We regularly have contact with customers that are moving their servers and hosting from overseas providers back to South Africa. This trend is interesting and there are several reasons for it. You can purchase a hosting service in the US, but usually the latency is between 280ms-400ms and on bad days (eg Seacom outages) it can be higher. Locally hosted content however is on average 10 times faster with latency around 25ms.
What has changed?
How is this relevant in South Africa you may ask? Our internet speeds are increasing as fibre, VDSL and LTE rollout, latency is also decreasing as more content is hosted locally with content caching services like our AfriCDN, Google cache and other providers put more content locally. This means users are getting used to a more stable, lower latency local internet experience.
Its all about happy eyeballs
Google studied the impact that a near undetectable (to a human) additional 300ms (0.3 seconds) had on the users behavior. The result was that users disengaged from the site at a relatively alarming rate of between 5-8%.
Many people are unaware, but recently South Africa had only 1 operational international submarine cable, with 3 others undergoing emergency maintenance. Several large consumer ISP’s had performance problems to US and UK hosted websites however if your app/website/system was locally hosted, you would have experienced no issues and that translates to happy customers.
Serving your content from overseas higher latency servers may unknowingly be costing you customers and losing revenue.
Isn’t it more expensive?
The other misconception is that local hosting is expensive, this was the case until recently but this has fundamentally changed. The local monopoly of Telkom is being challenged, bringing input costs down significantly and thus our price to you.
All in all, if your users are local, it makes sense to host locally.