I'm opening another small hosting provider based in the U.S. but I have one critical question.
I want to chose a location with medium to low competition, decent cost of Colocation, safe to live, low crime and natural disaster rates etc.
I am looking to pick a more desirable location since it'll be managed hosting. Some ideas I had were Denver Colorado, Seattle Washington, Pittsburg Pennsylvania (too much competition).
Im leaning towards Denver but its very costly. Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?
In terms of network quality, I wouldn't put Denver at the top of my list. If they're also very expensive then that doesn't make it any better. It's also not near any major population centers, so that would really limit the appeal if you're looking for a customer base who cares about the geography or latency at all.
I think you'll find that the best places to host also have a significant amount of competition. It's no secret that having more demand for services, along with better network connectivity and lower costs of doing business, is going to draw your competitors to offer services in those areas, so you'll find that the best places to host are not exactly "unknown" to the industry.
Unless you're targeting local customers in a niche city, you're better off picking a major peering hub since the network performance will be much better and the costs much lower. If you look at second tier cities (say, las vegas instead of los angeles, portland instead of seattle), you'll find far fewer carrier options, and the carriers that do exist just ping pong traffic to the nearest major metro to peer with the carriers your local customers are connected to.
So for example, if you're in Portland, your ping times to Portland ISP customers will be higher than if you hosted in Seattle, UNLESS you get transit from the eyeball providers in Portland, which is going to be a lot more expensive than buying transit from anyone else. If you wanted to attract attention from Portland companies, then you bite the bullet and connect to the local eyeball ISPs and pay the much higher costs of doing that, and put the servers in Portland, but it's an expensive way to get a small amount of additional performance vs colocating in Seattle for example. That would make sense if your business plan is to go door to door in seattle, shake some hands, kiss some babies, and get local businesses to go with you. If you're planning any kind of internet based marketing rather than local based marketing, that strategy is going to backfire as the percentage of people who are a good fit for your offering who see your ads is going to be much smaller. Ultimately that hurts your advertising ROI if all the people you advertise to are better off somewhere else. Conversely, you wouldn't host in New York and then go door to door in Seattle trying to get those people to sign on with you.
I am very interested in Los Angeles, Dallas or Sacramento at the moment. Atlanta also came up again in my mind. I want to be more central for the entire world, so California works well. However for inland USA hosting - Dallas or Atlanta would work the best.
It's hard to decide. I am not looking to attract a certain city or state, I'd like to serve customers all around the world with the server solutions but I also want the location to be desirable.
It depends on your target market and what kind of hosting you'll be doing. If it's game server hosting, then every less millisecond will be desirable. If it's generic hosting, then your customers aren't likely to care if your servers are in LA or TX, as long as they are reliable and well managed, etc.
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