In a web hosting context, a NOC, or Network Operations Center, is essentially a hosting provider’s home base, one or more locations from which network monitoring and management is performed across the web hosting provider’s network. The NOC is where most crucial network management tasks are performed, from cryptographic key distribution and authorization to load balancing and security management. While technically networks of any size can have a network operations center, the term is generally reserved to refer to larger telecommunications and computing networks.

The NOC serves many purposes and provides and array of functions, including server and network troubleshooting, performance monitoring and communications management. Router configuration services, domain name and IP address allocation and management, network update and change management, and the monitoring of network switches, routers, UPS systems and network hubs are other critical functions of the NOC.

The NOC also provides secure access to the network by remote users, handles the internal distribution of software and security updates across the network, ensures consistent network availability, allocates and tracks network resources, handles network security management and coordinates communication with external networks.