When choosing a hosting provider, don’t forget to think about one important factor: Location, Location, Location.
Where your server is located could have a major effect on the efficiency and future of your website. When thinking of where to purchase hosting for your site, it’s important that you consider where your server will be located. A hosting provider should have global communication connections, access to your target market and a handle on what factors in to optimal server location regions.
Before you read on, you should understand a little about web infrastructure:
The Internet is really just a web (hence the name ‘worldwide web’) of interconnected networks. When information is requested from a server (as in loading a site or webpage), it has to travel from your server to a hosting network and then to a few other networks for the data to be exchanged. This is why location is so important: your hosting provider needs to be close to a reliable network for you to get a fast connection that will perform better for your target market.
In addition to a good location, your server should be housed in a data center that has highly advanced technology and a team of experts. Another must is an advanced cooling system that will balance the workload of multiple servers working overtime. If a center is managed properly, the chances of your website failing or loading slowly are much slimmer.
Some Factors to Think About:
A server should be located in an environmentally low-risk area for a number of reasons. Extremely cold weather is often not a problem, as a network of servers needs to be kept cool; however, an area with extreme weather is not an ideal place for a data center.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornados can pose a huge risk to a number of sites hosted in a risky area. That’s not to say risky areas do not have data centers, though. Remember hurricane Sandy? Data centers around the northeast were effected by the storm, causing great unrest in the hosting industry and many down websites.
Legal and Political
Every different region (or country) has it’s own unique security, privacy and freedom of speech laws. Keep this in mind as you’re choosing who to host your site with. In certain international areas, some content might be against the law. In China, for example, there are extensive limits to what can be made available to the public. Just keep your target market in mind at all times.
Also know that in the U.S. the Patriot Act enforces the fact that servers can be confiscated and inspected as evidence. If you have content that you want to disseminate beyond a local market, do a bit of research to see what’s ok for the areas you’re targeting. Your hosting provider can also give you some helpful international advice.
The price of the hosting package you select will be influenced by the energy costs and rate of exchange in the location your server is housed in.
Energy costs in Canada are way lower than in the U.S.; however, if you go with a more expensive New York based server, you’ll be closer to major networks of communication–and that’s often better for your online content distribution. If the exchange rate happens to be better in the U.S. at the time, then that’s another factor to think about.
Server Location for SEO
Google and other search engines determine your server location when indexing your site for a certain regional market or language category.
Your server location is essentially a clue regarding your site’s intended audience and search engines will definitely pick up on that. That’s why it’s so important to consider hosting your site on a server (or in a data center) that’s within range of the demographics you’re trying to target. Proximity to your market should be considered by both you and your hosting provider.
If you have an international site, it’s best to have it hosted in a number of international locations. This way you’ll reach the full potential of your site’s target market.
Cloud Providers and Server Proximity
Cloud providers have servers many miles away from where you or your business operates, and it’s likely that these servers are also miles away from your customer base. Simple tasks like sending e-mails or updating social media might not be a big deal; however more involved data operations might go through at much slower speeds of performance.
Look for a cloud provider that has servers dispersed geographically which hold the same data. For example, if you have a wide target market, you’ll probably want one in New York as well as in London in order to reach a broad audience with very little site latency. If you can’t find a provider that offers such a service, you’re better off picking one that’s in close proximity to you.
Choosing a Good Provider
Lastly, integral to your site’s success is the caliber of hosting provider you decide to go with. Make sure to have a conversation with hosting companies about all of the locational factors mentioned above. That way, you can cross-check your potential provider for their knowledge of the industry as well as their servers’ proximity to your center of operations and target market.