So you have decided to go with collocation for your Web server, but now its time to consider the different options available from the majority of collocation providers. The first decision that must be made is whether to use a managed collocation service or unmanaged. This can have a significant impact on things such as how much maintenance will need to be done be the customer versus the provider, what things can be run on the server and pricing.
Managed collocation is often referred to as dedicated server rentals. When using this form of service, the provider has a dedicated server that is preconfigured to certain specifications with selected software applications on it that the customer can use within limits. In addition to this, the provider generally takes the responsibility of providing any software upgrades to the provided applications on the system and general maintenance such as reboots, hardware issues and any backups they may include.
This level of service is particularly useful to those individuals who are not very technically inclined or do not have the time or resources to handle the more mundane troubleshooting and maintenance. There are restrictions to using such as service however. For example, the managed server only allows those supported applications to be run on the servers. If a required software application is needed for the site but is unsupported by the provider the customer is out of luck.
Now if the technical requirements of running the server require applications that are not supported by the provider or you want to have more control over the configuration and use of the server, unmanaged collocation is typically the best choice. This is very different from the managed services though. Customers are required to provide their own hardware and manage all of the hardware and software on their own. This allows for much greater flexibility in what can be done but has the drawback of more work by the customer.
Of course, as a customer you are still bound to the service agreements of the provider. Most collocation providers will have clauses that disallow certain things from being hosted on the server. These items typically include pornography or mass e-mail, both of which generate a large amount of network traffic and can cause severe problems for the provider.