When deciding on developing your online presence you have many different options. One option you may want to consider is colocation. What exactly is colocation?
Well colocation is the option to run your own equipment on an infrastructure setup to host web servers. When you decide to go the colocation route you have the power to develop your own server, install whatever software and add-ons you want as well as hold whatever content you want to have. If you want to start your own gaming site you can do that. If you want to run an online store like Amazon or Ebay you can do that as well. No matter what you want to do with the server you can. The equipment is yours.
The drawback of colocation is that you are responsible for all the hardware issues. If the hard drive crashes at three in the morning you have to get up and drive to the location, switch out the hard drive and then get your machine back up and running. With colocation you are only renting the bandwidth and infrastructure.
So if that is the case why should I consider colocation instead of just paying for someone else to handle all of the headaches? Well like hosted solutions colocation facilities have the same safeguards. They have redundant power options and backups. If you were to host the machine at your location and for some reason the power went down you would be down or would have to supply power backups. With the colocation options you don’t have to worry about that.
Another advantage is that you have ownership of the hardware and software that goes on the server. If you want a specific hard drive, motherboard, video card or whatever you can put it in. You also have control over the software that goes on the machine. You can run a Linux computer, windows computer or if you are creative you can design your own web operating system. If you are a developer having a colocation machine may be a good option. For a price of about $100 – $200 a month you can run your own version of the Internet.
We can work from anywhere in the world. If we decide to move to another state or even another country you have the ability to keep the hardware right where it’s at. Now this can be considered a disadvantage if the equipment has issues and you need to fly half way around the country or even the world to fix a hard drive, but if you set it up correctly you can have employees in that area that could do your tech support.
One of the main and possibly the most popular advantage to colocation is the security you have for your machine. When you own the machine you can put your own security systems in place as well as only have access to the infrastructure. What this means is you are not having others out of your control hosting their files and services on your machine. When you have others hosting their files on your machines they can cause damage or cause unforeseen issues. When you choose to collocate your server no one knows about it except for the people you tell about it.
All of this sounds pretty good but what are the disadvantages to choosing a colocation server?
The first thing that comes into play when it comes to colocation is finding a place that offers the service. Since the popularity of shared hosting and dedicated servers are all the rave the odds for someone wanting to host their own personal machines may be low. If you can find a service that offers colocation it may be far away from your location which can result in a logistics issue.
One of the main disadvantages is that you need to be technically inclined. If you don’t know how to deal with apache, PHP, server permissions and loading and configuring software you may not want to even consider colocation. If you do decide on colocation you will be on your own.
Now there are companies that will offer additional services for an additional price but colocation is best suited for someone who wants total control over their hosting and web presence needs.
So is colocation for you and your hosting needs? If you are a small or larger company that wants the security you may want to consider colocation. If you are someone who wants to get your hands dirty on the technical end of web hosting and hosting equipment you may want to consider colocation. If you are a person who just wants to run a blog or a simple or even a fairly complicated web site you may not want to embark on the time and effort colocation may entail.
The choice is up to you. The bottom line is if you want the challenge and control then colocation is something you may want to consider. If you are someone who just wants to get up and running with a web site quickly and with little hassle then there are other options you may wish to consider.