Managed Hosting vs Colocation: Understanding the Differences

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Managed and colocation hosting are two different hosting plans you can choose when hosting your apps or sites on a dedicated server.

The main differences between managed vs colocation hosting lie in the ownership and the control you have over your dedicated server.

Managed hosting providers let you lease a dedicated server that is fully managed, while colocation hosting provides hosting space for your own dedicated server.

To better understand the differences between managed hosting vs colocation, let’s learn more about both hosting types and their advantages.

What are Managed Hosting Services?

Managed hosting services are offered by hosting providers with their dedicated server plans. Hosting providers can fully manage your dedicated server for your convenience.

Managed services include but are not limited to server set up, OS installation, data migration, software installation, server maintenance, installing security systems, and anti-virus scanning.

Hosting providers can also perform regular backups on your dedicated server, resolve any issue that arises, and replace any faulty hardware.

Managed web hosting is the easiest way to start using dedicated servers without having to hire technical staff to manage your server. Otherwise, you will need an IT team or training your staff to work with dedicated servers.

Benefits of Managed Hosting

  • Fully managed by the hosting provider. You won’t need technical knowledge or trained staff to start using a dedicated server. Your web applications will be up and running from day 1 with the help of your hosting provider.
  • No up-front fees. You won’t need to buy a physical dedicated server to start hosting. You will pay monthly fees for using a dedicated server, as well as small fees for the management services.
  • Easy maintenance. Managed hosting services give you the freedom to focus on growing your business while your server is kept in top shape by your hosting provider.
  • Ultimate security. Managed hosting services include proactive malware scanning and anti-virus protection. Your hosting provider will secure your dedicated server so that no virus slips your hands.

What is Colocation?

Colocation hosting is renting out space for your dedicated server in the hosting provider’s data center. It includes services like power, cooling, network, and physical security for your dedicated server.

Colocation hosting gives you full control over your dedicated hosting solution because you own the physical server.

To get started with colocation hosting, you will need to purchase a dedicated server that will go in the data center of the hosting provider. They will connect your server to their power grid, as well as their enterprise network system.

The data centers of colocation hosting providers are constantly cooled for optimal server performance. The facilities are also physically secured and have monitoring systems.

Benefits of Colocation

  • Cheaper bandwidth. Colocation hosting providers have network connectivity for their entire data center and can provide you with cheap unmetered bandwidth for your server. This option is cheaper than paying for a single unmetered network plan in your office.
  • Uninterrupted power and cooling. Colocation hosting providers have enterprise-level data centers with backup power and cooling systems in place. If the main power source or cooling system fails, your server won’t be affected as the backup lines will power on.
  • Full control of your hosting solution. With colocation hosting, you have the freedom to configure your dedicated server as you wish, since you have full ownership of your server.
  • Full ownership of the dedicated server. If you ever wish to stop hosting with a provider, you will still keep your dedicated server unlike with managed hosting.

Differences and Similarities Between Managed Hosting and Colocation

5 key differences stand out when comparing managed hosting vs colocation. Let’s take a look at each of them:

  • Ownership – with colocation hosting you fully own your dedicated server, while with managed hosting you lease a dedicated server from the hosting provider.
  • Control – colocation hosting gives you full control over your dedicated server, and managed hosting gives you limited control.
  • Management – managed hosting is fully operated and maintained by the hosting company, while with colocation hosting you need to self-manage your server.
  • Price – using colocation hosting requires a hefty up-front payment of a few thousand dollars for a dedicated server. Managed hosting is much cheaper because you only pay a monthly fee as low as $100/month for the hosting plan.
  • Hardware Customization – managed servers can easily be customized by requesting a hardware upgrade from your hosting provider. Meanwhile, with colocation hosting, you have to purchase new hardware to customize your server.

Managed and colocation hosting have some similarities too, as they are both using dedicated servers. You can expect the following features of both to be identical:

  • Performance – running on bare metal hardware, the performance of managed and colocation hosting is unparalleled.
  • Security – both managed hosting and colocation hosting providers have data centers that are physically secure, keeping your dedicated servers safe.
  • Server Location – whether you host with a managed or colocation hosting company, you will enjoy the benefits of hosting offshore. Your dedicated server will be away from your office, which can also prevent data loss from natural disasters in your location.
  • Uptime – hosting with managed or colocation providers means you get access to their enterprise 10Gbps network with redundant hardware in place to cut down on downtime. Some hosting providers can even guarantee 100% uptime.
  • Bandwidth – You can choose unmetered bandwidth with both managed and colocation hosting plans to accommodate all visitors on your website or users of your web application.

Managed Hosting vs Colocation: Which One Is Right For You?

Now that you are familiar with both managed and colocation hosting, as well as their differences and similarities, you might be wondering which one is right for you.

Both of these hosting options provide excellent performance and stability for your most critical web applications.

Managed hosting is ideal for startups that don’t have a large budget, and plan to grow their business over the years. Managed hosting plans don’t require large payments up-front, and they are easily scalable without burning through your budget.

Colocation hosting is better for established enterprises. Purchasing a physical server means you can keep it even after your hosting contract ends. And having a stable and established business means you won’t have to frequently change your server hardware to accommodate new customers.

Therefore, your decision will ultimately depend on your budget, as well as the type of your business and your plans for the future.

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