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Currently I have a web site that is hosted in the US, however there are people from all over the world that use it. Due to the site serving high bandwidth content, certain areas in the world experience a slower service than that in the US.

The website relies heavily on all its content which is stored in a database and which is contributed to by its user base. Therefore the database content is always changing everyday.

I have optimized the site for speed e.g. gzip, caching.

  • Is it possible to setup the site on multiple hosts around the world and force users from certain regions to direct to their closest server?
  • How would this be achieved?
  • Are there any pitfalls to watch out for?
  • Should I have separate domains for each area e.g. .com .co.uk etc or should I have: e.g. www.domain.com; www.domain.com/uk/ ?
  • Do I have a database per host? A single one would still require the data to be fetched from a far away location.
  • How would I keep the databases up-to-date?

Thanks for any help.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As Oscar Cabrero has already answered, you probably want a CDN and not true multisite hosting.

Static websites can be hosted on several continents with relative ease. Dynamic websites cannot -- replicating a (large) dynamic dataset (i.e. what is in your database) across slow and unreliable WAN links is a very hard problem to solve well.

So you want to keep all your dynamic content (i.e. your HTML generation) on one LAN, and move your static content (logo images, CSS, JS) to a content delivery network.

Cloudharmony has a test tool and some good blog entries about CDNs. Paessler has a performance overview and qualified CDN recommendations.

Assuming you want to build a multisite dynamic website nevertheless:

Are there any pitfalls to watch out for?

Oh yes, many. Mostly in silent corruption of replicated data, or broken / stale / delayed replication.

Should I have separate domains for each area e.g. .com .co.uk etc

Completely up to you. If your sites are very regional / local in nature, then a local TLD may work best (i.e. .co.uk, .de etc).

Do I have a database per host?

At least one database server per site you're hosting from, yes.

How would I keep the databases up-to-date?

Your database engine's replication mechanism. Most databases have this. There are more complex solutions for high-end needs, but this is where you should start.

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Thanks for the info, changed the answer to yours due to your thorough reply. –  mar10 Oct 25 '10 at 8:22
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have you ever tried using a CDN content delivery network. this diminish the latency on lots of the content of your site. amazon has great deals on this. worth taking a look

use the 3 C's Caching Compressing CDN

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No I haven't, I'll check that out, thanks –  mar10 Sep 3 '10 at 17:11
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