Why International Hosting Outperforms Local Hosting: A Comprehensive Comparison

The title of this post is misleading. The limited experimental results have not shown any clear advantage on either side. Here, we discuss the impact of hosting on your website’s search performance, assuming that over 90% of it comes from Google. To guide actions more closely aligned with reality rather than relying on intuition and speculation, I think you would agree that the verdict comes from Google.

Let’s try to imagine, if you were Google, what would you do?

A. Google would strive to avoid us getting the misconception that local hosting is superior to international hosting. Why?

Because Google itself is a provider of hosting services, it makes money from it, and it aims for global business, so localization would significantly harm its interests. Google’s involvement in internet infrastructure services is through two businesses: Google Fiber as an ISP, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offering Web Hosting and Cloud Services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS.

As of December 2021, the number of websites worldwide is estimated to be 1.8 billion. The number and scale of global websites are difficult to quantify. If we estimate that about 35% of them are country-specific domain names, and more than 50% of websites tend to be region-specific; if we differentiate websites by language, even if English is considered a global language, it only accounts for about 25%. This means that at least half of the websites globally have regional specificity, which also aligns with our basic logical impressions in daily life.

  • English: 25-30%.
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 20-25%.
  • Spanish: 10-15%
  • Arabic: 5-10%.
  • Russian: 5-10%.
  • Portuguese: 5-10%.
  • French: 5-8%.
  • German: 2-5%.
  • Japanese: 2-5%.
  • Korean: 1-3%

Google would not want users from various countries to have the impression that hosting in their own country would give their websites SEO advantages; if this were the case, it would significantly affect Google’s own server business revenue; instead, Google would certainly try to minimize the weight of hosting geographical location to the greatest extent possible, to avoid trouble, and even reduce its weight to zero.

In a study of searches for “Electrician” or “Electrician Auckland” in New Zealand, only two of the top 15 websites are hosted locally. These two sites also fail to secure positions in the top 3. This highlights a trend where offshore hosting services dominate search rankings in the New Zealand electrician sector.

B. Is local server speed always faster than international space? Not necessarily.

The speed of local servers usually depends on multiple factors, including server processing power, bandwidth, network topology, and the distance between visitors and servers. If the distance between users and local servers is close and the server configuration and network connection are good, then usually the speed of local servers may be faster. However, if the configuration of local servers is lower or the network connection is unstable, some high-performance servers in international space may provide faster speeds, especially when the network connection quality between users and international servers is good. Therefore, not all local servers will be faster than servers in international space in all cases.

C. Service quality: Does local have an advantage over international?

There may be some differences in the quality of network services between local and international spaces, but it is not necessarily that local is always superior to international. The following are some factors that affect the quality of network services:

  • Network infrastructure: Some countries or regions may have more advanced and reliable network infrastructure, which may lead to better quality of local services than international services. However, in some cases, international network infrastructure may be more advanced.
  • Network congestion and bandwidth: Local networks may experience less congestion and have greater bandwidth support, so they may provide better service quality in some cases. However, if the local network is congested, the service quality may decrease.
  • Distance and latency: Generally, the closer users are to the server, the lower the latency and the better the service quality. Therefore, if the distance between users and local servers is closer, the service quality may be better. However, some international service providers may use technologies such as Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to reduce latency and improve service quality.
  • Network stability: Both local and international networks may face stability issues such as network interruptions and failures. Stability has a significant impact on service quality, so stable network connections are crucial for both local and international services.

Therefore, it cannot be generalized that the quality of local network services is always superior to international services, but specific situations and factors need to be considered.

In addition to the above three points, there are two areas where local companies may have an advantage:

  • Data privacy and compliance: Local spaces can provide stricter data privacy and compliance protection. For sensitive data or data subject to legal constraints, local storage can better control data access and processing, ensuring data security and compliance.
  • Performance and latency: If the distance between users and local servers is close, then usually local servers can provide lower latency and faster response times. This is crucial for latency-sensitive applications such as online gaming and video conferencing.

Key Advantages of International Hosting Over Local Hosting

  • Foreign service providers have more exposure to industry, and they better understand your business needs.
  • Pricing
  • Legal Issues
  • Customer Service Availability
  • Language Concerns
  • In-house Support
  • Technical Support
  • Contribution to the Economy: local wins if you care.
  • Data Privacy Laws, depending on which country, you can make a decision.
  • Load Times, do a real-time test. https://tools.pingdom.com; under 2 seconds is a good goal
  • Technical Limitations
  • Additional Features
  • Reputation
  • Know Your Web Hosting Needs
  • SEO-Friendly Web Hosting: there are different options, think about if you agree on the above point A.

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