Picking a domain name, and which country to host your website from
No matter where you live, if your business targets a global audience, the question of where to host your website comes up pretty often.
Table of Contents
- Picking a domain name
- Hosting a country domain name anywhere in the world
- Best Practice: Use a CDN!
A common point of confusion here is your domain name.
I often hear people asking, "If I have a .com.au, do I have to keep my server in Australia?"
In short, the answer is no - It's very common to purchase domains from across the world, whether that's .co.nz (New Zealand), .es (Spain) or .kz (Kazakhstan), and host your content in a different country.
If your business is local (think locksmith, plumber, gardener etc) - it might make sense to go for a country-specific domain name.
On the other hand, if you have a global audience go for a .com - for example: OnlineOrNot.com (this site!) while based in Australia with me in Sydney, our customers are from across the world, so a country-specific domain name wouldn't make sense.
Back to the topic at hand - you might be wondering, "How is it possible to have a country domain name anywhere in the world?"
Without going too technical, think of a domain name like a record in an address book. Your customers look up your domain name, and then your domain registrar tells your customer's browser where the server is, and the browser starts loading your page.
Of course, if you have a server in Sydney, Australia, and customers from the US are trying to visit your site, it's going to be slow. Unless...
Essentially, a CDN (Content Delivery Network) makes a copy of your website available in thousands of servers across the world, so when your customers visit your website, the request doesn't have to travel across the world to reach your server. Instead, the requests only have to travel to your customer's nearest CDN location.
Using a CDN is as simple as updating the records in your domain registrar to point at your CDN, instead of your server. It's also one of the quickest and cheapest ways to significantly speed up your site.
I personally use CloudFlare for my own website (MaxRozen.com) - their three pricing tiers are free, $20 per month, and $200 per month. Compared to paying a developer $100 per hour to figure out why your website is slow, it's a pretty good deal!