Managed web hosting gives you several options from shared web hosting (which is essentially managed web hosting), VPS managed web hosting, where you have a part of a web server that has dedicated resources for you, but the administration of the server such as OS security patches and other software updates/patches and security settings are managed by the hosting company. And lastly there is the dedicated managed web hosting account that gives you a server of your own, but it is still being managed by the hosting company (much like the managed VPS web hosting account)
Now with most managed web hosting services you don't have root access to the web server, since it is very easy to override settings that the system administrators, that are managing the server, put in place or to inadvertently install a malicious piece of code. You will need to have the hosting company's technicians (usually system administrators) do all the software installs, that way they can make sure it will not harm the server. While a little more costly to operated compared with unmanaged services, they are much easier for non-technical people since all the hard work is done for you.
While most people who use a managed web hosting account use them because there is an expert standing by to make sure your server is running smoothly there are different types of uses and users for the various administered web hosting accounts.
Small business owners usually don't have the budget or the need to have a full time or even part time system administrator working for them, so if they are not familiar with the administration of a web server they might be better off with a hosting provider controlled web hosting account for their small business. Web hosting on a shared server or a managed hosting account is fairly straight forward. All you need to do is upload your website and that is about it, but if you require any special applications for your website or have a dedicated server on your small business web hosting account
Then even a low level managed web hosting option might be for you.
There are some large website packages or better named high traffic hosting packages that are essentially lots of managed servers put together in a cluster, for load balancing. These servers are usually all managed by the web hosting company and have one or more load balancers going to multiple managed dedicated servers that are tied in to one or more managed dedicated database servers. This whole solution is for a very load intensive website (high traffic or high number crunching) and can be a completely administered solution so you don’t have to do a thing it just works so you can concentrate on your business.
What is managed web hosting you ask? We’ll managed web hosting is where someone else looks after your technical issues on your hosting account. Depending on the service level you require you have everything taken care of from regular system maintenance to installing custom scripts (software) and even uploading your web files and backing them up.
Managed web hosting can apply to all types of hosting accounts form small shared web hosting to VPS and dedicated servers. Pricing can be either in a monthly management fee or a per hour charge an even a hybrid between the two.
Managed web hosting offers some great pros. Starting with the fact that you will not require system administrators on staff or on contract to do any technical work on your hosting account since a managed web hosting account includes this service. Keep in mind there is usually a limit to the included management, and additional time/work may cost extra, but at least you have someone you can use at a moments notice should the need arise.
For the most part you will have worry-free hosting on a managed web hosting account. When you use a self-managed web hosting account you have more responsibility to update your system with the latest security patches and secure your server on your own. Having your account managed for you takes care of these tasks so you can concentrate on your business.
There are some basic and then some more advanced managed web hosting services. For the average user a basic account dealing with systems and security updates is all that is required and these services can be very affordable. But in some instances the need for an advanced management service arises if you have special software that needs to be installed and maintained with updates. Remember that updates are critical to keeping your server secure and safe from potential threats. Since over time people may find exploits to your software and if it is not patched you my loose control of your server or have your data compromised.
Managed web hosting services are a great way to have minimal work other than updating your actual web pages and creating your web site(s). However there are some cons to managed web hosting. The main one being that some web hosting companies that offer system administrator directed web hosting accounts require that their staff do all software installation on the server/VPS that they are managing on your behalf. What this means is that You will pay a premium for the installation of some software packages that their system administrators are not familiar with. Or in some instances when you purchase a software package the company that you are buy the software from will include installation in the cost. If your hosting provider forbids other people doing installs you will have to pay your web hosting company to do it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since from a security perspective I too would recommend that you only have people that you trust access your server or VPS hosting account to install software. But if you have your own system administrator and want to add some packages or make some customizations to the operating system or apache (your web server) you will have to go through your web host.
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