There has been a lot of talk over the past few years regarding the location of the data centers that host your websites. Many people still feel that having a server located in the same country as your target audience is very important as it can help make your websites faster for your audience, than if it was located on the other side of the world.
There are lots of factors that you should pay attention to when selecting your web host. You’ll find thousands of different web hosts all over the world fighting for your business. Web hosting is a very competitive industry, so before you sign up to a host, make sure you’ve properly researched them.
Location, location, location.
No, we are not talking about one of those real estate programs you might have seen on television. We are referring to the location of your web host, and in particular, the location of the datacenter that they use. You can find web hosts in the UK who use datacenters in the US, and Australian web hosts who work with datacenters in Europe. Where a web hosting company is based is not a sure sign that this is where their servers are located.
It is important that the data center that houses your website is located in the same country as your intended website audience. If your business and website is based in Australia, and the intended audience for your site are people in that country, then you will want to have a local web host. If you want to find good local hosts, then do a search on Google for something such as best web hosting Australia, and you’ll see lots of local options.
Local servers provide better loading times.
One very important ranking factor for Google is web page load speed. This is the time that it takes for a website to load for the user. The longer a website takes to load, the more chance that the person visiting the site will simply click back and go and find another site, which could be your direct competition.
Every millisecond is important when it comes to the loading times of your website. It is said that for E-Commerce websites, if the page is not fully loaded within 3 seconds, then the visitor will most likely leave and find another website.
The easiest way to understand the benefit of a local server is with the following example. Your website and business are based in Australia, and this is where your target audience resides. If you have a website hosted on a server in Australia, then that website will be served to your visitors quicker than if the server was located in the United Kingdom. Though the gains from this may only be in the milliseconds, each one counts, and even a .30 second increase in the loading time is going to be beneficial for you and your visitors.
Not all servers are equal.
One thing to pay attention to is that not every server is the same. They will have different specifications, memory, storage and completely different set ups. If you are going to find a web host that has local servers, you will want to make sure that the servers are of high quality and offer excellent performance.
Any gains that you have made in terms of website page load by using a local datacenter could be wiped out instantly if the server you are using is not performing well. When deciding on your web host, you should be comparing a number of them side by side and looking at the types of server they use, what limitation they may place on their hosting packages and obviously, what their prices are.
Make sure your website is properly optimized.
If you are looking to have the fastest performing website possible, then it’s not just the server that you need to be wary of. There are lots of on-page factors that could influence the speed of your website. You will want to make sure that your images are properly optimized, that your css, js and other code are minified. You may need to combine css and js files into one if you have a large number of https requests.
To check how your website is performing, there are a number of tools you can find along that can run an on-page audit of your website and provide you with the results and list of suggestions to fix any issues that have been found. If your website is too heavy and causing a slow load time, it wouldn’t matter what type of server you are using to host it, and where in the world the datacenter is located.