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I am located in the UK, and most of my clients are also in the UK. However. I find some of the products available in the US to be easier to use. I won’t name specific companies, but the price and features attract me the most.

Does it matter if the websites are located in the USA? I understand that when pinging my existing sites, there are around 7-8 more hops involved. All my sites use CMS’s, so they aren’t as fast as static sites (even with caching turned on).

Would hosting the site abroad and using a CDN make any difference?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can but...

Legal Issues:

Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

That is known as "Data Protection Principle"

The UK Commissioner will evaluate the data transfer following these recommendations:

  1. Transfer of data to a third country (European Countries).
  2. Adequate level of protection of the guest country.
  3. Adequate safeguards (of data of course)
  4. Other derogation (will evaluate the overall respect of the other principles).

The first point obviously apply only if the DATA is kept in the European territory.

En example are social networks that, for performance issues, they need to distribute their data centers worldwide. In this case the Commissioner will check that the minimum required by the UK legislation is met in the third country.

Performance issues

It's hard to say, you have to make some theoretical calculus...

I found this bandwidth calculator that can help you, then, when you will have the numbers, you can ask your new provider to let you try to upload/download some files from one of its server, so that you can evaluate.

If they won't let you do it, well, you can look for another provider, or you can try some of customer web server (their internet sites I mean) that are using the same host provider (portfolios is the key).

You have to use some tools to check the network performance, if you use Firefox, I advice you to use https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firebug/... It's just perfect

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You should note that Google is using website load time as a factor in your websites search engine rankings. This data is collected by users who have the Google toolbar installed who visit your site. If the majority of users are from the UK then you may see a slight increase in load times and a possible drop in rankings.

Secondly if you're not using a .co.uk or another country specific TLD then it's possible Google/Bing will not correctly classify your site as a UK website due to the server location. This could make it harder to rank in google.co.uk. You will need to make sure you update the site's target location in the relevant Google and Bing webmaster tools.

However I will say that I host 90% of my sites in the USA even if they target other countries. While I don't believe the page load speed is a major issue, Making sure that the location in webmaster tools are configured properly is very important!

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I'm doing a similar thing, hosting a site in the US whereas most of my users are in the UK. I use CDN for the jquery file and everything is running very smoothly. The users don't notice any speed difference.

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If your clients are handling any personal data, it's probably illegal for them to move it out of the EU.

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The main issues would be the legislations. The data and websites hosted in the USA got to abide by USA laws. Also I agree with Mike Scott; Some companies might have existing agreements with their clients about handing personal information, which moving outside of the EU will be illegal.

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