Website Performance

Data Center Location. Does it matter?

Website Performance

Website Performance and Data Center Location: Does it matter?

Ideally, you would want your web server to be located in a data center closest to your target audience. The further away, the more the potential delay and the more potential for your website performance to be affected.However, if you employ a global CDN (content delivery network), then this distance gap between your audience and your server becomes less critical. That’s because CDN’s cache (hold a copy) a good portion of the static content on your server and then serve that content from one of their data centers closest to the originating request. For example Cloudflare currently has 151 pops (points of presence) located around the globe, https://www.cloudflare.com/network/. Amazon has over 100 https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/global-infrastructure/ and Akamai is considered to be the largest although they don’t disclose their pop locations.

So if you’re using a large CDN and targeting a global audience, there’s a good chance they will be served at least some of your content from a CDN pop close to their location. Keep in mind that, depending on your caching configuration, only a portion of your static content will be cached, which means there will still be trips back and forth to your web server to fetch requests. Overall though, a global CDN can make a huge difference in the perceived performance of your web server.
To get an idea of how many hops your server is away from your current location, you can use the tracert utility. On a Windows pc, drop to a command line > search>cmd>press enter on Command
Prompt and type the following: tracert yourwebhost.com.
Example: tracert godaddy.com.

On a MAC use tracert via the network utility.

You can save the results to a file and even append subsequent tracert results to do comparisons. You might be surprised by the different results between web hosts and your location.

Here are the tracerts I ran. Now to be more accurate, you should contact the web hosts you’re considering and ask them which data center you would be in if you were to host with them. Then tracert the ip address of that data center.

tracert commands to check website performance

While this is only one performance factor among many others,

(see this post for tips on optimizing your website for fast page loads.)

it’s still worth noting, especially if your someone who works online, like a web designer or web marketer and you’re routinely accessing your web server to make changes to your website, upload/download files or perform other administrative duties. Why? Because even if you’re using a CDN, you definitely do NOT want your sessions to be cached while you’re working! Doing so may produce highly unpredictable results. Most CDNs allow you to configure caching rules to exclude your admin dashboard.

I ran a quick series of tracerts for some common web hosts and you can view the reuslts below.
In the results below, web host hivelocity.com is the only web host local to my location.

Tracing route to hivelocity.com [66.232.99.10] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 3 ms 4 ms 2 ms 192.168.0.1
2 31 ms 18 ms 24 ms 10.80.214.133
3 13 ms 14 ms 12 ms 71-46-8-33.res.bhn.net [71.46.8.33]
4 14 ms 17 ms 16 ms 72-31-117-36.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.117.36]
5 16 ms 11 ms 17 ms 71-44-17-115.net.bhntampa.com [71.44.17.115]
6 22 ms 22 ms 19 ms 64.220.113.205.ptr.us.xo.net [64.220.113.205]
7 16 ms 29 ms 29 ms ip65-47-61-66.z61-47-65.customer.algx.net [65.47.61.66]
8 * * * Request timed out. You never want to see timeouts.
9 19 ms 15 ms 18 ms 66-232-99-10.static.hvvc.us [66.232.99.10]

Trace complete

Tracing route to liquidweb.com [192.124.249.16]over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 5 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.0.1
2 13 ms 11 ms 14 ms 10.80.214.133
3 13 ms 14 ms 12 ms 71-46-27-3.res.bhn.net [71.46.27.3]
4 18 ms 16 ms 12 ms ten0-1-0-8-0.tamp20-car2.bhn.net [72.31.209.88]
5 17 ms 19 ms 19 ms ten0-4-0-2.orld71-car2.bhn.net [72.31.196.146]
6 18 ms 19 ms 19 ms 72-31-188-136.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.188.136]
7 19 ms 24 ms 24 ms 10.bu-ether15.orldfljo00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.98]
8 29 ms 29 ms 27 ms 0.ae1.pr0.mia00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.1.87]
9 21 ms 19 ms 19 ms ix-ae-23-0.tcore1.mln-miami.as6453.net [63.243.152.105]
10 21 ms 22 ms 21 ms if-ae-1-2.tcore2.mln-miami.as6453.net [63.243.152.62]
11 23 ms 19 ms 19 ms 66.110.9.166
12 49 ms 32 ms 41 ms xe-4-1-2.cr2-mia1.ip4.gtt.net [89.149.129.230]
13 33 ms 34 ms 34 ms ip4.gtt.net [69.174.14.10]
14 35 ms 29 ms 31 ms cloudproxy10016.sucuri.net [192.124.249.16]

Trace complete.

Tracing route to siteground.com [181.224.128.31] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 3 ms 2 ms 8 ms 192.168.0.1

2 125 ms 14 ms 14 ms 10.80.214.133
3 11 ms 11 ms 14 ms 71-46-25-3.res.bhn.net [71.46.25.3]
4 15 ms 16 ms 14 ms ten0-0-0-8-0.tamp20-car2.bhn.net [72.31.209.132]
5 17 ms 19 ms 19 ms 72-31-188-80.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.188.80]
6 21 ms 19 ms 19 ms 72-31-220-236.res.bhn.net [72.31.220.236]
7 21 ms 22 ms 26 ms 10.bu-ether15.orldfljo00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.98]
8 22 ms 21 ms 24 ms ae-1.bar2.orlando1.level3.net [4.68.111.17]
9 * * * Request timed out.
10 68 ms 66 ms 69 ms giglinx-inc.bar2.phoenix1.level3.net [4.28.83.42]
11 67 ms 69 ms 69 ms www.siteground.com [181.224.128.31]

Trace complete.

Tracing route to a2hosting.com [104.218.15.162] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 3 ms 4 ms 2 ms 192.168.0.1
2 12 ms 14 ms 12 ms 10.80.214.133
3 16 ms 12 ms 11 ms 71-46-25-3.res.bhn.net [71.46.25.3]
4 14 ms 19 ms 14 ms 72-31-117-38.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.117.38]
5 20 ms 19 ms 19 ms 72-31-188-58.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.188.58]
6 20 ms 17 ms 16 ms 72-31-220-236.res.bhn.net [72.31.220.236]
7 23 ms 22 ms 26 ms 10.bu-ether15.orldfljo00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.98]
8 21 ms 19 ms 19 ms 0.ae1.pr0.mia00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.1.87]
9 40 ms 25 ms 19 ms ix-ae-23-0.tcore1.mln-miami.as6453.net [63.243.152.105]
10 43 ms 46 ms 62 ms if-ae-7-2.tcore1.aeq-ashburn.as6453.net [66.198.154.177]
11 41 ms 44 ms 44 ms 66.198.155.83
12 69 ms 69 ms 69 ms 205.147.92.73
13 79 ms 72 ms 69 ms 75.98.175.255.static.a2webhosting.com [75.98.175.255]
14 64 ms 64 ms 64 ms 75.98.175.210.static.a2webhosting.com [75.98.175.210]
15 58 ms 68 ms 59 ms 104.218.15.162.static.a2webhosting.com [104.218.15.162]

Trace complete.

Tracing route to inmotionhosting.com [192.145.237.216] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 5 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.0.1
2 11 ms 16 ms 12 ms 10.80.214.133
3 14 ms 12 ms 11 ms 71-46-8-33.res.bhn.net [71.46.8.33]
4 15 ms 14 ms 14 ms ten0-0-0-8-0.tamp20-car1.bhn.net [72.31.209.130]
5 20 ms 19 ms 20 ms ten0-4-0-5.orld71-car1.bhn.net [72.31.218.4]
6 24 ms 24 ms 24 ms 72-31-220-226.res.bhn.net [72.31.220.226]
7 28 ms 21 ms 24 ms 10.bu-ether15.orldfljo00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.98]
8 24 ms 22 ms 26 ms ae-1.bar2.orlando1.level3.net [4.68.111.17]
9 * * * Request timed out.
10 83 ms 76 ms 74 ms cr1.lax1.us.packetexchange.net [4.71.136.2]
11 * * * Request timed out.
12 * * * Request timed out.
13 * * * Request timed out.
14 79 ms 80 ms 79 ms vpimh8.inmotionhosting.com
15 79 ms 94 ms 84 ms www.inmotionhosting.com [192.145.237.216]

Trace complete.

Tracing route to dreamhost.com [192.237.213.194] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 5 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.0.1
2 13 ms 12 ms 11 ms 10.80.214.133
3 13 ms 11 ms 14 ms 71-46-26-1.res.bhn.net [71.46.26.1]
4 17 ms 14 ms 17 ms 72-31-117-36.net.bhntampa.com [72.31.117.36]
5 15 ms 27 ms 16 ms hun0-0-0-8-tamp20-cbr1.bhn.net [71.44.17.38]
6 34 ms 34 ms 19 ms 10.bu-ether15.tamsflde20w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.96]
7 44 ms 51 ms 39 ms bu-ether17.hstqtx0209w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.1.70]
8 45 ms 46 ms 39 ms bu-ether12.dllstx976iw-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.39]
9 37 ms 49 ms 39 ms 0.ae2.pr1.dfw10.tbone.rr.com [107.14.17.236]
10 43 ms 39 ms 39 ms 66.109.9.91
11 41 ms 39 ms 39 ms ae24.cs2.dfw2.us.zip.zayo.com [64.125.27.104]
12 37 ms 39 ms 39 ms ae28.er1.dfw2.us.zip.zayo.com [64.125.26.15]
13 43 ms 39 ms 39 ms 128.177.70.86.ipyx-076520-900-zyo.zip.zayo.com [128.177.70.86]
14 * * * Request timed out.
15 37 ms 39 ms 40 ms 74.205.108.121
16 47 ms 147 ms 39 ms 148.62.41.132
17 58 ms 44 ms 49 ms core10-corec.dfw1.rackspace.net [148.62.41.135]
18 43 ms 39 ms 49 ms core9-aggr170b-15.dfw3.rackspace.net [67.192.88.13]
19 43 ms 44 ms 42 ms 192.237.213.194

Trace complete.

So as expected, the data center with the fewest hops and best performance, hivelocity, is the one closest to my location.

In terms of website performance, data center location is only one of many factors. But you don’t want to invest in a web host only to find out that their data center is many hops away from your location or the audience that you’ll target. The more data centers the web hosting provider has, the shorter the potential distance to a global audience. Regardless, take advantage of a global cdn to cover your bases and dramatically improve your website performance.

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Excellence is at the heart of what we do, 
it is what drives us and
sets us apart.

 

We strive to always get better, be better and
do better every day.

 

Excellent communication sets expectations and
delivers peace of mind.

We don't just hear, we listen and
we deliver.

 

As our client, you have our pursuit of excellence guarantee.

----------------

"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny." ~Aristotle

----------------

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Download the Tip Sheet

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