Co-location projects a win-win hosting option for small businesses that want the attributes of a larger IT unit, minus the cost. Large companies do have the required infrastructure for hosting their own web servers. It functions with a team of dedicated professionals in this field to manage and design, but small companies and individual concerns cannot always afford this type of set-up. For them, there is a wide array of options available from simple hosting up to running own web servers. Collocation is one such option.

A colocation (colo) is a data center provider in which a company can lease space for servers and other computing hardware. Typically, building, cooling, power, bandwidth, and physical security is provided while the customer makes available servers and storage. For, it would be too dear to create special facilities, the service providers already have these facilities. The networking hardware resources are owned by organizations that are located outside the environs of the organization's premise and are “co-located” with another concern’s hardware, usually a service provider or an ISP.

Co-location refers to the way IT equipment and resources are located or installed. The server machine is placed in the provider’s rack and sharing of bandwidth is done as one’s own. It costs more than a normal web hosting plan but less than that equivalent amount of bandwidth in owner’s place of commerce. IP, bandwidth, and power is provided by the company to the client’s server. Once the set-up is done, the access is as same as accessing a website on hosting provider with the only difference that the client owns the hardware.Advantages of Co-location

  1. It is economical in terms of bandwidth cost and proves to be better if the only dedicated network access is through exclusive full or fractional T1 lines.
  2. It provides better security against outages since one pays for backup services.
  3. Easy up gradation is possible if a user finds an inadequate memory or slow server.
  4. The user needs not depend on the hosting provider to install software tools and this can be done by the user willingly.
  5. Collocation also provides additional security to the machine when the server is stored and maintained in a safe setting.
  6. In case of absence of IT professionals or location problems, collocation servers can manage and maintain a server with an additional cost.

Disadvantages of Co-location

  1. Unless there are major IT hubs around, locating a collocation provider near to the working place is rather hard.
  2. At times it can prove to be more expensive than the basic web hosting especially when one needs to maintain and manage servers and up gradation is required.
  3. For a physical access to the server, one has to travel to the collocation provider’s location during the provider’s availability convenience.
  4. In case of shifting or transfer of business, the owner will be required to move servers to a new provider or pay for a maintenance deal.
  5. Irregular pricing in case of large traffic in a month can cause service cost to fluctuate largely.

For users with small sites intended for personal use, web hosting is better than collocation. On the other hand, collocation is the best option when server needs are sounder that what web hosting provides. It is also favorable for small businesses that want an elaborate web presence without intricate hassles.

It is also a very good option for small businesses that want to have a fairly large Web presence but don't want to have to deal with a large amount items such as network connections.

A co-location hosting is a type of data center where multiple customers locate network, server and storage gear with a minimum of cost and complexity. By outsourcing network traffic to a co-location service provider with greater bandwidth capacity, website access rates should improve considerably.

Customers like web commerce companies, who use the facilities for a safe environment and cost-effectiveness and redundant connections to the internet have the facility for disaster avoidance, offsite data backup, and business continuity.

Co-location has become an important aspect of SMBs for taking advantage of trained and dedicated staff and an advanced IT infrastructure. No need to worry about infrastructure because your office's physical location will be somewhere else. Servers are kept in specific conditions to protect hardware and data integrity.