Unlike large corporations that have massive IT departments and their own dedicated internet infrastructure that enables them to host their own web servers, small businesses have to rely on other methods in order to establish their online presence. The methods vary, but one such method that can be used is server co-location.
Colocation lets place your server on someone else’s rack, sharing their bandwidth. While this typically costs more than regular web hosting, it is still less expensive than getting a comparable amount of bandwidth on your own. Once your machine is setup and ready, you will have to take it, physically, to the location of the provider, which in turn provides your machine with bandwidth, power and an IP address.
Using colocation as your method of generating an online presence has plenty of benefits, with the largest benefit being the lower cost involved compared to setting up your own bandwidth at your location. For the same price of having a business-level DSL line installed, about $200 per month, you can have an entire server available to you.
Some of the drawbacks to colocation include the price. If your site is more along the lines of a “hobby”, and not so much a business that requires massive amounts of bandwidth, you may want to consider a website through more cost-effective means, such as with a traditional web host. Additionally, prices for colocation services can fluctuate. Another downside is getting access to your hardware. With your server residing at another location, it may be challenging accessing it when it is not the normal hours for providers’ location.
Server co-location can be a great alternative for your business, so long as you can find one nearby and at the right price. If your business requires a great deal of bandwidth, this is definitely something you should check into. However, if your site does not have a need for large amounts of bandwidth, you should consider other, more cost-effective options.