What is colocation?
Colocation is a service where you own your own web server, but it is physically located and connected to the internet at another location (colocation is usually supplied by a web hosting company).
Colocation gives you complete control over your own server. Your hands aren't tied by a hosting provider's policies about what can and cannot be placed on your site. You can run virtually any software or scripts you want without having to worry about being kicked off for degrading the server's performance and affecting other websites.
If you decide that colocation is for you, you can either purchase your server yourself and ship it to the hosting company or have them build it for you per your specifications.
Advantages of colocation:
- The server is yours. You own it. Therefore you have complete control over the hardware and software used.
- You can have a high speed connection to the internet for your server without the overhead involved with buying it yourself.
- You can replace or upgrade your hardware at any time.
Disadvantages of colocation:
- The server is yours. You own it. If the hardware fails you're responsible for getting it fixed.
- Initially, colocation is more expensive than using a dedicated server because you have to buy the hardware and software that you plan to use.
- You're responsible for every aspect of operating and maintaining your server. You'll have to install and maintain the software, install and debug the scripts, perform backups, etc.
Of course you can hire someone else to do all of this for you, but the costs involved with such an arrangement can be quite high.
Colocation offers you complete control over your hardware and your website, allowing you to conduct business pretty much any way you choose.
But because of the upfront costs and complexities involved, colocation isn't for everyone. You'll be well served if you take the time to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages before deciding whether to go with colocation or a dedicated server.
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