One of the core aspects of our business model here at Pleth, LLC is Managed Hosting. We have found that many of our new (potential) customers have a difficult time differentiating between Managed vs. Unmanaged hosting. I recently ran across an article at The Whir that did a good job of explaining the benefits of Managed Hosting. We also offer Unmanaged services through Pleth Plus if this is a service that may interest you.
Operating a Web presence can become very involved once a company’s hosting requirements progress beyond simply needing a dedicated server. Managed services are therefore geared toward organizations that don’t have the time or capital to invest in server administration.
Managed services normally provide equipment procurement, provisioning and installation, and network monitoring and management backed by Service Level Agreement. Managed services also provide end-to-end network management and maintenance support for locations around the world.
Think of a managed server as a server armed with extended features and support. A managed server will come equipped with the features one would expect from a dedicated provider, including choice of OS, routing equipment, network connectivity and complete administrative control. However, instead of leaving most of the administrative tasks to the customer, a managed provider will typically handle that as well. Many companies will often assign you a dedicated service representative who will cater only to you and a handful of other accounts.
This support also comes in the form of proprietary control panel technology that enables the inexperienced administrator to easily set up and maintain sites on a server. This is achieved through an intuitive and user friendly point and click method rather than by typing complicated commands at a prompt line.
Many hosting companies offer a supplementary suite of features and services that related to managed hosting, including application and database management, high-availability services and load balancing.
Most reputable Web hosting firms will offer managed Web hosting services, and will back up their services with performance guarantees and Service Level Agreements. (At Pleth, LLC we focus primarily on fostering and maintaining managed hosting relationships)
Unmanaged services, on the other hand, give the customer complete remote server administration capability and freedom. The downside to this is that unmanaged servers require a large amount of time and technical expertise, as the customer is ultimately responsible for the instillation and management of the server - not the Web host. For this reason, unmanaged servers are only recommended for individuals and companies with extensive server administration resources or expertise, as well as a significant amount of time available to take care of the server.
If you’re unsure about which service to choose, give serious consideration to choosing a managed server. While taking the managed route is more expensive, it is also much more reassuring for the inexperienced administrator.