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The importance of a local server?

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#1
Marked

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Hi guys 

 

I am setting up an ecommerce store for a client and we're about to make a decision on which company to purchase a dedicated server from. 

 

What I would like to know, is how important is it to have a sever located locally? The site is for New Zealand customers. We've got a shared hosting account on hostgator already, and we're considering using them for a dedicated server for this site. However, their servers are physically located in the US, which is approximately on the other side of the globe. 

 

Speed is a massive factor and that's why we've decided to invest in a dedicated server. Is the speed difference big enough to justify buying locally in the target country? And factoring in a CDN? 

 

Thanks in advance 

Mark 



#2
callumacrae

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Dedicated server != speed.

A dedicated server is fast until your users exceed your capacity, and then you're screwed. It's faster for some things, but to say it's categorically faster is just incorrect (and I suspect that if you only have one of them, it probably doesn't make that much difference anyway).

A CDN is way more important than the server.

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#3
Marked

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Oh, really? I don't think the site will come close to exceeding capacity.. it's mainly about pageload speed for the visitors we do get. 

 

Sorry to sound like a bit of a newbie here, but how to exceed the capacity of a dedicated server? My knowledge is a bit limited here... If you exceed capacity on dedicated, then you're going to exceed it a whole lot sooner on shared, right? 



#4
callumacrae

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When we get a spike in traffic at Lost My Name, heroku scales up for us, bringing extra dynos online for us. It really depends on your traffic, though—ours fluctuates wildly, if your traffic is constant it probably isn't worth the extra effort and money.

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#5
SapporoGuy

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I'm not sure going with a dedicated server is really all that great an idea at the moment. I'd say that Callum is right about Ping times and being able to scale if needed as being way more important.

#6
Sephern

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The location of the server definitely matters, and having a server close to your users is never going to hurt. As an illustration, pinging a server in Australia takes about 10x longer for me than pinging one in the UK. I currently work on a  service with quite high storage throughput, and putting the service on a different Azure region to the storage causes a significant and measurable impact on performance. 

 

Everybody else in the thread has given you great advice about dedicated servers vs using the Cloud. You should evaluate which one makes sense for your use-case (whether you have predictable or non-predictable demand, how costly downtime due to load is, etc). 

 

The physical location of the server shouldn't factor in to your decision to go for cloud or dedicated though. Both Amazon and Microsoft have datacenters located in Australia (Sydney for AWS, Sydney and Melbuorne for Azure) so choosing either of those (or services built on top of them) should give you the performance you need.

 

If you do have quite steady demand, and therefore probably want to opt for a fixed capacity, it might still be worth looking at Amazon and Microsoft's VM offerings. From a cursory google it looks like they're priced pretty competitively with 'conventional' dedicated servers, and you get a bit more of a scalability benefit too.



#7
SapporoGuy

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Location: example
I was working with some located in Tokyo and some in Vancouver. Vancouver had better ping rates. At the time I was only about 600km fromTokyo.

I should have been clearer about ping rates.

Pipes matter more than distance -- possibly.

#8
Marked

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Thanks for you replies. 

 

However, I'm not much closer to making a decision on a server... A CDN is more important, but how do you guys decide on what server to buy? 



#9
SapporoGuy

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Buy as in actual hardware?
We have vendors come in, listen to their stupid jokes and chatter among themselves (HP reps), let them evaluate our current hardware and then wait for their tender. I actual prefer the old school types that bring food or take us to food, have swag to pass out, are friendly and seem willing to actually want to help more than sell.

We make the phone call and they show up on the door step on various forms of attitudes from friendly to banal ass wipes.

If you're talking "hosting", I'd say a similar routine still applies outside of the possibility of them coming to you. Look at your usage, projected 3-5 year growth plan, and get estimates from decent established companies who will be around a during that projected time.

If you buy short makes sure you can scale fast enough. The opposite would be being able to drop your scalability to a cheaper bracket after review has been done.

#10
Kyek

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Frankly if your intended traffic is only coming from one reasonably small local region (Like NZ versus the whole world or all of Asia), then if your server is located in or near that region, you don't need a CDN. A CDN is going to take your static files and replicate them at servers all over the world for fast, local delivery, but it sounds like you don't care about people all over the world-- you only care about NZ.

If static file serving is bogging down your server then it might still make sense, but otherwise I'd skip it until you know you need it.




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