Your company is doing well and you have noted an increasing number of orders from European clients. You’ve noticed, however, that the interest shown in your products does not match the number of actual orders being placed.
Your marketing people have a recommendation: invest in an additional web-hosting service, preferably one based in Europe, and you ask them: why, why in Europe and which one?
Proximity to Customers Remains Key
No matter how marvelous the internet is, bear in mind that it remains bound by physical and technical limitations, chief of them being that distance and volume.
A US company with a European customer base will have to contend with the fact that its customers will need to connect to a US-based server to gather information or make a transaction. Despite advances in communications technology, the distance involved remains a factor, there is a built-in delay in communicating between a user’s computer in Berlin and the server in Arizona.
The delay would also be aggravated by the volume of traffic between the two points. It doesn’t matter if US and Europe are on different time zones. What matters is the number of European web users trying to access US servers at the same time. The volume of traffic will result in delays when linking up with target websites. This delay could be enough to turn a potential customer off..
There is also the reality of unforeseen natural catastrophes, a fact underscored recently when an undersea earthquake off Taiwan disrupted internet communications in several Asian countries (Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines among them) lasting from hours to days. You can imagine the chaos that would result if the same thing had happened to the communications links between Europe and the United States, no matter if the disruption lasts for only a few hours, it would still constitute a major loss of income.
Bottom line: it would be best if you have a web server hosting a mirror site for your webpage that is closer to your customers, which means a web hosting service in the United Kingdom or in continental Europe itself.
UK Hosting vs. European Hosting
Having answered the first two issues, you now turn to the final one, which Web hosting service should you use: one that is based in Britain or one operating from somewhere in Europe? There is one subtle difference between these two which gives UK Hosting a decided advantage: support.
European web hosting services have made a practice of offering low price for storage and bandwidth, but charge extra for support calls. This may not seem to be a major issue. However, if something does happen, you would have to consider two problems with a European-based web host: one, the higher fees charged for support calls and two, the language barrier.
Bear in mind that Europe is a multinational community. A support call to a European-based web host may result in you having to discuss a problem with technical support personnel with a less-than-fluent grasp of the English language.
This would not be a problem if you’re dealing with a UK-based web hosting provider, you and the host’s technical support would be speaking the same language and whatever differences there may be would be subtle.