Where is it actually hosted?
How can I tell if my provider is really running their own network and hosting me in Australia?
I like to be on top of every issue we have at work, some call me a micromanager and some call me a pain in the backside, however I love my job, and I love my customers! I like to ensure that everyone is getting what they are paying for, and that is a quality service here at Servers Australia! So every day, I spend time with the Sales, Marketing and Support teams to ensure that everything is running as it should! However last week I heard two VERY interesting conversations, one was from tech support and the other was in the sales department.
I heard one of our tech support staff explaining to a customer, that the reason they had issues with their site load time on their old host was because they were being hosted offshore, in the USA to be exact… however they were under the impression that they were hosted here in Australia because they were buying from an Australia hosting company, who claimed to be hosted here in Australia.
This is very common issue, as customers generally don’t know if their host is being true and really is hosting them in Australia or offshore. You might ask, “Why does it matter?” Well there are many reasons, such as site load times, data security and privacy, connectivity congestion to the offshore site and the risk of undersea cable cuts.
The other conversation in the sales side was very similar but a bit different. The provider they were buying off claimed to own their own data centre and network and were a huge global corporation, it was only when our sales manager (Craig) pointed out to them that the host they were buying off was a one man band, and actually hosted their servers on someone else’s network as well as in someone else data centre!!! I was shocked, how can people go around saying that they own these data centre and networks, when they are simply reselling someone else’s services, surely this has to be illegal!
Anyway, the point of me mentioning this is to show customers as well as readers how they can see if they’re being scammed. As we like to be as transparent as possible with our customers, we own and operate our own network, we also own our own data centre, we also lease space in 3 other data centres that are not ours, and we have a physical office with staff in it that any customers or potential customers are more than welcome to swing by and say hello!
So how can you tell if you are hosted overseas?
There are a few things you can do. First of all do a simple PING test to see how long it takes to get a ‘ping’ response from your server; this can be done on any Mac or windows PC. On windows 7 go to start → run → (type cmd and hit enter) → type ‘ping yourwebsite.com.au’
This will then show you something like the above. If you get a result of over say 100 ms, then your site is definitely NOT hosted in Australia. If you get a ‘request timed out’ then this means that you have a firewall that blocks pings (ICMP) from coming into the server, try the below.
Another way to check is to now get the IP that was returned in the above (18.104.22.168 in my case) and then going to the Geo IP data base to look up the location of the IP using this website: https://www.whatismyip.com/ip-address-lookup/
This should tell you the country and even the state that your site is hosted in. Pretty cool huh?
If you want to know who actually owns your network, there are a number of tools you can use, the one I use all the time for network lookups is http://bgp.he.net. This tool will show you some very cool and detailed information (if you know how to read it) and will also list who actually owns your IP address range and the servers you are on.
If you go the above URL and enter the IP address that you have been given in the previous part, e.g. 22.214.171.124, and press search, it will show you that ‘description’ of the IP address, and also an AS number, this is the public
network identifier that tells the world where your IP lives. If you click on the AS number, this will then show you who your dedicated server or web hosting provider really is. For example, I have just looked up 126.96.36.199 which is our website, this tells me that we own the IP (http://bgp.he.net/AS45671) and that we connect to 7 different networks, this page will not show all the peers, they can be seen by clicking on the ‘Peers v4’ tab at the top of the page, the more peers the AS number has means the more networks that they are directly connected to.
If you do this search and it doesn’t show your dedicated server provider, then the chances are they do NOT own their own network; therefore they are only reselling someone else’s network. This is all well and good, until an issue arises and you have to wait for your host, who waits for their host, who waits for the supplier (like a chain of command) and this can cause lengthy delays if you need something resolved urgently.
The final issue I want to cover is “does your provider have a physical address?” Do they allow visits to their data centre and staff? We at Servers Australia are always open to visits and also Data Centre tours of the Data Centres that we are allowed to show, so next time you are speaking with you host, challenge them and ask to meet for a coffee at THEIR office and see what they say, you can also ask for a Data Centre tour and see if they really do own their own Data Centre!