What is Colocation Hosting and Is It for Your Business?

As the nature of business changes, many companies are looking to maximize their computing output without the need for a dedicated server room or IT department. As such, looking to other options for hosting is becoming increasingly common – from cloud hosting to managed hosting. A middle ground between the cloud hosting and an IT department, colocation hosting is proving through the advantages it provides for businesses that it could be the future of server hosting. 

What is Colocation Hosting?

Colocation hosting is a form of dedicated hosting, but one where you would own the server hardware and not lease it from the company. The intermediary company that is colocation hosting you allows you to use its space and any benefits that come with it, but you are responsible for your own server and its updates.

What is Colocation Hosting?

Other hosting methods involve renting servers as well as the space for them. Colocation server hosting puts more power in your hands for the arrangement, but also comes with responsibility and the necessary basic knowledge of servers. All you need is an internet VPN to access the information on your server remotely.

The intermediary storage company is responsible for ensuring there is a safe and secure server environment. By renting space at, usually, a data center, you can benefit from better internet bandwidth, cooling systems for the server, and adequate climate control. Colocation hosting would be akin to owning a motorhome and renting a space for it at a holiday park, compared to other hosting, where you would rent the motorhome too.

Working within the data center or location you are renting space in, you can negotiate and take advantage of the features on offer. Those who are renting servers may be subject to prescribed bandwidth and a commitment at a data center, for example, whereas colocation hosting is a more flexible arrangement.

The Benefits of Colocation Hosting

Enhanced IT Capabilities

One of the primary benefits of colocation hosting occurs when your business requires a lot of IT server space to function, but your business doesn’t have a huge IT department or anywhere to put it. The colocation service allows businesses to take advantage of the server space without having to pay over the odds for a service provider. The physical location is less prone to latency and interrupted connections than other hosting setups may be.

Improved Security

Security is a huge matter of importance for many companies, especially those that collect and store data, including personal and financial information. Data protection rules – such as GDPR or CCPA – mean that data must be stored in a secure, physical location i.e. usually not the cloud. So, when it comes to cloud hosting vs colocation, colocation mitigates against any issues here as the server is stored in the data center or storage facility, which means it is stored in a provably secure on-site location.

Customer Relationship

As well as the primary benefits of security and IT capabilities, most data centers allow you to access your server if and when you need it. They have dedicated staff to watch over the data center to prevent any issues from occurring that may impede the server’s functionality. Professionals at the center will usually ensure that problems are solved before you even notice they occur, which may not be the case for other forms of hosting. The knowledge of the staff also frees you up to worry about the other aspects of your business and not IT.

Colocation Hosting Pricing

When looking at colocation hosting pricing, it’s important to consider what you are getting for the money. Many issues may affect the price charged for the colocation hosting – from rack space to the upkeep of the state-of-the-art facilities offered and even client management. How many units (U or 1.75inches) of rack space your server takes up is usually the most important price signifier. Some centers may give a discount for a full rack or half a rack.

Colocation vs Managed Hosting

When it comes to colocation vs managed hosting, the main difference is that with the former you own the hardware outright and simply want to boost what your servers can do through the data center’s features. Managed server hosting involves renting the hardware too. The benefit is that you own the hardware – so if the data center increases prices massively, changes how it does things, or goes out of business, you simply move everything to another location.

Those who merely rent out everything may struggle if the business fails for the data center, whereas those who are colocation hosting just take their server to another one. Managed hosting is subject to the terms of the server you are renting, whereas colocation hosting gives you the advantage of owning the server and maintaining the asset in your business. However, if you needed to scale up, with colocation hosting you would need to purchase another server. With managed hosting, you’d just buy more space. This space is at the discretion of the data center and might not be readily available.

Cloud Hosting vs Colocation

As far as cloud hosting vs colocation hosting goes, there are some key distinctions. Those who partake in colocation hosting own the hardware and have it managed, while those using cloud hosting simply lease the hardware as well as having it managed remotely. Cloud hosting is competitive with its pricing, which may persuade some colocation server hosting companies to change their functions. The cloud is endless, so there is no issue of taking up as much space as possible. Cloud hosting does provide multiple levels of security from public cloud hosting to private cloud hosting and a hybrid version.

But while it may seem like a good investment, cloud hosting can be flawed. Cloud hosting is subject to external conditions and is increasingly seen by many as not as secure as a physical server. For increased security and to give peace of mind to those whose data you are storing, a physical server and not a cloud-based one may be preferable. Considering this is important when weighing up the pros and cons of cloud hosting vs colocation.

Colocation hosting provides a comfortable middle ground between maintaining and running your own servers and IT department and leasing out your servers from a data center. Your reasons for needing the hosting should determine where you stand on cloud hosting vs colocation and colocation vs managed hosting. The benefits include greater control and the knowledge that the environment of your servers is safe and secure, and the environment is conducive to maintaining their upkeep. Businesses scaling up could consider colocation hosting as an alternative to the cloud.

Lindsey Conger
Author:
Lindsey is a freelance writer based out of Chicago who specializes in technology, business, finance, and real estate. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Dwell, and Stackstreet.

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"What is Colocation Hosting and Is It for Your Business?"

What is Colocation Hosting and Is It for Your Business?