Does the server location have an impact on website speed?
Short answer – Yes. The server location does have an impact on your website’s speed from the end-visitor standpoint.
The very first thing you should do when hosting your site is to determine where the majority of your traffic is coming from. Why is this so important? Because the server location on which you host your website plays an essential role in your overall network latency and TTFB.
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What is Network Latency & TTFB?
Network latency refers to the round trip time that is involved in the data transmission from your web browser to the server over a network. The longer the distance the data must go, the longer it will take to reach its destination. Network latency is typically measured in milliseconds; however, it could go up to seconds depending on the network.
On the other hand, the TTFB (time to the first byte) measures the amount of time it takes when a web browser sends a request to a server and when it receives its first byte of data. The longer the distance the data must go, the longer it will take to serve your website’s page.
We won’t get into all the technical aspects in this post; all you need to have in mind is that the network latency and TTFB should be as low as possible.
An easy way to accomplish this is to consider choosing a server location close to your visitors.
We’ll walk you through some useful tips you can follow to determine which is the most suitable server location for your visitors.
Check the geolocation of your visitors
An easy way to find insights about the geolocation of your website’s visitors is to check on your Google Analytics account.
Once you are logged in, go to Audience → Geo → Location
Here you’ll be able to see the country from which your traffic is coming. If you’re running a local business, you can narrow down the results by filtering to the city.
In our example, you can see that over 58% of the visitors are from the United States. So, you would want to host your site on a server located in the United States.
If you are targeting a global audience, you can utilize a content delivery network (CDN). Don’t worry; we’ll cover this part further below in this post.
Do a quick latency test
There are a few practical ways to measure latency from your current location to your hosting provider, including Ping, Traceroute, or MTR ( a combination of Ping and Traceroute). This can help you quickly evaluate which server location might be the best choice for your site. Remember, the lower the ping result, the better.
Do a quick TTFB test
You can utilize the web performance tool offered by KeyCDN. This way you will able to easily do a test from 14 locations around the globe.
- Go to https://tools.keycdn.com/performance.
- Type your domain name in the search bar.
- Your TTFB results will propagate on the right-hand side.
Remember, the lower the TTFB result, the better.
As you can see below in our test, the TTFB is low in the United States and higher in Bangalore, India. This is because the server we’ve been using for testing purposes is physically located in the US. This is proof that latency and distance play into TTFB.
Generally, any result under 100 ms is an ideal TTFB. Google PageSpeed Insights recommends under 200 ms for the server to respond. 200-500 ms would be considered healthy. But the most recent version of its PageSpeed tool doesn’t complain unless if it goes above 600ms.
Choose a server location closest to your visitors
If your visitors are mainly from Australia and the web host you are with has data center only in the United States, that means the data literary need to travel halfway around the globe to reach out to your visitors.
Does server location matter? It contributes to your website speed, so what do you think? 😉
Therefore, it’s recommended to host your website closer to your visitors. If you already did that and your website speed is slow in a way, probably you need to consider choosing another web hosting provider.
Here at ChemiCloud, we offer 7 different data centers across the globe.
Which means you can choose from the following 7 server locations for your website:
- San Francisco (US West)
- New York (US East)
- Amsterdam (Europe West)
- Bucharest (Europe Southeast)
- London (Europe West)
- Bangalore (Asia South)
- Singapore (Asia Southeast )
This allows you to host your website in a geographical location closest to your visitors and ensures low latency and blazing fast website speed.
I decided to switch my sites to @HeyChemiCloud! I’m already incredibly impressed by their speed and communication.
— Kristina (@joyfullysmitten) August 29, 2019
Is there any way to reduce latency?
Besides choosing a close server location, utilizing a CDN (content delivery network) is an essential step towards reducing latency.
A CDN stores your static content across multiple servers worldwide. For example, if your website is hosted on one of our New York servers, and one of your visitors is from Australia, they will see the content from CDN’s Australian location. It makes the static content of your website load quickly, no matter where your visitors come from.
At ChemiCloud, we’ve partnered with Cloudflare to offer a CDN service with any of our plans. Using Cloudflare means that loading a webpage will take less time, improving website speed and performance.
We hope that we’ve managed to help you learn more about the aspects to consider when you choose a server location and how it impacts your site. Remember that a server close to your visitors will ensure a fast load time.
If you have been thinking about hosting your website on a server location closest to your visitors now is the time! We’re offering a free migration service included with the purchase of any plan.