If you’re running a website for yourself or your business, you need a good web hosting service so people can access it. There are many factors to consider when choosing what hosting service to sign up for.
One of the most often overlooked things is the physical location of the servers being used for your site. Learn more about why the location of your servers matters and how you can find the best option based on your specific needs.
- Why your server’s location is important
- The reason for web hosts in different locations
- How to choose the best location for your web hosting
Why Does the Physical Location of Your Website Hosting Matter?
The speeds at which information travels through the internet are amazing — data often travels at the speed of light because it’s transmitted using fiber-optic cables. But users demand extremely fast load times for the sites they visit. Studies have shown that most visitors click away if it takes more than a few seconds to load.
The physical location of the servers on which your site is hosted has a direct impact on the response times you experience. For example, if someone from China attempts to access your website hosted on servers in the U.S., they’ll experience slower load speeds than someone in the U.S. Even though data travels extremely fast through the internet, its need to travel worldwide slows things down.
How the hardware works
The longer the distance that data needs to travel, the more “hops”— hardware points along the path — data needs to take. This could be a router, switch, hub, or another point. If the hardware at any of these hops is running slower than it should, it slows down your site further. For these reasons, it’s easy to see why the physical location of your hosting servers makes a big difference in the load speeds of your site.
Why Are Web Hosts in Different Locations?
Companies have set up hosting services in locations around the world to better meet the needs of their customers. Some of the best hosting companies open data center facilities in multiple locations around the globe. Others specialize in serving specific countries or regions of the world and, therefore, only have one local facility.
Some companies build dedicated data centers used only for hosting websites. Others rent out a part of an existing data center to house the web servers in that area. Both are great options and have allowed people to get hosting as close as possible to their customers.
How Do You Find Out Where Hosting Is?
When shopping for the best hosting for your site, make sure you know where their servers are located. Some hosting companies display on their website clearly where their data centers are located, so it is easy to figure out.
Other hosting companies don’t display this information. When that’s the case, the best thing you can do is reach out to their customer support or sales team and ask directly. If they’re unwilling to disclose at least the region their data center is in, it’s best to choose another hosting company.
How To Choose the Best Location for Your Website’s Hosting
If you live in a part of the world with many different hosting companies to choose from, it’s a good idea to find one with a data center fairly close by. Considering the following points can help you determine the best location and how much importance to put on this factor:
- Where you are located: In addition to faster response times, a hosting company near you is more likely to offer support in your language, so it’s easier to get the help you need.
- Where visitors to your site are likely located: The closer your website’s servers are to the visitors, the faster the page loads. While this is one of many things that impacts your site’s speed, it shouldn’t be ignored.
- What type of content is on your site: If your site is mostly text-based, the location of your servers matters less than if your site has many videos or offers real-time voice chat. The more bandwidth you need, or the closer to real-time responses you require, the closer the data center needs to be to your visitors.
- How the infrastructure is in the region: Most data centers are built in areas that have excellent infrastructure so they can provide reliable services. Seek a hosting company in a location that has the reliable technical infrastructure in place.
Every situation is unique. Understanding your specific requirements and the options available in your region is very helpful. It’s also important to remember that geographic location is one of many things that impacts your site’s performance.
How Close Should Your Website’s Hosting Servers Be?
The closer the servers are to your users, the better. If you run a small business serving a local community, for example, you can seek a nearby hosting company. And if you have users throughout your country that are likely to visit your site, finding a centrally located hosting provider may make sense.
While it’s important to factor in the geographic location of the servers hosting your website, it’s not the only thing to consider. Compared to other factors such as quality of servers, level of support, price, and reputation, location plays a relatively small role. A good rule of thumb would be to make sure that, at the very least, you choose a hosting company on the same continent as most visitors to your site.
Is it possible to find a nearby hosting provider?
In most cases, you can find a quality hosting provider within the same country or even the same state or province. Finding the right balance between overall quality and geographic location usually won’t be a big challenge since there are so many hosting companies from which to choose.
Taking the Time To Choose the Right Physical Location for Your Website
The physical location of your website has the potential to impact your page in a variety of ways. When shopping for the best web hosting services for your site, include the physical location in your decision-making process. Fortunately, there are web hosting providers located all around the world, so you can find one that meets your needs.