Web Hosting in Europe
Are you considering web hosting in Europe? Lots of people do, and five of the top 15 web hosting companies are located there. This quick introduction gives a basic guide to the region, its economy, and the pros and cons of hosting in Europe.
Europe is the sixth largest continent in the world, and is located in the northern hemisphere. It has three oceanic borders: the Arctic, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean.
Although it is a relatively small continent geographically, it has the second highest population density globally, and the third highest population. More than 750 million people call the continent of Europe their home.
There is great cultural diversity within Europe. Some countries in the East, such as Ukraine and Belarus, have strong cultural ties with Russia.
Further north, the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland have their own unique identity based upon liberalism and intellectualism.
In Continental Europe, countries such as France, Italy, and Spain, are known for their wines, cuisine, and history.
When people think of Europe, they often think of the European Union (EU). However, the two should not be confused. Europe is a geographical and cultural territory, whereas the EU is an economic zone. Europe has 50 sovereign states, whilst only 28 of these are members of the EU.
Knowing whether or not a country is in the EU or simply in Europe is important. This is because the EU has its own rules, legislation, and – often – uses the Euro as its currency.
Whether or not a country is globally important does not dictate whether or not they are an EU member state. For instance, Switzerland is a European country that is not in the EU, but it tops the global wealth ranking. The Scandinavian countries are not in the EU either.
The main financial centre in Europe is Britain, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The second largest is Zurich, in Switzerland. These are ranked 1st and 9th globally, and are 1st and 2nd in Europe. These figures are based on the economies of these countries.
ACIS, an accounting body, has ranked the top five European cities according to their attractiveness for global business, financial institutions, and tech start-ups. They list the cities as follows:
Europe is particularly known for its motor and oil industries. Names such as Volkswagen, Shell, and BP are the three main companies in its economy. However, tech companies are booming in Europe. You can find an extensive list here. However, some stand-out names include:
There are 24 official languages in Europe. Of these, three are used for legal and economic proceedings: English, French, and German. 51% of Europeans speak English, making this the main language in the region.
58% of Europeans speak at least two languages, and 28% speak at least three languages.
What these figures mean is that people from countries whose native language is not one of the main three (English, French, or German) will learn one of those languages and use it for work and business.
Several of the web hosting companies that have the highest global market share are located in Europe. They are:
Of these, all except OVH.com are located in Germany. None of them are in the top five globally: the US is still the dominant market leader.
There are many advantages of choosing Europe as a location. Connections are fast, even in remote areas. Support infrastructures are strong, and usually have manned telephone helpdesks offering one-to-one help and guidance.
However, there are some extra things to consider.
Data protection can be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage. GDPR is the most recent data protection law in the EU, although most European countries have stringent data protection policies.
Data protection laws usually mean that:
In other words, if your site is hacked in Europe, you are responsible for the data breach. Most consumers see this as an advantage, because they know that their data is secure, and this means that customers feel comfortable using sites hosted in Europe. For companies, GDPR can mean a lot of extra work, but potentially more customers.
A disadvantage is that web hosting in Europe can be expensive, especially when compared to the US. However, this cost may be offset by the advantage that if your audience is in Europe, you will have a higher Google ranking in those countries. It all depends upon your individual business plan.
Put simply, what is a disadvantage in one area might be an advantage in another.
There are some useful sites and forums. A good place to start is the EU business advice portal, which offers the latest discussions and information about the economy, business, and legislation, along with summaries for quick reading.