Choosing The Most Profitable Dedicated Server Location
Updated January 19, 2021
Ready to take the plunge but aren’t sure which location would be the best for hosting your dedicated server? With KnownHost, you’ll have three outstanding options with the best industry uptime from which to choose.
Deciding on the perfect dedicated server location comes down to one important factor – audience location and whether you serve a local/regional, national or global audience.
Knowing Your Audience –
New site owners won’t have historical website analytics data to know for certain where their audience resides. For existing site owners, it’s important to know where traffic originates, what location actual buyers are residing in and where the target market lives.
It’s great to know what’s worked in the past. But don’t let that knowledge obscure your targets of the future.
Understanding where your target audience resides is important in choosing your perfect dedicated server location.
Server Location Choices –
With KnownHost, you’ve got your pick of 3 incomparable datacenter locations, one in Europe and two in the United States.
The EU datacenter is in Amsterdam, providing access to eight different interconnected datacenters providing connections through 65 different connectivity providers and four different internet exchanges via AMS-IX.
Seattle is home to the KnownHost west coast datacenter which provides multiple tier 1 and tier 2 connectivity providers via Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX). It’s a state of the art facility with premium connections throughout the western half of the United States and into Canada and the Pacific.
Atlanta is where the KnownHost primary datacenter is located, with INAP, providing unmatched connectivity across the east coast of America and into Mexico and Central/South America. Core services are hosted here for all global services.
All KnownHost datacenters have unrivaled server uptime and can provide high speed services to audiences anywhere in the world. That said, choosing a server location closest to the primary audience is a way to ensure the fastest possible user experience.
Audience Location –
For businesses who serve a relatively small geographic area, whether that be a city, county, state or group of any of these (such as those with a somewhat small radius in terms of miles), you’re considered to be a local business and as such you are concerned with a specific target audience.
For local businesses serving a closely packed audience, finding hosting closer to the business and the audience is worth checking out, even if it means paying a bit more than cheaper hosting a great distance away.
When your target market, or audience, spans a large geographical area, such as all of the United States, or even multiple time zones (but not the entire country), you’re looking to regional or national providers who offer high performance from various points within the target area.
Websites aiming to serve a distributed audience that’s confined to a single country, or large slice of one, need to look at hosting within the country of their target audience.
It’s all too easy as a business owner to think, “I’ll sell to everyone, everywhere”. It may sound great, but there will undoubtedly be primary market(s), secondary, and so on. It will pay to work from most to least and focus on large segments first.
With international hosting, it’s important to find servers that are connected through multiple network providers so that requests from different locations can be routed through the fastest possible paths. This is also a time when Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) become more of a necessity than a nicety.
Why Location Matters –
There are a lot of reasons behind choosing a dedicated server location near the target audience. Ask a server technical administrator and they will be thinking about access, support hours and support language for communication. Ask a marketer or accountant and they’ll give you other answers.
Speed / User Satisfaction / Conversions / Bounce
Visitors expect pages to load quickly. Slow sites lead to unhappy users who don’t buy from you and instead bounce away. Satisfaction and speed go hand in hand.
To get the best possible experience, servers need to be as close to the target audience as can be achieved. Every second counts. We’ve compiled the signals that let visitors know you can be a good site to buy from in this two post series on trust signals:
Key Takeaway: Closer servers generally mean faster page loads and that translates into more page views, time on site, conversions and repeat visitors.
For more on how location impacts page loading speed for visitors, check out our detailed blog post explaining it, including information on latency, bandwidth and throughput.
SEO / Search Rankings
There are an increasing number of people who search for “____ near me”. In these cases, search engines like Google will look at where the searcher is located and try to find businesses which are associated with that area or location. Searches that specify a location by name, like “Birmingham hotels” mean very different things when the searcher is in Alabama or England. Google often uses the server location in helping to decide what audience is to see what set of results.
There have been many reports of websites having moved hosting from one country to another and found themselves mostly disappearing from results in one country while being boosted in the new location, despite not having changed their address details (and not having relocated the business at all).
For maximizing search rankings, having a dedicated server in the same country, and as close as possible, to the target audience is a recommended best practice.
Support / Communication
When things go perfectly, technical support, customer support, billing support and any other hosting communications won’t be in the forefront of your mind. When things don’t go well, that’s when you could find issues.
Some small hosting companies may be able to offer a server right next door to you. They also might be only available from 9am to 5pm weekdays.
It’s important to find a reputable company that can support you when you need it, all day, any day.
Selecting hosting in another country can bring with it perils and pitfalls, especially if you picked a country other than your own and particularly if it’s different from your target audience.
What can possibly go wrong?
– configuration settings from time zones to character sets
– language and currency defaults
– character sets and odd text displays
Many of these issues can be overcome with the right setup, assuming you know how to set up the server, or have a managed hosting company that does these types of things on your behalf. Painful surprises are never fun.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) –
A Content Delivery Network is a means of taking your website static content and making copies of it available in multiple locations so that your visitors see the copy in a location closest to them. If your audience is spread across multiple countries then a single dedicated server isn’t going to be ideally situated for everyone, unless those countries are bunched together closely.
It’s at this point that you’ll benefit from a server which is primarily located closest to your highest priority cluster and then makes use of a CDN to provide high-speed access to users in various locations.
Preferred hosting providers will make it easy for you to administer your server and connect to CDNs so that you can deliver fast page loads to an international audience.
Location Concerns and Exceptions –
Closer Is NOT Always Faster
The general principle that dedicated servers located closest to a target audience are the fastest does come with some caveats.
First, server hardware quality, drive types and configuration (SSD, RAID) can make a phenomenal difference when it comes to delivering speedy responses. Server software configuration such as choice of web server, caching setup and a myriad of other optimizations can also greatly impact the time it takes for visitor page requests to get responses and load.
Secondly, network connectivity, throughput, load and number of hops to reach the backbone can all influence performance. Physical location of a server is important, but how the data gets from the server to the website visitor is critical. Proximity takes a backseat when the network is congested, routed poorly, many hops or choked by low speed connections. Tier 1 networks cost more for a hosting provider but are what every site owner should demand.
Bottom line: Closer isn’t always faster.
Dependability / Uptime
When you read advice saying to choose a dedicated server hosting location near your audience, think of it as saying, “choose dependable dedicated server hosting that’s located near your audience”.
There’s little point in selecting low quality hosting that’s going to mean your server is offline from time to time. Visitors and search engines alike don’t trust sites which are frequently unavailable and not responding to requests.
It’s better to pick a dedicated server location a bit further away, but which will have great uptime.
It’s not hard to find insanely cheap dedicated server hosting. After all, doesn’t every site owner want to save some money when possible?
The issue with choosing cheap hosting is that you often get what you’re paying for – ridiculously low prices go hand in hand with poor quality – and that translates into poor performance, uptime, support and results.
Look for value priced hosting that has been proven to be fast and dependable.
Top Level Domain (TLD)
Choice of a country code TLD (ccTLD) can override server location for SEO purposes, sending search engines signals so that they are able to assign your website to the correct spot on the map, thus having you appear in the appropriate local and regional search results.
ccTLD impacts location based search results by showing your site for relevant searches, not boosting your rankings across the board.
However, when it comes to the speed with which pages are delivered to site visitors, having the server physically near those visitors plays a large role in that speed. ccTLD doesn’t have anything to do with how fast pages load.
Page speed is an important part of search rankings, so don’t overlook the impact location makes on SEO, indirectly. Not sure how to choose your domain? Read this article for insight: https://www.knownhost.com/blog/what-domain-extension-should-i-get/
Location Decisions –
Seattle WA USA / West
The KnownHost datacenter in Seattle makes use of Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX) connectivity in providing high speed, high availability hosting for dedicated servers.
Multiple Tier 1 and Tier 2 networks come together at SIX, giving KnownHost customers the ability to quickly deliver web pages to visitors in the Western United States, Canada and Asia.
– A perfect fit for any company targeting visitors from Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and nearby.
– An excellent fit for companies targeting any city within the northwestern portions of the United States or western Canada.
– A good fit for companies targeting any city or region in Asia.
– Perfect for those targeting visitors from the United States.
– Excellent for companies aiming for visitors from Canada.
– Good for those looking to reach Asia and the Pacific.
– Excellent if the primary market segment targeted is North America.
– Ideal if the primary market segment is outside North America, particularly in the Pacific region or Asia.
Atlanta GA USA / East / Central
Thanks to massive interconnects with Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C., the INAP network infrastructure provides the KnownHost Atlanta datacenter with routes through the central and eastern regions of the United States while also being a great launching point into Central America and South America as well.
With superb uptime and support, Atlanta is the number one choice for KnownHost infrastructure and core services.
– A perfect fit for any company targeting visitors from Atlanta, Dallas, Washington and nearby.
– An excellent fit for companies targeting any city within the south, central and eastern portions of America.
– A good fit for companies targeting any city or state throughout the United States.
– Perfect for those targeting visitors from the United States.
– Excellent for companies aiming for visitors from Canada or any country in Central America / South America.
– Good for those looking to reach countries anywhere in the world.
– Excellent if the primary market segment targeted is North America, Central America or South America.
– Ideal if the primary market segment is outside North America.
Amsterdam NL / Europe / UK
Serving up over 9 Tb/s, AMS-IX is the nexus of high speed connections in Europe, with 25+ years of proven success and hundreds of Internet Exchange carriers, the KnownHost datacenter in Amsterdam provides dedicated server customers with routes throughout Europe and beyond.
If you’re targeting an audience in Europe, or nearby countries, our Amsterdam datacenter is the premier choice. Enjoy top spec hardware and tier 1 networking, along with expert server management, for a dependable, high performance hosting location.
– A perfect fit for any company targeting visitors from Amsterdam and nearby.
– An excellent fit for companies targeting anywhere within NL.
– A good fit for companies targeting any city or country throughout Europe, UK and nearby countries.
– Perfect for those targeting visitors from NL.
– Excellent for companies aiming for visitors from any country in Europe, plus the UK and nearby countries.
– Good for those looking to reach countries in Asia and Africa.
– Excellent if the primary market segment targeted is European.
– Ideal if the primary market segment is in Asia or Africa.
– Otherwise Atlanta is recommended for North or South American primary market targets.
Choosing the best dedicated server location is much more than just choosing the server nearest your target audience. There’s no point in having a close proximity server that’s offline much of the time, running on an overloaded network or outdated hardware.
Look to established hosting providers with stellar uptime, top notch hardware and Tier 1 networks like KnownHost. Getting full server management is a bonus as well.
Choose from any location offered at KnownHost and you’re sure to have success. Pick a location closest to your target audience and enjoy the performance, while avoiding the pitfalls of dependable dedicated server hosting.
Looking for more on KnownHost? Check out this review and interview on webhostingprof.com!