Website hosting comes in many different variations, ranging from entry-level shared plans to professional managed services for dedicated servers. What you decide to go with is largely dependent on the needs of your business or project you’re working on.
The key-word here is managed, as dedicated servers are available both as managed and unmanaged. To illustrate better, here’s a quick rundown of what is managed hosting and why it can benefit you.
What is “managed” hosting?
Let’s say that your business website is using Drupal for content management, and an NGINX server with MongoDB for the back-end. This is a fairly common setup for high-end business websites, but still infrequent enough that you might have to learn about each technology individually.
Furthermore, updating your database might require hiring an additional software engineer to help you avoid problems in the long-term.
This is where managed hosting comes in. The platform you’re using for your managed dedicated server hosting will have a set IT team in place to help you sort through those layers of complexity when it comes to things like updates, optimization, monitoring, and backups.
So, at this point, you might be wondering – can’t you do all of this yourself? And while the shorter answer is yes, you absolutely can – there are things to consider when it comes to managed services. And here’s why.
Why go for managed hosting?
It’s no secret that managed hosting prices can ramp up quite quickly. From a measly $10 per month for a shared plan to $250 per month for a managed plan is quite the leap. And, for this reason, many will happily manage their own hosting server because it is that much cheaper.
This is best illustrated through services like DigitalOcean and Vultr, which offer affordable virtual servers for as little as $5 per month. The only catch is that you have to do all of the installation, configuration, and management of the server yourself.
However, even in these brief examples, as your business grows in size, you’re quickly going to learn that all that self-management is costing you time and a lot of it. You quite literally have to control everything from services being run optimally, to managing error logs, to dealing with security issues, to having to debug potential problems yourself. It is extremely time-consuming.
Which is why managed hosting kind of pays for itself. The time you would spend managing your server, you can instead spend on tasks that actually impact the bottom-line of your business. Everything else related to server operation tasks can be left to your hosting provider.
What to look for in a managed hosting platform?
There’s no shortage of providers on the market that specialize in managed dedicated hosting services. As such, here’s a quick summary of things to look out for when deciding on which platform to choose for your business.
- Performance. There are hundreds if not thousands of different server configurations available for specialized business needs. And each hosting platform tends to have its own specialty for a set configuration. Depending on the type of a website or operation you plan to host, look out for performance features that benefit your business directly.
- Location. A Content Delivery Network is a substitute rather than a solution to location-based issues. If your entire business is based in China, it would be a good idea to have your dedicated servers operating from within the same vicinity. This also ensures that you always get the most optimal connection performance to your own business servers.
- Security. Arguably the most important factor of them all is security. A secure infrastructure means that you can go to sleep each night without having to worry about your entire business being wiped clean overnight. Each hosting platform has its own approach when it comes to security, but this day and age, it’s pretty much a guarantee regardless of which platform you choose to go with.
And that just about sums it up. Next, let’s take a look at the actual platforms providing managed hosting solutions for your business.
Liquid Web is a world-class pioneer in the hosting space, especially when it comes to managed and dedicated hosting needs. Part of the guarantee ensures that you get 100% uptime for both the server power and the network supporting it. This comes with real-time monitoring features so you can always stay on top of things when needed.
Here’s what a mid-range server will get you:
- 8 cores @ 3.0 GHz Max
- 64 GB RAM
- 2 x 480 GB SSD Primary Disk
- 1 x 2 TB SATA Backup Disk
- 8 TB Bandwidth
- 250 GB Acronis Cyber Backups
You can upgrade at any time.
The servers are available under both Linux and Windows operating systems. Liquid Web currently provides three different data center locations: US Central (Michigan), US West (Arizona), and EU Netherlands (Amsterdam).
Last but not least, all Liquid Web servers come with DDoS Protection, Cloudflare CDN, ServerSecure Advanced Security, Dedicated IP Address, and high-performance SSD Storage.
A2 Hosting prides itself on its balance between high-quality performance and amplitude of easy to use administrative tools. The company has built a custom SwiftServer “engine”, which provides world-class performance even for the most demanding of business applications. Additionally, you’ll be able to test-drive your chosen server for up to 30-days with a money-back guarantee!
Here are the specifications for the most popular plan:
- 1TB RAID1 Storage
- Intel Xeon 2.4 GHz
- 16GB Ram
- 15TB Bandwidth
- 4 CPU Cores
- 2 Dedicated IP Addresses
A lot of these specifications (RAM, CPU, etc.,.) can be configured upon signing up in order to suit your immediate needs.
As a customer, you’ll be automatically enlisted into the HostGuard program. HostGuard Management from A2 Hosting includes 24/7 Support (Email, Phone, Live Chat), Automated & Daily Backups, Managed Software Installation or Upgrade, Custom Notifications, Security Management, and 99.9% Uptime Guarantee!
For data center locations, you’ve got several choices: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia. You should inquire directly with support to see if they have a data-center available in a specific location near your business operations.
Rackspace is one of the oldest hosting platforms specializing specifically in the dedicated, application, and managed services. In its entire history, Rackspace has never offered shared hosting plans, which speaks volumes for the companies expertise in the dedicated server space.
You can decide between Services that Rackspace has to offer, or alternatively, you can choose specific Solutions and Platforms that you’d like to work with. Though, for this roundup, we’re mostly interested in their managed hosting services. And these come in two different variations.
Managed and Intensive. Rackspace specializes in both standard managed solutions but also an exclusive intensive service. Intensive provides an extra layer of management, which is useful if you’re in need of an entire IT department to help scale your business further.
Lastly, the company has data centers available throughout the entire world. With multiple locations throughout America, Europe, and Asia. Should you require specifics on this, refer to the Rackspace Data Center page to learn more. All Rackspace clients are reassured a guarantee on Network, Infrastructure, and Hardware stability.
Hyve is a UK based hosting company specializing in solutions such as Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, and numerous Managed Services. Although UK based, Hyve has data centers available throughout the United States, India, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and more than 30 other locations.
One of the things that makes Hyve so attractive is their commitment to world-class hardware. All servers utilize the benefits of HPE BladeServers, Cisco Networking Solutions, and Juniper Security features. This is complemented with easy access to popular software necessary to operate your business website or applications.
Lastly, Hyve does not provide set package plans. This simply means that you have to configure your server and the appropriate software setup yourself during the onboarding process. This ensures that as you sign up as a customer, your server is tailored precisely to your needs.
Regardless of the configuration that you decide on, here are the features that all Hyve customers have access to:
- Offsite Backups. All Hyve customers have their data stored into offsite backups using LiveVault technology from Iron Mountain.
- DDoS Protection. All Managed plans with Hyve include free intrusion and DDoS protection. You get up to 1GB of free DDoS protection, which can be upgraded in case you fall prey to extended malicious attacks.
- Scaling. Should your business experience a sudden growth in popularity, Hyve will be happy to accommodate your success with accessible scalability solutions. From network to hardware.
The company is run by a small but dedicated team of IT experts who will do their utmost best to help any specific issues you have in making sure your online business is a success.
InMotion Hosting has hosting solutions available across the entire board. And, it’s easy to overlook what the company has to offer as at first glance it seems average at best. Though, one of the areas in which InMotion excels is the availability of CPU cores that you get with all dedicated plans.
If you plan on operating an extremely performance-oriented website that operates through dozens of CPU intensive applications, then 16 CPU cores sound just about the right amount to ensure that things operate smoothly at all times. Sure, it’s one of their pricier plans at $500 per month, but it’s also one of the best on the market. Besides, it’s fully managed.
Whether it’s your first time using managed services or your tenth, InMotion has a dedicated team of professionals available at your disposal for all of their managed plans. This team specializes across a wide spectrum of IT technologies, for example:
- Linux OS (CentOS, Ubuntu, etc.)
- CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, etc.)
- MySQL, Tomcat, Python, etc.
- eCommerce (Magento, PrestaShop, etc.)
- Performance (Redis, Varnish, Memcached, etc.)
- Control Panels (cPanel, WHM, etc.)
You can take advantage of the InMotion’s Launch Assist program, which will let you connect directly with their IT team and discuss the best plan for your business needs. This consultation covers any other pressing questions or requests that you may have.
Namecheap isn’t a name you’d commonly associate with hosting as the brand is more often recognized for its domain registration. Though, the company has been actively expanding its hosting services from affordable WordPress and Shared plans to more sophisticated dedicated server solutions.
In this case, Namecheap offers reliable Xeon-powered dedicated servers in which you can customize your specific needs.
In order to fully benefit from managed services, you’re going to have to sign-up for their Dedicated Server Management plan. The Complete plan comes at $50 per month, and includes the following:
- Customer Support Advice
- Server Restoration (due to Failure)
- Software Upgrades & Management
- Root Cause Analysis (due to Failure)
- Initial Setup and Configuration
- Offsite Backups (up to 200GB)
- Real-time Monitoring
You also have the option to migrate your existing hosting setup to Namecheap free of charge. As for data center locations, Namecheap has locations available all throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.
DreamHost has grown a lot as a brand and as a hosting provider. Founded back in the late 90s, DreamHost is somewhat of a pioneer in the hosting space. That said, most people associate DreamHost with shared hosting plans, and their managed WordPress.
But, in order to persist in an ever-growing competitive market, even brands like DreamHost have to take the initiative. And that initiative is managed dedicated hosting. Their fully managed plans come with enticing server specifications and even better pricing options.
For an all-out plan that would suit even the most demanding of web applications, you’re looking at a price point of $380 per month. This top-end plan will net you the following configuration:
- Intel Xeon 12-Core 24-Thread
- 64 GB RAM (!)
- 240 GB SSD
- RAID 1 Storage
- 100% Network Uptime Guarantee
- 24×7 Tech Support & Server Monitoring
- DDoS Protection
DreamHost currently has data centers in Ashburn, Virginia, and Hillsboro, Oregon. To get more specific details on this, you’ll either have to contact their support or access the Data Center panel from within your server management dashboard.
Fasthosts have options available for all price ranges. The most affordable plan starts at $40 per month and includes Intel Xeon E3-1230 v6 @ four cores x 3.5GHz, 16GB RAM DDR4 ECC, and 1TB HDD in RAID1 configuration. This is more than enough to host a medium business operation utilizing modern content management systems. Best of all, all plans include unlimited bandwidth with up to 1Gbps connectivity.
As a UK-based company, Fasthosts has data centers available all throughout the United Kingdom. Further, Fasthosts embraces renewable energy factors and has its entire infrastructure built around the fact.
Everything from setting up the servers to custom optimization is done on your behalf once you decide on what your plan is going to be. Fasthosts provide uninterrupted support both during the setup process and your ongoing partnership with the brand as your managed hosting provider.
It’s hard to go wrong with such an exhaustive and comprehensive list of hosting companies. The market with reliable managed hosting providers is growing at a pace, unlike ever before. This is largely to do with the fact that a lot more businesses are taking their operations online.
Large scale eCommerce operations require tremendous server power in order to deliver a smooth shopping experience to customers. And this roundup of hosting platforms is a great starting place to find a home for your business.
Best of all, managed hosting ensures that there’s always a technical team at your disposal to help solve technical issues. This way, you can focus on growing your business in the customer relations and marketing department.