Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting: Which Do You Choose?

Posted on by Ronald Caldwell
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With the onset of the global pandemic in 2020, many businesses looked to move their hosted infrastructure off-premises to a data center facility. Most of the workforce has been working remotely, leaving enterprises looking for ways to save costs or allocate them to keep up with the demand for running remotely. Two choices that come to mind are Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting.

Indeed, other options exist like a Cloud Dedicated server (a virtual dedicated server) or Managed Cloud Servers built on a highly available public cloud. Choosing Dedicated Hosting vs Cloud Hosting is something enterprises have already started to discuss. But for most companies, having the customization and performance that a dedicated physical server provides is mission-critical.

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So, which type of hosting is right for you between Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting?

What is Colocation Server Hosting?

Colocation Hosting is a hosting service provided by data centers or hosting companies offering the leaser server rack space, power, and bandwidth packages. Data centers providing this service will allow you to bring or ship your servers and network and storage devices, depending on their service offering and your package.

Following specific security protocols, account contacts can access the infrastructure for routine management. Based on the hosting company offering, hired hands (employees available to help manage colocated devices) are optional.

What is Dedicated Server Hosting?

Dedicated Server Hosting is a single-tenant hosting environment with hardware and resources specific to the user. For Managed Dedicated Server Hosting, the provider handles the setup, administration, management, and support of the server, operating system, and server software. The objective is that only your data is in your environment without being affected by issues that arise from sharing resources.

This is an infographic comparing the advantages vs disadvantages of colocation hosting vs dedicated server hosting. The advantages of colocation hosting are that you can choose your hardware, own your hardware, and control your costs, while the disadvantages are that you can manage your hardware and software. The advantages of dedicated server hosting are receiving hardware and server software support along with 24/7/365 support, while the disadvantages are a higher long-term cost and fewer customization options.

Advantages of Colocation Server Hosting

Choose Your Hardware

A significant advantage of Colocation Server Hosting is that you get to choose your hardware. Companies have specific needs for their infrastructure, especially around hardware needed for new or legacy applications. The more you control the components of your server, you ensure you get what you need. Making sure your requirements are covered leaves less of your intended performance to chance.

Own Your Hardware

Colocation Server Hosting also allows owning your infrastructure. Whether you have to lease to own or you purchase it outright, you avoid the ongoing cost of renting through a dedicated server hosting plan without ever owning your hardware.

Control Your Cost

Dedicated server colocation also allows you to control your cost. Leasing via hosting takes into account that you are paying for the maintenance and upkeep of the servers, among other services. While this is a benefit of dedicated server hosting, colocation would take away that cost in favor of you owning maintenance of your servers.

Disadvantages of Colocation Server Hosting

Manage Your Hardware

One disadvantage of Colocation Server Hosting is managing your hardware. If a hardware failure occurs, you or a team member will need to travel to the location to rectify it. While fixing components may not be a high cost, it will require a bit of time in unexpected travel. Also, if the life cycle of hardware is short, you may find that you have to keep specific components on hand for such failures.

Manage Your Software

Dedicated server colocation also means that you manage the software. In most cases, this gets accomplished remotely but can still prove critical if proper patches and updates do not get completed in a timely fashion. And with updates to the operating system, the code that runs on it may also need to be updated. If you do not have an in-house development team, this will result in an additional cost.

Advantages of Dedicated Server Hosting

When looking at Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting, there are many advantages on the Dedicated Server Hosting side.

Hardware Support

The most significant benefit of dedicated server hosting is having the hosting company support your hardware. What that means for you is no trips to the data center for maintenance and not having to worry about stocking hardware components in case of failure.

Server Software Support

Server software support can save your team time, depending on the hosting provider you choose. For instance, Liquid Web offers support for the operating system and core elements of the web server stack for most dedicated servers. Having a provider that offers core software support saves you money and man hours vs doing it yourself.

24/7/365 Support

Most wholly-owned and operated data centers where dedicated servers are housed have staff available around the clock. With 24/7/365 support, you don't have to worry about those late-night patching and update sessions to ensure the servers are running during the day. If your hosting provider includes 24/7 support, it will save you time and money over colocating.

Disadvantages of Dedicated Server Hosting

Higher Long-Term Cost

One downside of Dedicated Server Hosting is the higher long-term cost. While value-added features of hosting with a provider take the sting out of it, the price over time is something to consider.

Fewer Customization Options

Many hosting providers, such as Liquid Web, offer the ability to customize your server so that you can get the specifications you require, but not all web hosts do. For instance, certain components like GPUs, specific drives, or some CPUs may be able to be procured to accommodate certain enterprise needs.

If your requirements call for a specific setup your provider does not offer, you may need to compromise.

Choosing Between Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting

You will need to make some considerations when choosing between Colocation Hosting vs Dedicated Server Hosting.

You should choose Colocation Server Hosting if:

  • You can afford to purchase hardware and want to save in the long term.
  • You have a team available or can hire one for hardware failure and software issues.
  • You are okay with traveling to and from the data center for maintaining your infrastructure.

You should choose Dedicated Server Hosting if:

  • The support and added features you get for leasing and hosting your infrastructure justify the cost.
  • You can get the server configuration you need at a competitive price.

Choosing which way to host does not have to be a daunting task. It helps to know what you can and cannot do without when it comes to your setup.

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About the Author

Ronald Caldwell

Ron is a Technical Writer with Liquid Web working with the Marketing team. He has 8+ years of experience in Technology. He obtained an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Prairie State College in 2015. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Michigan with her and their children.

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