Every byte present on the internet today is physically on a machine somewhere around the world. This machine with this specific piece of information is sharing it with anyone using the world wide web.
But the most important thing you need to know is the location of the hosting server as that plays a vital role in the quality of its distribution.
Lot of entrepreneurs, while setting up their online businesses, ask why they should invest more for hosting servers outside of their borders when the same services are available to them in their very backyard?
But, young businesses fail to grasp the many factors that come into play for server location.
Location of the hosting server matters for SEO
To improve SEO rankings for your website, you must host it in the same location as your target audience. This is one of the most important tips given by online professionals.
An experiment conducted by Richard Baxter, the founder of Builtvisible.com, shows that when he changed the hosting server of his company from the UK to the US, Searchmetric revealed a significant and immediate drop in SEO rankings in the UK. At the same time, SEO rankings had improved significantly in the US.
In this article, Baxter noted, “Back in February I contacted WPengine to ask if we could upgrade to PHP 5.5. With WPengine (and the way we’ve set up our DNS) this upgrade involved an IP address change in Builtvisible.com’s a-records.
“Following this change, I saw a drop in SEO visibility in our UK rankings so, I investigated. Sure enough, Searchmetrics showed a drop in UK rankings, but curiously, the US data appeared to show a big improvement. It became quickly obvious that the IP change was to blame, a location lookup revealed the problem.
“I’d originally set up our hosting to serve from a UK data center, but when we updated the IP address, I failed to check the new host location. The new IP was in the USA.”
Vasilis Vryniotis of Webseoanalytics.com also agrees that Google and other major search engines use the physical location of a server as a signal, which may have a positive or negative impact on SEO rankings.
Google has said that server location is not so important, and even irrelevant often.
The farther the location of your server, the slower your website
It is very important for your website to load fast . In fact, several studies reveal that almost 50% of the internet users expect websites to load within 2 seconds. First time visitors are likely to abandon websites that take over 3 seconds to load.
If you think about it from the user’s perspective, you will understand why 80% of people decide not to come back to a website they have had a bad experience with.
An experiment conducted by Google in 2006 confirmed this. They increased their search results from 10 to 30, and as a result both traffic and revenue dropped by a whopping 20% because the page loaded half a second slower.
The thing is, the world offers many choices to people – especially when they put cash on the table. By allowing our websites to lag in performance, we are giving potential customers a chance to walk away.
Here’s another way to express it. An ecommerce website that makes $100,000 per day will lose 2.5 million dollars in sales due to a one second delay in loading time.
Are these numbers big enough to convince you to have a fast-loading website?
If so, then you need to host it on servers geographically close to your target audience. When you do that, you are decreasing the number of loops the information passes through reaching readers much faster.
Let’s take Buzzfeed as an example. Their servers are so huge that a link on Buzzfeed might crash a new website whose servers are not ready to take the load.
Now with several readers as high as that, think what will happen if Buzzfeed’s servers were far from their target readers. That would increase their downtime and slow their speeds, making them lose their readers by the thousands quickly.
Keep servers close to your customers, even if that means a spike in costs
Yes, you heard it right. The location of your web hosting server has an impact on your pocket. Many companies in the west choose servers located in India and Bangladesh just to lower their costs.
This does not mean these countries provide servers that are any less competitive than those provided in the west. But, labor, machinery and technology are cheaper in developing markets.
Cutting costs by using servers that are a world away from your target audience may sound like a good idea in the short term, but is actually quite expensive as your business starts to lose customers.
Having a server close to your target market is key.
In conclusion, I reiterate only one thing. Choose a location for your hosting servers that is closer to your target audience. Your customers are the most important asset of your business, and should not be turned away for benefits that are short-lived.