Thursday, July 14, 2011

Web hosting and such

When I worked for the Presbyterians over the last three years, we several times looked at options relating to having our own website. (I don't mean the Presbyterian Church as a whole, just our little department.) Usually there was an issue: either the web hosting wasn't what it claimed to be - some of them, especially the free ones, were little more than glorified blogs - or it was too expensive for the sort of work we wanted to do, or it was in the States and not suitable for our approach. Or one of a number of other problems.

So even though I no longer work there I'm always interested in checking out places that offer managed hosting just to see what they have available.

One I've just come across offers something called colocation - or co-location if you're not yet up to joining the prefix to the rest of the word. (Apropos of that, I can never decide whether cooperate needs a hyphen or not - cooperate looks to be such an odd word that my mind immediately reads as coop-erate.)

Though I had an inkling of its meaning, I didn't really know what colocation was, so I had to check it up. Apparently (according to Wikipedia) it allows multiple customers to locate network, server, and storage gear—and connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers—with a minimum of cost and complexity. Well, there you go. Seemingly, as one company puts it, it's like sending your 'little treasures off to boarding school.' It also presumably relies on fast broadband, which is still a bit of an issue itself here in NZ.

Cost is also an issue with getting someone to host your server: you have to be convinced in your own mind that what you're putting up online is really worth those dollars per month. I'm not sure that we got to that point at our office, and in terms of having a site of my own, I've never been keen to part out cash just to have space available for my vast and opinionated musings - or for anything else I might jot down either. But small businesses, especially those that are highly driven by their computer side, certainly need to consider how their data is looked after. Whether they keep it in-house or send it off to 'boarding school.' If you keep your little treasures at home you have all the hassles of making sure your server is working and not going AWOL when you most need it. If you send the data elsewhere, you have to make sure the company looking after it is secure and concerned for your business to the extent that it at least feels as though they think only of you.

So, it's always a bit of a juggling act.
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