Does it matter where your website is hosted?
You might think that as long as the hosting works and it doesn’t cost an arm or a leg, that’s all that matters right?
Why You Should Host Your Website In Canada
Where your website’s hosted is extremely important for a variety of reasons. For starters, the location of your website’s hosting is under the jurisdiction of that country. This means, potentially, your website, and your data are subject to the laws and regulations of a government that could take your information and use it for their own purposes. There are numerous reasons why you should choose to host your website in the land of the Great White North, including better security, increased Canadian presence, better infrastructure, and better search engine optimization as we will discuss in this blog.
You probably haven’t given a second thought to the laws your websites, databases and emails are governed. For example, servers in the United States fall under the United States legal system which means if you’re a Canadian or a European citizen, the U.S. government as control over you, your business, and your information. Canada is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to managing data and information. Compared to other countries, Canada places personal security as a higher priority and it is regarded as an essential. This means that you don’t have to worry about your information being misappropriated.
Canada has a history of protecting personal data and privacy. For example, in 2012 Bill C-30 was proposed, which would have allowed the government to track digital activities and have near unlimited access to user information without obtaining a warrant. (Kind of like Canada’s version of the Patriot Act). Thankfully, the proposal was met with overwhelming public backlash and, therefore was scrapped. In complete contrast, the United States has introduced multiple bills and acts that allows easier and further unrestricted access to your personal information. Think of how the National Security Association (NSA) has monitored not just American citizens but people across the globe without a court order. Do you want the U.S. government’s fingers all over your data? We thought not. Unfortunately, if you host your website in the United States, there is little in the way of real privacy protection of personal data and not much you can do unless you change your hosting to a different country.
The Patriot Act
The Patriot Act is a law enacted by the U.S. Government that allows it to access the data of businesses or individuals that are loosely defined as a suspected threat to the United States. The act legalizes surveillance on assets located within US soil, including websites. If you have data that physically exists in the United States, then it is considered fair-game to be monitored under the Patriot Act.PRISMPRISM made headlines in 2013 as a NSA data mining program that targeted companies into compliance. Data stored on the servers of large Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, and MSN were compromised.Canadian or European companies may inadvertently violate privacy laws if decisions are made to host in the United States. As a Canadian company that fully operates in Canada, you are subject to the strict privacy laws of the Canadian legal system and are not obligated to provide foreign governments access to your information without a court order.
The greater the distance between the server and the computer the greater the load time. If your customers are in Canada, then a Canadian based service provider will decrease your website’s load time and improve the amount of time people stay on your website. Increased load time also improves your SEO which we will talk about in the next section. Search Engine OptimizationHaving a website hosted in Canada will increase your search relevancy within Canadian-based search results and increase Canadian traffic. Google has increased the importance of local searches over the past ten or so years. For example, searches based in England will return different results than searches performed in Germany. Having a website hosted in Canada will increase your search relevancy within Canada-based search results and increase Canadian traffic. Many large corporations also have multiple variations of their site with different domain extensions (.COM, DE .CA, .CO.UK, etc.) based on location, and host those extension in the extension’s corresponding country.
It is very important to choose the company you are hosting with very carefully, and to consider where your information is being stored. You must look at all aspects. If the location is not in the same country in which you are trying to target your customers, you’re at risk for privacy & security concerns, as well as lower SEO and worse website performance.If you’d like to talk more about it, please give us a shout at Radwebsites. We are one of the few web companies that have our own servers right here on Canadian soil, giving us an advantage over our competition. If you have concerns over your hosting, contact us and we will gladly help you out.