What is colocation and is it for you?
Colocation is one of the recent tech terms that explained in simple words mean that you rent a space in a Colocation data center for your own server. This service is very close to the more widely known Dedicated server hosting. The difference between colocation and buying a Dedicated server from a hosting company is that in the colocation you own the hardware and you are responsible for the upgrades and maintenance. There is a difference in the price as well.
Is colocation for you? If you are just starting and your needs for bandwidth and space are not high, you should start with a shared hosting. It is managed by the hosting company, has support team that can help you with the setup and care about the hardware. The price is the best too. Shared hostings are good for up to 30k visitors per month tho, depending on your plan. We recommend Siteground and Tsohost as a very good shared hosting alternatives that will work for you.
If you have more traffic, you have large download files, videos, music etc. and you require more hard drive space and bandwidth, then the colocation hosting service is for you. You have to search for a colocation data center in your area, buy the server equipment that you need (or rent it), rent a rack and you are good to go.
Colocation Pros and Cons
Data colocation can have a lot of benefits for you if you are small to medium business and you want to have to juice of a large scale IT department. It also has its disadvantages as you can see in the table below. See for yourself if this service is for you.
- price is better than renting Dedicated server
- lower network latency and higher bandwidth at a lower cost
- higher reliability due to redundant systems
- lockable rack cabinets or cages
- physical security, fire protection, air conditioning and power generators
- You own the hardware and software, so you can handle upgrades much faster and on demand
- network connectivity—either in a 'house blend', where the colo provider is a customer of carriers, and connects their clients to their own router for access to multiple carriers, or as direct 'cross-connect' access to the routers of the carriers themselves, or both
- real-time live monitoring of all these functions for failures
- Colocation center can be hard to find, especially if you are not in a big city
- It needs to be close since you have to travel to the physical location to maintain the server or upgrade. (or you have to buy maintenance from the center at an additional cost)
- You need technical knowledge to upgrade the hardware, software and maintain the server
- The fluctuating prices. If you exceed your monthly bandwidth you can have a very large bill at the end of the month so check the terms and conditions carefully.
Conclusions: Colocation is a great service if you need it. The major types of businesses that can benefit from colocation are Web commerce companies, Major enterprises, Telecommunication companies, E-commerce sites with a lot of visitors.
If you need to just manage a blog, simple CMS, display site or sell a few products, colocation is not for you. Keep with the shared web hosting since it will offer you better support and price. Here are our reviews of the best shared web hostings in the UK.