Time in China, Hong Kong
It is no secret that reducing latency is a top priority for many web entities trying to reach China’s massive and rapidly growing online population. Latency is mainly a result of the inefficiencies of the internet when requiring data to travel long distances between the server and the end user. Due to its proximity to mainland China, hosting and delivering web content from Hong Kong is naturally a popular option.
In addition to its strategic location, Hong Kong also offers a sound infrastructure, an abundance of hosting service providers and web delivery nodes offered by a wide variety of global content delivery networks (CDNs). However, is serving web content from Hong Kong really the best option?
Although serving web content from Hong Kong, versus from the US or Europe, drastically shortens the delivery path, being outside of the Great Firewall still takes a toll on load time. The Great Firewall’s sophisticated monitoring protocols can often double the average load time for end users in China.
Using our own globa CDN for China, we have conducted a couple of tests to illustrate the difference in load time between delivering content from outside versus within the Great Firewall.
The test is comprised of two delivery nodes and two receiving nodes. In addition to Hong Kong, we have selected the node in Dongguan as the second delivery node. Dongguan is located right inside the Great Firewall and is only 50 miles away from Hong Kong… which would normally result in hundredths of a millisecond difference in load time. The two receiving nodes are located in Shanghai and Chongqing.
Although delivered through our high powered content delivery nodes, the difference in load time between delivering from within versus outside of the Great Firewall is significantly faster. The average delivery time from each node to Shanghai was:
- From San Jose, CA (orange line) is about 1.39 seconds
- From Hong Kong (blue line) is about 0.74 seconds
- From Dongguan (red line) is only 0.34 seconds
The distance between San Jose, CA and Shanghai is about 6, 100 miles and the distance between Hong Kong and Shanghai is only about 760 miles. The distance from Hong Kong to Shanghai is only 12% of the distance from San Jose, but the load time is only 50% less. This is pretty clear that distance is not the only factor that hider website load speed when delivering web content from outside the Great Firewall.