The ten most important criteriaWhere to put my servers?

Not too long ago, a potential customer approached us with the following question. "Germany as a server location comes highly recommended - the German Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) is the largest Internet exchange point worldwide by peak traffic. I have a few webservers, but they are all in New York. Where is the best location to host? Do I have any reason to pick New York over Germany?"

So we have assembled a list of things to consider when choosing the right location for your servers:

  1. Put the servers close to your expected visitors. If your visitors are in Germany, place the servers in Germany.

  2. If you have international or worldwide visitors, consider creating or using a CDN (Content Delivery Network/Content Distribution Network) with GeoDNS, placing your servers in multiple countries on multiple continents.

  3. Be aware that close proximity to your users does not necessarily guarantee good performance, if connectivity between your server location and your users is bad.

  4. Check the latency and number of hops between your users and your servers. You might use tools like ping, traceroute or mtr to check that.

  5. Place the servers close to a major internet exchange point, like DE-CIX in Germany. The following list might be helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_exchange_points_by_size.

  6. Talking about performance, make sure your web sites and applications, including their HTTP response headers, are optimized for fast delivery. Check with https://developers.google.com/speed or http://yslow.org/, for instance.

  7. Check your hosting provider's peerings, e.g. with https://www.peeringdb.com.

  8. Depending on your applications, rather scale out horizontally instead of scaling up vertically, i.e. add further small nodes to your cluster instead of adding more resources to few servers. Check whether your hosting provider supports this, e.g. by providing access to physical or virtual load balancers as well as necessary, individual firewall and network configurations.

  9. If you have any special requirements concerning availability, security or backup, or in case you need a certain kind of hardware, virtual servers or a combination of the two: Check with your data center or your network operator, respectively, whether they fulfil your expectations.

  10. If privacy laws are of concern for you or your (European) users, place the servers somewhere within the European Union.

Not all of the above might be advisable in each and every situation, but it might give you some food for thought.

Any more questions left on your part? Don't hesitate to talk to us right now.

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