Managed hosting services are a kind of web hosting where the hosting supplier takes care of the fundamental software and settings for you.
The idea is that you get a dependable hosting platform on which you can build advanced websites or cloud computing applications, without having to take on day-to-day maintenance tasks yourself. Managed hosting services may also include consultancy and advice from the hosting company.
A managed hosting service may be right for your business if you need a relatively powerful hosting service (like dedicated hosting), but don’t have the technical skills or time to manage every aspect of it yourself.
There are two main types of managed hosting services:
It’s perhaps easiest to think of managed hosting services as coming in two parts. There’s the hosting itself, which is usually dedicated hosting. And then there are the management services, provided by your hosting company. These can include:
Some managed hosting services allow you to choose which aspects you’d like the hosting company to manage. This can be useful if you plan to run custom software or have unusual requirements, as you can share out the tasks most appropriately.
Managed hosting isn’t for everyone. It sits towards the top end of the hosting spectrum, and is more expensive than most other kinds of hosting. There’s a premium for the management services, so expect to pay at least £80 a month.
Managed hosting services are most appropriate when you need powerful hosting, without having to worry about the routine maintenance and management tasks that often come with it. It’s well-suited to jobs like:
The idea of managed hosting services is that you trade the freedom to change every aspect of your hosting for a lower management overhead. It can save you time setting up and maintaining your hosting, but it does mean you can’t control every aspect of it.
In most cases, this isn’t a problem. You still get much more freedom than you would with other forms of hosting. Just make sure you check very carefully which aspects of your managed hosting service you maintain control over. A good IT supplier may be able to help you understand what you need.
Finding the right managed hosting provider is critical to your business. With so much at stake, it’s vital to research managed hosting providers and packages thoroughly, and avoid the temptation to base a business critical decision on cost alone.
Although there is a plethora of managed hosting providers to choose from, not all are equal. There are no official standards or guidelines for managed hosting providers, each offers different packages at different prices, with differing levels of security and support.
To understand what level of support you can expect from your managed hosting provider, you need to know exactly where the support ends, so ask:
As there are no standards or guidelines specific to managed hosting providers, you need to look for industry and business related accreditations.
The major ones to ask for are:
In addition, ISO9001 Quality Management certification demonstrates quality throughout the business.
Depending on what you are looking for from your managed hosting provider, you may also want to seek out specific software and security qualifications or certifications, such as:
Managed hosting: what next?
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