When seeking server hosting plans for business or personal use, it is important to consider several factors. In addition to choosing a type of server (Shared, Dedicated, Virtual, or Cloud Server), purchasers must decide between Managed and Unmanaged hosting. Although both support the actual server hardware, managed hosting services take on the responsibility for all server maintenance. This is especially useful for consumers who do not want to focus their resources on technical and server administrative tasks.
Managed Technical Support
Instead of dedicating themselves to server maintenance, customers of managed hosting receive full 24×7 technical support. This extends further than simply the consistent availability of live support to address server issues (via phone, email, and instant messaging clients); it includes other benefits, such as operating system and full application management. Managed servers are always kept up to date with the latest OS updates and security patches; all business applications running on the servers are supported, managed, and optimized to run quickly without downtime.
A managed hosting company monitors all aspects of server activity to make sure that valuable content stays online. Whether investigating a traffic spike from a marketing campaign or an unauthorized hot link to a client’s site, a managed hosting company is aware of unusual activity and can appropriate steps to ensure the website or application is always available. Server management includes URL content monitoring, which checks that the site is not only online but that the web pages load correctly, an essential function for keeping the content of websites with complex applications and critical pages consistently available to visitors. Outsourcing the task of managing a server provides the client with security that, at every point in time, technical support staff is ready to address any technical issues to ensure that the customer’s information is online and accessible.
Maintaining a server’s security is essential. On managed servers, the hosting company takes over the laborious task of protecting it from trojans, hackers, and spammers. The stored information is protected with Firewall services and regular server vulnerability scans. Employing hardened Linux server configurations, the hosting company creates a secure environment protecting the customer’s data with VPN connectivity, secure SSH connections, and additional multi-factored authentication.
Not all server issues arise from a malicious source like viruses or targeted attacks by hackers. There are many reasons why dedicated servers may not be running at peak capacity, and a key benefit of managed hosting is optimizing server performance. Using SNMP to collect performance metrics in real time regarding CPU utilization, load averages, RAM utilization, and hard drive usage, a managed hosting company provides the right service configuration for each customer’s traffic levels. Optimization also includes troubleshooting application performance and OS level issues to ensure reliable service availability.
When a site or business begins to require stronger server infrastructure to keep up with its needs, managed hosting makes the transition from a single dedicated server to a multi-server cluster simple. The advantage of a technical support staff expanding the capacity of a dedicated server comes from its best practices approach to growing resources. They make sure that separate servers are optimized for specific tasks as database, web, or application processing servers. Once the content is migrated from one to many servers, the company can implement load balancing to maintain an efficient distribution of traffic across the servers. The technical staff performs all these motions, and the server’s user is never tasked with changing configurations or managing the technical aspect of their increased server capacity.
Managed Hosting Server Migrations
Managed hosting companies help the client by migrating their content, databases, and software configuration. When done correctly, it provides for zero-downtime migrations, where the customer can switch DNS after the technical staff has adapted the website’s setup and performed a resource review, ensuring the new server will run based on the company’s best practices.
Automatic Server Backup
As information continues to grow keeping data secure in the case of hardware failure, accidental deletion, developer error, or attack intrusion is of the utmost importance. A managed server hosting company performs automated daily backups and saves the data separately, making the files and databases available for immediate retrieval in the case of disaster. In addition to all server files, databases are backed up via their native mechanisms to ensure data integrity. Backups are performed daily, storing incremental data and allowing quick and easy file recovery.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Managed server hosting may seem more expensive than having an unmanaged server, however, the costs are not directly comparable. Unless the client has a background of the proper technical knowledge, skills, and training, and the time to allocate to optimizing their applications, monitoring their server traffic, creating systematic backups, continually upgrading their OS, and ensuring their server remains secure against malicious entities, they would still have to hire IT personnel to manage the server. Managed server hosting provides lower total cost of ownership and enables the customer to achieve more than they would on their own. The customer has the security of a powerful and highly available server without the price tag attached to having an in-house team supporting it.
Contact us to discuss a fully managed hosting solution that will fit your specific needs.