If up until now you thought that a dedicated server can give you the best options for your presence online, then you won’t need to share resources and you will be able to set up the server as you prefer. However, just one question remains: Will you buy or rent your server? If you choose dedicated hosting this means that you will be renting a server from a web host. You can also choose to buy your own server and have the host give you the possibility to house it and to connect it to the Internet. This particular service is called colocated hosting.
The advantages of colocated hosting comprise all the privileges of dedicated hosting – meaning that you have all the resources of the entire server as well as bandwidth to do what you like with. The additional advantage over dedicated hosting is the lower cost. Since you own the server, your monthly fees won’t comprise expenses for hardware maintenance and repairs. However, your initial outlay will be bigger because you will be buying the server. If the server is good quality and remains in service for a reasonable amount of time though, if you choose colocation, your overall costs will be lower.
Depending on the amount of space your server occupies, the costs will vary. Data centers house servers in racks that are consecutively housed in cabinets. The cabinets are usually 40 rack units in height, with each rack unit equivalent to 1.75′. The cases of server computers are measured in rack heights – 1U = 1.75′. Normal sizes for servers are 1U, 2U and 4U, so the physical size of your server will decide how much the colocation host will charge you per month. Bandwidth is another factor which affects the price.
There are quite a few options that exist when you buy a server and take it to the colocation data centre. If you live near the data center you can purchase a server locally and set it up on your own property. Once it is setup you can deliver it personally to the data center. An alternative would be to purchase the server from a mail order shop and ask them to deliver it straight there. This option is a good one if you don’t live near the data center. It will save you on the shipping costs of the server and the retailer will be responsible if the server gets damaged whilst in transit. The bad point is that you have to set the server up remotely via a web interface. The third alternative is to purchase the server directly from the hosting company. Not all of them are in the server business, but those that are might offer you assistance in financing and setup.
Dedicated or Colocation?
Colocation puts you in charge of the hardware, but that also means that you are responsible in the case your hardware fails you. If you’ve registered for dedicated hosting you are renting the server, so the host will restore hard drives or CPUs if they function badly. The initial costs for colocation are much higher than the ones for dedicated hosting. You have to purchase the server along with the insurance and software licences, meaning all the things that are included in a dedicated hosting plan. Hardware upgrades are also more costly with colocation due to the fact that you must buy the new equipment straight away and pay to get it installed. Plans for dedicated hosting usually allow you to upgrade either hardware or bandwidth at reasonable costs.
The main benefit of colocation is the lower monthly costs when you compare them to dedicated hosting plans. Other benefits include greater control over network configuration as well as more flexibility. A provider for collocation must be chosen very carefully, because they will be hosting both your hardware and your data. Make sure to consider such details as security, network redundancy, protection from fire as well as earthquakes, and backup generators in the event of a powercut.
Michael Beattie is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.