Even when a business is small enough to launch with shared hosting, a time will likely occur when the business’s growth will require an upgrade to a private or dedicated server. When that happens, the business has two options: to manage the server on its own or to have the server managed by a hosting company.
For those business owners who compare services exclusively by cost, self-managed hosting will come out the clear winner. Yet once someone with only a layman’s knowledge of server functionality starts trying to configure deployment settings, remotely install software, apply security patches and handle monitoring alerts, the owner may discover that the time invested isn’t worth the money saved.
The benefits of Self-management
Aside from cost, the main benefit of managing a server is control. When a business owner needs a new program installed, the installation process begins at the owner’s command. No one has to submit a ticket to have the task handled or wait for the management team at the hosting company to get to the task.
The Disadvantages of Self-management
Taking the benefit of total control and looking at its flip side reveals the first major disadvantage of self-management. It takes time to install and configure programs, as well as apply security patches.
Dealing with problems that may arise in the function of the server takes both time and know-how. With enough time spent on message boards and with tech books, it’s conceivable a business owner with no expertise at all can figure out a fix for a problem that comes up. But what about the next problem? Without someone who has experience in server management on the team, an unmanaged server is rarely a good idea. In fact, small business site Chron recommends unmanaged hosting only for SMBs that have an IT person on staff.
Why Hosted Management?
Although installations and patches are time-consuming no matter who does them, when a business owner tackles them, that business owner is taking time away from working toward the main goals of the business. Since it almost inevitably takes a person lacking technical expertise longer to complete the same tasks as a tech whiz, downtime on a business website will increase.
Conversely, management teams at hosting companies know how to install programs, apply patches, upgrade software and take care of unexpected problems expeditiously, ensuring minimal downtime for their customers. The hosting company management team is also responsible for backups, which means, in all worst-case scenarios, businesses are covered by the automatic data backups that come with the hosting plan. With an unmanaged server, business owners are responsible for their own data backups, which is a risky proposition for forgetful entrepreneurs.
Although unmanaged servers offer financial savings over managed servers, business owners should recognize what they’re getting for that extra cost. Managed dedicated servers come with full support, including installations, patches, security updates and backups, providing everything a business owner needs to ensure the safety of data and the smooth operation of the hosting experience. In a nutshell, a managed server is “Server + IT,” while an unmanaged server is “Bring your own IT.”