The location of the hosting server is critical for website performance, and some of the best webs hosting providers are very sensitive about it. The quality of hosting service depends on how speedily it can transfer data, which in turn depends on how far the server is located from the target audience. Farther is the server from the audience; longer would be the time for data transfer.

Depending on your business, whether it is local or have global interests, the location of the server could be a crucial factor when selecting a web host.  While local companies can settle for servers within the geographical borders of its location, for businesses that have customers across the world, looking for servers spread well across all the regions is an essential requirement to ensure speedy data distribution.

Server location and SEO

Having the host in the same location of your target audience is one of the ways of improving search rankings of your website. Experiments have shown that farther is the server from the target audience lower is the search ranking. When a UK based company with global business interest moved its server from the UK to the US, the ranking in the UK declined while it rose in the US. One of the reasons for the change in ranking is that when the server is far away, it slows down data delivery speed, which negatively affects the user’s experience and pushes down search rankings.

Distant server makes websites slow

There cannot be any compromise on website speed because users, as well as search engines, expect websites to load under 2 seconds, and the longer it takes to load, the more dissatisfied would be the users that can impact ranking negatively. Failing to live up to user expectations will drive them away from your website in 80% cases and jeopardize your business prospects. Even the best-designed website with good loading speed can look very ordinary and slow if the host server is thousands of miles away.

The impact of slow loading time on business can be very severe. When slow websites drive away customers, for every half a second slower speed, the revenue loss is about 20%. It means that if a business earns $1,00,000 per day, the loss translates into 2 million dollars. 

Do a cost-benefit analysis

When choosing a web hosting service, you must ask them about the location of their data centers to understand how it would affect your business prospects. This is in addition to ensuring that the host has solid security measures in place and assures 99.9% uptime so that users would never lose sight of the website. But, when you are selective about server location, you must be ready to bear the expenses as it will cost you much more.  

By doing a cost-benefit analysis, you can quickly make out how beneficial it will be for your business to spend the extra sum of money. By all counts, the business gains would be higher in most of the cases.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.