Msg#: 4463860 posted 1:08 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
Azure's EU servers are in Dublin (North Europe) and Amsterdam (West Europe). As for your rankings, it should not make a difference whether you host your site in Ireland or the UK, I just wouldn't recommend hosting it in the US if your audience is mostly from the UK. Latency-wise, UK-based hosting would still be your best bet, but the difference with Ireland is tiny. I'm sure Google understands that sometimes it's better, easier or cheaper to host in a neighboring country.
If the UK if your target audience, try to make sure you have plenty of other signals that point this out.
Msg#: 4463860 posted 11:32 am on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
That's crazy. Compare that to a VPS at Linode: the 768, for example, which includes 300 GB of data transfer, costs less than 20 pounds/month, and you still get (absolutely stellar) support, and they have a datacenter in London. Not sure what specs you need, but it's worth having a look (if you haven't already).