I host my website and blog on a Virtual Private Server (VPS). Recently I moved my hosting location from the U.S.A. to Singapore. After a few clients have asked why I moved to Singapore and not Australian based hosting I thought I may as well blog about it.
Australian Hosting costs are way too high
The headline says it all; comparing like for like, Hosting in Australia is more expensive than anywhere else. Below is what CloudFlare had to say about Australian bandwidth costs (bandwidth is costed into hosting plans and therefore the cost of bandwidth has a direct influence on hosting costs).
To give you some sense of how out-of-whack Australia is, at CloudFlare we pay about as much every month for bandwidth to serve all of Europe as we do to for Australia. That’s in spite of the fact that approximately 33x the number of people live in Europe (750 million) versus Australia (22 million). CloudFlare
Hosting in Singapore makes a lot of financial sense as I pay about 40% less to host in Singapore than the same configuration VPS would cost in Australia. Singapore also has great data connectivity with Australia but cost isn’t everything when it comes to hosting.
Isn’t hosting in Australia best for SEO?
The location of hosting itself has no influence on SEO; with technologies such as Anycast it’s very difficult to determine where a website is really hosted and, furthermore, what difference can it possible make to a users experience where a server is located? What does affect SEO is the loading speed of webpages and this is where geography comes into play as distance does affect the load speed of pages. Serving website content from a location close to your website visitor is always best-practice.
So if serving content to visitors from a location close to them is important isn’t it best to host in Australia? Well, that depends on where your website visitors are coming from and, even more importantly, if you use a Content Delivery Network to deliver your webpages.
Website visitors come from all over the world
Below is a screen print of where the visits to my website have come from over the past 30 days (by country). Note that this excludes any visits by me to my website.
And here is where the visits have come from sorted by city.
As can be seen, visits to my website come from all over the globe. I therefore use CloudFlare as a CDN (in addition to the optimization and security they provide). By using a CDN with a global footprint my webpages get delivered from the CloudFlare location closest to the website visitor; Sydney visitors will have content delivered from the Sydney datacenter, London visitors will have content delivered from the London datacenter and so on. Because my visitors are globally distributed and my website is delivered via a CDN there is no need to pay more to host in Australia as the location of hosting becomes largely redundant.
So, should you always host offshore?
There is no simple answer as to where you should host your website as alot depends on where your website visitors come from and the needs of your website. If your website visitors are almost all from Australia and you have a small website then shared hosting based in Australia may suit your needs. If your visitors are global and your website needs a VPS then you’ll almost certainly find very good hosting based in the likes of Singapore for a far more economical price and, using the free plan from CloudFlare, you can’t go wrong.
If you need assistance in moving to a better webhost then feel free to contact me.