Server colocation is a hosting service model in which you own a web server but you place it into a secure datacenter provided by a hosting company, that also supplies your web server with power and internet connection, as well as security and physical access protection. If you want to have your own server of choice, but if you have a low quality internet connection or you cannot find good bandwidth internet connection in your area, colocation may be the choice for you. The difference between colocation and dedicated hosting is that with colocation the server machine belongs to you.
Usually, colocation servers are physically placed in datacenters where the hosting company provides you with rack space where you can mount your server. Therefore in most cases your server must have a standard physical format, it must be a rack-mountable server. You should also know the difference between managed and unmanaged colocation; with managed colocation, your server is maintained by the hosting company or a third party maintenance service provider, while with unmanaged colocation, you have to maintain the server yourself, and the hosting company only provides you with connectivity and power as well as physical access security. The choice between managed and unmanaged colocation depends on what you need, your abilities and your available funds; managed colocation is obviously more costly.
If your network connection is unreliable and you need 24/7 uptime and good bandwidth, as well as having a dedicated server with given hardware that fits perfectly your needs, colocation may be the solution for you. This way your server uptime is maintained at high levels. Colocation may be expensive though, not to mention that you pay for the actual server hardware; in some cases it may be more affordable to use a dedicated hosting account rather than colocation. The decision whether to use colocation or not is to be taken on a per case scenario.
In order to establish whether to use colocation or not, you have to think first about managing your server. You need to decide if you have the necessary personell to maintain the server, and if your people are able to maintain it at the necessary uptime level and performance. In many cases it may be more efficient and lower in costs if you decide to outsource your colocation management to a third party company, and this way you can focus on doing business rather than on tedious colocation management tasks. It is also to be mentioned that in order to maintain proper server uptime, you will have to implement active monitoring as well on your colocated server, and in this way prevent problems through early warnings and alerts that can prevent your colocated server from going down. This also may require that you rely on a third party solution provider for your colocation management. In any case, whether you will decide to use managed or unmanaged colocation, this hosting service model provides high level of reliability and flexibility that can properly power a business and its online presence.