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Colocation vs. Managed Hosting

by Andrew Marshall

Web Hosting is crucial to the success of any website. There are a large number of options available to you when you are picking a host for your website and the best option depends on many factors. Factor around the individual site are important as different sites need different things from their hosting. Your own experience and expertise are also important; if you are a novice you will need assistance but this may not be necessary if you are knowledgably around the subject. Other factors, like budget, may also come into the decision making process.

There really is no definitive answer as to what the best type of hosting is; it does all depend on your situation. Here though, we'll look at two of these types -Colocation and Managed Hosting. Colocation is where customers rent rack space from at a data centre and host their server there. The customer provides the server and all the equipment and runs the hosting themselves. Managed Hosting is, as the name suggests, where the hosting company manages the hosting for the customer, allowing them to concentrate on their core business.

The amount of control and amount of help you want is important to your decision. With Colocation you get complete control as you are only renting rack space. You are in charge of your hosting, which can be a negative when things go wrong, but it does allow you to have more of a say. If you don't want this control and want everything taken care of by somebody else then Managed Hosting may be preferable. It means you don't have to be too concerned with the hosting as experts are looking after you website. If you have no hosting knowledge but need complex hosting this could be the best option. There are many different types of managed hosting though, from partly managed to fully managed (although different providers have different definitions of fully managed).

Technical support is one of the main features of managed hosting. So if you need plenty of expert assistance this is the way to go. 24/7 monitoring is usually included which will put your mind at ease. Colocation doesn't normally include support but many are starting to offer this with some packages. You may consider this if you think you might need a little support from time to time. This support will not be at the same level as Managed Hosting but depending on your circumstances, could be sufficient.

Your specific requirements are obviously key to your decision. Both Colocation and Managed Hosting are good for large websites, but not usually necessary for small, simple ones. For small sites basic hosting may be more cost effective.

Price shouldn't be the only reason why you choose your host, but it can be a determining factor. Everyone has a maximum budget that cannot be exceeded so this needs to be thought about. If you can't afford a particular package then you will have to choose something else. This is an area where Colocation has an advantage over Managed Hosting, as it is significantly cheaper. Managed Hosting is quite expensive but if you need your web hosting managed for you it can be very cost effective.

Andrew Marshall ©

Saturday, Jan 16th, 2010