You can have the best website with the most useful processes, but if no one sees it, then it is no good. Your website distribution is the most important aspect of your outreach. The web host that you choose is the most important aspect of your website distribution.
However, your choice of web hosts is not the last decision you need to make on this front. You must also make the decision of how much of that hosting administration you are looking to outsource. You may not have the in house staff to properly manage your website.
In this case (and sometimes even if you do have the appropriate staff), you should consider a web hosting solution that is managed by an outside third party.
What does a managed web hosting solution do for my business?
This is the first and most important question for any business owner or manager who is looking to properly distribute a website. Before jumping into any commitment with a hosting service, you should be asking this question not only of yourself, but also of the hosting service that you are vetting.
Managed hosting services keep your in house staff from having to worry about the everyday maintenance and administration of your web hosting. Instead of dealing with daily problems on your own, you will have a team of dedicated specialists that will take care of it for you.
The managed hosting service frees your in house staff to accomplish more tasks within their core competencies. It also gives you more of a solid framework for your web hosting, because you will have people who understand the platform from day one. You do not have to train anyone to deal with issues, nor do you have to worry about finding extra staff to take care of unexpected emergencies.
We will look at each of the advantages of a managed web service one by one.
The Difference Between Web Hosting and Managed Web Hosting
In order to understand the full advantages of managed web hosting, you must know the difference between the managed service and the traditional service without management.
There are different kinds of web hosting solutions available. The main types are:
1. Shared server
2. VPS server
3. Dedicated server
4. Co-located server.
Each of these solutions can be managed or not managed.
The shared server puts the data stream of a company on the same physical server as other companies. This solution is usually only a good idea for startup companies that are on a budget or companies that are trying out a certain marketing strategy. The security risks that come with a shared server are usually too great for the average company.
Shared servers usually have a built in management feature, because the many companies on the same server cannot have access to the centralized control. You do not pay on the surface for this management, but the management is usually minimal. For the most part, you will have to sign away your rights to compensation if something goes wrong on a shared server.
Virtual Private Server
The VPS server is where you begin to find the real difference between managed and non managed solutions. Although the data stream of a company is on the same physical server as other companies, there is a digital divide between companies. Each company can also maintain its own control panel on a VPS server. Because of this, the VPS solution can be managed from a remote location.
Most companies choose to get a managed VPS solution because the off site team deals with backup, security and upkeep without a need for manual maintenance. The offsite team will handle all of these things and possibly report back to the client with updates. This is where you begin to see the benefits of managed hosting. A managed hosting company gives a client company the ability to focus on internal operations.
The dedicated server is a server with only one client per physical server. Unlike the VPS and shared server, there is no physical proximity between the data streams of two companies. This is usually a solution for companies that are growing or already in the enterprise level space. Servers tend to become much more complex in this realm, and most companies simply do not have the resources to manage it in house.
The dedicated server usually works best when the client goes for a fully managed host. Dedicated servers require a great deal of upkeep, especially if the data stream of the client company is less than stable. Hackers tend to focus on dedicated servers more frequently as well. Most companies do not have the in house staff to watch a dedicated server, especially one that is off site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Co-located server simply means that a company owns a server but rents space within a server farm that is offsite. The entire purpose of this arrangement is to be managed by a dedicated professional company. Otherwise, the company would probably want to keep the server on site to oversee its physical safety.
The reason that many large companies prefer co-location is because dedicated management companies get better prices on energy use. They are housing the server in the same place as many others, and they are better able to negotiate power with utility companies than an individual business. Server farms are also easier to physically monitor. Co-location helps to ensure both physical and digital protection for a company’s data stream.
Isn’t outsourcing the safety of my server less secure?
Many companies mistakenly believe that handing over the “keys” to a server is less secure than keeping a server on site or monitoring it in house. As a matter of fact, the exact opposite is true. Unless a company has the ability to pay physical security and white hat coders for 24 hour service, the data stream is actually safer with a company that knows how to protect it.
This is especially true of dedicated and Co-located servers. Having a backup option that is offsite is an essential practice according to the majority of security experts. The co-location center also has digital security experts on staff who stay ahead of the latest hacks instead of having to wait for threats to show up.
Managed Hosting WordPress
Fully managed WordPress hosting frees up a content creator to focus solely on her craft. Because WordPress is a general platform that appeals to startup bloggers and companies, in many cases, the solution they want is a shared server.
Individual content creators most likely do not have the time nor the expertise to handle server security. In most cases, the intellectual property that is placed on a WordPress blog does not actually warrant security until the blog has been open for months or years.
Instead of spending startup capital on security, with a managed hosting solution, a WordPress creator can spend that money on content.
Managed WordPress Hosting vs Regular Hosting
Having a managed WordPress hosting service is the cheapest way to secure a data stream. Because it can cater to the needs of every website on the server at the same time, all of the cost is split between these companies instead of being shouldered by one. WordPress sites also defray the cost over sites that are not based in WordPress, taking the cost of security even lower.
WordPress hosting that is managed actually caters to a much smaller group of content creators. However, the services that are offered here are much more advanced than with a solution that is not managed. If you can afford it and if you need it, managed web hosting on WordPress is the way to go every time.
There is a great deal of trouble when it comes to shared hosting, especially when it comes to WordPress. Because the accounts are all kept on the same server, the resources of the server are quickly used up. This is known as the “bad neighbor” effect, and depending on the physical server that you are put on, it may affect you more or less.
If a website that is on your server suddenly begins to grow, then that website will eat up all of the resources from your server. You may experience lag on your site if this happens, which is a customer facing phenomenon that can cause you to lose visitors or business.
Memory is not the only thing that gets divided. You also have to share storage space, bandwidth and processing power.
You may actually be able to get away with a non managed solution if you are just starting out your WordPress journey. With a blog that has few posts, you will not take up much memory, nor will you need much.
Although you are fairly powerless to control any of the resources that you may eventually need, you do not need them immediately. In short, you have time when you are just starting out.
However, when your WordPress blog is ready to grow, you may need to take a look at some of the other options that you have – i.e., a web hosting solution that is managed by a professional, third party service.
Managed hosts will have a server level cache that is running a more optimal version of the programs that you need to keep a blog up and running. You will have the best versions of Apache, pHp and MySQL. What’s more, these programs will be updated without you having to take time out and do it yourself. Each of these programs will get configured on an individual basis to work best in terms of performance.
If you take on a managed WordPress service, your page load may be reduced by up to two seconds. The estimation of many online marketing experts is that you have only four seconds to load a page before your prospects will simply move on.
Two seconds can be a lifetime under these conditions! A one-second delay time can cost a large company such as Amazon $1.6 billion per year. You may not be Amazon, but slow load times are costing you money as well, and you are less able to take that kind of hit.
A managed solution also has automated backups and better security. Both of these topics go hand in hand. Backups are an essential part of security, and automating the process will help you in more ways than one. With a managed solution, WordPress offers one click restoration that has saved a lot of people a great deal of time when an unexpected emergency pops up.
The Bottom Line
You must take a look at the needs of your business if you are deciding to invest in a managed solution, especially for WordPress. If you are just starting out, then you may not need all of the resources that you gain from a managed solution. However, if you are planning on growing your blog or you get an unexpected spike in traffic, then you may want to look at managed services.
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