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Chapter 4. Web Hosting Options > Server Co-Location

Server Co-Location

The next step up on the Web hosting options ladder is something called server co-location. This usually offers more flexibility than publishing on your ISP's server, but it's also more expensive.

How It Works

Server co-location works one of two ways: either you put your own Web server at an ISP's facility or the ISP sets up a Web server for you at its facility. In either case, a Web server is dedicated to your Web site and it's connected to the Internet via high-speed Internet connection.

Your responsibilities vary depending on whether you have your own Webmaster to set up and maintain the site or you are depending on the ISP to do the job for you. As you can imagine, the more the ISP does for you, the more it will cost and the less control you will have over your site's maintenance. But if you lack the expertise to set up and manage a Web site, this can be a blessing.

You may also be required to provide the hardware (computer, router, cables, etc.) and software (Web server software, e-mail software, FTP software, etc.) for the Web server. If the ISP provides this, it will charge you accordingly.

Because the Web server is not in your location, you'll still use FTP to upload Web site files to your server. Site visitors will access your site by entering your site's domain name, such as http://www.wickenburg-az.com/.

What It Costs

A small percentage of ISPs offer server co-location options. The fees vary widely by ISP, so be sure to ask about all fees when comparison shopping.

Table 4.1 summarizes the setup and monthly fees I found for this service:

Table 4.1. Server Co-Location Fees
ServiceSetup FeeMonthly Fee
ISP-provided server$500-$1,500$400-$800
Client-provided server$100-$500$250-$500

Pros & Cons

There are three main benefits to using server co-location:

  • Your Web site is served from its own dedicated Web server. This means that all of the computer's resources can be used to serve your Web site's content rather than shared by multiple Web sites or other functions.

  • You should be able to put any software you like on the Web server. This enables you run whatever CGIs, Web log analysis software, or other programs you want to run in conjunction with your Web site. (I tell you more about Web server logs and log analysis software in Chapter 12.)

  • Because your Web site is at your ISP's location, it gets the benefit of your ISP's high-speed access to the Internet.

There are a few drawbacks, though:

  • Some ISPs base their monthly fees on bandwidth usage. That means that the more popular your Web site is, the more it will cost to serve.

  • Server co-location isn't cheap. (But it can be less expensive than having an on-premises server.)

  • You may be responsible for all server maintenance, including backups, software upgrades, and new software installations. That means you'll have to have the expertise (or hire someone with the expertise) to perform technical tasks reliably.

  • Because the server is not on your premises, you have to hope that the ISP can handle power outages, power surges, and other occurrences that may interrupt service to your site's visitors.

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