Once you have built and designed your website, your work is just beginning. Maintaining a site takes a lot of work, and you will have to monitor to make sure everything is running as it should.
Software or web apps will have to be updated, and you will have to run tests to make sure those updates are working correctly. As time goes by and your website grows, you will still have to spend time troubleshooting, fixing the random problems that crop up and optimize it for better performance.
That can be a lot to handle for a website owner who already has a lot on their plate or doesn’t have the necessary skills to take care of a website. This is where managed web hosting comes in.
Managed hosting plans are there to take care of most of the behind the scenes and IT work that needs to be completed in order to keep the server and your website running at top performance. The hosting company takes care of the hardware so you can focus on your site and make it the best possible.
Nowadays, many hosting providers will provide managed hosting plans on a wide variety of plans. It will tend to be more expensive than an unmanaged plan because you are receiving much higher levels of support. You can add it on to your cloud, VPS, or dedicated plan. Other hosting companies will include managed services in each rate or have their system support team available at hourly rates.
Types of Managed Hosting
There are different managed service plans that you can choose. The type of plan you pick will determine the cost and how involved you or your hosting service is in the maintenance and security of the server. Hosting services sometimes call their service managed hosting without specifying if it's fully managed or semi-managed hosting, so it's important to review the plan details and ask questions.
Semi-managed hosting. The hosting company takes care of the all infrastructure needs and will support you. Essentially, the hosting company will take care of all hardware, operating system, or basic configuration issues that will arise, but other things might be your responsibility. For example, if you have semi-managed WordPress hosting, it might be your responsibility to upgrade WordPress and plugins up-to-date, which is essential for security. It might also be your responsibility to back up your data and other essential tasks.
Fully-managed hosting. This will be a hands-off approach. Your hosting company will take care of everything for you. This type of plan is best for people who don’t have very much technical knowledge. That way, you can focus on growing your business rather than fighting with software updates.
Managed Shared Hosting
For those who are looking into shared hosting, it is worth noting that it most likely isn’t worth paying extra for these types of services. Most shared hosting packages are inherently managed. By paying for managed shared hosting, the hosting company will charge you extra for the same services you would have gotten on other shared hosting plans including cPanel access, 24/7 support, and 1-click installations.
On the other hand, some hosting services just call all their shared hosting plans "managed" hosting without charging any extra.
Real managed hosting is more important for cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.
Benefits of Managed Web Hosting
Managed web hosting can get rid of the headache of maintaining a website. While managed web hosting isn’t for everyone, here are some of the benefits:
1.Less Need For Your Own Technical Staff
For smaller teams, fully managed web hosting can be a smart investment. Your managed hosting provider is there to support your website 24/7/365. They take care of monitoring your site for you and all automatic software installs. So while a managed web hosting package is more expensive, it does help you cut costs in other areas.
If you have access to knowledgeable technical staff or freelancers, then semi-managed hosting can be a good option.
2. Knowledge and Security
Because you are hiring experts to work on your website, they'll take responsibility for security.. Your managed hosting providers should be running safety protocols for you, including:
- Virus scanning
- Software firewall configuration
- Spam filtering
- Updates of OS
- Runnings Audits for Security
They will be able to see any vulnerabilities that are there before you do and can take care of them more efficiently. Ask questions to make sure you know what security measures they're taking and what security measures are still your responsibility.
3. Regular Backups
You will never have to worry about losing data again with managed hosting. A top managed hosting provider will automatically backup and secure your data and will have strategies already in place to recover any data loss you may experience.
Make sure you know up front if the plan you're signing up for includes backups or if backups are your responsibility. Read the details of the plan and ask questions before signing up.
4. Automatic Software Updates
Managed hosting providers are proactive their maintenance of your site. They will update and install any software you want and make sure that is all running correctly. It will help keep your site running correctly 24/7.
Since the definition of managed hosting varies, make sure you know what the hosting service will update and what you're still responsible for updating. Many semi-managed plans take care of updating the server level software but leave keeping applications up-to-date the responsibility of the customer. For example, with some managed hosting plans you may be responsible for keeping your CMS (e.g., WordPress) up-to-date.
Disadvantages of Managed Hosting
No system is without its flaws, and managed hosting has a couple.
Managed hosting plans are much less flexible than if you were to manage your site on your own. However, you might not want the flexibility if it means you don’t have to choose which applications or software to use. Others might need the personal customization so the flexibility could be a considerable drawback.
More Expensive than Unmanaged Hosting
Because manage hosting (especially fully managed) plans require more hands-on time for the provider, it means that it is more expensive. A premium service that comes with a premium price tag as it will cost you about four times more than an unmanaged plan. As we mentioned above, however, while it is more expensive, it could be saving you money in the long run by not having to hire more of a staff. Assess your needs to see if it is worth paying the extra money.
Who Should Choose Managed Hosting?
Consider managed hosting plans if:
- You own a small business whose website requires large amounts of dedicated resources
- You have room in your budget to pay for extra tech help
- Flexibility and control over your server and what software you use is not important to you and your website
- You don’t have time to invest in technical issues
- You or your team don’t have strong technical skills
According to a survey down by Markets and Markets, the managed hosting market was worth $145.33 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase to $242.5 billion by 2021. While using managed hosting plans are not for everyone, it could be an excellent way for a small business who gets decent levels of traffic to manage their website more efficiently.
Our Top Managed Hosting Providers