Your business needs to be online in order to attract customers and sell your products. To do this, you need a website that lets people find out about you and where they can buy your stuff.
If you’ll be selling digital goods, such as e-books, video tutorials or software, then you also need web hosting servers that can store and deliver these files quickly and securely.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of locating your web hosting servers in the same country as your business.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the process of storing, managing and delivering content — such as your website, e-commerce store or online applications — online.
Web hosting services generally come as a “all-in-one” solution, where one company hosts all of your online content and makes it accessible to your customers and end users. Web hosting services can be shared, virtual or dedicated.
If you want to start a business online, you’ll need a website, but you’ll also need a place to store all of the information and files that make up that website. When you sign up for a web hosting service, you rent space on a server that’s connected to the internet.
You then use that server to store all the information about your website. Web hosting services generally come with an initial setup cost and an ongoing monthly fee.
How to Choose a Web Hosting Service
The first thing you need to do is decide how much space you need. Once you know that, you can start searching for the best web hosting services to host your content.
Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a web hosting service:
Plan ahead – Before you start looking for a web hosting service, make sure you know what kind of site you want to build and how much bandwidth you’ll need.
What type of website do you have? – Identify what type of website you have and what your hosting needs are. For example, if your website has multiple language versions, you’ll need a hosting service that supports multilingual websites.
How much traffic will your website get? – If you’re building a popular website that gets a ton of traffic, you’ll need to find a hosting service with good scalability and high-performance features. If your website gets a moderate amount of traffic, you can use a standard hosting plan.
How many pages will your website have? – Your website’s total page count and the number of different server applications that run on your site will impact the type of hosting service you need.
With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a web hosting service:
How reliable is the service? – What are their uptime guarantees like? Are they reputable and have a good track record?
Does the service offer 24/7 customer support? – How quickly do they respond to issues and complaints? What type of hosting plans do they offer? How many different options are there and what are their prices like?
Does the service offer any other features or benefits? – Do they offer a free trial period?
Why You May Want To Store Your Files In-Country
One of the biggest issues businesses face when hosting their content with a web hosting company is data privacy. Many hosting providers don’t care about where your data is stored, but some businesses are very ethically and morally driven and will want their hosting provider to abide by the same laws and regulations as them.
If your business is in the EU and you want to store your data in an EU-approved data centre, for example, or if your content is for a government or educational institution, you may also want to store your content in-country. By storing your data in-country, you can be sure it will be stored in line with your laws and regulations, and you can be assured that your data will be stored and managed ethically.
Should You Always Ensure Your Servers Are Located In-Country?
Not necessarily. If your business is in the EU, then you should definitely ensure that all of your data is stored in an EU data centre, regardless of whether you’re using a hosting provider in-country or outside of the EU. However, even if you aren’t hosting your data in-country, you can still be ethically and morally responsible when it comes to managing your data. Hosting providers outsource their data management, which can be a good thing.
If you have a sudden surge in traffic and need to scale up your servers quickly, for example, you want to be able to do that in a timely manner. You don’t want to have to ask your hosting provider to manually add extra servers. However, outsourcing your data management also means that you don’t have direct control over where those servers are located.
Hosting providers will often tell you where your servers are being hosted, but they aren’t required to do so. If you want to know exactly where your servers are located, ask your potential hosting providers upfront.
The Downsides of Having Web Hosting Servers In-Country
You’re not able to take advantage of cheap hosting providers. Web hosting companies don’t have data centres in every country in the world. If you’re hosting your data in the U.S. for example, and your customers are in Asia, you’re going to have a really slow website. You want your hosting provider to have a data centre near the majority of your customers.
You’re not able to easily change hosting providers. You can always switch hosting providers if you’re hosting your data in the U.S. and your Asian customers are having trouble accessing your website. But if you’re hosting your data in an Asian data centre, you have to be much more careful. Many Asian hosting providers don’t let you exit your content to the West.
Server Storage and Bandwidth Is Still Key Regardless of Server Location
Regardless of where your servers are located, your customers will still be able to access the content they want. The biggest issue faced by customers when accessing your content is speed.
If your hosting provider is based in Asia and your customers are in Europe or the U.S. for example, your customers are going to have a really slow experience accessing your website. You can combat this by making sure you’re using a hosting provider with a good server location and that offers high-performance hosting.
You’ll want to ensure that your hosting provider offers low-latency hosting, for example, which is designed to reduce the distance data travels between your hosting provider and your customers.
The location of your web hosting servers isn’t a deal-breaker for most customers. However, it is something you should consider when selecting a hosting provider.
If you’re building a business in Europe and/or serving customers in Asia, you should definitely find a hosting provider with data centres in those locations.
You can also choose a hosting provider based in the U.S. if you want to serve customers around the world, but keep in mind that your customers in Asia will have a slower experience when accessing your content.