SHOULD YOUR WEBSITE BE HOSTED IN AUSTRALIA?
Australian businesses have traditionally used Australian web hosting companies as their providers, however in recent years the number of overseas providers have lured many Australian business customers as well as Australian hosting providers to join them. These overseas companies usually entice businesses with significant savings in hosting fees, but this reduction in cost is not all it appears to be and will cost your business more in the long run.
Many hosting providers that advertise their service as Australian may actually be hosting their servers overseas. Upon initial review of a website it would not be obvious as these multinational hosting companies will usually use a .com.au domain name and provide customers with a local phone number to contact sales and support. Overseas hosting companies marketing their services to Australia will adopt these practices to appeal to the local market and give the impression that their service is Australian based.
Another scenario that has become more prevalent is locally based hosting providers housing their servers in overseas data centres which can provide the hosting company with cost savings, however may not be the best option for customers looking for Australian based hosting for a number of reasons. Australian companies that primarily do business with Australian companies and consumers can benefit from local hosting providers, and here are just a few of the reasons why:
BENEFIT FROM FASTER SERVICE SPEED
Websites that are hosted overseas can suffer from significantly slower site load times. What many people don’t realise is that information uploaded by a computer in Australia must travel to the overseas hosting location first. This can take some time for the initial information to become available. Then the same information must travel back from the overseas host to the Australians who are accessing the website. This process creates an unnecessary middleman, the overseas hosting location, when all the information could have been stored locally in Australia. Not only does this chain of events affect the processing of the website, but it also slows downloadable materials, including images and sales resources which can negatively impact the user experience.
Because information moves so quickly on the Internet, this may not seem like a large disadvantage, but the repeated lag times could affect the success of the business. Website users do not like to visit slow sites, so if two websites offer the same information, but one is significantly slower, the visitor will most likely choose the faster site. This could cost a business profit and significantly impact a visitors experience, particularly if you’re running an online store or content management system.
ELIMINATE RISK OF YOUR SERVICE FAILURE
Many overseas hosting providers are perfectly reliable, and choosing to use one of these hosts does not necessarily guarantee poor service. However, by connecting a site to an overseas provider, there are an increased number of possible points of failure. When more exchanges and connections are set up in the chain of hosting, more breakdowns could possibly occur in the chain. Utilising an Australian web host will eliminate the prospect of these breakdowns by keeping all the exchanges contained on the same landform.
UNDERSTAND WHAT TIME-ZONE DIFFERENCES MAY MEAN FOR YOUR WEBSITE
Web servers are configured to the time zone where the host is physically located. This means that a website hosted in an overseas location will display the clock of the time zone where the overseas host is physically located rather than the Australian time of the business. Of course, the website can be re-configured to adjust for the time difference, but a few minor lapses in timing could affect any e-commerce conducted from the site and could make the timing of visitors’ activities and comments confusing.
In addition to altering the server clock and more importantly, the time zone also affects the host’s maintenance schedule. Most web hosts designate specific times to perform backups on the server and to update the hosting platform. These maintenance windows are usually scheduled to occur during the overnight hours when web traffic is at its lowest, and the least number of people are likely to visit the sites so a websites potential customers are not affected. However, when a website is hosted overseas, the overnight hours could actually be during the middle of the day in Australia. This could severely impact the traffic of the website by slowing down the load times or by taking the site offline entirely. Websites that are hosted in Australia do not encounter this discrepancy in timing, giving these hosting companies a great advantage.
GOOGLE MAY PENALISE YOU IN SEARCH RESULTS
SEO OptimisationWhen a website is created, it is assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address. The IP address frequently relates to the geographical location of the website, which aids search engines such as google.com.au during search engine optimisation. The search engines make every attempt to connect Internet users with websites that are the most relevant to their physical location. For example, Google would try to match an Australian visitor with an Australian website. When the website’s IP address is located overseas, even if the business is Australian, the search engines see the site as overseas. This discrepancy could prevent potential Australian clients and customers from viewing an Australian business. Using a local web hosting company could prevent any of this confusion.
WHY YOU NEED 24/7 SUPPORT RIGHT HERE IN AUSTRALIA
Business websites cannot afford to lose income due to website errors or other technical issues. Time is money, and both can be wasted when dealing with overseas web hosts as time zone differences between Australia and an overseas location can cause headaches when it comes to troubleshooting website issues. A problem that occurs in the middle of the day in Australia could be happening in the middle of the night where the hosting provider is located. This could potentially be devastating to the productivity of the website when no (or limited) technical support is available to help solve problems at the hosting location overseas in the middle of the night.
As an Australian business looking for the best way to market a website online to an Australian audience, it is wise to consider the above points when choosing a web host. When weighing up all of the advantages, it is difficult to imagine choosing anything other than an Australian based provider for the benefit of your business.