When launching your business online you will have many decisions to make, the most important of which may be choosing your hosting plan—and where exactly that hardware is going to be stored and managed. It’s the choice you have to when deciding how you want your company presented and represented to the digital world.
Then, you have to then decide on the server subtypes of whatever hosting plan you choose. This all happens well before you can even dabble in selecting a colocation service provider. Deciding on this can boil down to budget, spacing, and how much control you want to possess over your company’s online presence. Two of the most popular types are colocation and managed hosting.
Two Roads Diverged in a Wood…
Colocation is a more do-it-yourself approach to hosting. It offers the flexibility and control of owning a server when you don’t have the in-house space to securely store everything that comes with it. You purchase and own both the hardware and software that will host your website rather than lease it from a provider. Most people are responsible for assembling and configuring everything on their own. You can pick and choose the materials needed, having the freedom to use any combination that will fit your needs.
Once you have everything secured and ready to your satisfaction, you can get assistance installing your machine at the colocation provider’s data center. Here, you’re provided with the space in a data cabinet, the power you need for your equipment, IP addresses, and an uplink port so you have the ability to connect your equipment to the centre’s network. These centers are designed to provide the highest security so the bandwidth, space, and power they provide you aren’t compromised.
Though you use the services and space of a colocation provider, you are the one responsible for the upkeep of your equipment. Some facilities will offer basic support where needed, but ultimately it is you who has control. You don’t need to lease your server because you are the sole owner. You don’t need to pay many additional costs to have someone look after everything for you.
You are able to make any changes, adjustments, or upgrades to your own equipment without having to run it by anyone. However, you do need to rely on the housing facility’s IT team occasionally, since the very ability to run your server lies with them. Plus, you may need more support if your colocation provider’s data center is not geographically close to you.
Let Me Talk to a Manager!
Managed hosting is not as hands-on as colocation is. It’s the hosting provider managing everything that is required to give your new site a strong online presence. The provider looks after the hardware like the web server and networking equipment, as well as the installation of software you’ll use including web server, email, and site creation. You are able to pick out the software you feel is best for your website. The provider also takes care of maintenance, upgrades, backups, security monitoring, 24/7 customer support, and more. You can order additional services from most providers.
You have full administrative control over your server if you opt for managed hosting. However, you don’t have the responsibility to look after and maintain your equipment or software—which can be a pro or con depending on your goals and tech savviness. Your provider maintains your server’s performance to make sure it’s working reliably. Problems that occur are identified and repaired by the host, so you don’t have to worry about tackling them yourself. All of this is covered with a monthly fee you pay to the provider.
When you do not having complete control over your hardware and software, it takes more time to budget how you will pay for monthly fees and additional costs that could arise. This is something to consider when debating whether colocation or managed hosting works best for you.