Brief Overview Of ‘Managed’ Hosting Concepts

   |  5 Apr, 2015  #

The question is becoming more common: what does the “managed” in “managed web hosting” actually mean? Interestingly, the answer often varies greatly, depending on the web hosting company that happens to be using the term. However, there is a strong chance that if you are reading this, you’ve used some type of “managed” hosting in the past at some point.

Generally speaking, managed web hosting is a common type of web hosting that involves constant monitoring of all the servers within a web host’s network; the true extent of this monitoring, however, is where the differences begin. In short, unless you have a full-time system administrator managing your server, then managed hosting is definitely for you.

Please note: If I have set up a VPS server for you anytime during the past 6+ months, chances are that it is unmanaged. For your own website’s security I strongly urge you to hire a system administrator or switch over to a managed hosting service.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

1. Uptime. Keeping an eye on your server’s uptime is one thing, but very few hosting companies check your website’s uptime, which is the only thing you really care about. Typically, a web hosting company installs a script or other software on their servers that alerts them when the server has crashed, or is having other urgent performance issues. Unfortunately, this tells them nothing about the actual uptime of your domain, i.e. example.com, because they are checking internally rather than externally. At LittleBizzy we’ve opted to leverage Pingdom external monitoring system, however, which makes use of dozens of datacenters around the globe and watches your website in real-time. This is not only more logical for our clients, but also offloads unnecessary and very resource-intensive monitoring scripts from our clients’ web servers.

Please note: Pingdom is still being customized and will begin rolling out in stages.

2. Updates. One of the most important parts of so-called managed hosting involves regularly updating the software on web servers. This is not talking about software like WordPress per se, but rather the “core” software like Nginx, PHP-FPM, MySQL, OpenSSL, and such. On most traditional Apache web servers, the (in)famous cPanel software is implemented which requires constant updating as various security holes and bugs are found often. As LittleBizzy servers do not use Apache or cPanel – instead opting for slimmed down versions of Nginx – the software that needs to be monitored is more limited. However, ANY software does eventually get a bug or security patch that requires updating, including Nginx, etc. Our team stays up to date with various security blogs and resources to know which types of updates should be performed on our server network, so that our clients don’t have to worry about anything except logging into their website and going to work!

3. Performance. This is where LittleBizzy truly outshines the competition. As 99% of web hosts around the world throw all of their customers onto shared hosting servers – including companies that sell “VPS” servers – they tend to have extremely inconsistent performance, especially in regard to loading speed. In contrast, every single domain on the LittleBizzy network is hosted on its own dedicated IP address and virtual instance a.k.a. DigitalOcean droplet. This not only isolates your website from any potential issues caused by other customers/websites but also greatly improves overall security and speed. While many “managed” hosting providers receive thousands of requests per day for server performance tweaking, etc, here at LittleBizzy we almost never have to change a server’s configuration after initial setup because of the strong stability of our network. However, in the case that something DOES need tweaking, our team will take care of it, free of charge.

4. Support. Last but not least, customer support is one of the biggest elements of managed web hosts. These days, consumers tend to expect some level of support in nearly every industry, although its still usually very limited in the case of unmanaged web servers due to their “on your own” nature. While renting an unmanaged VPS server is almost surely cheaper than a managed one, the inherent risks and level of worry involved are usually not worth it for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). Lastly, while many dirt cheap “shared” hosting companies like GoDaddy or HostGator spend heavily on advertising and attract inexperienced customers with things like phone or chat support, LittleBizzy aims to provide such a high level of speed and security – not to mention complimentary “check ups” on your WordPress backend (cache, plugins, updates, etc) – that we hope traditional customer service “ticket” requests become a true rarity in our pro-active business model.

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