Last updated: February 11, 2018
With managed hosting, the service provider takes care of website management and administration tasks related to updates, maintenance, security, and optimization for faster access.
Managed hosting is a service where the hosting provider takes care of the management of certain
components of the overall web hosting service. By purchasing a hosting plan, you lease hardware such as physical server space and computing power that is shared between you and other customers or is reserved exclusively for you. Hence, managed hosting services may be provided as shared hosting plans or as dedicated hosting.
Definition of Managed Hosting
Managed hosting may include the management of different sub-services within a hosting plan. For instance, such services can cover server installation, deployment of software platforms and applications, backup and restore services, server maintenance, as well as management of various security features. Therefore, the main difference between managed and unmanaged hosting is that by opting for an unmanaged plan you take responsibility for management of the server.
Managed and unmanaged hosting may differ in terms of what types of particular services are included in the plan, but non-managed plans are more appropriate for advanced users and enterprises that have their own IT staff.
Management of the services like website backup and restore options, the overall security of the server, as well as optimization for faster access are essential for any website. With managed hosting plans users can concentrate on their core activities and run only website components that are related to content creation, marketing, or provision of an online service. The hosting company will be responsible for maintaining the site security, to provide the required software updates, and to sustain the overall reliability of the website.
User Control over Managed Hosting
Users typically control their managed hosting servers through software called control panels. Such software allows the user to manage certain aspects of the website like DNS records, page redirects, email accounts, and website performance stats. The user may have root access to the server, but access rights may be tweaked in a way that only the hosting company is able to manage more advanced server options. This is made to provide a certain level of security and protection.
Backups, for instance, play a significant role in the provision of uninterrupted service since any website must have the option to restore to the previous version should an error occur. Managed hosting service takes care of regular backups that allow the website owner to have its service up and running within minutes following an unexpected breakdown. Most hosting providers store these backup copies on another server, which provides an additional layer of protection.
Platform-centric Managed Hosting
A managed web hosting service may also be platform-centric, meaning the hosting plan will be optimized for a particular platform that is used to power websites. Such platforms are, for instance, content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal that power the bulk part of websites worldwide. By optimizing the hosting service for a specific platform, the hosting company is able to provide a speedier and more reliable service which is essential for modern day online services.
The web server may be optimized for Linux or Windows-based services and websites, which is important when speaking of faster access, server and website security, and customized support and maintenance. Other key components managed under a managed hosting plan include monitoring of key system components and performance indicators that are required for the smooth operation of the website. An inexperienced user can easily mess up these server settings, leaving (for example) unsecured portions of a website or unintentionally slowing down performance.
To conclude, managed hosting is not about management of your website’s content. It is about the provision of additional services that cover website and server management options for which the average user is lacking experience. The typical services covered by managed web hosting include, but are not limited to, hardware and software maintenance and updates, backup and restore services, antivirus and security checks and updates, as well as the web server and website database administration.