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Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting

managed vs unmanaged web hosting
(Image credit: Unsplash)

In the digital age we live in, your company website is an essential part of your business. But choosing the right web hosting service to host your website is a difficult decision with so many web hosting providers available.

A good way to approach the process is to read reviews of web hosts on sites like Trust Pilot and compile a shortlist. Once you’ve found a company that seems like a good fit, the next step is to decide on the right service. Different websites will require different solutions, and it’s important to choose the correct one for your business. Services can vary from standard and unmanaged hosting to high-end dedicated servers.

What’s the difference between managed and unmanaged hosting?

There are many components involved in running a web server, from the hardware to the operating system and various software tools. A managed hosting plan has a selection of additional “management” features installed, ones that are aimed at helping your website run easier. Managed hosting plans also usually offer more in the way of technical support.

Unmanaged hosting plans, in contrast, don’t offer any (or few) of these extra features. You’ll get a basic server with the operating system installed and that’s about it. It will be up to you to install everything else, such as basic software required for running a website, like Apache, Ngnix, or PHP. Unmanaged plans are cheaper because the hosting provider doesn’t do as much of the work.

Not all hosting companies offer managed solutions, but if you want to spend more time on creating content for your website than on the nitty-gritty details of running a server, it is worth finding one that offers this type of service. It could save you time and money.

What benefits can managed hosting offer to my website?

A few of the benefits of managed hosting include the following: 

Backups are an extremely important part of running a website. Without any, you risk losing your site completely if disaster strikes. If you’ve chosen a good web hosting company, check that it provides daily backups and keeps them for at least a week, if not longer. If an incident occurs that stops your website from functioning, the web host will be able to restore your site’s files and database from those backups.

Technical support is a crucial component of what hosting providers offer. If you ever need help, you want to know that there will always be a team of people who are ready to respond. Even before signing up, you can get a gauge on how good a provider’s support will be by contacting their team via phone, live chat, or email to see how they respond. If you get prompt and efficient answers from the pre-sales team, it’s a good indication that the technical support will offer a similar standard of service.

A fully managed service should take care of everything that goes on behind the scenes to keep a website running. Such tasks include keeping the operating system up to date and secure and customizing the server to your exact requirements if you request it. It also can help with installing third-party applications, talking to your website developers about any technical issues, and offering recommendations on how to improve your site’s performance.

A good hosting plan should include monitoring of the server and website and the ability to respond quickly to any issue. It should also have a migration service to help you move your website from your current provider, if you have one.

Security is just as important as support when it comes to web hosting. A fully managed hosting plan should have a full suite of security features, such as installing a local firewall as standard, actively scanning your website for malware, and blocking unauthorized attempts to log into the website’s control panel. 

Another good reason for considering a managed hosting solution is if your website runs on older software that can’t be upgraded or has other special requirements. With a managed service, the hosting company should be able to configure a server to your liking. When assessing providers, it’s a good idea to ask if support is offered for third-party companies. This way, if you’re using specialized software from a third party and need assistance with technical queries, you can request help from your hosting company.