If you’re a small business owner, you often feel pressure to be a jack of all trades. This is both a practical manner and preference. You trust yourself to do the job right and you want that control. Also, hiring staff is an expense. If you’re at the point where you’re looking to launch a business online or at least a digital component, you probably already have at least a small team to make it happen. What the team does is obviously unique to your individual situation.
The question you have to ask yourself is, “Is one of those people on the payroll just to look after the server?”
Now, you may be wondering why you need a full-time employee just to deal with the server. Let’s just say there’s a reason why a managed VPS is one of the most popular hosting solutions for businesses. For those who aren’t so interested in the technical goings-on of what happens on a server, the perceived savings of going for an unmanaged plan often aren’t worth it.
What many business owners may not realize when setting up a website, whether it’s e-commerce or informational, is that it’s not just a “set it and forget it” arrangement by default. With a developer’s help and managed hosting services, yes you can reach that point. You and your team would only need to spend minimal time in the backend of the site. But, those are conscious decisions you need to make when planning your site rollout. The decision of what hosting provider to go with and what kind of hosting solution to sign up for is a critical first step. That’s why it’s so important to not necessarily look at just the monthly price of a hosting plan, but to also factor in the hidden costs you would need to pay if you don’t sign up for the hosting plan that best suits your realistic needs.
Let’s explore what those hidden costs are and why most business owners would be wise to opt for managed hosting over unmanaged solutions.
What Do We Mean by Hidden Costs?
When first looking to purchase hosting, your eyes immediately go to the big number on the bottom line that displays the monthly cost. That should certainly play a role in the decision you make. Any good business owner knows the importance of keeping overhead low. But, it’s important to point out that in the discussion of managed vs unmanaged hosting, unmanaged has some hidden costs that may not be immediately apparent.
We’ll get into the major differences between the two next. To put it simply, though, unmanaged hosting gives you login credentials and that’s it. So, nearly everything going on with the server is up to you to manage. This will be an everyday job. In order to keep your site online and working properly, you’ll need to dedicate a full-time employee to handle these rudimentary tasks. It may even require after hours work. That comes at a big cost. The loss of time and personnel resources are major hidden costs that can quickly add up and far outpace the comparatively higher monthly price tag associated with managed VPS hosting. The few extra dollars per month for managed hosting in comparison to unmanaged usually pays for itself.
Managed vs Unmanaged
When evaluating the pros and cons of going with unmanaged vs managed, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds of an exhaustive list. By all means, weigh the arguments for each. The decision you make will shape your business. But, it may also be helpful to summarize the ways the two differ from one another for quick reference.
Unmanaged hosting gives you nearly complete control and responsibility over your server environment, for better or worse. Backups are on you. Migrations are on you. You can choose the control panel you want to use, but you’ll also need to install it yourself. You could even be responsible for figuring out why your site is offline if you’re experiencing downtime. In many instances regarding unmanaged hosting, the host is only responsible for hardware malfunction. Even upgrading software will be up to you. Having technical knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the OS is a pre-requisite for unmanaged hosting.
Managed hosting offers more of a hands off set up. It’s ideal for the less tech savvy and for those who don’t have the time to spend on managing the server. While you are encouraged to always take your own protective measures when it comes to multiple backups and security, your host will provide some assistance on that front. Typically, you get a daily backup and migration assistance should you need it. You have 24/7/365 monitoring should anything go wrong. If your site is suddenly offline, you have someone to call and that can investigate. You also have DDOS protection, which can help you thwart an attack in many of the most common scenarios. The only real downside to managed hosting is you are presented with the hosting company’s options for control panels and the like and you have to use them. If you’re not a tinkerer, that’s fine.
How Managed Hosting Contributes to Performance
A lot of factors contribute to how well your site performs. Traffic levels, bandwidth, CPU, and your coding are just some of the contributing factors to site performance. While not as direct an influence, don’t discount how managed services will help your VPS perform better. For example, you may see that 99.9% uptime figure and think that’s a great guarantee. That’s only possible with managed hosting because of the constant monitoring that occurs and the customer service you have access to. This is important because performance issues greatly affect your bottom line. This is especially true if you’re running an e-commerce operation. Downtime and slow speeds severely impact customer behavior, to say nothing of the lack of sales if no one can actually access the site.
Struggling with Downtime
No matter what industry you’re in and what downtime looks like to you, the results are the same. Downtime costs you a lot of money and it’s not just from lost sales. Also consider that page load delays can cost you significant revenue, and you can see why it’s worth having the peace of mind provided by leaving your server in the hands of the experts. In an unmanaged hosting environment, not only do you have to deal with the customer service issues that will arise from a site malfunction, but you’ll also have to figure out how to get the site back online at the same time.
There is more riding on your hosting solution than you may realize. While everyone recognizes the importance of having a website that is reliable, it’s also critical to your business’ success that you have the right infrastructure to support your personnel needs. Whether it’s hiring more staff or stretching your current staff thin by having them perform duties that are outside their job description, managing your server yourself is often too costly in both time and money. Let your hosting company manage your VPS environment for you. Contact us today. The team at KnownHost is here to partner with you so you can have the hosting solution that makes the most sense for your business. Ask us how our managed services can help your business grow.