Consider this: if your company primarily does business in a specific region your data center should be located in that region for best SEO. That’s because the physical location of your server is used as a geo-location signal for many search engines. My customers are primarily located in Ontario so I might expect a small SEO boost if my data center is located in Ontario (Toronto would be perfect!).
Pick your new ISP carefully and ask where their data centers are located. Many web hosting companies advertise the fact they do business in Canada however, most do not have their servers physically located in Canada. You need to ask them point-blank.
How do you determine where your server is located? Using www.whois.sc is a good free tool. In the image above you key in the website name such as 45degreeslatitude.com (don’t input the www. before the url). Details about your domain are displayed under 5 tabs (see image above). Under the ‘Whois Record’ tab you can see my server has 164 websites hosted with the same IP address. A lower number is better but sometimes you will find 25,000 or more websites hosted with the same IP address. A dedicated IP address is ideal but more costly. More about this in another post…
Under the 4th tab (Server Stats, above) you will find your IP location. In my case it’s Richmond, British Columbia. That’s great for me…it’s Canada! But, after talking to my hosting company they have a data center in Toronto-even closer. I’ve requested to have it moved to Toronto and they will oblige- what great service!
Explore the other tabs in whois.sc and you will find lots of interesting information. Another site that offers similar information (but with 21 more tools!) is http://viewdns.info/
If you do business regionally try to keep your data center in the same region.