Managed hosting means that everything to do with operating the server is dealt with by the hosting service. Until fairly recently, managed hosting applied exclusively to dedicated hosting, but the approach is now also used in cloud hosting and VPS.
The most obvious reason for using managed hosting is in order not to have the company’s own staff of IT specialists and that is a very good reason to consider it. IT is changing and developing all the time and staying abreast of it is difficult enough for full-time IT professionals, let alone people whose real businesses something entirely different. There is a great deal to be said for letting others monitor evolving operating systems, hardware and other matters – BUT it only works if there is constant communication between user and host so that the user is informed when something that could benefit his business becomes available.
How to manage that communication is for each individual user to decide. One way of evaluating the quality of information likely to be available from a host is: how often do they run seminars (ideally online as webinars, given that they are probably not in the same city and possibly not in the same country as the user) and do they send regular newsletters updating users on what new features are available? If they do, ask for recordings of past webinars and copies of newsletters to judge their usefulness.
Companies that do opt for managed VPS hosting should make sure they understand exactly what is offered. Here is a list of things that may or may not be included and it is up to the user to find out which is offered and for what price:
- Identifying and fixing problems as they occur
- Monitoring the server and watching for outages
- Hardware upgrading (this should always be there)
- Installing, maintaining and upgrading software
- Backing up data