all. I'm thinking of transferring my UK websites to a US hosting company, and they assure me they can host UK domains. However, as a bit of a n00b I don't understand the relationship between UK domain registration and US hosting. If anyone can explain this relationship I'd be very grateful. What pitfalls and problems should I be alert to? Many thanks.
There's no relationship that matters between UK domain registrations and US hosting.
The only involvement your registrar (the company you registered your .uk domain with) has is to set the right IP addresses for your DNS servers; those DNS servers can be located anywhere in the world. It's fairly common for your registrar to provide the DNS hosting for you, but it's also fairly common for your web host to host your DNS too.
Either way, whoever is hosting the DNS needs to update the
A record - the record that tells computers that
www.yoursite.ac.uk is at IP address
There is no relation between the domain name and where it's hosted. You can host an UK domain name anywhere in the world.
What you should consider is:
- The distance to your visitors. You would want most of your users to be fairly close to the server hosting.
- The local time of the server. If the server is hosted in a different time zone, you may need to add an offset to the time to get the expected local time.
Actually, probably the biggest issue with offshore hosting is legal: are you guaranteed that your hosting provider is bound by the same privacy laws as your own country, and are you liable for breaches if they're not, especially if they are legally required to disclose things that you are required not to?
Consult your lawyers. The cross-juridictional liability issues could be really enormous.
You can host your UK sites in US, as the DNS do its job : convert name (with UK) to IP address. The IP address can be where you want on the world.
In fact, the problem is in the network bandwidth : if your users are in Europe, I think it is better to have the servers in Europe. You don't need to cross the sea to see your site.
You can host .uk (or .co.uk, etc.) domains anywhere in the world. Think of it this way, .com is supposed to only be for USA, but you can host them in UK? So the opposite is true aswell.
If it is a country-specific domain (ie .uk) then see the other very good answers. If it is a global TLD (eg. it is a .com domain) then Google.co.uk may no longer recognise that the site is UK-specific. This would then mean you stop appearing in UK-specific searches and appear lower down in general searches on google.co.uk.
You can get around this by including uk-specific content on your site, but it might take some playing to get it right.