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Add non-English versions of a site to its co.uk domain?

 3:41 pm on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a co.uk domain that has been doing very well in the last 5 years in google.com and co.uk, however I now need to create versions of the site in three other European languages. They will have to be on the same server (host in UK) as they share a database.
My main concern is not to jeopardise the success of the original domain.
Reading through some threads a have come to the conclusion that it should be ok to have the other languages in either subdomains or subdirectories and have sitewide links to the homepages of each language.
However I am not sure whether this would be good to do on a co.uk domain. Alternatively I could get the .eu domain and use it for the other languages. Would that be preferable? Thank you!



 7:20 pm on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

From what I understand, you will have a lot more trouble ranking in another country if you use a .co.uk top level domain. I would choose another TLD if you want to target outside the UK most effectively.

Local hosting can also generate a ranking challenge, but it's not quite as big as the TLD itself.


 9:42 pm on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Great, I will do that, thanks!


 10:28 pm on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Whilst hosting in your target country would be preferable the most important thing is to have the relevant country ccTLD and the translations done professionally and not by machine.

Hosting my sites on a UK server I rank extremely well in local Googles for countries such as Brazil, China, Germany and India as well as in the general google SERPs however do not expect it to happen overnight, it's usually months or even years.

Make sure you link the sites together to give them an extra boost and so that Google knows you're not trying to deceive them and so that users can move easily between sites.


 9:50 am on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that! I will try to secure the country relevant domains instead of using .eu.
I am not too concerned about ranking in the other countries quickly. We already have quite a few visitors from those countries, the main problem I am trying to address is that a lot of them leave the site quickly (due to it only being in English).
Thankfully I know just about enough of the languages I am going to use that I know not to trust automatic translations. It will be a lot of work though. Thanks again for the advice!


 11:13 am on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

They will have to be on the same server (host in UK) as they share a database.

Hogwash ... Anyone who tells you that is totally mistaken ... All you have to do is set your database to accept remote connections from the dedicated ip address of the site hosted elsewhere and only give the user necessary permissions rather than full permissions and you should be fine ... You can connect to a database from anywhere and if you really, really don't want to connect to the database from a remote site, then you can build a page on a subdomain of the .co.uk site to get the info from the database and use php's file_get_contents(), or something similar, to 'grab' the information for the site hosted in the country you are trying to rank in.


 11:38 am on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it's not 'super critical, time sensitive' information you could even set up a local database and run a cron every 15 minutes to sync with the remote .co.uk database ... Anyway, the main point is with connection speeds and technology there is a way to do what you do and host the sites is the countries you're trying to rank in ... If you're going to connect remotely, you might need to pay a bit more for hosts with connections to a 'big pipe', but that's probably actually a benefit anyway and you're not traveling too much distance so the delay should be a 'blip' and hardly noticeable, if it's even noticeable at all.


 2:14 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

The way I handle this (on a .com) is to use language directories on the master domain (ie www.example.com/de/), set up each one in WMT as a seperate project and geo-target each one to the right country.

The only downside I have seen is that if your language is in multiple countries you target (ie: Spanish) that isn't quite so effective (although Google still seems to know where a language is relevant) but for localised languages it seems fine.

Not saying it's as good as individual domains but is easier to manage and for me the trade-off works.


 4:38 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input! I will look into some hosting possibilities and how to connect remotely. At the moment I am on shared hosting without dedicated ip address. Sounds like for me this would be dependant on how easy it is to implement as well as cost. Most importantly I have not worked much with databases and also do not know any php. So unfortunately I might have to go for a not 100% optimal solution in order to achieve this within a reasonable timeframe.


 5:02 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is at least one major hoster who will provide accounts that mean you can host in one country and appear to be hosted in others.

caveat ..their customer support and many other aspects of their services leave IMO ( and that of many others ) much to be desired ..but they do this ( and offer or used to offer it on shared hosting packs )and have an interesting "micro payments" by phone number text message combo..


 5:08 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

You should be able to get a dedicated IP address, even on shared hosting relatively inexpensively, and it doesn't sound like you're running anything 'extremely critical', so you should be fine like you are, so to connect remotely, all you need to do is:

1.) Set up your country specific hosting account with a dedicated IP Address.

2.) Login to your .co.uk control panel and set your database to allow connections from the IP Address of the country specific hosting account. (if it's cpanel or something similar this is simple)

3.) Create a new database user and add the user to the database.

4.) Set the user permissions to: SELECT
(If you need to update the Database from the remote site, you'll need to add INSERT & UPDATE to the permissions).

5.) Where you set your database connection for the software running the country specific site change 'localhost', 'username', 'password' to: 'maindomain.com' (or 'IPAddressOfMainDomain.Com'), 'TheNewUserNameYouCreated', 'TheNewPasswordYouCreated'

You actually don't need a dedicated IP Address, except for security, so you can actually do it just the way you are now, but I would recommend spending the couple bucks it'll probably cost and getting a dedicated IP for each account.


 6:00 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Brilliant, that does not sound too difficult. I definitely will have a look at some hosting packages in the different countries and might just give it a go with one of them to start with. A dedicated IP address with my UK host is an extra 20 quid a year, so not too bad I guess. Thanks again for all your help!


 6:07 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

The UK dedicated IP Address is actually not as important as the dedicated IP Address of the country specific site, because you can connect to the database by domain name BUT you can't limit inbound connection requests by domain name, they have to be limited by IP Address.

So, you don't really need one for the UK site, as much as the country specific site(s).

IOW: The request TO the database can be by domain name.

Allowing only requests FROM a specific location to be allowed a connection must be limited by IP Address.

So, anyone (even right now) can request a connection to your database, but unless you tell your database server to allow external requests they are all denied. To allow only a specific external connection rather than opening the database up to the possibility anyone anywhere could connect by allowing all remote connections, you need to only allow incomming connections only from a specific IP Address. It is possible someone could connect by spoofing their IP Address if you do it this way, but that's a bit advanced and if someone really wants in that bad, in many situations they will find a way, so you're not 'quite as protected' as you would be by only allowing internal connections, but you're still more well protected than allowing 'anyone anywhere' a connection as long as you have a strong password in place and only allow specific IP Addresses to connect.


 6:25 pm on Mar 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

That is all new to me, but it makes sense! I guess I will save those 20 pounds and spend it on one of the other hosting packages. Great!

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