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I am in the process of setting up a number of servers and was just wondering where I should locate these servers? There are so many providers in so many countries.

So, I am just looking for some thoughts on issues affecting the selection of a hosting provider's geographic location, assuming the dollar costs are similar.

  1. Network performance. This is an obvious one. I am planning to consider the physical links (i.e. submarine cables) connecting the audience country directly to the hosting geographic location? Or am I just being too 'over-kill' on this and the performance differences are negligible?

  2. Local laws - the equivalent of 'tax havens' for digital audiences. Assuming that the site may host objectionable content for certain audiences (e.g. the vb.ly case). Which are the most liberal countries, when it comes to action taken by hosting providers against objectionable content?

Any other thoughts?

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Bear in mind that point 2 is very fluid just now, with a number of countries in the process of, or at least actively debating, changing the rules. –  John Gardeniers Oct 18 '10 at 23:08
    
That's one reason why I decided to ask here. Maybe we can discuss this a little. What are some of the rules being debated? –  sybreon Oct 19 '10 at 6:49
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3 Answers

I'd consider office hours.

I know that servers have to run 24/7 and a lot of communication is done via e-mails and support tickets, but if you need to actually speak to someone about your account or system they need to be in their offices at a time convenient to you.

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+1 often overlooked but critical when you're in crisis mode. –  MDMarra Oct 18 '10 at 16:46
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If you're storing customer data, keeping the data out of the EU can cause massive DPR issues. I'm not sure how it affects PCI compliance.

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I will be storing some personal data. Any thoughts? –  sybreon Oct 19 '10 at 6:50
    
For personal data, the location of the provider shouldn't matter. From a SEO perspective, sites hosted in other countries may not appear in (for example) Google if the user selects "pages from the UK" - although this option appears to have gone on Google now. –  Simon Catlin Oct 19 '10 at 18:32
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I personally would recommend http://www.leaseweb.com for Europe they also provide relatively good international speeds (to asia and US) I currently had a Dedicated server with them but have had a collocation as well before

In terms of network performance which locations are you planning to serve? is this a domestic site for your county or will it serve people from all over the world.

In terms of local laws locations such as switzerland are relatively lax to my knowledge

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So how does this answer the question? –  Mircea Chirea Oct 18 '10 at 21:52
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