Why regional cloud hosting matters

Most best web hosting services offer cloud hosting, but when we talk about technology we usually mean services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud.

Cloud hosting has several advantages over traditional hosting including increased reliability, scalability, and performance, but one thing that is often overlooked is the importance of regional cloud hosting. In this article, we describe what regional cloud hosting is and why it matters.

What is cloud hosting?

First, let’s consider cloud hosting as a whole. With cloud hosting, your website or app isn’t deployed on a single server. Instead, it is hosted on a network of connected physical and virtual cloud servers.

Cloud hosting has many advantages over traditional hosting. While traditional hosting has limited bandwidth, cloud hosting scales to accommodate peaks in traffic. Website and application downtime due to hardware failure does not occur because the sites and applications are hosted on a network of servers.

With cloud hosting, you usually only pay for the resources you use, which often makes it cheaper than the flat-rate model of traditional web hosting.

What is a cloud region?

desk shown blurry with world map, shelves and Macbook

Cloud regions are interpreted differently by each cloud hosting provider (Image credit: Unsplash)

A misconception about the cloud is that it is massive, intangible, monolithic online storage. In fact, when you sign up for a cloud solution, you are usually asked in which region you want your website or app to be hosted. This is the physical location of your servers in the world.

There is no standard definition of a region, so all cloud hosting providers have their own interpretation. Amazon AWS has 24 main regions which include US East (Ohio), South America (São Paulo), Europe (London), and Asia Pacific (Sydney).

The closer the region, the better the performance

The most obvious benefit of using a cloud region close to you and your customers is better performance. As the data centers are closer, the latency is lower, which means there is less lag.

But you shouldn’t automatically assume that a local cloud hosting provider will perform better than a more distant one. Other considerations, such as hardware and network infrastructure, are just as important.

Cloud region pricing

open server cabinet showing server units

Cloud storage costs vary depending on server location (Image credit: Timofeev Vladimir / Shutterstock)

The cost of operating a large set of data centers varies around the world. Even within the same country, there is a big difference between running a data center in a densely populated city and running one in a rural area.

Real estate prices, energy costs, and taxes all vary. This difference is passed on to the consumer, so the price of hosting your website or cloud app varies by region.

Compliance considerations

Every business has its own set of laws that it must comply with regarding the security and privacy of customer data. Regulations such as the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU set specific conditions regarding the storage and movement of customer data.

The transfer of personal data outside of EU member states is regulated and, as a controller, it is your responsibility to ensure that you provide appropriate safeguards to protect personal data.

This is a prime example of the importance of cloudy regions. Where you collect and store your customer data makes a big difference in the complexity of complying with local and international laws.

Transferring data from one cloud region to another can become a legal nightmare, especially if your business is in a highly regulated industry, such as financial or healthcare services.

Conclusion

Although we often think of the cloud as a large bin of online storage, it is actually divided into regions defined by cloud hosting providers. A region is the physical location of your website or app in the world. The best cloud hosting services lets you choose the region that suits you best.

The cloud region closest to you and your customers is usually the best choice because the latency will be low. You will also experience fewer compliance issues, as you will not be transferring customer data to other countries.

However, cloud regions have different prices, so depending on your application, you might want to consider a cheaper cloud region even if it’s not the closest to you.