Managed hosting is a concept people get confused about. They don’t understand what it is, why their website might need it, or why it costs more money than hosting. Since we get a lot of questions about managed hosting at Corporate Conversions, we will go through these questions and answer them to help you understand why managed hosting is so important to your website.
What Is Managed Hosting?
First we should explain the concept of hosting. All websites, in order to exist, need to be stored or “hosted” on computer servers. A web hosting service provider is a business that provides space on those servers. When you type any website address into the address bar of your internet browser or click on a link to any website, the server that that website is hosted on is contacted and a connection is made between that server and the server your computer is connected to. The internet is an enormous network of these servers.
Websites are built in different ways. Some websites are custom coded or built from scratch. The code that the website runs on is unique. If this is the case, that website will take up fewer resources, but it will more difficult for anyone to add to or modify it. Most websites today use a content management system (CMS) that makes it easier for their owners to modify page content or add new content to the website. Some commonly used CMSes include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or Magento. WordPress is a very, very common open source CMS which is why it is so popular. The core WordPress code is free and it can be adapted to be used however the website owner wants.
Some WordPress dedicated hosting will offer core updates. That said, if something breaks it is up to the owner of the site to contact support or fix. The current version of WordPress is 5.0.3. However, most of the bells and whistles that sites running on WordPress use are not included in the core version of WordPress. They are added by plugins. Plugins are pieces of software programmers code to do all sorts of very helpful things on the front end or the back end of a website.
Plugins need to be manually updated by someone with admin access to the site. Therefore, plugins are not updated at the same time as the core WordPress software. Anyone can design a plugin, but the designer is responsible for updating or modifying his own plugin. This means there will be issues with plugins continuing to work when WordPress updates its software. This will create problems for website owner who use plugins but want their websites to keep running smoothly and without glitches.
Why Do Companies Need Managed Hosting?
In a nutshell, you cannot built a website and just leave it. The internet changes all of the time, and the small and large changes other companies like WordPress and Google make to their websites will directly affect the health, security, and even legality of your site. Another issue is resources. As your website grows and becomes more complex, it will require more resources. We want to make sure it has what it needs in terms of server space, plugins, and updates. Managed hosting means helping you monitor, patch, update, and backup all of the software on your server.
What Does Managed Hosting Cost?
Corporate Conversions offers a hosting package to our clients for $300 a year. A managed hosting package costs $900 annually. The $600 difference is for the time and effort we put in making sure that you do not have to update your content management system, that all of the plugins your website uses continue to interact smoothly with the content management system, and that your website is backed up regularly so you will retain your data if the system crashes. In essence, that $600 pays for regular monitoring, quick intervention in case of trouble, and your peace of mind.
Can’t You Update Your Website Software Yourself?
You can! You absolutely can. But will you? Do you know how to fix an issue if something does break? The do-it-yourself approach to updating your website is much cheaper than paying a professional to do it, and there are a number of services that allow for it. These include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google. But keeping track of changes to the content management system, all of the different plugins, fixing issues when they crop up, and regularly backing up your website takes time and discipline. You also have to understand the CMS and how it works in order to fix it if something happens. Many business owners would rather spend their time working on their company directly – not their company’s website.
Proper website maintenance is crucial. For owners who want to take a proactive approach to the functioning of their website instead of reacting in panic when a problem occurs, whether to include managed hosting is not a question. Call Tom at (616) 426-9303 to discuss what we can do to keep your website operating at full capacity at all times and give you full peace of mind about its health and security.