting servers are slow because the parent company forces each server to host too many clients so avoid those even if they’re close to you.

Reason Behind Recommendation

Where your site is hosting affects how fast it will load. A slow website negatively affects two things: user experience and search engine rankings.

User Experience
If a patron wants to meet you but the site takes forever to load the contact information or booking form, how likely is that person to go through with booking? Are they going to wait for your site to load or quickly skip to the next provider within the same city?

Consider the Following Averages

  • Your front page has a few seconds to make a good first impression. 5 seconds is bad. 3 seconds is average. 2 is good. 1 is great.
  • Unless a patron already decided to request a meeting, that person will browse 3 to 4 pages within 2 to 3 minutes before leaving. Because, within 30 minutes, they’re going through 10 to 15 sites to make a decision.

Big websites like Amazon fight for milliseconds because site speed is that important.

Mobile Experience
People using phones to browse websites aren’t going to stop. Mobile activity will continue growing.

On top of mobile users slow connections, if your website is slow to begin with then you pretty much have zero chance of users going through with bookings on their phones.

Search Engine Rankings
Speed is one of many factors in search engine algorithms to rank your websites. The higher you rank the more free traffic you get. Getting traffic from search engines is the long term goal for all public websites (including escort sites). Traffic from search engines is why Eros and Slixa are extremely popular.

What about SESTA/FOSTA anti sex trafficking laws?

Selling time and companionship aren’t illegal. If you’re a provider working in United States and your website explicitly sells sex then stop it. Your fees should always be for time and companionship only.

United States government does not have the time and budget to go after individual providers that aren’t breaking the law in the first place. What they can do is take down bigger websites like Backpage.com. And rightfully so, Backpage.com was a huge free-for-all. You can’t honestly manage something of that size and prevent all illegal activities.

Then where is the fear coming from and why are other providers hosting overseas?

  1. Like everything else in life, the surface layer is based on look-see-do. People copy each other because it seems safe.
  2. Some of it is caused by dishonest marketing from web hosting companies and web design consultants. It’s easier to capitalize on fear and sell a new service than to educate clients on the best path forward.
  3. Some providers do fully understand SESTA/FOSTA and have chosen offshore hosting to protect their freedom of speech.

Personally, I focus on what is. What is and what has been are:

  • U.S. government going after big websites or social networks to stop sex trafficking.
  • Web hosts doing business in United States taking down independent provider websites out of fear for their own web hosting business.
  • Escort advertising platforms and forums operating in United States going out of business because their sites are simply too big to moderate and prevent illegal activities.

All of the cases above are the U.S. government legitimately going after social networks for illegal activities and fearful web hosting companies preemptively banning clients to protect themselves.

Social networks, advertising platforms, and big websites with user generated content need to move offshore because they lack the resource to prevent illegal activities and comply with recent law changes.

Independent companion and personal sites are different. It’s a single person owned website with no user generated content. You don’t need to spend any effort on policing other people’s activities. You simply need to be careful about nude photos implying sexual services and how content are worded.

What about cloud hosting?

Good cloud hosting is generally more expensive. Regardless of who is trying to access your site, it selects the server location closest to that person to display the site. It’s recommended for national or international businesses. Independent escort sites are generally local or city-based, unless you specialize in being a travel companion.

Cloud hosting can legitimately help your site load faster in many locations, but what’s the use of paying more to have a fast website in Asia, Australia, and Europe if all of your business is in the United States?

What about Netherlands, and Switzerland domain names?

It doesn’t matter what domain you have. If your website explicitly sells sex and it’s hosted on a web server physically located in the United States, your site can be taken down at any time. The same goes for cloud hosting.

The only advantage with those domain names is maybe the U.S. government can’t get to it right away, which means you can take the domain and run to an offshore web host to create a new website.

As for “.com” websites hosting offshore. If you get in trouble, U.S. authorities may not be able to shut down the offshore server but they can take your “.com” domain name so your website will go down regardless.

What to focus on

  • Select web server location close to where the bulk of your clients are.
  • Host with an adult friendly company.
  • Make sure the host has low-density servers meaning your site is not hosted with thousands of other sites. If a server has too many clients, it will run slower than offshore servers.
  • Your website should make it clear that any money exchanged are for time and companionship only.
  • Make your site load quickly on desktop and mobile.
  • Make the contact form easy to use.