Once you’ve realized that you need to take a step up from shared hosting to a virtual private server (VPS), the most important decision you’ll face is choosing the best provider.
Your web host may have delivered fast website speed, 99% uptime and high-quality service for your current site – and they probably sell at least one VPS package. They’ll likely migrate your site (or sites) to a VPS for free, and might offer upgrade pricing that’s better than their published costs in order to keep you as a client. However, there’s much more to consider other than performance, convenience and price. Those additional considerations all start with the country where your VPS will be hosted.
Why Location Matters for a Virtual Private Server
Companies and individuals upgrade to a virtual private server for several major reasons. Along with more computing resources and more control over their installation, most VPS users need better website speed, reliability and performance than they experience when sharing a server’s resources with many other clients. A properly-run VPS hosting service will give the user more resources and almost complete control over their section of the server, no matter where the box is located. Speed, reliability and privacy, though, aren’t always under the complete control of a hosting provider.
The overall performance of a web server doesn’t depend solely on equipment and the people who install, configure and maintain it. To an enormous degree, website speed and reliability are determined by the quality of the connection between the server and the rest of the Internet.
To put it simply, you may have the best equipment and personnel possible. But if your server is located in Eastport, Maine, your site won’t perform as well as a comparable site located in a city that’s home to an “Internet Exchange Point” where web traffic is exchanged directly between service providers. When a hosting provider is close to an IXP, data doesn’t have to make numerous “hops” between third-party networks. That means higher speeds, lower latency and often lower costs are associated with a VPS located in one of these desirable cities or countries.
The superior performance delivered by optimally-located servers is also important to other categories of VPS users, such as those who are setting up game servers, streaming media servers or even their own web hosts. It’s also crucial when using a VPS to run resource-intensive software applications.
One final consideration: many choose to run a virtual private server for security and privacy reasons. Any quality web host will let you lock down your server, and there are many encryption and security solutions available to safeguard data. However, privacy is a different matter.
For whatever reason you may be seeking complete privacy and/or anonymity for your web operations, you should host in a country with the maximum legal protection for web hosts. In most developed countries, it’s fairly simple for the government to acquire information or for third-parties to force website takedowns; the hosting company has no choice but to comply. The United States is one of the least-favorable locations for hosting in that regard. There are some nations, however, where the privacy of server clients, website operators and site customers are strongly protected by law.
Why Choose a VPS Provider in The Netherlands?
Now that you know what to look for in a VPS provider, you’ll easily understand why the Netherlands is the ideal location for a virtual private server. You’ll also understand why more virtual private servers are located there than in almost any other country.
Connectivity and Speed
Holland is home to the largest Internet Exchange Point in the world, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX). AMS-IX boasts the highest average throughput (3451 Gbps as of January 2017) of any IXP that makes its information public – finally passing perennial leader and now-#2 Germany’s DE-CIX, and nearly ten times better than the best IXP in America that publishes its data (the Seattle Internet Exchange, at 458 Gbps). That’s a major reason why the Netherlands’s average connection speed of 12.5 Mbps is the fourth-fastest average connection speed in the world (behind South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong) and the fastest in the Western Hemisphere, according to CDN and cloud provider Akamai Technologies. And Holland’s connection speeds are growing at the second-fastest rate of any developed nation.
Proximity to AMX-IX – and the impressive speed and performance it provides – has led to an enormous web hosting and e-commerce boom in Amsterdam and other cities in Holland. Many of the world’s major websites and online operations (including Microsoft, Cisco and Google’s primary European data centers) are located in the country due to its impressive and highly-effective connectivity benefits and Internet infrastructure.
It’s not just AMX-IX that makes the Netherlands a world leader in digital infrastructure. Eleven of the fifteen transatlantic high-speed cables which link America to Europe run directly to Holland, making peer-to-peer as well as network connections to all points in the Western world stable and outstanding. Commercial and residential networking in Holland is completely composed of fiber-optic digital cable, with the world’s highest broadband rate per capita, 99%. And the nation continues to strategically devote more of its resources to the development of the online industry than other countries in Europe, with CBS reporting that Dutch Internet operations are responsible for more jobs in the country than either transportation or construction.
The Netherlands has long been a leader in the battle for privacy and data protection. In fact, the Dutch data protection agency went after Google in 2012 for web privacy violations that the search giant allegedly committed by collecting online information on web surfers, threatening Google with fines of nearly $20 million for the actions. That came just a year after the Netherlands forced Google to apologize for collecting data from millions of web hotspots in Holland while gathering information for Google Maps.
Holland’s “anything goes” approach to the rights of web users’ right to post and download content that might violate copyright protections has traditionally been far different than in most Western nations. The downloading situation changed somewhat in 2014 when the Dutch policy allowing all downloads for personal use was rejected by the European Court of Justice, but enforcement is notably lax.
As for alleged infringing content, the Dutch “Notice-and-Take-Down Code Of Conduct” is very different than the American DMCA. Web hosts set up their own notification system and compliance is voluntary. Most hosts in the Netherlands now do take down allegedly-infringing content when requested to do so (as long as their rules are rigorously followed), but some don’t.
In short, Holland has a long history of defending the online right to privacy. The protections you receive when using a Netherlands VPS provider may not be quite as robust as they were a few years ago, but remain far superior to those you’ll experience with a host anywhere else in the Western world.
Here’s our look at the best Netherlands VPS providers.