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What are the pros and cons of hiring local web developers vs cheap overseas web developers?

Is there a difference between hiring local web developers and cheap overseas web developers? What should you consider when making the decision?

Top voted answer
Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

Top 10% Web Development

In additio to the points made by Ivana Katz - all of which are valid, and which I will not repeat:


We get approached occasionally to 'fix' a website. We don't accept most of these jobs becuase thw site in question has often been built so badly that the best course of action is to delete it and start again - that's a real RISK.

Another RISK - if you need a complex site such as that for a real estate agent, them you need some future proofing - and a cookie cutter done on a cheap WP theme for instance, won't provide that,

Anoher RISK - site performance. A potential client of ours had paid an overses company around $1,000 US for a complex site. It took 30s to load on desktop and he wanted it 'fixed' - sorry, but no thank you.

Going local can also carry these risks unless you hire a professional - a company prepared to put its performance pledges where they belong - in the development contract.

Hope that helps.


Stuart Reynolds

Stuart Reynolds, Partner at

There is usually a difference between hiring local and foreign web developers, but the lines are blurry. Here are a few things to keep in mind when hiring web developers - local or foreign:

  • Project brief - whatever your approach, the best asset you can bring to a discussion is a comprehensive brief and outline of what you want. Before speaking with any developers, get clear on your own non-negotiables, even if they’re very basic. 
  • Platform - be aware that there are different platforms on which your website can be built. Whether or not you hire a developer that will manage your site ongoing, it needs to be easily managed by other parties - either yourself or a future developer. Steer away from custom-built back-ends, unless part of the project is delivering a comprehensive set of user instructions. 
  • Language - yes, if you hire someone from outside Australia, it’s possible their native language is not English. This can present a challenge when you’re trying to communicate what you want (or, indeed anything) - be aware you’ll have to put in extra effort to be clear.
  • Cost - it is often cheaper to hire a foreign web developer, because of different pay rates. Sometimes this translates to lower quality work - but not always. Have a clear checklist of things you want from your website, and the performance you expect, and ‘lower quality’ need not be an issue. 

These are just a few of the factors to consider when hiring a web developer. It’s an exciting time - and usually a pretty big project. Good luck! 

Ivana Katz

Ivana Katz, Owner at

Top 10% Web Development

Over the years I have spoken to many customers who had their website developed offshore and these are some points they have brought up in regards to hiring a local website designer vs offshore designer/developer.

Get a website designed offshore


  • Save money


  • Cultural and work ethic differences
  • Difficult to manage from afar
  • Language barriers
  • Time differences
  • Lack of local market knowledge
  • Limited technical support
  • Lack of trust to deliver what was promised

Get a website designed locally


  • Knowledge of local market
  • Understands website design trends and security
  • Able to design advanced websites including shopping carts, membership portals, etc
  • Can help with website marketing and search engine optimisation
  • Troubleshoot and fix up problems


  • Costs more than offshore developer

Timothy Allsworth

Timothy Allsworth at Custom Web Creations Web designer Brisban

I guess it all comes down to trust.  Of course, if you know or can visit a web designer in person, it can be better.  But it also comes down to legal documentation as well.  If you are hiring a web designer from another country, their country can have different laws from your country of origin.  But it also comes down to the quality of web design.  I can't really say what is the difference.  I guess it comes down to user choice in the end.  In some countries, you are hard-pressed finding a good web designer or web design business.  If you decide to hire a web designer from overseas or another country, make sure you get a contract that states what they have to do for the money you are paying and make sure that the contract is applicable in both countries.  
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