Managed versus Unmanaged hosting

Tips and Guides/ 14th Mar 2017/Will Cook-Martin

Anyone who has a business that relies on a website to service or create income, will tell you that it’s critical to have a reliable server or hosting account. Afterall, if your customers can’t reach your website, you can’t make money and you may even lose end users to your competition.

In this article we’ll review the pros and cons of managed versus unmanaged hosting. After reading you’ll hopefully understand a lot more about both these types of service and which one suits your particular use application.

What is Managed Hosting?

It’s often difficult to explain to a non-tech person exactly what Managed Hosting is and why they will benefit from it.

Think of a server as a car for a moment (bear with me!), and the managed hosting element as a combined service and warranty agreement on the car. The car goes in for regular servicing in order to try and prevent known issues at regular maintenance points. If despite the regular services something does go wrong, the warranty agreement then pays for the repair.

Managed Hosting is very similar to this, experts regularly update and configure software on your server (think service agreement on the car) to ensure it runs optimally and secures any security exploits. The server that your data resides on is also likely to be monitored, so that if anything does go wrong it can be fixed very quickly (think warranty agreement on the car)

Note: People often get confused with Managed Hosting and dedicated servers. Whilst dedicated servers can be managed, so can shared, reseller and cloud packages.

What is Unmanaged Hosting?

Continuing the car theme, unmanaged hosting is very much like getting a car with no additional warranty or service agreement. All repairs and maintenance costs, relating to the car are down to yourself. This is exactly the same with unmanaged hosting.

You are responsible for maintaining the software that resides on the server. It’s important to note that software in this instance refers to both the software that the system needs to run, including the OS and the software that runs your web application.

If anything goes wrong with the software on the server, whether that be that a service needs to be restarted or a virus needs removing, it is up to you to resolve.

Monitoring of the server to ensure that all services are functional is your responsibility.

The hosting provider is still however responsible for the maintenance of the underlying server hardware

Managed versus Unmanaged hosting

Managed Hosting
Unmanaged Hosting
Hardware Maintained
Software Maintained
Monitored
Backups

Which is right for me?

This depends upon a number of factors.

If you have no server experience, you should almost certainly be choosing a managed server.

If you are looking for a server for development purposes an unmanaged server may suffice. Afterall if the server goes down, the only people it is likely to affect is the development team – just be sure to take backups.

If your organisation has an experienced web server administrator (caution LAN is a very different skillset) you may want to consider the unmanaged route. However nine times out of ten it is still more cost effective to opt for a managed server when you factor in the indirect costs of an employee spending time performing remote server administration, rather than helping to service/develop the business elsewhere.

If you need any help or advice (without obligation of course!), give us a call on 03300 885 250

Will's our technical sales guy from the hills of Rossendale. A follower of Stoke City, father to Eddie, husband to Catherine and a fan of gadgets - oh and he's recently mastered the art of really slow DIY.
We have a very strong team here at Clook and we build on everyone's strengths and weaknesses, you have to be able to make a good brew too!

Chris James

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