Server hosting is one of most crucial aspects of any internet-based business. Giving your IT BUSINESS a solid foundation — like the ability to withstand traffic surges and sidestep downtime — is just one of the many reasons it’s important to choose the right service.
In addition to the technical prowess of a host’s servers, things like additional services and the level of customer support they offer are just as important. It’s safe to say that a good host will take a huge hosting burden off your shoulders whereas a bad host — or even a relatively poor choice in server hosting — can throw a pretty large wrench in the works of your site.
In this article, We’ll be discussing the differences between managed and self-managed server hosting and what each of these terms really means for you, the user. By the end of this article, you should not only know a lot more about both these types of service but also which one to use. Let’s get started…
What Is Managed Server Hosting?
A server hosting plan is made up of a number of different components. The most basic component is the server hardware itself. The server usually has an operating system installed and various kinds of software used for running your business.
In addition, server hosting companies may also offer various services such as application installation, licensing, automated backups, malware scanning and removal, status monitoring, security sweeps, and more.
These additional features are management services, which is where the “managed” part of the term “managed server hosting” comes into play. In essence, managed hosting simply refers to a hosting plan that comes with a number of additional benefits or services.
What Is Self-managed Server Hosting?
Self-managed server hosting is a plan with no (or very few) additional services. With Self-managed hosting you may, for example, get simply a server with only an operating system installed. This means that you’ll then need to install any necessary software on your own. For example to run a wholesale voip business you have to install VOS3000 on a linux Self-Managed Server.
The reason it’s referred to as “self-managed” is because the server hosting company itself doesn’t provide any services or carry out any management tasks on your server. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Let’s get a good grasp of what types of management services managed server hosting can offer.
Available Management Services
The exact services on offer differ from company to company. There are, however, some very common ones that tend to be offered by most companies. Let’s go through some of these to understand what they mean.
SOFTWARE OR APPLICATION INSTALLATION
A managed server should come with a software or appliaction or control panel where you can set up specific things. For exapmple Installation of VOS3000, Asterisk, Freeswitch etc to run you VOIP buinsess with the server.
Note that you can, of course, install your own software (like vos3000 or asterisk) to use on an self-managed server, however, this won’t be possible unless you have the necessary skills to do so.
This one is very important, since no one likes their data disappearing in the blink of an eye. Automated backups are a great solution: they give you peace of mind and — to an extent — take some of the pressure off you having to make regular backups of your database yourself.
It should be pointed out, however, that not all automated backups are created equally. You should ask the provider about two things in particular:
- Is the backup stored on the same server as my site?
- Does the backup contain my databases?
Making sure that the backup is not stored on the same server is essential. If your hardware physically malfunctions and has to be replaced, if your backups will also be lost if they’re stored on it!
Your databases are usually the most important part of your business. VOS3000, for example, can be reinstalled. However, if you lose your database, you lose your all records, your usage reports, your users and more! In short: When using a voip servers like VOS3000, always make sure that maximum safety in place by having backups contain the database.
Performance monitoring is important because it can (and hopefully will) warn you before disaster strikes. Your host may, for example, notify you when your server is close to having used all of its available resources (like hdd space, among other things). This warning could give you enough time to contact a support technician to resolve the issue before it’s too late, and your traffic suffers.
SECURITY, MALWARE SCANNING AND REMOVAL
Server security should be an absolute top priority for anyone with a IT business. When it comes to security, service downtime may seem almost trivial compared to the prospect of a malicious attempt made to expose your users’ data.
HARDWARE FIREWALL, DDOS MITIGATION, INTRUSION PREVESION SYSTEM (IPS)
Hardware Firewall and IPS can save you from expose myriad issues on your server.DDOS Mitigation services serve to get rid of unwanted downtime if under any network attack. Of course, these kinds of services may not be able to thwart everything, but they can certainly be an excellent first line of defense.
Basic support services are always free. Many top-rated hosting companies these days even offer instant live chat support! Tech support can give you a hand with many of your issues — or at least point you in the right direction. You shouldn’t expect the most basic free services to install applications and update software for you (something they may not even be able to do anyway), but they do (or at least should) always offer general advice.
A good support system doesn’t necessarily mean that a company has bigger footprint. What it does mean is that they’re committed to their users. we have found this to often be one of the most important factors.
Now that you know exactly what managed server hosting entails, let’s revisit self-managed server hosting. After knowing what we now know, you might wonder why would anyone want a server without management services? There are basically three main reasons:
- An application requires special tweaking and tuning of the server
- The user likes to tinker and/or wants to learn about server management
- To save money
Unmanaged servers tend to come with an operating system installed, but not much else. Anything you want to do you’ll need to do via the command line.
It’s important to understand that the command line is the ultimate power tool. All the management services hosts offer, all the functionality offered by control panels — somewhere, they all rely on commands issued via the command line. You may not be able to see it, but that’s what’s happening.
Therefore, anything the host can do for you, you can do yourself — provided you have the necessary skills. You can download, install and set up monitoring services for yourself. You can add malware detection and removal tools on your own; you could even create your own control panel!
If you want to save some money and have the know-how, self-managed servers could be the way for you.
In some special cases, applications running on the server may call for such a specific setup that the hosting company simply doesn’t offer the precise things you need. This could also arise from the need to optimize a server to the extreme.
Note that you need a significant amount of server-management knowledge to get along with an self-managed server. With a basic, self-managed server hosting plan, you cannot run voip business “out of the box” and there is no graphical interface for you to use to interact with the server. In short, self-managed servers/hosting plans are definitely reserved for the tech savvy!