Part of what makes the web more complicated than it needs to be is the sheer volume of services available. Managed hosting services are on the rise, but given the often high price rates, is this something you really need?
Today we’ll be exploring the benefits of managed hosting, the various types available, and a brief comparison with unmanaged services.
What Is Managed Hosting?
Utilizing a managed hosting service, the provider takes on all hardware and application management responsibilities for the customer. While the exact scope of such solutions may vary between hosts, the basic idea is to help companies reduce the reliance on in-house IT expertise.
Some of the areas commonly covered under the scope of managed hosting include:
- Operating System (OS) deployment and management
- Application deployment and management
- Security monitoring
- Network infrastructure monitoring
The managed hosting service provider will essentially ensure your web environment suits whatever application you need to run. The server’s performance and uptime are also covered under a strict Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Benefits of Managed Hosting
Many companies rely on contractors to help with additional services. For example, a newspaper company may wish to focus on producing content while outsourcing printing. Or a smartphone manufacturer might rely on a third-party company for after-sale servicing. This type of outsourcing may not always be the most cost-effective but brings certain benefits to the table.
Opting for managed hosting gives companies the flexibility to quickly scale up and down. In-house teams often take time to expand on capacity in terms of both hardware and expertise.
That is especially true for business owners when it comes to website technicalities.
Instead of recruiting and training staff, companies can simply ask the hosting providers to help with basic server management.
Cybersecurity risks have increased over the years, and maintaining an in-house security team can be challenging and expensive. Managed hosting providers have the capacity to harden your server defenses and include the service as part of the package.
As optimizing your online security is a continuous process, you will be saving a ton in the long run from hiring and training staff to be up to the latest security standards in your niche.
Managed hosting allows you to stay focused on your core business. The concept is similar to how a newspaper business should focus on content rather than print. Rather than diverting your attention unnecessarily, managed hosting services help companies to stay streamlined.
Efficient businesses typically outsource activities that aren’t a vital part of the core business. Similarly, you can assign your hosting provider to help with the server technicalities while you focus on popularizing your product.
Data compliance is one of the biggest headaches when it comes to corporate data management. Proper compliance involves continuous monitoring – something which managed hosting providers can provide out of the box.
Simply check the details with your managed hosting provider to see if they offer an environment that is up with the latest compliance standards in your niche.
Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting
There is a significant difference between managed and unmanaged hosting services, and we’ll now compare the two.
Unmanaged hosting gives you a blank slate – a bare-metal machine with some initial configuration from the host’s side. This is a service mostly aimed at experienced users. Giving the client full control means they need no hosting support and can configure and maintain everything on their own.
Unmanaged Virtual Private Server (VPS) plans will require even more work. You will need to handle the OS deployment, software configuration, and server monitoring.
But that’s not all.
In addition, troubleshooting problems, performance optimization, and virus detection/removal are also your responsibilities.
Different Types of Managed Hosting Services
There are multiple types of managed hosting services, some of which focus on particular areas of operation. Others may be variations of the same solution but on different service levels. At the end of the day, we can outline:
Fully Managed Hosting
Fully managed hosting is the gold standard of managed hosting services. With it, companies can run their business with little to no concern for web hosting operations. From server deployment to application performance – the host handles everything on your behalf.
Taking the case of a website or web application crashing at any point – the host will actively help you with the recovery.
Some web hosting providers will have variations on fully managed hosting plans. At the upper end of the scale will be fully managed options, while semi-managed hosting removes part of the host’s responsibilities.
For example, a semi-managed hosting plan may come with server deployment and maintenance but offer no other supporting services. Again, the scope will vary from host to host.
Managed App hosting
Some web hosting providers will offer managed hosting services based on specific applications. Managed WordPress hosting is an excellent example of this.
Based on this, the managed app provider will ensure the right environment for your app to flourish. The host will also be responsible for ensuring the app is working optimally, is well-updated and secure, and offers support for users for any problems encountered.
Managed Email services
Many large businesses today outsource their email services. However, opting for a provider such as Google may result in hefty fees and less-than-desirable results. Self-hosting email services can be a viable alternative even if your host manages your website rather well.
By opting for managed email services, you can also specify each email parameter – credentials, disk quota, forwarders, autoresponders, and more.
How to Find the Best Managed Hosting Provider?
While there may be variations between service providers, there are generally a few key things to keep in mind when going for a managed host.
Web Server Performance
Not all web hosting providers will offer the same hardware and infrastructure specifications. These factors, along with the host’s deployment and configuration expertise, may affect web server performance.
Having the fastest web hosting service in the world means little if the service faces frequent outages. While this can be difficult to assess initially, making sure that the SLA terms cover this area is a good idea.
Besides being able to respond quickly to your queries, customer support teams should have the right expertise. This expertise is especially true for specialized services, as in the case of managed application hosting. Check what communication channels does your host support.
Maintenance and Security
Always be fully aware of the scope of duties the managed hosting provider will cover. Fully managed hosts should ensure that you won’t ever need to be concerned about outdated applications or even unpatched security vulnerabilities.
Value of Services
Managed services often cost more than unmanaged hosting. Still, you can adjust the packages to get even better value. For example, ScalaHosting offers free in-house developed tools like SPanelthat save a lot in control panel licensing fees.
Managed hosting services can realistically bring many advantages to the table. However, this comes at the price of increased cost over unmanaged hosting. Still, the trade-in of time and expertise can be extremely beneficial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is web hosting?
A: Web hosting is the hardware and infrastructure needed to operate web-based entities such as websites or web applications. It is offered by web hosting providers who specialize in this business vertical.
Q: What are the types of hosting?
A: At the lower end of the scale, shared hosting is affordable but isn’t the best choice for optimal performance. VPS, cloud, and dedicated server hosting offer much better performance but at higher prices. If you want to become a provider yourself, you can opt for one of the many reseller services out there.
Q: What does managed hosting mean?
A: Managed hosting is when a host offers advanced support services to go along with a web hosting plan. These services can include application deployment and maintenance, performance tuning, better support, malware removal, and many more.
What is a VPS – Everything you need to know!