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Spend a few dollars on hosting if you have a business. If you have a hobby then go with the cheapest you can find.

Don’t sweat the difference between different parts of the world IF the hosting is reliable and strong.

Google understands a page may load a quarter second slower or faster some days or hours…

For the moment at least, the speed thing is more of a pass or fail judgement for Google :)

Google also knows that its own servers are all over the place and its results vary by location…

Last I looked Facebook was served from Ireland though not punished here in Oz, maybe hosted in Hong Kong or Manila by now with CDN support from wherever (?)

and many big Oz sites are actually served from US…

Consistency of not giving the user a crappy experience is the key.