[thelist] colocation/managed hosting?

Morgan Kelsey morgan at morgankelsey.com
Wed Jan 22 10:36:02 CST 2003

> Hey everyone,
> I work for a small design firm, in a two-person web design/development team.
> Currently, we don't host the sites we design, usually recommending an ISP
> that does shared/virtual hosting to the client. This is because we don't
> want to take on the responsibility of running a server, etc. (we are all
> designers here -- if we need advanced programming, we hire it out).
> Lately we are doing more and more sites that require more demanding hosting
> setups, and we are getting fed up with the shared hosting thing ("what do
> you mean PHP doesn't have access to sendmail?!"). So I've been thinking
> about colocation and managed hosting. If i understand it correctly, with
> this kind of setup, we would own/lease the equipment, but our partner would
> handle the maintenance/management. We could then essentially do whatever we
> wanted with that server, including leasing space to clients and hosting
> multiple domains.

what you've described there is managed, or dedicated hosting. you don't always own
the machine in those arangements either, which may or may not suit you.

colocated hosting is usually cheaper, but you won't get any help beyond network
related issues, and it's almost always a BYOB party. all server management is
usally done by you remotely, and you'd be responsible for uptime (which you said
you don't think you want to do).

> Basically, our goals here are to gain more control and flexibility over
> hosting setups for our clients, and making a little money back on hosting
> them would not hurt either.
> So, a couple questions:
> 1) Are my assumptions above correct?
> 2) Can anyone recommend good companies to go with for this?
> 3) If I have this idea totally wrong, is there another solution?

1. yes, though the most control is probably had in a colocated enviroment
2. i would try to find someone local, so you can go and kick the machine yourself,
or breathe down their neck in an emergency.
3. the other solution is get your own T1, servers, and do it *all* yourself, but
that's a whole other set of problems, like gas generators and electrical know-how

i think if you go colocated, and manage the machines yourself, you can stand to
break even pretty easily. you'll also have a faster machine with less headaches
than in a shared enviroment. most colos start around $200 a month, more bandwidth,
email support etc will run you a little more.

if you go managed or dedicated, i think it can be harder to make any dough out of
the gate, but you may find the shortfall is only a few hundred bucks and worth the
gains. if you find a good host that will make all your tweaks in short order, it
might work great for you if you have enough clients to justify it.

i've gone from shared hosting to colocated in the last year, and wish i'd done it
sooner. but, i *do* spend a lot of time checking and tweaking the live server.

good luck,


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