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I live in Canada, and I want to move out of online web hosting and host stuff on my own server. The problem is, my website caters to a huge amount of US traffic, about 90 percent of traffic is US.

Are there huge disadvantages of having my server in Canada?

Please note, speed is very important due to the nature of the site.

--EDIT--

The main thing I want to know-> Is setting up my own server in Canada worth the money I will save in the long run, or should I get a dedicated server with ~$200/month cost in the USA.

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Scott Pack, Holocryptic, RobM, Shane Madden Aug 20 '11 at 0:08

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Unfortunately, your edit about the cost is even more difficult to answer. We have no way of knowing what a price savings is worth to you. As Chris says, the physical difference between US and Canada isn't really that much, so it comes down to your latency and how much pipe you're going to buy anyways. Cost benefit is something that you'll have to decide for yourself. –  Holocryptic Aug 19 '11 at 1:00
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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

From Key West to the topmost Northwest Passages Islands is about 4,000 miles which is a theoretical minimum of 20 milliseconds. Your theoretical minimum roundtrip time is 40 ms. I think you can safely remove the boundaries of physics from the equation. If you're in Toronto, then most of your customers will be much closer to you.

What you need to accomplish this is a reliable network carrier. Ask for information concerning things like:

  • Latency. What kind of response times are provided from the different carriers in your area. Can you get a blended line that chooses the best path?
  • Bandwidth or "Committed information rate". What is the minimum amount of "space" on the wire that is available at any given time? What is the maximum amount data that can be sent over the wire at standard rates?
  • Burst rate. What numbers do they provide for bursting and how do they charge for bursts?

Fortunately, physics is smiling on you and you have nothing to worry about from that standpoint. You do, however, have to worry about network carriers and their numbers and "special math". But that's exactly what you should be worrying about right now anyway.

So in effect, not much changes, except maybe your awareness of what should be considered. =)


In light of your edit, I'm not sure what you mean by setting up my own server in Canada versus a dedicated server in the US. Would you be getting a dedicated in Canada or standing up your own? IMO, you should get a dedicated server hosted by someone else for a monthly fee. It's too much hassle to manage and be liable for your own hardware for just one box.

So, a dedicated box in the US should be virtually the same price in Canada, and at that rate you'd likely not get visitation rights to the colocation rack no matter how close you were to it. Might as well get it somewhere in America, IMO. Chicago and Dallas would be two good spots for connectivity and range of selection.

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First, "speed" means nothing. You need to specify latency or throughput as requirements (one, the other, or both).

This question is going to be almost impossible to answer. It would depend very much on the connection you have, who it peers with, etc. The raw distance from the US to Canada isn't going to make much difference in the latency (unless you're locating the server near Hudson Bay).

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The server is going to be in GTA (toronto) and it will be using a standard T1 line for its connection. –  Jimmy Huch Aug 19 '11 at 0:54
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Ask the T1 provider who they peer with (they'll know what that means, and tell you an AS number). Pop that number into this lookup tool and see what the results look like ripe.net/data-tools/stats/ris/routing-information-service Most of the numbers have details explanations, but lower is generally better. –  Chris S Aug 19 '11 at 1:04
    
Hey Chris, I don't have enough rep to vote you up or your comment, but thank you for some very good information. –  Jimmy Huch Aug 19 '11 at 1:21
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