Colocation is a game changer for businesses big and small. No matter your budget, if you wish to do eCommerce, you should understand what colocation is. Here are a few things you ought to know.
Colocation, or Colo, is a service (even considered a business model) that specializes in ecommerce activity. If you want to sell your goods and services over the internet, then you surely will need a website to promote your business. If you have ever shopped online, then you know that the biggest problem for any website is lag time. An estimated 40% of website visitors leave because a website is not responding fast enough. It might take a few seconds, but click after click after click, those seconds add up and you feel it takes forever to find what you’re looking for.
Colocation bypasses that problem by moving your equipment closer to your target market. You will need to find a colocation provider, and rent some space in his data center for your server(s). So those are a lot of words, lets stop a minute and analyze that. A server, is a computer (normally more powerful than your average variety) which will be hosting (storing) your website content. You need one if you’re using or planning to set up a website. A data center is a place (sometimes a large space; sometimes a building or two) that stores and takes care of servers for its clients. The idea of moving your equipment (or renting it) relies on the fact that you’ll be closer to your customers. The closer you are, the faster your server will answer the client’s requests (as it takes less time for information to travel back and forth). Happy customers means more money in your pocket.
That is how Colocation works in a nutshell. There are more tricks and ideas (which we have covered on other articles) but there are some things that every newcomer or veteran to the service should know.
Like we mentioned before, the idea of moving your equipment to a data center is so you may be closer to your market. More proximity, the faster your server will answer client requests. Ideally, you should pick a colocation provider that is close to your market. That may not always be case. Bare in mind that some Colocation solutions experts have data center powerful enough to make it “seem” like you’re sitting right next to your client. These providers don’t have to be close to your market
Your colocation provider should offer servers up for rent. This saves you a large upfront investment. If you wish to buy your own equipment later, you can always do so.
So, if you move (or rent) equipment in a data center, does that mean you have to travel to it every time you want to check your server? Not at all. Your colocation provider should offer managed support. This means that your provider takes care the server’s maintenance, connectivity, cooling and monitoring. This feature saves you even money, because you won’t have to hire IT specialists to handle your equipment… the data center provides them for you. Not only that, but by delegating server management to your provider, you can refocus all resources to your business’ main goal; instead of worrying about equipment maintenance.
Colocation Services are Inexpensive
Some people say Colocation is expensive, not in the least. Matter of fact is, you’d be surprised at how accommodating it is, and how much money it saves and generates in the long run.
Remember you’re renting space (and maybe equipment) from your provider, and there are many ways to do colocation. You can rent a full rack for yourself; you can also rent shared space (which is of course more cost-efficient). You can also rent VPS Servers (virtual private servers), which are virtual machines that do everything a physical server does (at very low prices). Finally, one size doesn’t fit all, so your colocation provider should be able to provide a tailor-made solution for your business.
As a final note, we would like to suggest choosing a colocation provider who is interested in helping you accomplish your goals. Ideally, your provider should have available all options that are listed above; but if he lacks the interest to help you succeed, or the experience to do so, then your colocation experience will not be the best.