As businesses increasingly rely on technology to meet the needs of customers and run day-to-day operations, having a safe, reliable location to house valuable servers and IT equipment grows in importance. Server colocation facilities provide that secure environment, allowing businesses to expand their technology footprints without the expense of operating their data centers.

For companies seeking to understand the server colocation landscape, this guide explains essential information such as what colocation services entail, why businesses use them, the benefits and challenges of colocation providers, key factors in selecting a top-tier provider, and the leading players in today’s market. Let’s dive in.

What is Server Colocation? 

Server colocation refers to renting rack space for physical servers and networking equipment within a third-party data center facility. Rather than running their own in-house data centers, businesses lease rack space, cooling, power, and physical security from specialized best colocation providers. While public cloud services provide virtual servers and storage, colocation allows businesses to operate their equipment in a secure, dedicated space. Colocation facilities also offer flexibility to scale servers as needed by allocating additional rack space.

Why Do Businesses Use Server Colocation?

Why do Businesses Use Server Colocation

There are several key reasons why a business might opt for an off-site server colocation facility rather than managing an on-premises data center:

  • Cost Savings: Operating a data center incurs overhead for real estate, cooling equipment, 24/7 staffing, and physical security measures. Colocation allows for significant cost savings as businesses only pay for the dedicated space and power.
  • Physical Security: Data centers contain many protections against disasters, intrusions, or other threats that a typical office building would lack. Colocation facilities feature robust power redundancy, advanced fire suppression, heavily restricted access, and more.
  • Scalability: As server needs evolve, a colocation facility can allocate new rack space and power far faster than most organizations could build or expand their own data center presence. This flexibility proves critical as workloads shift and capacity requirements change.
  • Network Connectivity: Major colocation sites serve as carrier hotels with ample Internet bandwidth and high-speed connectivity between servers. Such robust network access would demand a substantial investment for an independent data center buildout.  
  • Focus on Core Business: Freeing up resources from maintaining on-site servers allows staff to recalibrate on advancing the core mission of the company rather than IT infrastructure management.

The Benefits Of Using A Server Colocation Provider

The Benefits of Using a Server Colocation Provider

The reasons highlighted above underline why organizations turn to colocation, but additional advantages come with choosing a managed service from an experienced provider:

Reduced Downtime Risk: Leading colocation providers have backup power and cooling systems. If the main systems fail, the backups kick in automatically to prevent disruption. They also have redundant internet connections through multiple ISPs, so if one goes down, the others keep working. Plus they use smart monitoring tools to spot problems early before they cause outages. This reduces downtime risk.

Technical Expertise: Colocation providers have IT experts to manage servers. They keep servers configured properly and up-to-date with security software. Companies don’t need these specialized skills in-house since the colocation provider handles it as part of the managed service. This frees up companies to focus on their main business.

Regulatory Compliances: Colocation providers understand regulations that companies in finance, healthcare, etc. must follow to protect data. Vetted providers already have audited processes in place to maintain compliance. This saves companies the effort of building compliant processes themselves.

What Are The Challenges Of Using A Server Colocation Provider?

While offloading critical servers into a colocation site drives efficiencies, some drawbacks exist:

  • Initial migration of on-premise equipment causes short-term disruptions before systems normalize.
  • If not selecting a colocation provider carefully, partners with mediocre data center designs or limited failover may jeopardize uptime.
  • Long-term contracts and early termination fees limit flexibility if a company’s needs change.

What to Look for in a Managed Server Colocation Provider

What to Look for in a Managed Server Colocation Provider

With a crowded market full of colocation vendors ranging from global leaders to small regional players, identifying the ideal partner involves careful evaluation across these aspects:

Security & Reliability

When selecting a server colocation provider, it is crucial to consider security and reliability measures in place at their facilities. Top-tier providers will feature multiple physical safeguards like access control checkpoints, security camera surveillance, onsite guards, and biometric validation. Their data centers should have electrical systems purpose-built to prevent downtime, including battery banks, redundant power distribution paths, and backup generators. 

Network architecture is equally important, with redundant connectivity via diverse internet carriers to assure uptime even with an ISP failure. Also, verify if Server Colocation Providers have SOC 2 compliance confirmation, which requires regular audits validating security policies and procedures that meet industry best practices. Together, these facility protections enable businesses to host mission-critical IT infrastructure confidently through server colocation.

Facility Design & Location

The ideal colocation facility blends intelligent design with a strategic location for maintaining optimal infrastructure access and availability. Seek data centers that isolate risks through separate structures, ensuring a localized event won’t knock out operations. Confirm sufficient power density keeps today’s densely-packed racks running cool to prevent overheating. Also, prioritize newer buildings meeting current standards as old construction can lack capacity for modern server loads.

Convenience also remains critical to promote regular equipment maintenance, so choose Server Colocation Provider sites near a client’s base, allowing rapid visits if needed. With minimized risks and convenience maximized through purposeful engineering and placement, enterprises can focus solely on future growth supported by their colocation.

Services & Support

Top-tier colocation provides more than just rack space by pairing security with attentive support for optimizing infrastructure control. Onboarding engineers assist server and storage migrations while offering continual management for sustainable operations. Robust customer portals grant visibility into usage metrics and rapid ticket filing for addressing concerns. Negotiable service level agreements can stipulate precise uptime expectations according to workload criticality.

Additional managed services like backups, firewalls, and load balancing supplement environments with expert configuration. By aligning rock-solid Server Colocation Provider facilities with adaptable assistance programs, colocation delivers the physical foundation for growth while guidance along the journey via customer-centric servicing fine-tuned to an organization’s needs accelerates capability.

Cost & Contract Flexibility

The ideal colocation partner proves their value through transparent pricing and adaptable contracts sustaining partnerships over the long term. Seek providers publishing standard rates or custom quotes to empower capacity planning as needs evolve. No early termination fees maintain the freedom to change strategies without penalty as innovations disrupt the market.

Finally, seamlessly scaling service levels and infrastructure footprints prevent overpayment while allowing organizations to experiment with emerging capabilities. With clearly communicated costs and amenable terms, server colocation provider services support enterprise agility to pivot while controlling expenses through cloud-like consumption models better aligned to project-based initiatives rather than rigid multi-year leasing.

Top Server Colocation Providers

Top Server Colocation Providers

Through vigorous benchmarking across those criteria, these enterprise-scale colocation leaders earn recognition as preferred partners for housing essential IT infrastructure:  


Equinix is one of the largest global server colocation providers, with state-of-the-art data centers spanning 5 continents. They have an enormous network capacity, enabling excellent connectivity speeds for customers. Equinix facilities are densely interconnected, providing low-latency access between servers. The company has an exceptional record of near 100% uptime year after year across its global data center portfolio. With expertise in delivering high-end colocation services that are secure and reliable enough even for Fortune 500 businesses, Equinix also caters to firms of all sizes looking to leverage top-tier infrastructure.

Digital Realty

Digital Realty is one of the world’s largest server colocation providers, with over 290 facilities spanning five continents. Its innovative “pod” design packs data center capacity into modular chunks while retaining flexibility to meet clients’ needs. These pod data centers are stand-alone structures housing secure, dedicated data suites for colocating IT infrastructure.

Digital Realty pods enable enterprises to efficiently outsource their server hosting and storage to Tier III facilities with carrier-neutral interconnections, redundant power, and expert support. The pod architecture provides scalability and high availability for Digital Realty’s global colocation offerings.

QTS Data Centers

QTS Data Centers is one of the leading Server Colocation Providers in the United States. Many large companies and organizations that handle sensitive information use QTS for secure and compliant data center services. QTS operates over 7 million square feet of data center space across North America and Europe.

Their facilities allow customers to physically house their servers and IT equipment in a shared data center space. QTS offers robust security measures, redundancy capabilities, and connectivity options tailored to customer needs. They were the first neutral colocation provider fully certified for SOC 2 compliance across their nationwide network.

CoreSite Realty

CoreSite Realty operates high-performance data centers that provide server colocation services in major metro areas across the United States. While smaller in size compared to some competitors, CoreSite focuses on key markets like Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Silicon Valley. 

Their facilities offer customers secure, dedicated space to physically install servers and IT infrastructure. A unique benefit Server Colocation Provider CoreSite provides is office space next to the data center floor for customer convenience. Their colocation data centers feature redundant power systems, network connectivity, and the technical support needed for optimal uptime and performance.


Flexential offers data center colocation services across a global platform of over 100 facilities in the United States and Canada. The Server Colocation Provider Flexential was formed by merging two well-known regional colocation providers, ViaWest and Peak 10. This gives them state-of-the-art data centers as well as expert technical support and customer service.

Flexential’s colocation offerings allow customers to physically install servers, storage, and networking equipment within dedicated, secured suite spaces. Server Colocation Provider Flexential provides redundant power sources, environmental controls, and network connectivity tailored to customer requirements. Their data centers also have direct access to major cloud platforms through private, high-capacity connections.


CyrusOne operates around 50 Server Colocation Provider data center facilities across the United States, Europe, and Asia that provide colocation services. Their data centers allow customers to install IT infrastructure in secure, dedicated spaces suited for large enterprises, as well as smaller suites for SMBs. CyrusOne’s colocation offerings include redundant power, cooling systems, and network connectivity options to support optimal uptime for customer servers and storage.

 Many major Fortune 100 corporations use CyrusOne as their primary data center colocation partner. The provider is continuing to grow its capacity and coverage, particularly expanding in Europe to complement its robust domestic U.S. footprint.


TierPoint brings reliable, innovative colocation services to major markets beyond just the largest US cities. With 40+ data centers nationwide, TierPoint offers secure physical space for enterprises to install servers close to their offices. Their facilities empower hybrid cloud solutions, ensuring compliance that hyperscale providers may lack while supplying additional managed IT services. Backed by advanced cooling, networks, and power, TierPoint helps organizations future-proof infrastructure and control data sovereignty without building their own data center. 

For secure, supported Server Colocation Provider services across secondary US cities, TierPoint is a top provider enabling digital transformation through connectivity and compliance.

One of the larger players serving second-tier US cities, Server Colocation Provider TierPoint owns and operates 40+ facilities. TierPoint positions itself as a secure, compliant cloud alternative to hyperscale providers. The company also manages an array of value-added IT services.


As the network edge advances ever closer to users, Server Colocation Provider Cologix keeps pace by expertly converging robust colocation with cloud connectivity. With over 30 prime interconnection facilities packed around major platform gateways, Cologix fuels seamless hybrid IT for enterprises worldwide. Their state-of-the-art data centers allow customers to deploy hardware within premier ecosystems in North America.

Backed by 24/7 support and carrier-neutral capabilities, organizations turn to Server Colocation Provider Cologix for tier-one infrastructure with direct low-latency links enabling Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud access. For rapid on-ramping to hyperscale services through secure, connected colocation attuned to the network edge’s trajectory, Cologix leads the market’s sharp edge.

With a dizzying assortment of colocation providers in the marketplace, the standout operators above earn consistent praise. However, every organization should weigh its risk tolerance, capacity needs, budget, and service requirements when matching the ideal data center partner.

CenturyLink Technology Solutions

CenturyLink Technology Solutions

CenturyLink Technology Solutions originally started as a large telecommunications company before expanding into data centers and IT services. They now operate approximately 50 Server Colocation Provider facilities across the United States, Europe, and Asia. CenturyLink can provide customers with secure physical space to install servers and other hardware within shared data center suites. A benefit they offer is connectivity since CenturyLink owns and manages a large private global fiber network. Their colocation services are part of a broader integrated IT platform that also includes cloud, managed services, and security solutions.



From humble beginnings, Server Colocation Provider DataBank has rapidly expanded to become a leading colocation provider empowering critical industries across America. Initially launched over 30 years ago as a small IT services firm, DataBank now operates 65 enterprise-class data centers coast to coast. Through strategic acquisitions, they have grown their capacity and capabilities while retaining a commitment to personalized service.

DataBank enables organizations in finance, healthcare, federal sectors, and more to future-proof their infrastructure with top-tier Server Colocation Provider services for security, compliance, and connectivity. Their reliable facilities meet demanding density requirements, upholding 99.999% availability standards with flexible scalability to match growth needs. For coast-to-coast colocation that helps manage risk, DataBank is a foremost provider carrying clients into the future.


Why should businesses use server colocation services?

Rather than taking on the cost and complications of managing their own data centers, Server Colocation Provider services allow companies to rent secure rack space from a specialized provider and focus their efforts elsewhere. It brings reliability, scalability, robust power and networks, and physical protections lacking in typical offices.

What does a colocation provider supply?

At a minimum, colocation facilities offer dedicated server rack space in an environmentally controlled setting plus sufficient power and cooling to support the equipment. Top providers also supply redundant Internet connectivity, remote hands assistance, robust physical security safeguards, and other value-added services.   

How does colocation differ from public cloud services?

Whereas public clouds provide virtual computing resources, storage, and networking, Server Colocation Provider services enable tenants to still operate their physical servers in rented data center facilities. Colocation offers bare metal server hardware isolation some organizations require over multi-tenant public clouds.

What should businesses look for in a colocation provider?

Organizations should vet Server Colocation Providers across factors like proven uptime track records, security protections, facility redundancy and geographic diversity, service level agreement terms, migration experience, and connectivity capabilities. Cost, contract flexibility, and long-term scalability also come into play.


As the digital economy necessitates nonstop application availability and immense computing capacity, Server Colocation Provider services fill a vital role in the technology strategies of enterprises worldwide. Partnering with specialized data center providers allows companies to house critical IT infrastructure in hardened facilities rather than managing that burden internally.

Vetted Server Colocation Providers like Equinix, Digital Realty, and QTS Data Centers offer state-of-the-art regional data centers featuring uncompromising power, cooling, networks, and physical security to keep mission-critical servers operating. Though assessing one’s risk tolerance and specific requirements will guide selections, the benchmark Server Colocation Providers highlighted here deliver proven expertise at scale.

With sound evaluations distinguishing reputable Server Colocation Providers, colocation services enable even small and midsize businesses to leverage enterprise-class data centers. Organizations must no longer build expensive and redundant data centers from scratch. Strategic colocation deployments lift that burden while providing a flexible foundation to grow amid always-evolving IT landscapes.

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Top Server Colocation Providers: A Brief Guide
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