The growing importance of web development, marketing, social media, SEO and creative skills in today’s digital marketplace means that companies that lack in-house know-how are increasingly making use of the specialist expertise of third-party agencies. As a result, those agencies are making greater use of web hosting, both for themselves and in many cases for their clients. Managing their hosting while getting on with the job of looking after their clients can be a challenge. Here we explain the benefits of moving to a managed hosting solution.
What is a managed hosting solution?
Web hosting customers can choose either managed or unmanaged hosting. The key difference between them is that with managed hosting, the vendor takes care of many of the technical, day to day admin tasks, whereas with unmanaged hosting, the customer will have to carry them out for themselves. These tasks include making sure your server and network are secure and working optimally and that operating systems are kept up to date and security patches are installed promptly. It is also possible to create bespoke management plans where the vendor will undertake a wider range of tasks on your behalf.
Do as your clients do
Digital agencies thrive because they have the specialist knowledge, tools, time and human resources that their clients don’t have. If clients need expert help with web development or marketing, for example, they’ll seek out digital agencies that operate in those areas. Using the same logic, it makes sense that if a digital agency lacks the time or technical skills to manage its own hosting, it too should seek out a provider that will undertake the management on their behalf.
Free up staff
One of the major benefits of using a managed hosting service is that it reduces the IT burden on your agency. With your IT staff freed from the responsibility of managing your server, they can focus on more business-oriented projects, such as developing new services for your clients, or indeed, working on your clients’ projects and campaigns.
In the fast-paced digital world, sometimes you need to respond quickly to the changing needs of your clients and make sure the multiple projects or campaigns you are working on are kept on schedule. Taking the server admin burden away from your staff puts you in a better position to deliver the services your customers expect.
Easier site development
If you are a web developer, each of your clients will have different demands. Some may only require small, simple websites, while others will have far more complex requirements, such as wanting to integrate a website with a mobile app or to deploy advanced website tools, like product recommendation engines. Managing and configuring a development platform that can cater for these varied needs can be time-consuming. Letting your host take care of this as part of a managed plan makes it far easier to get on with the work for the client.
Security and reliability
A managed hosting solution ensures that your IT system, applications and network are expertly managed around the clock. It monitors hardware for issues so that they can be rectified immediately, enabling the vendor to deliver 99.9% and greater uptime guarantees; it uses advanced firewalls and intrusion, malware and DDoS prevention tools to protect your services from a cyberattack; it monitors performance to keep your server working optimally, and it updates operating system software and installs security patches on your behalf.
One of the issues of having on-site IT is that once storage or processing capacity is reached, providing more storage or greater processing power requires the purchase of additional servers. Not only is this costly; the time it takes to build, configure and deploy that extra server can impact your ability to function at the level you require.
From a scalability perspective, managed hosting enables you to upgrade to a larger or more powerful hosting solution much faster, more cost-effectively and with significantly less downtime – in some cases, for instance with a managed cloud solution, without any downtime at all. What’s more, the vendor will be able to carry out most of the work involved on your behalf, either upgrading you to a bigger package or migrating your system to a different platform.
For the most cost-effective and speedy scalability, managed cloud hosting is the ideal solution as you can scale up instantly, as demand requires, to ensure you have all the resources you need and then can scale down just as quickly when demand tails off. As the cloud is paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis, this makes it the most efficient way to pay for hosting when there is fluctuating demand.
If you host your clients’ online services, having the scalability of the cloud ensures that they too don’t see their websites perform sluggishly or crash during peak periods or unexpected spikes. This can be a key attraction for potential new customers.
Managed hosting, quite simply, makes life easier for digital agencies. The important responsibilities of looking after the management of the server are taken care of by the vendor, leaving your company free to work on the business. This means that key tasks, like server security, optimisation and OS updates are carried out by experts, while scalability is easier, quicker and more cost-effective to achieve.
For more information about our managed web hosting services, visit our homepage.