Finding the perfect hosting solution for your online operation is easier said than done. There are an array of things you have to consider if you even want to begin talking about a successful online business. One of those things is the location of your dedicated server.
Not to be the ones to rain on your parade, but choosing the perfect location to host your website won’t be an easy task.
There will be plenty of things you must take into account before you can decide on the server’s location. And even then, there is no guarantee that it will work out perfectly for you. You may still experience problems down the road.
But don’t worry! We are here to help you out. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about choosing the perfect location for your dedicated server, so you can make your decision confidently and comfortably.
What are the three main things you need to keep in mind when choosing a dedicated server?
In order to help you fully grasp the importance of choosing the right location for your dedicated server, we have put together a list of the five main things you need to keep in mind.
Let’s look at a brief overview of these five:
- Reliability – The closer your server is to your customers, the faster and more reliable their requests will be fulfilled. This is due to lower latency and less network congestion.
- Security – Your data is safer when it’s physically closer to your customers and you. In addition, certain countries have stricter data protection laws than others.
- Data Centers and IXPs – The quality of your dedicated server’s connection is only as good as the data center or Internet exchange point (IXP) it’s connected to. Make sure to do your research on any potential providers.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect location for your dedicated server. But, this seems vague, doesn’t it? Well, don’t worry, we will go over each of these in more detail below.
Reliability is about quite a few things, but when it comes to a location, the “only” thing that needs to be on your mind is your target audience. More precisely, where they live.
You could open up your wallet and pay any amount of money you want for the best servers in the USA or Germany, but if your target audience resides in Indonesia – do you really think that will make any difference in user experience?
Well, to be fair, you will notice some changes for the better, but not nearly as much as you would if you had chosen a server in, say, Thailand.
This is due to something called “latency”, which is basically the amount of time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. If you’ve heard some gamer head talk about ping – that’s what they’re talking about. Essentially, the further away your server is from your target audience, the higher the latency will be, and the worse the user experience will be as a result.
In other words, you want to make sure that your server is as close to your target audience as possible in order to ensure the best possible user experience. But, that’s not all.
There is also something called “network congestion”. This happens when too much data tries to travel through a single network at the same time. Just like a traffic jam on your daily commute, it will result in slower speeds and longer wait times, but you’ll read more on that later.
Online security is not just about teaching your kids to stay away from sketchy websites and not to click on links from strangers. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your customers’ data is safe.
This is unfortunately easier said than done.
There are all sorts of ways for hackers to get their hands on your data, and the last thing you want is for your customers’ personal information to end up in the wrong hands.
One of the best ways to protect your data is to physically store it in a secure location. This way, even if a hacker were to get their hands on your servers, they would still need to physically break into the data center in order to get to the data.
This is why many businesses choose to store their data in countries with strict data protection laws, such as some European countries like Sweden or Germany.
Data Centers and IXPs
Remember when we mentioned “traffic jam” and “network congestion“? Well, this is what we were talking about.
Data centers and IXPs are kind of like the roads and highways that data travels on. The bigger and better connected they are, the less likely it is for there to be any congestion. So, in other words, you could buy a Ferrari, but if you were to drive it on a jam-packed, one-way street – you wouldn’t be able to push down on that paddle, wouldn’t you?
Now, we don’t want to bore you with technicalities like protocols and routing and whatnot, so we’ll just stick to this traffic metaphor. Basically, think of them as the “policemen” regulating the traffic flow and making sure that everything is running smoothly. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
So, what should you take out of this? Well, the important thing to remember is that you want your data to be travelling on a well-connected network with as little congestion as possible, so when you go about choosing a dedicated server – please make sure you identify the data center and the IXP it’s connected to.
Ensure they’re well-performing, run on new (or at least well-maintained equipment) and you should be good to go!
So, to sum it all up – why does location matter?
Well, why does your website speed matter? Or your customer service?
Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to providing the best possible user experience. And a big part of that is making sure that your dedicated server is in a location that is close to your target audience and offers a good connection with as little congestion as possible.