Unless you are tech-savvy or know a little about website hosting, you may find this topic confusing. Most people will probably say their website is hosted on the internet, and that’s it. A website is a digital platform, not a physical object that can be touched or positioned in a place.
All websites are internet based, and the internet is simply the network of many computer systems. The components of these systems include servers. Every functional website on the internet is on a server somewhere in the world. And for any internet user to access a website, their browser must first communicate to the website’s hosting server.
Therefore, the location of your server matters a lot. The closer it’s to your market, the faster your customers can access your website. If it’s much farther, it could take them some extra seconds to access your website. And you know what that means for your business in this impatient world. Many people will get tired of waiting too long and check competitors’ websites.
So, small business owners, where is your website hosted?
How to find out where your website is located
Many businesses don’t know where their website is hosted. Business owners can’t really be blamed for this because they have a lot to deal with every time. And the least they would want to bother about is their website location. Besides, website creation and management are usually handled by the IT department in the big companies or a digital agency hired by a small business.
This small but vital info often gets lost when the IT personnel is replaced, or there’s a change of agency. But there’s no course for alarm; you can still obtain your website location by using some tools. The who is hosting tool by host advice is one such tool. It will pull up the web hosting provider, the CDN service used by the website and the location.
It may also give you the server’s IP address if the website is not shielded by any security service. Another tool for the job is whois.com.
Why should you know your website location?
The short answer is – it helps to avoid Network latency. Network latency is the delay in communication between the user’s browsers and the server on which your website is hosted. Latency is caused by distance, implying that it will take longer for users browsing far away from your server to access your website.
Network latency may be the reason for the little traffic received by your website. And that’s why some businesses still don’t understand why their website pages have long loading times even with all speed optimization. If your website is far from your users, no plugins will make a difference.
If you’re currently having this problem, the best solution is to change your web host to another with a server closer to your market. But before then, you need to:
Check the geographical locations of your website visitors
I’m sure you don’t want to make the same mistake with the first hosting. This time, you should research your visitor’s locations before you choose a new web hosting. Google Analytics is a suitable tool for performing research.
On your admin, go to Audience – Geo – Location.
In that section, you will see the countries and regions of your web visitors. Your new web server should be in the country, contributing the largest traffic to your site. Meanwhile, local businesses should host their website on a server within your service regions.
Perform a TTBT test
TTBT stands for Time to the First Byte, the duration elapsed between when a user browser sends a request to the server and when the browser receives the first byte of data. The lower the time, the better for your website. It can also be measured using tools like Pingdom and GTmetrix. You should also know that some tools measure this parameter as wait time.
You can also measure your site TTBT with a web performance analytic tool developed by KeyCDN. It populates your website TBTT scores across 14 different locations in the world. To utilize this tool;
- In your web browser, go to https://tools.keycdn.com/performance
- Enter your website URL in the search bar
- Your TTBT scores will propagate with other key performance indicators
TTBT is measured in microseconds. A score less than 100ms is nice. According to Google PageSpeed Insights, the server should respond to a request under 200ms, and anything between 200-500ms is considered healthy.
Choosing a server location closest to your visitors
Some hosting companies have servers in different countries and parts of the world. If you’re lucky to be hosted by one of these companies, the solution would be to request a change of hosting location. You should be able to achieve this with a few clicks of your mouse in your admin panel.
I would have loved to give guidelines, but the steps are not the same for all hosting companies. You should check the FAQs section of the host site for help or even contact customer support.
But for others whose hosting company offers limited location or doesn’t have a data center closer to your market, getting hosted with a new company should be the next move. Ensure you research very well before you pick a hosting company this time. If they offer your market location, go for it.
The process of switching hosts is a technical one. I advise that you get an expert to do it for your business. And if you must carry it out yourself, make sure you backup the website files and databases.
Using CDN to reduce Network Latency
A control delivery network is a network of servers distributed across the globe. CDN servers save and serve your website static content to people far away from your hosting server. Website owners use these networks to reduce latency and increase website loading speed. Moreover, these CDN companies offer other security and website performance services.
Knowing your website location is crucial, and the info does matter. Ensure you find out now and research if it’s affecting your website load time. And it’s better to move the location to a server closer to your market.
Premlall consulting can assist with all your website and digital marketing problems. We can advise you on the best hosting companies and design an excellent website for your business. Contact us today!