When a business has to make a purchasing decision, it can often find itself assessing the benefits of working with a local supplier as opposed to outsourcing somewhere that is potentially cheaper. This is no different when it comes to choosing a hosting provider. Although hosting may seem intangible, where your website is hosted still matters.
So read on as we outline the benefits of choosing a UK hosting company for your UK business.
Image Source – Chris Lawton
We may now think of the internet as a wireless, cloud-based vessel for data but its basic functionality is still dependent upon data transferring along wires. Internet traffic to and from your hosted platform has to commute through these networks to get to the device of the person viewing your website. The shorter this commute, the better your applications will perform for your users.
If you are running a website as part of your hosted solution, improved loading and response times are a massive incentive to think local as visitors grow increasingly impatient (many will leave a page if it doesn’t load within 5 seconds).
So, if you’re hosting a UK website it makes sense to ensure your server is in the UK.
Google is a mysterious, mythical beast and ranks based on oodles of different factors. Although it is not a main factor by any means, the geo-IP location can still have a bearing on search engine rankings according to Google’s Matt Cutts.
So if you have a country-specific domain name (‘.co.uk’ etc.) or want to rank high on local search engines, you can and should put your website on a web host located in the UK. Having a server based in the UK is more likely to see you rank well on google.co.uk as opposed to other regional variants such as google.es. You can tell Google your target audience with webmaster tools by going to search traffic > international targeting, then select the country tab and select your target country.
The location of your server can affect you legally. For example, companies hosting solutions that have UK personal data are subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. This is the main legislation that protects and polices personal data in the UK. Equally, some businesses need to comply with other statutory bodies, like the FCA, who require personal financial information to be securely stored in the UK.
Image Source – Sai Kiran Anagani
Host your system in a different territory and your data will be governed by the law in that territory. Many of these territories simply do not have the IT infrastructure that the UK is blessed with or the data security that it affords you.
Ideally, everyone would have an equal quality in terms of internet access and connectivity. As things stand though, internet speeds vary from country to country. The UK is consistently ranked highly compared to other countries and has the means to ensure your hosted solution gets the best service possible.
Image Source – Luca Bravo
We may love to bemoan the British weather but relatively speaking, it’s not that bad. The UK benefits from quite mild conditions compared to other regions and doesn’t regularly face the extremes that some do. As far as natural disasters go, they are infrequent and your equipment is safer than it would be in countries regularly facing hurricanes or earthquakes. Of course, this shouldn’t matter anyway as a good hosting provider will store your data in more than one location as part of an effective disaster recovery plan.
If in the unfortunate event that something happens to your website, you want to be able to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Trying to get in touch with an international hosting provider may add to your stress levels. Availability is one of the key benefits of choosing a UK hosting company.
Although there is of course Skype and other communication tools that you can use, sometimes it just feels easier to pick up the phone and talk to the support/technical staff of your hosting company. When you use a UK host for your business, troubleshooting can seem a lot faster.
Aside from this, UK hosting companies can often provide that personal touch when it comes to customer services. You can even meet up with your hosting provider in person if they are local and help form a better professional business relationship.
In the globalised digital world that we live in, time zones aren’t as important, especially with 24-hour tech support. However, most hosting providers will allocate certain times to perform backups on servers and for updating the platform.
Usually this is scheduled for night-time when people are less likely to be using your service. Nevertheless, if using an overseas hosting company, the time difference could be important as night-time there won’t necessarily be night-time in the UK. Backups performed when it is daytime in the UK can slow down load times and impact your traffic. With a local hosting provider, you eliminate this risk.
In conclusion, UK businesses should think carefully before choosing an overseas hosting provider. If your primary customers are in the UK, it is almost a no-brainer to choose a UK hosting company.