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I'm looking for a (cheap) Web hoster. Basically all the hosting providers that I can find, and match my requirements are located in the USA.

But my target audience is in (Western-)Europe, I know for sure because the Site is in Dutch.

Will hosting my site in the USA have a negative impact on the comfort of the user? What is the performance that I will lose?

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8 Answers 8

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Anywhere in north-western Europe (.nl, .de, .uk, etc) will give you perfectly good performance.

Moving traffic across the Atlantic and back will add ~90ms minimum latency to a link, and latency can affect absolutely maximum bandwidth because of the TCP window.

I'm in Amsterdam at the moment, though, and latency back to the UK is only 11ms.

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Good thing about the Netherlands, is that that AMX-IX, world's largest IXP is located in Amsterdam. So that's less hops, your packets have to do.

As for impact on the site, that depends how interactive it is. Latency has negative impact on gaming and such, but has no impact on classic HTTP. For classic web what's important, is the bandwidth.
On bandwidth vs latency (wiki)

BTW. OVH.nl might be an option for you. But don't let .nl domain fool you. They are French company, have data centers in France (Roubaix and Paris).

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If the site is dutch, your target audience will probably be limited to the Netherlands and Belgium. So find a hosting provider in one of those companies.

There are a few dutch sites which compare a lot of dutch webhosting company.

Using these websites you could find a local hosting provider which matches your requirements. Most of the providers have a nice uplink to AMS-IX.

Very cheap hosts in the Netherlands:

I don't know about there service level though, I have heard good things about http://directwebhosting.nl/ which is also very cheap and has a nice service.

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So many choices. Problem is that prices in EU for a Sql Server database are very high compared to USA. –  GvS May 8 '09 at 12:06

Not only a technical view is important here. Also, SEO-wise, it has been shown that choosing an ISP in your own region can be important. Google takes this into account when providing search results. http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=1301680

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Where are you based. In Europe? (I am)

Where is SO and SF located. In the USA!

Do you have any problems with this site (or any other USA site)? (I don't)

Unless your expecting 100's of concurrent connections with lot's of AJAX call backs to webservices then your unlikely to really notice much difference in hosting either side of the Atlantic.

Concentrate on a good user usability experience, and test your site using YSlow.

Update from comments below

I asked a similar question a few days ago on "the other" site... Using YSlow I see 900ms for the page build / receiving data, but I don't find SF/SO slow at all.

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I'm using SO and SF across the pond and I definitely don't get the sub 100ms response times Jeff's so proud of. –  David Schmitt May 8 '09 at 11:23
    
That's one thing that amazes me also, the crisp response of SO and SF. This is what got me thinking and triggered this questions. –  GvS May 8 '09 at 11:57

Geographically speaking, it might have some impact, as your server will be far away from your audience. The major hurdle I see is on your choice of hosting. As you wrote "I'm looking for a (cheap) Web hoster (...)" (emphasis mine). Cheap comes often with high price to pay.

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Depends what you're hosting - static pages will be fine with that latency, if you have lots of dynamic code you might see some difference.

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1&1 host their servers in Germany, and they've got cheap Server Hosting, Web Hosting and Virtual Server Hosting. The support isn't great, but the service is good.

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