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Web hosting is web hosting, right? Well… no.

So how do you assess the difference in web hosting from Company X to Company Y and with all the different terminology and packages available – particularly if you’re not a technical boffin?

Don’t worry, it’s confusing for a reason, and that reason is that it is so that it’s not easy to compare things between suppliers, you have to take them on good faith that they are covering off what you need. This is fine for basic personal usage and don’t mind when things go wrong, but for small and medium sized business use, this is not adequate, so you need to understand what you are paying for and ultimately who is responsible for the different aspects – you – or – your web hosting provider.

You may think that your web hosting provider is simply doing everything they should be doing for you, but that is rarely the case. As a general rule of thumb, the less you pay, the more you are responsible for. And that means that you need the skills, expertise and time to deal with situations as they arise, and they arise on a regular basis – someone has to take care of your infrastructure.

Below is a starter for 10 for the types of things that are common ‘things’ that need doing on web hosting infrastructure with a comparison of how cheaper providers generally manage things VS managed web hosting providers, like ourselves and many other quality providers out there too.

Hopefully this information below helps you to see as a non-technical person what is really happening behind the scenes and how the £ pricing for the different providers generally tilts the scales between where you are responsible for activities VS where your web hosting company is responsible for the activities.

 

Activity Unmanaged (Cheaper)

Web Hosting

Who is Responsible For…

Managed (Expensive)

Web Hosting

Who is Responsible For…

Provisioning core server resources for creating your virtual server (Hard disk space, RAM, CPU, Networking, Security Groups, Containers etc… too much to cover here) You Provider
Installing and configuring the operating system You Provider
Installing and configuring core web server Control Panel software You Provider
Server level backups You Provider
Monitoring and managing Operating System level updates You Shared responsibility
Monitoring and managing web server software packages for updates and security patches You Shared responsibility
Monitoring and managing web server infrastructure and resource utilisation (Hard drive, CPU, RAM, IOPS, etc.) – i.e. when your hard disk fills up, your customers can’t place orders via your website You Shared responsibility
Installing and monitoring core infrastructure utilisation software and proactively respond to changes rather than reacting to catastrophes. You Shared responsibility
Designing and managing Networking and Security Groups to ensure you limit your exposure in the situation whereby security breaches happen You Shared responsibility
SSL Certificates for keeping your data safe during transit from your web server to your customers. You Shared responsibility
And a lot more… You Shared responsibility

 

Look, the above is a huge over simplification of the reality, and there are so many types of unmanaged and managed web hosting solutions that there are an awful lot of nuances in both categories so this is a very simplistic view of the world. Hopefully it helps to show some of the common differences between cheaper (unmanaged) web hosting and more expensive (managed) web hosting solutions.

At Contrado Digital we focus on things that “Just Work”, so as you can guess we tend to sit in the Managed Space, and more expensive. Although even still, we work across the board, for example with enterprise clients we can support through training and development where corporate organisations are wanting to self-manage their infrastructure with their internal staff. The joys are that there are endless options available, so let’s have a chat about your requirements and we can see what works best for you.

Ultimately if you’re reading this post, you probably fall into one of two categories;

  1. A small to medium sized business who needs help? If so, you probably need support via a managed service, whether that is from a single virtual machine hosting one website to a more complex hosted or physical infrastructure that we manage on your behalf.

A large enterprise business who has staff internally who needs help with how to work with self-managed solutions? If so, you probably need some consultancy, training and coaching for staff to manage these solutions effectively through one of more of your cloud providers or on-premise providers.

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Michael Cropper

Founder & Managing Director at Contrado Digital Ltd
Michael founded Contrado Digital in 2013. He has experience working with national and multi-national brands in a wide range of industries, helping them achieve awesome results. Michael regularly speaks at local universities and industry events while keeping up with the latest trends in the digital industry.