Cost has various connotations in business. How often have you heard that time is money? So is quality. There are different factors to be taken into consideration while evaluating cost rather than the bare hosting. Here are a few aspects of managed hosting which must be considered to assess the true cost of proposed managed hosting package.
The best managed services are worth nothing if you don’t have 100% uptime. Opportunity loss is stated to be the biggest factor in deciding future of online businesses. A downtime of a few hours can cause irreparable damage to your reputation. It’s all the more important for startups to ensure that you have no downtime. Loss of opportunity can cost you your business.
You can know the quality of service offered by managed hosting providers by looking at the SLA offered. Service level agreements must be simple, easy to implement and clear. You must also speak to existing customers to get their feedback. There is no point having a great SLA if the managed hosting provider has a history of reneging on their promises. Changing hosts can be troublesome process and therefore you must do due diligence before finalizing on a specific provider. The cost of changing hosting providers’ midway can cost you money and lost business opportunity.
Your data is money. You should never allow anyone to compromise your data. This is all the more important if you carry business data which rivals may use to their advantage. Unfortunately, cybercrimes are on the rise. A simple cyber-attack on your server can cause havoc with your online presence. Not only do you lose data but also your reputation. Imagine that your most important customer finds out that your server has been compromised?
Hacking has become a serious problem. Hackers can carry out attacks on your server with different objectives. Hacking can lead to loss of data which can be extremely painful. Hackers continue to find ways to create vulnerabilities. Managed hosting should therefore provide a secure environment by enforcing strict measures to manage, contain or eliminate security threats.
The first window of vulnerability is the operating system itself. Managed hosting providers must be able to keep the OS updated with the latest patches and version. A major cause for security breach is negligence in updating operating system.
Datacenter where your server is located must be physically secure. In addition, it must have intrusion detection systems and automatic alerts in place for timely action and aversion of security breach. Anti-virus software must be put in place to detect and cleanse software.
Server maintenance consists of several parts. The first and foremost is hardware. Many managed hosting providers provide outdated servers. Speed of processor, amount of RAM (Random access memory), hard disk space and server network connectivity have a major impact on user experience. Slow download speeds can be frustrating and may lead to loss of business opportunity.
Operating system and software maintenance is critical to proper and efficient functioning of web properties. Software tools and packages require constant updates which managed hosting service provider must ensure.
Network infrastructure plays an important role in managed hosting. This is an aspect which most of us tend to forget. However, network backbone has a crucial role to play in overall speed of website access. Slow page downloads also impact on search engine optimization.
Many a times we forget that we have to store files on our server. If you are into video streaming services, storage assumes great importance. If you consider that you may have to store video at different bitrates, your requirement may reach terra byte levels quickly. At the same time you would be losing money if you buy storage which is not used. The best option therefore is to have a flexible plan. Storage in the cloud is also a good option. You can include cloud services along with managed hosting. These options must be discussed at the time of signing the contract so that there is no ambiguity in the arrangement. Otherwise you may have to pay a hefty price for increased storage space.
We often forget database management when we think of managed hosting services. There are many instances when you may have to use databases which are not common like Oracle and DB2. In such an eventuality, you may have to sign a separate agreement with your service provider. You may need a database administrator and they cost a bomb. Ignoring database management can be a costly mistake which you would realize only when things go wrong.
What do you think does a backup of your entire data cost? Your data is invaluable. It’s your whole life’s worth. Unfortunately, this realization comes only when it’s too late for most of us. Experienced webmasters will tell you that many fortunes have been lost because of the absence of backup. Whatever may be your SLA, whatever promises your managed hosting provider may give, you must always have a backup strategy. The actual cost of backup is nothing compared to the safety net you will get. Many big corporates realized the worth of backup during the New York terrorist attack. So did those who got caught in the tsunami in Japan.
WordPress hosting has become quite a favorite with bloggers – big and small. In fact many large corporate have chosen WordPress as their content management system. Managed hosting for WordPress is a specialized job. In addition to the OS, you have to take care of your WordPress installation with updates, WordPress theme, database, plugin, widgets, tools and a host of other pieces of software. Managed hosting for WordPress is therefore different from others. There is no point have managed hosting if you cannot get your WordPress website into safe hands. The cost of WordPress hosting may be higher than normal but well worth the money.
Cost is not what matters- it’s the value you get out of it. Consider all aspects of managed hosting before calculating the money you will spend on it. A few pennies spent today may as well save your business at a later date.