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Can content be hosted/run on an AWS cluster of the region of our choice (EUROPE)?

Hello dear all,

I understand that webflow uses Amazon Web Service to host and deliver content from our beautiful webflow websites. I was just wondering, since Amazon does have european regions as well namely Frankfurt in Germany, would it be possible for the content of our european clients be hosted in Europe instead of the United States ? I must admit I don’t know much about devops and all the IT behind it, I’m very much willing to learn and be enlightened on this topic.

I am asking because I’m about to lose a big contract with a German client as soon as I told him I was using Amazon Web Service for the hosting… he started to talk to me about Trump administration and so on… :confused: If I could tell him there was a way to host in Europe, that would calm everything down. Question is, can we ?

Thank you very much !
Anthony

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I would like this option as well, though I understand that that can be difficult to implement.
To give webflow some insight in the EU market; most (medium to large sized) companies here tend to be aware of privacy regulations.

EU (customer/person) data has to be stored GDPR compliant, but even a bigger turnoff for any EU company is the fact that the data is hosted offshore. That brings a number of risks in the realm of privacy, intellectual property laws and basic company (trade) secret.

Simply put: would you, webflow team, be comfortable with your code being hosted outside of the US? China for example :wink: No? Why not? Same deal here.

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Hi @anthonysalamin, @Ozone

Webflow is kinda GDPR compliant due to the Privacy Shield. Not sure if that will hold forever, Privacy Shield as GDPR compliant is sometimes discussed.
You could still host it yourself on Frankfurt AWS or use a different form processor. But most of the time, clients who are GDPR worried use Gmail or Outlook to receive forms which are in the same bandwagon as Webflow. MS Outlook is definitely worse as it’s been red-flagged by german administration at some point.

But from a Quality Of Life standpoint, I agree, that would be great to have this option from Webflow. But I’m not sure we’re enough EU customers to make things change.

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Thanks alot for your feedback ! I thought about exporting the site and host it myself yes but the issue is I won’t be able to offer the CMS system to my client anymore since we can only export static site.

I’m not sure we’re enough EU customers to make things change.
This breaks my heart :confused: but I do understand

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The best we can do so far is having a privacy policy that takes the US Privacy Shield into account, which still is a derogation to process data in US. From our lawyer perspective, only enterprises collecting private data ( marital status, religion, political orientations etc … ) should be concerned about GDPR. If you only collecting normal form data you should be fine.
The real question is: do we know any form processor that stores data in EU ? They will also be under the Privacy Shield most of the time, as Webflow.

I’m sure there are more EU customers having the same GDPR issue as Anthony. One of them is me. Same situation as he described: as soon, as I mention that webflow is hosted in the US, my German customers tell me that this is a no go for them. This may sound strange for US-American ears, but German companies and persons are very sensitive in terms of privacy protection. So I have two choices: let the customers go or use Wordpress for instance. Too sad, since I really would like to offer Webflow to them.

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Yes this is a serious concern now that Privacy Shield is pretty much gone, it will take a couple of years to work through legally, giving companies a grace period - but unless they come up with an alternative solution then EU users will need the option to host on AWS europe.

I think it is simply a lost cause. Webflow being an american company and despite all their efforts, seems to privilege their american customers. Having hosting infra-structures in Europe certainly isn’t as cheap and trivial to setup as in the United Sates of America.

Consequently We, as europeans or “non-americans” are simply being left aside. I’ve lost three contracts already (Webflow lost three juicy monthly revenue too) because of that hosting issue. Regardless of the GDPR issue, some eureopean companies / CEOs simply doesn’t want to host their websites on american soild for political issues (how can we blame them ?).

I’m now simply working on learning proper backend system and other headless CMS to host websites on european soil :slight_smile: By stubbornly locking down their customer to host their CMS site in the USA, Webflow will slowly not only loose european frontend designers, but juicy monthly revenue too :upside_down_face: think it’s sad.

That being said, Webflow is the best thing that happened in my freelance life. Webflow is the reason I quitted the Agency I was working for 3 years ago and started my own business :slight_smile:

EDIT

Regarding the hosting, what could be interesting is if Webflow would find some kind of alternative like bubble.io has where it would be possible to run a Webflow instance on a AWS cluster of the region of our choice (like in Germany). I’m just thinking loud.

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Thats what i assume would be the neatest solution - they’re on AWS already arent they, so surely not tht but a job to have an options to host on AWS based in the EU.

Yes I was having a similar discussion with a client also. Would also like to see hosting to be possible within EU are in a selected area of choice.

I’m having a meeting with a client, coming Tuesday, and I dread this question… I just don’t know what to tell them if they would ask about GDPR compliance and having their own hosting. I designed their website, but I can’t tell them IF they could actually use it. It really, kinda, sucks!

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This topic is giving me some headaches the last couple of days. I’m losing multiple jobs if I cant guarantee GDPR compliance. And have to choose another platform instead of Webflow. Webflow is a big part of my freelance business, so this hurts quite a bit. As I am not a lawyer or jurist this matter is hard enough. I read stuff about DPA’s.
Does this give enough coverage to ensure GDPR compliance or do we really need to host on a EU server?

I guess it depends on how exactly gdpr laws are worded. Do they explicitly state EU businesses sites HAVE to be hosted in EU?

No, you don thave to host in the EU, but you cannot transfer user data (forms - commerce orders - from the EU to the USA) unless the user opts-in and even then it’s dodgy enough. The cleanest solution is to host in the EU.

although, i think there’s a grace period while everyone scrambles to come up with workarounds.

Webflow said this on another thread …

Quick update from us on this matter:

We appreciate all of your patience with this and the feedback we got from all of you. First, we want to let you know that from the moment we learned about the ruling, we’ve been hard at work here with our legal team, and our internal engineering and infrastructure teams, to create a path forward that supports your compliance needs in this new environment. Here’s what we’ve done so far and what we’re planning on doing in the future.

  • We’ve updated our Data Processing Agreement (DPA) to include Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) to cover Webflow’s processing of data on your behalf.
  • You can now find and enter into the updated DPA here ➞ .
  • We anticipate the publication of guidance from regulators in the UK, EU and European Economic Area regarding additional protections that could accompany SCCs to further protect the data, so we may make available a newer version soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to enter into this updated DPA.
  • We’ve updated our Global Privacy Policy and our EU & Swiss Privacy Policy to take into account the invalidation of the Privacy Shield as a mechanism for exporting data out of the EU.
  • We continue to comply with our obligations to individuals under the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (which still is a sufficient mechanism for transfers from Switzerland, according to the Swiss Data Protection and Information Commissioner ).
  • We are considering additional technical and organizational safeguards we can offer, beyond contractual language, including an EU-hosted version of our service. We do not have an announcement to make on that front at this time. We are also in touch with our sub-processors as part of this process.

So looks like they are looking at an EU hosting options which would be by far the cleanest solution as optin in to cookies and data transfers etc is all dodg enough.

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That statement was posting on Aug 10 - hoping for an update soon.

I also hope for a solution.
Just lost a client regarding concerns with GDPR and Webflow