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Colocation vs. Collocation vs. Co-location

04-24-2013 / By: Chris L


The debate rages on:  is it spelled colocation, collocation or co-location?  Who knows?  Who cares?  WHO DECIDED THREE SPELLINGS WAS A GOOD THING FOR ONE WORD?  Doesn’t it all mean the same thing, anyway? 

Sorta.

They all generally mean the same thing, or at least they have the same idea in mind:  “to locate or be located in jointly or together, as two or more groups, military units, or the like; share or designate to share the same place.”

The difference is, with collocation, the term is generally used in linguistics and for other things outside of the data center world.  So while its users are technically right, they’re also wrong in regards to context.   Colocation and co-location are generally regarded as the same.

So, why all the different spellings?

Different regions have different spellings and usages, so while one area/country/city/municipality/person might use colocation, another might use collocation, or co-location, or even colo (because only the cool kids shorten words).  In the UK, they are keen to the spelling collocation—but they also use trousers, colour and favourite so they don’t count.

Really, it comes down to regional linguistics and how you interpret and choose to spell certain words.  Much like the example above, there can be multiple correct spellings for a single word.  So while we may use favorite instead of favourite in the US, those in the UK prefer the double “L” for colocation; the same goes for Japan, who also use the double “L”.

Who is using all of these different spellings?

EVERYBODY.  But, most data centers and those in the colocation business prefer colocation.  There are millions of search results for each of the variants of colocation.  According to Google Analytics, the United States prefers colocation or co-location (USA!  USA!) with well over 60,000 searches a month for those two words, while collocation lags behind at around 40,000.  You can check out the rest of the results below; we broke it down into charts!

What does it all mean?!

It means that some people are right, but everybody is not wrong (mind blown!).  Colocation is technically the right term when referring to housing multiple servers in one location, and the data shows that.  Colocation is the widely accepted term as shown in the charts, but the double “L” and the hyphen are still accepted and commonly used.  If you use them, know that technically you’re not wrong, but that everybody you know will judge you and make fun of the colour of your favourite trousers.
spellings of colocation infograph


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