What is colocation?

Colocation, also known as colo, is the term used to describe the practice of housing your devices and servers in a datacenter space you leased from a hosting company. Basically, you place your server and devices on a rack owned by someone else and then share their bandwidth as if it is your own. Aside from the space, the bandwidth and the secured cabinet leased to you, a colocation package usually includes a regulated uninterruptible power supply, security and technical support. It offers customers huge savings from building, maintenance and power costs of your business, plus access to advanced infrastructure, lower latency, greater bandwidth and specialist services.
Simply put, colocation is simply like using the facilities of a large business but at a very low cost. This is how it works; you lease a space and the physical facilities of a colocation company and then install your machine in their racks. The machine could be your own or could also be rented from the colocation provider. Once it is installed, the colocation provider provides your server the bandwidth, IP, power, cooling, communication and security. As soon as it is up and running, you can access your website like you access it from any other provider, the difference being that you owned the hardware and you get to manage your website.

What advantages do I get from colocation hosting?

Colocation can be very advantageous to businesses in a lot of ways. Among these advantages are the following:

  • Low bandwidth cost. –You get to share bandwidth cost with other colocation subscribers which means you are assured of a high bandwidth speed and better redundancy at a much lower cost.
  • You own the server machine. – Being the owner of your server machine, you get to decide whether to upgrade your server or not, without having to wait for your provider to solve the problem for you, should you find out that your server is too slow.
  • You own the server software. – You get to decide which software or what tools you want to use and when to install it without having to wait for the provider to install a software for you.
  • Better Outage Protection. – Colocation facilities are equipped with backup power and power generators which ensures that your server will be up and running even during power outages.
  • Better Security and Fire suppression facilities. – Colocation facilities are secured physically with a 24/7 security detail, video monitoring facilities and a specialised fire detection and suppression technology which means that your server is in a well maintained and secured facility.
  • Better environmental Control. – Colocation facilities are equipped with the technology that monitors and controls the temperature, humidity and particulates filtration.
  • Constant Monitoring and Technical Services. – This includes central data storage, firewall, backups and DDoS attack mitigation.

What are the known disadvantages of colocation?

  • Physical access to your server can be an issue.- There is a constant need to travel from your office to the colocation facility which could be time consuming and expensive.
  • Colocation can cost more compared to basic Web Hosting. – The cost of maintaining and managing your own server, the cost of your upgrading needs and the purchase of the necessary hardware and software can be more expensive than basic web hosting services.
  • Availability of providers. – You need to find a colocation provider that is near your home or office and finding one can also be a problem.

Is colocation right for me?

If your site is designed simply for blogs and personal use, colocation is not for you. However, if your site is for a small business which needs a large web presence and a more robust server and you need to have complete control and management of your site, including the choice of equipment and software within an economical cost, then colocation is the best choice for you.