Your Web Support Desk

What Is Managed Hosting and Why You May Want It

 
Posted by Shane Larrabee
what is managed hosting

I feel like I write a lot about Web hosting and though FatLab Web Support does provide managed WordPress hosting services, I don’t consider it a Web hosting company nor is it a ‘primary’ offering. However I tend to talk a lot about it because it is hard to run, manage or support a Website without eventually breaking it down to web hosting and the hosting environment. So to get to the point, I often find myself explaining to folks what is managed hosting and how it differs from any other kind of Web hosting. I figured it was time I wrote this up.

What is Managed Hosting?

The term ‘managed hosting’ typically refers to a hosting service whereby the service provider not only provides server space and bandwidth to serve your site, but also provides additional support services. These additional services may include:

  • Security updates
  • Web software updates
  • Up / down monitoring
  • Action if a site reports an error or is down for any reason.
  • Backup recovery

How This Differs From Unmanaged Hosting

Unmanaged plans are more common place and are offered by an uncountable number of Web hosting providers. these plans are usually very simple in that the service provider is responsible for ensuring that server space, resources and bandwidth are provided to the customer and not much else. It is up to the customer to install, manage and monitor their own Website. Call one of these companies and complain that your site is offline or producing an error, it will most likely be news to them. If they determine that the issue is not related to their infrastructure they will leave it up to you resolve the problem. It will also be up to you to ensure that your site is kept up to date from a security perspective and it may even be your responsibility to setup backups. Basically, beyond a place to load your site up, you are on your own.

How This Effects Cost

Simple. Managed hosting will always be more expensive than unmanaged hosting because the hosting company is providing a greater service to you and your site.

Is it Worth it?

My client base is made up of typically non-technical organizations that consider their Websites a critical marketing, fundraising or membership tool. These client’s just want their site online and working, if something goes wrong they want fixed as soon as possible. For clients like this, the answer is an easy yes. The cost of managed hosting services is easily justified. However for some sites and some site managers, the answer maybe no.  If you or your organization has the technical ability and desire to manage and monitor your own site, or the site does not perform a critical business function – then it might not be worth the cost.

How Much More Money Are We Talking About?

For a typical Website (nothing too crazy or fancy), a WordPress site for example, I have seen managed services start at about $25 per month and go up from their depending on the specific services and hosting environment being provided. this is in comparison to typical unmanaged plans that start at only a few bucks per month and go up depending on the hosting environment.

photo by Qfamily / cc

About Shane Larrabee

Shane is the founder of FatLab Web Support and has over 15 years experience in the web development industry. Shane works as a website maintenance tech and online communications consultant to many businesses and organizations around the U.S. +more