Why we host Big Red Tin on US servers

Some time ago, I wrote a post in which I stated I’d be sticking with Australian web hosting provider Quadra Hosting. Shortly after writing that post I’d relocated the Soupgiant sites to an American service provider.

Even though I’ve done similar before, it’s not because I’m a compulsive liar. I promise. It’s because situations change and they can change quickly.

About the time we switched hosting providers, Soupgiant became responsible for hosting the Boxcutters podcast. Each week Boxcutters releases an MP3 between 35 and 45 MB which is, in turn, downloaded at least 1000 times.

The maths is pretty simple, each week Boxcutters, alone, uses 35 GB or more of bandwidth. With our current host, Linode, we’re paying a little under $US60 for a VPS and 600 GB of bandwidth. To get the equivalent bandwidth in Australia, we would be charged at least ten times that amount.

It’s not entirely the fault of Australian hosts that they’re pricing themselves out of an international market. According to the OECD, retail bandwidth in Australia is 50% more expensive than in the US. It’s safe to conclude this is a reflection of wholesale pricing.

To state the obvious, hosting pricing has to follow the lead of bandwidth pricing. So if Australian web hosting providers are gouged, gouging of their customer must follow.

I’d love to host the Soupgiant websites in Australia, partly due to home-town pride but mostly because the 25,000 km (15,500 mi) round trip to California is pointless.

The simple fact is: Soupgiant can’t afford to host our sites locally, given that most of the bandwidth is used for a loss-making podcast.

Hosting the sites in the USA means we may break even some months but locally there’s no chance.

Update: Since writing this post I’ve relocated Soupgiant’s hosting to Media Temple‘s dv service. A managed service is a better fit for Soupgiant.

By Peter Wilson

Peter has worked on the web for twenty years on everything from table based layouts in the 90s to enterprise grade CMS development. Peter’s a big fan of musical theatre and often encourages his industry colleagues to join him for a show or two in New York or in the West End.