Friday, 12 October 2018

Managed hosting is service that can be provided by your web host if you run your eCommerce website on their dedicated servers, VPS or cloud networks. Whilst no two managed hosting services are exactly identical, generally, it means that your service provider will administer your hardware, operating systems and system software.

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This usually involves your web host setting up and configuring hardware, installing and configuring software, undertaking system maintenance, monitoring, updates and patching, and offering 24/7 customer and technical support.

In addition, services such as backups, load balancing, disaster recovery, vulnerability scans, intrusion detection, DDoS (distributed denial of service) prevention and mitigation can also be included or purchased as additional services.

Overview of managed services


Here is a more detailed outline of the services provided:

1. Server setup: this includes the installation of the control panel (e.g. cPanel or Plesk) and operating system (e.g. Linux or Windows).

2. Performance monitoring: this includes monitoring of the server, databases and network.

3. Security scanning: using tools like the powerful MTvScan, your system will be monitored for viruses and other malware.

4. Application support: your host will manage the installation of supported applications and their updates.

5. Patching: to protect your system from security holes, your web host will install OS and application patches, updates and bug fixes.

6. Troubleshooting: if you call customer support with a server problem or if monitoring identifies any issues, the technical support team will take responsibility for putting it right.

7. Hardware maintenance: all maintenance and upgrading of hardware is taken care of by the web host.

8. Backups: your host will offer you the ability to backup and securely store your data so that, in the event of a disaster, recovery can be achieved much quicker.

Different types of managed hosting


Generally speaking, there are two types of managed hosting that you can choose from: fully managed and partially managed. However, users need to be wary when looking at different packages as some hosts offer a wider range of services than others.

With fully managed hosting, your host is responsible for the complete administration of the server, including technical maintenance and performance. With partially managed hosting, you will still be required to undertake some of the management of the server yourself. The option you choose depends up whether you have the time, expertise and need to partially manage your server yourself, or whether it would be more convenient for you to leave it to the experts.

There are also different types of server management services, depending on the type of hosting you have chosen. Whilst dedicated servers, VPS and cloud hosting all have similarities in how they are managed, they also have their own specific requirements. For example, VPS and cloud hosting both operate in virtual environments whereas dedicated servers do not. These differences may affect what is included in your managed package.

How managed hosting is beneficial for ecommerce business


Now that we have a better understanding of what managed hosting is, let’s take a closer look at how it benefits eCommerce businesses.

Preventative management


One of the biggest benefits of managed hosting is that it helps prevent problems occurring. Software compatibility checks, security scans and performance monitoring all help the service provider detect and deal with small problems before they develop into serious issues. This is very helpful for e-commerce sites that often have specific site requirements and a lack of in-house technical expertise.

Site loading speed


Slow loading speeds affect search engine ranking and turn customers away. It is estimated that every extra second that your pages take to load will cost you 7% of turnover!  Whilst some of the loading sluggishness can be due to the configuration of your website, it can also be due to server speed. However, with managed hosting your server is monitored to detect performance issues, thus ensuring your site loads quickly no matter how much traffic you are experiencing.

Availability


When your eCommerce site is offline, you lose business. Managed hosting, especially on packages where high-availability is guaranteed by SLA, helps ensure your website stays online at least 99.95% of the time.

Security 


There are all sorts of security threats faced by eCommerce sites and the visitors who use them: hacking, DDoS, infection, ransomware, data theft – the list goes on. A managed hosting service, however, takes care of much of the security for you: preventing intrusion, blocking viruses and securing your data so that you can continue to offer your services and products in a safe and secure way.

Reducing costs


Undertaking the management of your own servers would require you to have the in-house expertise needed to do the job to the same standard that your web host can. For most eCommerce companies, this would mean the employment of additional staff that would, in most cases, be more expensive than the managed service. Even if you already had IT staff employed, they could be put to more productive use if much of the admin work was passed over to your service provider.

In addition, a managed service can reduce costs by helping to prevent loss from performance and security problems and by removing the need for maintenance and upgrades.

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