At times, shopping for a managed or unmanaged dedicated web hosting server solution can be a bit daunting, to say the least, even to a seasoned hosting professional. There are some basic differences between the "managed" and "unmanaged" variety of server solutions, and it really helps to know what some of those are.
With an unmanaged web hosting account, it is necessary for someone within your organization to know how to deal with the server on a first hand basis. This would be the time to consider hiring a system administrator, if that sort of person does not exist in your company. It will be their responsibility to handle all of the server side issues and various configurations. However, for small businesses, it is rarely an option to handle the expense of a technical professional for that purpose. This is when a managed dedicated server option can be most beneficial.
With a managed dedicated server, more of the issues of the server will be in the hands of the web host that the server was purchased from. This is why it is important to ensure that the web host has a high quality staff in place who really know what they are doing – when it comes to handling the dedicated server.
Webmasters responsible for the performance of a high-traffic web site generally consider it very beneficial to enlist the most reliable managed dedicated server environment possible. For smaller to mid-size business operations, however, it is often an issue of cost that will determine whether or not they are in a position from a budgetary standpoint, to enlist a fully managed dedicated server hosting solution.
Dedicated Server Reliability
The dedicated server or cluster being used must be properly managed, whether it is done internally or outsourced, in order for it to be reliable. Some of the general issues will include the management of hardware, operating systems, applications, and the e-commerce solution. Another high priority of concern will be security, data backup and disaster recovery. Reporting, monitoring, database management, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), connectivity, bandwidth, and load balancing are also all very important tasks that all need to be addressed. As anyone can see, the aforementioned areas consist of quite a bit to manage on a constant basis.
Utilizing dedicated servers in a managed hosting environment usually means that the managed dedicated hosting provider is renting servers, while providing system administration support for most, if not all of the management issues discussed above.
Webmasters who use managed dedicated server solutions for businesses of all sizes can rent pre-configured, out of the box web hosting or application hosting servers – which is advantageous for anyone involved in the maintenance of a web site. In this case, the dedicated server is used only by the company who purchased the solution – unlike shared web hosting or "virtual hosting" which allows for sharing on a single server along with often hundreds, if not thousands of other web sites.
Managed dedicated servers can cost quite a bit more than most shared hosting plans, but there are often specials by some of the more popular hosting firms and prices drop from time to time, often significantly, compared to what they were just a few years in the past.
Dedicated servers provide control of options including:
- Choice of operating system
- Tolerance for 3rd party software
- Server space sharing (if desired)
- Specific performance tweaks as necessary
Managed dedicated servers offer advantages that are almost too numerous to mention, when compared to the shared hosting environment. Large web sites or a sites with a great deal of traffic should always have a dedicated server in place. When using additional third party security for a web site or having many emails could be a concern, a dedicated server solution will allow for the kind of freedom that a shared hosting environment simply will not technically offer. Webmasters generally use dedicated servers so that will have the most comprehensive access to the server, with the ability to configure and optimize it in any way that may be required.