Hosting a UK based site on US based servers - what difference does it actually make?
The title says it all really. I'm kind of confused and have read slightly conflicting things about search results, load times and some other stuff I can't even remember now that I'm typing this question! One obvious difference is the considerably lower prices in the USA.
the differences mostly would be related to loading times, where if you site was hosted in the uk, im guessing you are a uk person, then the time to connect to the page would be about 3-30ms on average, whereas in the US from UK you would expect 80-200ms, this also depends on the connection speed to the server if the server has a slow caonnection it would take longer again to load the site,
Another affect would be support, you may choose a US company who may have different working hours in effect they are about 8hrs behind so support may not be open at the time
sorry if some of this is confusing but i hope it answers one of you questions
If the hosting provider has quality infrastructure your visitors will not notice much difference if any at all.
Users in North America that load sites based in the UK that are on fast backbones don't even notice a lag at all. For inctance, if a user in the USA open the BBC web page it will load very quickly, and will be just as fast as CNN from a typical user perspective.
1) If you use a UK domain then you are fine on either server, but if you use anything other than a UK domain then you will not rank for "UK Only" searches on Google if you are hosted on a US server.
2) Maintenance - If the company itself is based in the US and works based on US times, then a 3am maintenance on a Sunday night would be around 9am on a Monday morning in the UK which for a business site just simply isn't acceptable.
Other than the above, you have speed which is a very small difference and most of the time unnoticable for most websites.
For those declare 24x7 support, just send email to support at midnight of UK time.
That'd be early evening US time.... I would suggest sending in a support request early morning UK time when it'll be past midnight US time.
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If your host is in a good dc with a good network on the east coast of Canada Or the USA. You will be fine, i am from the uk, and we have alot of uk customers who worried the same way, but they are happy enough, but again it depends if you want to offer downloads and very very image/video heavy sites it may be quicker in the uk, but Uk networks aren't as good as Canadian and USA ones (believe me we are trying to use UK dc's and most are nowhere near as good).
Also in the Uk you will pay a premium because its in the uk, Datacenters are more expensive so is bandwidth . You could pay $1 or £1.99 for the same service, Support wise, go with one that has maybe a few uk staff and/or true 24/7 support.
From my experience when I first entered web hosting, I got a shared plan which was hosted on a US server. FTP took a wile to log in, IMAP was slow and often times out. I thought this was standard, since I had been told time and time again there is no speed difference. I got UK Hosting, and IMAP went from slow, to instant and FTP was at least three times faster. This is why as a UK Host we only use UK servers.
You can't be sure of the difference unless you have tried both.
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See i agree with you a bit, some of the DC's we used un the USA were slow and rebus for example was quicker, but the really good canadian dc's and some usa dc's are as quick or quicker, I would say on average the usa/canadian are quicker, but some uk datacenters (very few) are on the same level, we use both Uk and Usa servers. But i think for what you need it for, the difference is negligble..
Thanks to everyone that has replied! I'm learning so much on WHT . If I have a .co.uk that either forwards to or is parked at (or whatever the right term is) the .com then would this resolve any potential search or google issues?