The Differences between UK Hosting and USA Hosting Accounts

6 Sep
2010

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Tim Dorr


When you’re in the market for a new web hosting account, you will soon realize that you have a large number of choices in front of you. While you have to weigh out the common web hosting options such as Cpanel hosting vs. Plesk hosting, dedicated hosting vs. a VPS account or reseller hosting, or using a Windows server vs. choosing the common Linux hosting option, there is a bigger decision you need to make. Should you choose a USA-based hosting account, or would it be better to host your website on a UK-based server?

To help you make your decision, here are some of the differences you can expect when choosing between UK and US-based hosting accounts.

Hosting costs and service quality

In terms of service options and overall quality, web hosting server companies are the same around the world. Regardless of the language or location, web hosting packages are, by and large, the same everywhere.

When you get into pricing, however, that’s where the differences start. If US Dollars and British Pounds were equal in value, pricing would be relatively similar in both the US and UK for web hosting accounts. Shared hosting accounts, for example, generally cost anywhere from £2.99 to £35.99 in the UK, but even though the pricing is similar in the USA, because of the differences in the value of the US dollar, US hosting is generally cheaper than UK hosting packages.

Support differences

Overall support, much like the available web hosting service options, is relatively similar in both the US and UK. However, there is one difference that can make a big difference for you — time zone differences. If you live in the USA, for example, you will receive responses to your support inquiries during UK time, and if you live in the UK, you will likely receive answers to your questions and trouble tickets during US business hours. Though, it is important to note that if you choose a web hosting company that offers support around the clock, you can bypass the problems associated with the large time zone differences.

Effects on SEO and search engine marketing

There is debate on how much affect hosting can have on your search engine placements, although it is generally considered to be less of a concern now than previously. Google can determine your geographical location using your domain name (e.g. .co.uk is assumed to be a UK site) and the instructions you give them via Google Webmaster Tools.

One consideration is the speed of your site, which is often noted as important for search engine positions by Google themselves. Hosting a site in the target country (e.g. UK for UK visitors) will make the site quicker for them and potentially makes your site better in the eyes of search engines.

To obtain the best search engine placement results for your particular market, it’s a good idea to host your website in the country where most of your visitors are.

Visitor experience

One important difference between US and UK hosting that is often overlooked by website owners is the visitor experience. Specifically, page load times and script execution. Anymore, it’s relatively rare to find a website that doesn’t use technology such as JavaScript or Ajax. These technologies can be problematic for website visitors who are located far away from your website’s geographic location as client-side scripting languages, such as those mentioned, must load before your web page will display to your visitors.

By choosing a web hosting account that is geographically close to your largest audience, you’re helping to keep your website page load times to a minimum.

While web hosting plans and platforms are largely the same regardless of where you set them up, and popular hosting options, such as Cpanel hosting, are available worldwide, there are still some significant differences between UK and US web hosting. For best results, you should do a little research on where your market is before you choose one hosting location over the other.

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