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Does Website Server Location Matter?
If you’re a non-techie aspiring website owner, you likely don’t need to hyperventilate over the question, but let's find out anyway. So, what do you think? Does website server location matter?
It's important, sure, but it's not terribly important. While you should absolutely have a general understanding of where your website will live and why it matters, it's not likely to impact you in awful negative ways if your location isn't ideally located.
Let's get started. There are certainly a few things to consider when processing whether or not the location of your website server matters.
- Website Speed & Load Time
- SEO Rankings
- Unsafe Physical locations
To give you a bit more background beyond a simple 3 bulleted list, we'll break these down for you to understand.
1. Website Speed and Load Time
Sometimes location of your server will affect how quickly your site loads. Did you know that on average, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, your traffic is likely to abandon your site and go elsewhere?
The closer your web users are to the actual website’s server, the fewer the speed and loading issues you’ll have. Also, keep in mind that if your website loads slowly, this could have a negative impact on your rankings in search engines. Search engines are less likely to rank a page highly that is slow to load.
2. Search Engine Rankings & Server Locations
Your Google rankings might increase in Google searches if your server location is close to the area that your website services. Search engines, Google especially, will check out your IP address to determine your whereabouts in the world and will factor in your location when ranking you. Before you go ahead with paying for a web hosting service, determine whether or not you’re targeting a particular audience in a specific geographic location. If you’re running a pizza shop in Manhattan, NYC, you’ll want to make sure your server is the closest option to NYC so that you’ll appear higher on local search results for that area. Google will likely ranking pizza shop websites in Manhattan higher in search results if their IP address (determined based on server location) is closer to Manhattan.
3. Potential Natural Disasters or Political Unrest
With the advent of cloud computing, we often forget that not all servers are virtual. Physical servers are still prone to physical damage. If your server is located in an area of the world that is prone to natural disasters, there is a marginal risk that your website could face downtime if something were to ever happen.
And, the same concept holds when it comes to political unrest. You might want to think twice before hosting your website on a server that’s located in an area of the world that is prone to political tension, like the Middle East.
Despite those three points, it’s unlikely that your web host’s server location will have any severe ramifications on your website performance. While website server location is something to be aware of, it doesn’t need to make or break your choice in web host. Just be sure, while you’re shopping, that you know where your web hosts have their servers. If your ideal web host has different server locations for you to choose from, opt for the server that is closest to your target audience and in an area that is free from severe natural disasters or political unrest. Keep reading to learn where some of the most popular web hosting companies house their servers.
Server Locations for Popular Web Hosts
SiteGround houses their servers in datacenters strategically located across the word. They make it a point to constantly monitor, upgrade, and secure their servers by their expert team of sysadmins.
- Chicago, USA
- London, UK
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dreamhost’s servers are located in California and Virginia, which makes them an ideal choice for website owners targeting US based audiences.
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HostGator’s datacenter partners are Ace Data Centers (located in Provo, Utah) and Cyrus One (located in Houston, Texas). Unfortunately, though, as a customer you wont’ be give the option to choose between datacenters. Good news though, HostGator’s partner datacenters are HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant. Meaning, you’re in good hands with HostGator (no matter what server you’re on) if you’re hosting a medical site or a site that offers payment services via credit cards.
Bluehost servers live within their datacenter in Utah. Their value proposition is that all Bluehost servers are custom built making technical issues less prevalent, and troubleshooting easier to manage. While there is only one datacenter for bluehost servers, the company provides highly reliable and reputable services to host your website.
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