Colocation hosting is a type of web hosting where the customer owns the hardware and software necessary to host a web property such as a website or blog, and positions them in a data center – a facility that securely houses servers and related components. People who use their own server and would like to rent a secure place for it usually consider colocation hosting.
The data center deploys people to manage the servers. However, equipment upkeep and maintenance is the customer’s responsibility. The user can access server equipment and systems anytime. The space provider would look after the equipment’s power supply, space and bandwidth requirements and charge rent or fee for the same and also the physical space (rack, cage, cabinet or room).
The service provider doesn’t sell the hardware/software to the user, nor does it dictate hardware-software configuration to the customer. The user has the freedom to buy necessary infrastructure from a vendor of his choice. The purchased components are installed at the data center, with or without the help of the hosting company.
Colocation hosting is a much more reliable hosting setup than a home-based server or setting up and managing a big server facility by self. There are quite a few other benefits to the colocation hosting plan as well.
Colocation plans are flexible enough to suit specific client requirements. Customers can choose to focus on only certain aspects of the server setup. A data center is usually categorized into various tiers or sections, with some sections right for smaller firms and others offering much greater levels of redundancy and uptime, which most large corporations prefer.
- Power Backup
A data center offers round-the-clock power backup. The place’s circuitry can supply sufficient power to several hundred servers at the same time. Moreover, the center has back-up power and generators that can fuel servers for days together if there’s a power outage. Residential environments cannot guarantee uninterrupted power supply. Even a few minutes of power loss could take the server offline, hurting the hosted websites’ performance and reliability in the process. Even if a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is installed at home, it certainly won’t be a match to data center backup systems.
- Cooling Systems
Servers require good amount of cooling so that they don’t heat up and snap after continuous usage. Such cooling setups are hard and also expensive to set up at home. A data center would invariably house multiple servers and can therefore make up for the cooling expenses through rent.
A colocation hosting center also has ample security systems in place. This includes server cabinet locks, security cards to access the data center, guards on patrol, CCTV monitoring, etc. Such level of security is hard to imagine at home.
Compared to regular hosting plans such as shared hosting, colocation is a significantly costlier option. It’s not necessarily the rent that’s the only expensive part but the cost of hardware. A low-end server would cost anywhere around $4,000. And with increasing range, the price goes up. The monthly rent for rack space would fall in the $500-$700 range. A router needs to be purchased too, which shall cost at least $1,500. To get started, colocation hosting would cost at least $7,000.
- Hard to Find
Not all hosting service providers offer colocation hosting. In fact, the majority don’t. Usually, it’s recommended to look for a colocation hosting center nearby as transporting servers would then not take too much time and effort. If the customer lives in a town or suburb, it’s almost impossible for him to find colocation service. Most hosting companies are encouraging customers to ignore colocation and choose dedicated hosting instead.
Accessibility is usually not a problem. But if the data center has business hours in place and if the center is located in a fairly distant locality, accessing the server frequently would become less practical. And in case the client is moving to another city or town, then that would bring along its own set of logistics woes.