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Understand what Managed Hosting is
Due to the growing popularity of the VPS and dedicated hosting service, the offer of managed website hosting services is increasingly frequent.
The difference between managed and unmanaged hosting is great, especially for those people who are not very familiar with server management. The managed web hosting service was created to facilitate this task.
When hiring a dedicated hosting or VPS, the customer is responsible for all the installation, configuration, and management of the server. It is necessary to have a certain knowledge to perform this task without jeopardizing the security of the website. And for someone who doesn't deal with technology a lot, the task of running a server is unworkable.
A server needs to be configured and updated frequently, and when there is a problem, having someone with experience in the subject allows you to quickly identify and correct problems.
Many people have ventured to manage their own server, mainly because with a quick search you can find hundreds of tutorials and articles on the internet that show you how to configure and manage a server.
But for someone with no experience, this task can be complicated and time-consuming. It is very easy for an experienced professional to administer a server. He is able to manage and identify problems very easily.
With this in mind, managed hosting services arose, where website hosting companies take care of managing the server for you. So you can leave the "boring" part with them and just focus on your website. The company does all the configuration for you and installs all the updates necessary for the safe operation of the server.
The management service is almost always offered for dedicated hosting and often for VPS hosting as well. As in shared hosting, several clients use the same server, there is no need to hire a management service since the same is done by the hosting company itself.
When to use managed hosting
If you don't know how to manage a hosting server or want to focus exclusively on your website, managed hosting services are right for you. So you can leave the management to the website hosting company and you don't have to worry about it. When hiring a service such as managed dedicated hosting or managed VPS hosting the final value can increase significantly, but you will have the advantage of being able to invest more time on your website.
If there is a problem with the service, you do not need to heat your head, just contact the company that they must resolve quickly. Web hosting companies usually have dedicated support staff 24 hours a day to meet the demands of this type of service. You pay more, however, you can rest assured about server management and you can count on the help of technical support personnel.
How to hire a managed hosting
When hiring a VPS or dedicated hosting, check if it offers the server management service. When the term “managed” appears after the service name (for example: managed dedicated hosting or managed VPS hosting) it is an indication that the website hosting company takes care of the server management for you. When there is no mention of the “managed” service it can mean that it is not included in the service.
You can also hire a professional you trust to manage the server, but in this case, you are directly dependent on a person to solve any problems that may arise. And in case this person is not available you end up being in the hand. So, give preference to trustworthy companies that offer management, because in a company there will always be someone available to solve the problems (at least there always should be!).
A managed hosting for WordPress sites is like having your own team of developers close to you.
It is a hosting solution specially developed for WordPress sites. When it comes to price, they are one notch above shared hosting options.
And you know what is better? It takes care of all the technical details behind its interface, so you just need to manage your website so that it can grow!
Managed hosting allows users to keep their websites up to date and with high performance. In order to keep your business always protected, some actions such as content backup and security checks are carried out regularly.
The service “manages” your website behind the scenes and maintains consistent performance. If you are not very experienced with programming to configure your website, this is a great option for your business.
Why Do I Need A Managed WordPress Hosting?
Many people who manage websites are wondering if it is worth paying extra money for this type of hosting. Here is a tip from the beginning, if you think hard and have big plans for your site, it is very worthwhile to make this investment. Let's list some benefits in more detail for you:
1. Optimized specifically for WordPress
The servers are refined and optimized for WordPress only. Remember, a specialized service is always better than a generic service.
2. Automatic updates
Updates are performed regularly so that your software is up to date with all resources, bringing the highest performance to your interface. You will no longer waste time checking for updates and installing manually.
3. Bulletproof security
When it comes to security, it gets serious. Perhaps it was this subject that led to the creation of hosting only for WordPress. A specific environment and automatic updates serve as a forged armor for your website, protecting against hackers and other threats on the web. As with most platforms, security scans and checklists are performed to find and remove malware.
You should know that a slow website negatively impacts your sales, conversions, and of course, the user experience. I don't know if you've tried it, but manually increasing the speed takes time and requires experience. The best providers use the internal cache system and (some) offer CDN to further increase the loading process of your website.
5. Automatic backups
Generally, management platforms for WordPress offer daily backups. You can sleep soundly knowing that you will not miss anything on your site!
6. 24/7 support
It is always good to know that we will have a blessed one to help us when something bad happens. Manageable hosting offers premium access to the support team, so you don't have to wait in line until someone on the support team can speak to you.
7. Flexible and scalable for high traffic rates
When compared to shared hosting services, managed companies can cope much better with high traffic rates and bandwidth. If you get a sudden spike in traffic, your site will not go down.
Is Managed Hosting For WordPress Good For My Business?
For small businesses or those just starting out, managed hosting for WordPress can be overkill. A simple shared hosting can do the job smoothly. Even with this tip, one can still recommend managed to host for beginners and professionals. Do you know why? It is ideal for:
Bloggers or companies that want to focus on running the site, without worrying about updates, backups, and technical details behind the cameras.
Anyone who plans to increase traffic quickly and sees regular user spikes.
Any website that can't be down at all.
Anyone who values customer service and support.
The Disadvantage Of This Type Of Hosting
Yes, manageable accommodations are not for everyone. You will find four characteristics that can break your legs when signing up for this type of hosting:
It is more expensive than shared hosting.
2. You can only use WordPress
It may seem obvious to say that when you sign up for WordPress hosting, you will only be able to use WordPress, right? But it is still good to emphasize this point. If you have sites in Joomla or Drupal you will have to go for other alternatives.
3. Lack of control
The beauty of managed hosting is that it does basically everything. It updates, manages, and makes adjustments to whatever it takes to improve performance, all automatically. If you are the type of person who likes to play, test things and make changes on your own, perhaps this type of hosting will be restrictive for you, as access is limited.
4. Restrictions on the use of plugins
Some managed hosts prohibit the use of certain plugins. But why? These little guys known as plugins consume a lot of resources and make performance drop down the bank. The providers don't like any of this. Knowing this fact, most managed to host already includes the best features that plugins can offer, such as caching, backups, and… folks, the list goes a long way!
When managed hosting?
There are several reasons for choosing managed hosting. These are the reasons we encounter in practice at True.
High availability (24/7)
Managed hosting is ideally suited for mission-critical applications that need to be available 24/7 or that suddenly need to handle a lot of peak traffic.
Think of large e-commerce environments or event websites that suddenly have to deal with a lot of visitors when ticket sales start. If these websites cannot handle the traffic, they are missing out on money and can suffer reputational damage.
Managed hosting providers often focus on the high availability of hosting environments, which guarantees the continuity of a website or web application. High availability is mainly aimed at dealing with peak traffic.
Focus on core activities
For many organizations, hosting is a precondition that is often the responsibility of, for example, a (lead) software developer, because companies do not always employ more system administrators.
Maintenance for a hosting environment can quickly take up a lot of time for a developer. By opting for managed hosting you outsource this work, so that the developer no longer has to worry about peripheral matters.
Organizations that opt for managed hosting are generally dissatisfied with the current hosting provider, for example because the website is regularly offline or slow.
This may be because the computing power of the (virtual) server is shared with others, so that the hosting environment can no longer handle peak traffic or even normal traffic.
Dissatisfaction can also arise because the current hosting provider does not solve problems quickly enough or does not think along. Organizations that switch to managed hosting usually want a party that also actively thinks along. Not only in technology but also how it can contribute if the organization grows.
More and more organizations attach great value to ISO certifications. ISO certifications are international standards for (information) security. An ISO certificate, for example, is proof that an organization is regularly tested, usually annually, for security measures taken.
Most managed hosting providers have such an ISO certificate. For example ISO 270001 or ISO 9001. For some branches, there are additional certificates. For example, in healthcare NEN7510 is an important standard for information security.
Most hosting providers have their own security and network department, which mainly deals with the security of the infrastructure and the network. Managed hosting providers often go a step further and often employ specialists who only focus on the security field. These security specialists are involved in, for example, additional services such as active monitoring of the managed hosting environments where it is monitored whether suspicious traffic is arriving.
Some hosting providers offer additional security software and services. Think of anti-DDoS detection and protection, or software that can detect common hack attacks at an early stage. But also think of security audits - tests where a security specialist poses as a hacker and exposes the security risks in a web application. This can be an additional reason for many organizations to choose a managed hosting provider.
What does a managed hosting provider do?
A managed hosting provider often takes full responsibility for the entire hosting environment, although there are various interpretations of the term 'managed'. However, there are usually a number of steps that every managed hosting provider takes care of.
Installation & configurations
Before a server is ready for use, a lot has to be installed. For example, every (virtual) server needs an operating system, also called host OS. This can be a version of Linux or Windows, for example.
When the server is being virtualized, special virtualization software, the hypervisor, must be installed.
After that, the binaries and libraries are often installed. These are programming languages such as PHP or web application frameworks such as Laravel (a PHP framework). Which languages are installed strongly depends on the language that the application must speak?
Of course, the software is also needed to get the web page to the browser (web server software) and software to store data (database software). Finally, a CMS often has to be installed, such as WordPress or Joomla. A managed hosting provider takes care of all this.
Almost every hosting provider monitors. The hosting provider installs various monitoring software tools for this so that specialists can keep an eye on all parts of the environment. Initially, the availability of the infrastructure is monitored. This is software that, for example, monitors the status of the network.
Additionally, a managed hosting provider has often set up monitoring tools that monitor the health of the hosting environment. These types of tools monitor, for example, whether there is abnormal memory usage or an increased load in the application.
checks whether your backups are working properly
checks if you still have enough storage space
checks if your OS needs an update or patch
check if your middleware needs an update or patch
checks (sometimes) whether your application, framework or programming language needs an update
checks for hardware errors
checks the status of the CPU, RAM, and network
A hosting provider can use the above information to see how the hosting environment is performing. What the hosting provider then does with it is very different per hosting provider and the hosting package that you purchase.
Some hosting providers only use the data to perform the most critical updates on a server. Others opt for a fully managed implementation. There are hosting providers who even take responsibility for updating your application, for example, WordPress.
Most hosting providers have a support department where you can go with questions. This support department is often full of experienced system administrators who have encountered every problem and can probably answer your question quickly.
Most hosting providers work with a ticket system. You can, for example, report a problem or report a change via the ticket system. Depending on your question, your ticket will be prioritized.
Some problems outweigh others. For example, if a website cannot be reached due to a wrong DNS setting, example, it is more important to fix than the request for a new domain name, for example. The hosting provider can determine how quickly your ticket will be picked up based on priorities.
In some cases, the hosting provider also has extensive support pages. Frequently asked questions can be found here. In general, a managed hosting provider will help you get things done.
All components within a hosting environment require maintenance. From the hardware (servers, switches, internet cables) to the software that runs on it - the hosting provider takes care of everything.
Typically there are three types of maintenance: updates, upgrades, and patches. Upgrades often involve new versions of the software. Here a server has to be temporarily restarted (reboot) before the new update takes effect. Just like your personal computer! Patches often involve security patches. Updates may involve some parts of the software that are being renewed.
It is quite common for hardware and software vendors to regularly release patches to fix bugs or security risks in the software. Because a hosting environment consists of a lot of software, this can quickly become a lot of work. Sometimes it is also necessary to recheck the configurations. A hosting provider has this knowledge in-house and can apply it on a large scale.
With a managed hosting provider, SLA levels can often be agreed upon per server. These are fixed agreements about, for example, performance or support hours. Most managed hosting providers also deliver reports based on these agreements, for example monthly or annually.
The reports indicate whether certain activities in performance improvements have also produced the desired effect. With a regular hosting provider, you have no insight into the performance.
Security and compliance
Most hosting providers are ISO certified, which is often an indication that basic information security processes are in order. In addition, security is integrated in many of the hosting services. A managed hosting provider often has a dedicated security team dealing with the security of the network.
What does managed hosting cost?
The costs of managed hosting are very different per managed hosting provider and the offer of the provider. The costs are generally a bit higher than with traditional web hosting, where you can often conclude a contract for hosting for a few euros per month, varying from 3 to 25 euros per month.
For an (unmanaged) Virtual Private Server you will spend a little more on average. Between 10 and 50 euros per month.
With managed hosting, the pricing structure often looks slightly different, also because organizations do not purchase a single virtual or physical server, but several. These servers are clustered and actively managed by the hosting provider.
Service Level Agreement
A level is agreed for a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for each (virtual) server.
For each level, agreements are made about the number of support hours, response speed of support and guarantees for availability. Often there are different SLA levels with different prices. For example, managed hosting can amount to several hundred euros or even thousands of euros, depending on the web application and what is required.
On the other hand, the services of a managed hosting provider go further than a traditional hosting provider. A managed hosting provider employs specialists who think along with what is needed and often know the customer's hosting environment inside and out. As a result, a customer does not have to hire system specialists, because this expertise is invested with a managed hosting provider.
Conclusion: what is managed hosting?
In short, you can describe managed hosting as a series of services for advising, organizing, and managing the hosting of a website, web application, e-commerce environment, or any application that needs to be connected to the web. There are many major differences between managed hosting providers, the offer, the service, and the prices that come with it.