Hosting a website in Australia can provide many benefits, the most important of which is data sovereignty. Data sovereignty is the principle that data must be stored and processed within the borders of the country where it belongs. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it ensures that your data is protected by Australian law. Secondly, it keeps your website loading quickly for Australian users, as local servers are much faster than international servers.
Australian Privacy Principles
If your website collects information about its visitors and goes as far as storing personal information for your clients you should be aware of the Australian Privacy Principles. If your website is hosted overseas, this private data is stored outside of Australian law. It is quite easily accessible by the hosting company and its staff. There is no protection to stop your data from being distributed or sold to a third party without your knowledge. You could actually end up in a lot of trouble if this happens and found not to be compliant with the law. The easiest way to protect yourself and your clients is to host your website in Australia.
It’s not just your data that is at risk. It’s your website itself. It would be very hard to prove ownership of your website design, content and branding if it’s hosted in another country. You have minimal if no legal standing at all. If your website is hosted here in Australia it is protected by Australian law.
You should also consider where your email is located too. If this is on a non-Australian server, then you don’t know who could be looking at your emails without permission. Again, you have no legal ownership of your emails or control over who has access to it.
Local Website Performance
Hosting your website in Australia also ensures a faster load time since the data is stored relatively close by.
If your website is hosted in Europe, it takes much longer for people to load the page. This is because the data has to travel all the way across the ocean, which can take up to 200 milliseconds. When you host your website in Australia, it only takes about 20 milliseconds for the page to load.
These factors make hosting your website in Australia a very attractive option. Not only do you have control over your own data, but you also get a faster load time for your website. This is important for both small and large businesses, as it can impact traffic and sales.
Testing Your Website Locality
An easy way to test your website performance is to use a third party website speed test. Pingdom has a great tool for testing the load speed of your website from a geographic location. You can find the tool here: Website Speed Test | Pingdom Tools
For our first test, we put our home page URL and set the geographic location to Japan and clicked the Start Test button.
After a few seconds, the tool performed it’s test and our result was 2.72 seconds to load our home page.
We then changed the Test Location to Sydney and ran the same test. Our home page loaded over a second faster at 1.69 seconds.
Determining Your Website Location
So how do you find out where your website is actually located? This depends on your web server IP. You can use a tool such as check-host.net which will look up your website IP address and tell you its location. Type your home page URL into the box at the top and click on the Info button.
Be aware that if you are using a content delivery network like Cloudflare then you may not see where your actual server is located. You will need to find your IP address from your web host to use this tool.
Finding an Australian web hosting company
Even if a web host says they have Australian hosting it doesn’t mean the server your website will be hosted on is actually located here. Some hosts use the term in the context that the hosting is for Australians not actually within Australia. Very misleading!
So how do you know? The best thing is to ask the host directly, “where will my website be hosted? What is the IP address of the server?” and then check the location using a tool like the one above.
Here at UpTime all of our servers are located in Sydney regardless of the plan you choose. If you’d like to move your website to one of our servers we offer free migration when you order any of our web hosting plans.