Does it Matter Where I Keep My Data?

It’s a somewhat surprising fact that each byte of the data that makes up the Internet also exists in a physical location, and although cloud-based utilities can simulate the effect of the data existing in several different locations simultaneously, the original data is still held in a single concrete facility.

This raises the question of whether the location of your servers is relevant where web hosting for your business is concerned, and although it does to a very limited extent, other play a far more significant role. Visit www.iinet.net.au to learn about how capable, experienced web hosting can overcome any distance.

Language

The most obvious factor in determining search engine positioning is the language that the content for the site is rendered in. Search engines such as Google give the highest rankings to web sites that use the native language of the query source, and so a site with heavy use of Spanish text will often rank lower in Anglophone countries than a fully English site.

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Server Geography

During transmission, data goes through a number of checkpoints known as “hops” on the way to its destination. The distance between nodes does have an effect on the length of the trip, and a greater distance will require more hops and therefore a longer period of time. However, the speeds at which modern connections travel are such that variation between locations thousands of miles apart is expressed in small fractions of a second, and so there is no measurable difference to the end user.

Actual Geography

The physical location of the facility that houses the server may be significant in choosing a web hosting service for your business. Although international web hosting delivers performance variations that are irrelevant in a functional sense, server locations can be impacted by events beyond the control of the host such as floods and earthquakes.

These unexpected incidents occur frequently enough that they are known in web hosting contracts as “Acts of God,” and as these clauses typically absolve a firm of all damages resulting from a natural disaster’s impact on your stored data, and so it may be wise to consider servers in locations that rarely experience these events.

It’s easy to assume that a server that is local to the users of your website is a critical aspect of the performance of your website, but in reality it is largely irrelevant in most cases. Other factors such as the quality of your host’s infrastructure or network traffic levels at the user’s site have a much greater effect on the user experience of your web site.

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