What Is the Difference Between Colocation and Web Hosting?

A website is a must in today’s times. To make the site accessible to online users, site owners need to save the site’s files on a webserver. There are two ways to do this. You can either purchase a web server and infrastructure required to make your site accessible online or purchase a web hosting service. When you purchase your own server, you can choose to store it within your premises or co-locate it by renting space at a data centre. You can also purchase a web hosting service like Shared Hosting, Cloud Hosting, VPS Hosting, etc., to get your site online. Both web hosting and colocation serve the same purpose but have some pros and cons. Today, we are going to look at the differences between colocation and web hosting to help you choose between the two.

Difference between Colocation and Web Hosting

As explained above, colocation is about the site owner purchasing a web server and storing it at a data centre. Colocation can also be likened to renting an empty office space. While the property owner owns the space, everything inside it like furniture, computers, etc. are owned by you. On the other hand, web hosting is about renting resources from a hosting company in the form of a web hosting plan. While most startups prefer a Shared Hosting plan and upgrade it as the site grows, some websites need a colocation server for better control.

Here are the differences between the two:

Feature Colocation Web Hosting
Control Since you own the web server and use the data centre for its infrastructure, security, redundancy, and risk management while allowing you complete control over the equipment. Since you have complete control over the hardware and software of the server, you can customize it to suit your needs. This also means that you need to take responsibility for monitoring the equipment and running upgrade and maintenance processes. When you buy a web hosting plan, you don’t own the server. The hosting company has more control over the resources than the site owner. While some hosting types like Dedicated Server Hosting and VPS Hosting offer a certain degree of control, it is lesser than the amount of control offered by a co-located owned server.
Security Owning the webserver allows you to install any third-party security applications or make changes to the server’s configuration to maximize the protection of the server and your site. Further, since the server is not shared with other websites, you don’t have to worry about security issues arising due to another site getting hacked. A Dedicated Server Hosting plan allows similar security benefits. However, an owned server allows you to make hardware changes without any problem. However, while other hosting services, including Shared Hosting, can be made highly secure too, colocation allows more security options.
Costs Since you purchase a web server and rent space with a data centre, colocation is costlier than web hosting. Since you purchase a hosting plan which includes space on a web server, web hosting plans are cheaper than colocation servers.


Summing Up

Even if you decide to buy a web server and locate it at a data centre while sharing it with other websites, colocation allows more control over the server. While cost can be a major factor, colocation is usually recommended for websites that need an owned server but don’t have space or infrastructure to house it. For most other sites, web hosting offers all the features required to get the site online and offer reliable services.