Where you host your website is very important and should be ideally near your clients. “Near” doesn’t necessarily mean geographically close but “networkly” close. What matters is not how close to your visitors’ homes it is, but how fast you can access that. For instance, if you live in New York City, and it takes you 3 hours to go to LA, and 4 hours to get out of the traffic jam to go from Broadway to Manhattan, then LA is nearer time-wise. It’s all that matters: How long it takes for the people in your website to access your site. How close it FEELS.
If you have a truly global activity, or at least connections from more than two geographically very distinct areas (i.e. Europe and South East Asia) you MUST consider doing something for the data to be distributed.
I have been using 1and1 for this very blog and various other stuff. They store my data in Germany since I booked all through the French 1and1, not sure if they store all 1and1 clients’ websites in Germany…
Anyway, this is how long it can take for this blog to load depending on the location. Pretty incredible really:
As expected, connections originating from Berlin have the lowest response time, but strangely competing very closely with Washington DC and Nagano. Meanwhile, Amsterdam which is in Holland neighbour to Germany doesn’t do so good, not even better than Los Angeles! Also, look at connections from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), they’re absolutely awful !
In a nutshell, a host in Germany serves much better people from Japan and the US than from The Netherlands, China and Malaysia. Not all expectabe ey!
I would need to try with another benchmarking tool or two, because a lot of factors can influence the above results. The website used to collect this data is webcron.org