Have you ever wondered why some websites load faster and some take a longer amount of time? Well, the answer is simple, it all depends on the web hosting provider, the size of the files uploaded on the server and the server location.
What is a Server Location?
A server location is the location of the data centre where your website is hosted. This location can be anywhere in the world irrespective of where you are based.
Why is server location important in Web Hosting?
Server location plays a pivotal role in website performance. However, the advent of cloud-based web application have given us the false pretence that data can be stored anywhere without consequence. Is server location important?
The emergence of cloud computing infrastructures, not to mention the presence of mobile devices used by millions around the world have led many to believe that that the physical locations of computer servers are no longer particularly important. While it’s true that we can now access information from virtually anywhere, rather than remaining dependent on resources that are located in a particular site, server location is still relevant.
If your servers are located far away, it will cause a delay in data transfer. As a result, your users will witness site latency. So, by ensuring that your website is delivered from a server geographically close to your target audience, you can ensure that your customers are served as quickly as possible.
What is a Server?
Servers are high-powered computers built to store, process, and manage network data, devices, and systems. Servers are the engines powering organisations by providing network devices and systems with adequate resources. For businesses, servers offer critical scalability, efficiency, and business continuity capabilities.
Whether it’s hosting a data-heavy website, setting up a shared drive for a department, or managing thousands of queries every minute, servers are the vehicles for hosting and processing-intensive workloads that go beyond the capabilities of a traditional computer.
What is a Dedicated Server?
A Dedicated server is a server that is hosted by a data center/hosting provider and only allows one client company to access the server. The word “dedicated” comes from it being “dedicated” to the one client. No other clients are allowed to use it.
A dedicated server is used to host applications and services. It is hosted by an organization and allows access to one company. The server is operated by the backend provider in exchange for a fee. The client can also remotely connect with the server to perform a server based task.
What is a VPS?
A virtual private server (VPS) is a machine that hosts all the software and data required to run an application, software or website. It is called virtual because it only consumes a portion of the server’s underlying physical resources which are managed by a third-party provider. However, you get access to your dedicated resources on that hardware.
How VPS server location matters
First and foremost, speed depends upon where your VPS server is located. Servers in every country get precedence over those of others and that means a VPS server in a different country could mean slower speed. SEO rankings will also be favorable in the country where the VPS is located. Lastly, support will be easier to reach if the team is located in the same time zone as your location.
What is the relevance of a server in website hosting?
Just like the above illustration, web hosting providers provide services for website hosting, and all the necessary software, applications and tools needed to host, maintain, and manage your website are being stored up in the web hosting provider’s dedicated servers. Therefore, the server stands like the hard disk and processor in your personal computer where all the necessary operations and storage services are being performed.
How important is server location in web hosting?
Since the emergence of CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) in web applications and sites, many individuals and organisations in need of web hosting now believe that server location is no longer an important issue in website hosting. However, that is far from the truth. The truth of the matter is that there are several salient benefits and importance of server location in website or blog hosting. Therefore, the following paragraphs explain why it is better to host your website on a server nearest to your site visitors:
- Shorter page loading duration: From practical evidence and all indications, it is true that the close the server, the faster the site loading speed. Therefore as a supposition, sites that are closer to the server have shorter page loading duration than those far from the server. However, this may not hold true for websites utilizing CDN services that are targeted at users around the world.
- SEO and higher search engine ranking: The server location in web hosting is a crucial factor in SEO, especially when such site has a unique language and targets a particular country, region, or audience. When this is the case, it is easier for search engine crawlers to ascertain the location of such site through the location of the server. Since it has been established that server location affects site speed, a site hosted on a close by server has greater prospects of ranking higher on Google’s page rather than one hosted on a remote server.
- Higher conversion rate: It has been noted that individuals will leave a webpage if the page content does not load after three seconds. Moreover, from the foregoing, we have seen that the best way to increase your site loading speed is by hosting your site on a close server. Therefore, if your website is hosted on a local server, it will be prone to generate more leads and therefore have higher conversion rate.
- Cheaper to acquire: It is true that over 60% of web hosting services and their servers are either from or located in the US, UK or in Europe. That is why European web hosting, UK web hosting and American web hosting seems to be the cheapest web hosting services in the world. However, given the high rate of currency exchange between these developed countries and other third world countries of Asia, Africa, and South America, it is relatively cheaper to buy the services of a local hosting service provider near you.
We have seen how important it is for your blog and website to load quickly in order to reduce the level of website bounce rate, as visitors may get tired of waiting for your site to finish loading. More so, in order to rank higher on Google’s ranking page, generate greater traffic volume, increase site’s loading speed, reduce cost of web hosting and maintenance, etc. it is better to go for a closer server that is hosted by a reputable provider, than one far from your location.
Our Server Locations
At Brixly, we have multiple servers in different parts of the world. We currently have infrastructure in the UK, USA, Germany and Singapore. We are always looking to expand adding more servers in more locations is something we are always actively exploring.
In addition, we have introduced a direct 100Gbps link from London to the Data Center in Frankfurt, which is used for our backups and snapshots. This huge uplift in network connectivity introduced significantly faster site loading times, massively increased bandwidth capacity and drastically improved backup performance. All machines within our private cloud have been provisioned using the latest stable and secure release of Cloudlinux 8 which will run the 4.18 Cloudlinux / LVE kernel. Cloudlinux is a solution that we have used and depended on for a number of years, which introduces a mass of benefits to any shared hosting platform such as LVE, CageFS and more.
United Kingdom, island country located off the north-western coast of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom comprises the whole of the island of Great Britain, which contains England, Wales, Scotland and the northern portion of the island of Ireland.
Our primary hosting facility is based right here in the heart of London. This location offers an unparalleled network backbone, with our custom built B-Cloud infrastructure with 100% NVMe Storage.
Located in North America, the country is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Germany is a country located in the heart of Western Europe. The country is situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south.
Our infrastructure in Germany is based within Falkenstein, within the Hetzner data centre. This location is available for Reseller Hosting on both DirectAdmin and cPanel.
Singapore is an island country located off the coast of the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. It is located in both Northern and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth.
Our infrastructure in Singapore is hosted using Linode. This location is available for Reseller Hosting on cPanel.
What to watch our for
These are some of the things you need to consider when weighing up the risk of a hosting provider.
Natural disasters and other environmental risks
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods can affect the availability of services. It is true that a natural disaster can be unpredictable, but there are locations with more and less risks.
For starters, some regions are prone to natural events such as earthquakes or floods. Others are beset by political instability and unrest, such as the recent uprisings in the Middle East. The euro crisis has made many European countries – previously considered rock-solid – appear financially shaky.
Another worrying trend is growing interference by governments, especially non-democratic regimes. In light of these concerns, businesses are well-advised to investigate the setting of any potential provider’s facilities.
Secure physical location
A data center must be located in a region with a low crime rate and have sufficient active and passive security to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to the data center.
Redundancy of power sources
The area in which your provider’s data center is located must have access to more than one power source. In the event that the local power grid goes down, the data center must have access to another power source or have enough backup power to last until the main source is restored.
Easy access to additional infrastructure and equipment
Your provider should choose a location where it is easy to access additional infrastructure and equipment. If a problem occurs and your provider needs to replace, say, a server, they should be able to do so quickly and easily.
It is important that the data center is located in an environment with good connectivity, in addition to having physical redundancy between different network operators, in case one fails.
A data center needs staff with the relevant skills to ensure it is managed properly. Choosing a provider that doesn’t have easy access to those kinds of skills could cause difficulties if a problem arises.
Brixly Server Measures
We have built our cloud platform to be incredibly robust with self-healing capabilities, auto-failover and triple-replication of your data. Our infrastructure has been designed and battle-tested to withstand power outages, hardware failures and routine hardware upgrades without the need for interruption to your services. Our new hyper-converged storage platform (based on 100% NVMe storage) has intelligent, self-healing capabilities allowing us to seamlessly replace physical disks without any downtime. The same storage platform is able to withstand entire node failures, again, without impact to service.
Our storage solution is not based on a ‘SAN’ type environment, but instead a hyper-converged storage cluster between our hypervisor / compute nodes. This allows us to infinitely scale our storage platform as our demand and requirements grow, without disruption to the virtual machines running on the cluster. Our physical servers are interlinked with 80Gbps of connectivity yet are physically isolated from each other within different racks of the data center.
This means that in the event of an entire rack outage, the virtual machines which hosts your websites will failover immediately to one of the remaining servers / racks without disruption, or degradation to service or performance.
Legal compliance and GDPR
So far, we have seen how server location affects site performance in terms of latency and speed. As we said, performance is reflected in multiple areas and provides a better user experience and improvements in terms of ranking in SERPs. These two aspects can potentially translate into more conversions.
However, the location of the server is not only important for the performance of the site, but it is also important for the legal implications and in particular with regard to data processing. When choosing a hosting you should, in fact, inquire about the location of the servers and compliance with GDPR, the European regulation on the processing of personal data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), came into effect on 25th May 2018. GDPR provides a legal framework for keeping everyone’s personal data safe by requiring companies to have robust processes in place for handling and storing personal information. It’s also designed to protect us as individuals from being contacted by organisations without our express permission.
If your users are in Europe, the best option is to choose a server located in Europe that is GDPR compliant. All our servers in Europe comply with the European GDPR regulations, you should
Check out our GDPR compliance policy
Which location is Right for You?
Ideally, your business servers should be located in a region with low environmental risk. Businesses should also look for locations with good political stability, a balanced economy and an efficient legal system, with low rates of crime and corruption. And last but not least, a deep-seated respect for confidentiality.
As a result, it’s no surprise that Singapore is becoming an increasingly popular destination for businesses to locate their servers. This is one of the reasons why Brixly has server infrastructures in Singapore.
A hosting server location does impact your website speed and SEO ranking. The further the location of your server from target users, the slower your website.
Companies choose a server overseas to save costs or for better server infrastructure. Although it may seem like a good option, these benefits are short-lived. Speed is a direct ranking factor for your website. Therefore, a hosting server location should be close to your audience for faster speed. You should also consider latency, so ultimately the best option is to test. As always, the best way to choose a hosting is to put the service to the test.
In our case, it’s quite easy, you can try our web hosting for £1 and see if it’s right for you. You can choose the server location closest to your audience; in Europe our data centers are located in the UK and Germany, we also have servers in Singapore, while in the U.S. our infrastructure is located in Florida.
Remember, your audience matters, so don’t let your website suffer just because you chose a far-away hosting location. Take advantage of our server locations and choose one closest to your customers.