It is no big secret that I don’t really like all those photo website services like wix, format, etc. As a photographer I never used any of them, though I toyed with them a couple of times. They’re amazingly simple to use, creating a good looking portfolio site is pretty quick and doesn’t require knowledge of ‘how websites work’. But if you want to run your website on your own domain name or just remove their logos from your page, you pay quite a bit of money for that. Needless to say, none of those services run their servers in Ireland. Big deal? I did some testing…
I randomly chose ten Irish photographers and ran some speed tests on their websites. I won’t name them, just to be on the safe side ?
Eight photographers use a web host (either one of those photo services or some big hosting companies like GoDaddy, Hostgator, to name a few) outside of Ireland. Not only is this a bit of a problem for search engine ranking, it also means their websites are very slow to respond to requests and load. Six of the pages were hosted in the United States, one of them as far as in San Francisco. Only two photographers opted for an Irish based web hosting company.
To put this into perspective, here’s how long an average delay between a web browser/user request and the web server. The quicker the time, the better:
US server: 168 ms vs IE (my) server: 12 ms
168 milliseconds is not much, you’d say. But that’s per a single request! Typically a web browser sends several dozen of requests, each asking for part of the web page that the user wants to view. All of the sudden, there is a difference a couple of seconds. For some of us, that’s an eternity and decide to go elsewhere.
And the delay in server response is just one of the many aspects having a huge impact on your website’s speed. One of them is the connection speed as well. A server running on national backbone network will send the pages to your web browser much faster than a server on the other side of the world. This becomes increasingly noticeable when trying to display a photography portfolio website with lots of high resolution/quality photos on one page.
If you are a photographer or a different sort of artist and present your work on a web site, please go local. I am not saying go with my services (though I do offer up to 10x the connection speed at a fraction of the price compared to local competitors ? ) but do consider one of the Irish companies to host your website. Your audience will thank you!