Every company needs a website, but, unless this is your company’s actual business model, chances are website management is not your business’s strong point. That’s why you may want to consider turning to your hosting provider to manage your servers. Letting an expert handle website management will allow you to focus on running your business and doing what you do best.
Hosting providers focus on hosting, and are highly incentivized to provide high levels of uptime and stability, according to an expert from MavenWire, a King of Prussia, Pa-based inte
national provider of consulting, hosting, training and application development in the Supply Chain and Logistics Industry. In addition, providers may offer expertise in specific product or technology areas. For small companies on a limited budget, using a host provider means needing a smaller IT staff. Also, datacenter costs, hardware support, network connectivity, power, and the like are included in the hosting service and do not need to be managed by the customer.
“It’s important for companies to understand that Managed Hosting is a particular type of Dedicated Hosting that entails the provider undertakes additional responsibilities of system administration and application support,” said Robert Miggins, SVP, Business Development at PEER 1 Hosting.
When it comes down to choosing a provider, Miggins believes the most important factor in a company’s decision is to look beyond price, as it is often a poor indicator on the quality of service they’d receive. Instead, he would urge companies to consider looking at the tangible and intangible aspects of a providers offering before making a decision.
“The first consideration a company should make when choosing a provider is how long have they been in the business,” said Miggins. “Are they a veteran provider that can deliver scale, reputation and credibility or are they a fly-by-night player new to the industry? You’ll also want to ask what their customer churn is; a low churn would imply that they are keeping current customers happy. Companies will also want to ask for references from companies that have already signed up with the current provider, as they will be able to provide candid feedback on the experience they have had with their managed hosting provider.”
Security is also another very important issue, he said. There are a number of security measures you’ll want to make sure are covered when choosing a provider. Some of those requirements should include firewall, security audits, vulnerability scans, antivirus updates, DDoS protection and mitigation, intrusion detection, security patching, backup and restoration and disaster recovery.
Other points to consider when searching for a managed hosting provider include:
Customer support should be a priority. “The main advantage of managed web hosting is that people who either don’t have the skills or don’t have the time to host a website themselves can run their online business with the peace of mind that their website is being hosted professionally,” said Anthony Chaffey with website designer Ballyhoo Ltd. “Poor customer support can soon eliminate peace of mind, causing unnecessary downtime and stress.”
Find out how many visitors or page hits your provider can handle. As Tarun Bhatti wrote in a Rackspace blog post, “In general, we can safely assume that most clients of any hosting provider will not write crappy code. So when you find out the average number of visitors per month for each site a provider hosts, you will get a ballpark idea of how much traffic the hosting provider is handling.”
Make sure you get what’s right for you. The provider should work with you to identify what services you need, and what you don’t need.
What can you afford? The managed hosting services should fit into your budget, but as Bhatti pointed out, if a provider can offer better service over the long term, it may behoove you to pay a little more than plan at the onset.
In the end, your managed host provider should be working for you, so you can focus on your business.
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for managed hosting provider Rackspace Hosting.