Is Your Business Ready for Managed Website Hosting? Here’s How to Find Out
Answer honestly: Is your company’s website secure and performing optimally?
If this question makes you cringe, you’re not alone.
A problem that many SMBs encounter is how to manage, on their own, all of the technical nuts and bolts that go into a website.
The thing is, managing a website is not a simple set it and forget it task. It requires an ongoing process that includes monitoring, security, updates and lots of day-to-day operations.
If you (or your team) is struggling to do it all, it might be time to investigate managed website hosting. Here’s how to find out.
What is managed website hosting?
All websites exist on servers which are accessed every time someone visits a website. These internet users (your potential clients) request access in order to view your content. This is all done in the background, of course.
But on the technical side, accessing and visiting your website relies on a lot of components, including how internet users will find your website and interact with it. Some websites will be far more complex than others. For example, a personal blog will require a lot less maintenance than a SaaS B2B website.
It’s the latter that will most likely require managed website hosting services. Where a personal blogger might be OK with basic hosting, a B2B website will require something that is more customized, has tighter security and offers more protections.
This is where managed website hosting can be a lifesaver (and a business-saver). While run-of-the-mill web hosting solutions offer the basics as far as security and updates, a managed website hosting service will do a lot more than that.
A managed web hosting service will:
- Provide space on their servers for your website
- Setup the server and install necessary software
- Create and maintain security of the server that your website is stored on
- Protect your data, pages and databases from malicious attacks
- Isolate software containers
- Maintain ongoing server patches
- Provide security monitoring
- Provide technical server support
Managed website hosting has its advantages and is usually the preferred option for small-to-medium sized companies that are looking to expand.
Large companies usually have their own IT departments that handle these tasks on a regular basis, so they don’t generally rely on managed website hosting. But this isn’t always the case, especially since website hosting is complex and requires a specific skill set.
(Want to learn more about managed website hosting and maintenance? Check out our ultimate guide.)
Pros of managed website hosting
Managed website hosting has its advantages:
Not a one-size-fits-all solution
This is one of the biggest advantages of managed website hosting, and a big reason why companies choose to use third party hosting services.
As your company continues to grow, your website needs will diversify. With managed web hosting, getting something that goes beyond basic setup and plugins allows you to build a website that is exactly what your company and visitors want.
For those companies that simply don’t have the capacity to manage their own website hosting and all the nuances that go along with that, but also aren’t at the stage where they need to hire someone full-time to do this in-house, managed web hosting just might be the ticket.
Managed website hosting allows you to continue to build the business without having to worry about undertaking the necessary scaling of your website’s servers to reflect that. Nor will you have to worry about the extensive training and labour required to do this. It’s all taken care of for you.
Remember, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to website hosting, particularly as your business grows and its needs become more complex.
Frees up your time
It’s pretty simple: managed website hosting frees up your time so you can get to doing what you do… growing the business.
Considerations of managed website hosting
As with anything, for some businesses there are some things to consider about managed website hosting:
Handing over control can be challenging
For some leaders, there’s stress that comes with handing over the reins of their company’s website (a pivotal tool for their business’s success) to a third party.
For others however, this can be a huge relief.
No matter your comfort level, if you hire the right company to manage your website hosting, you shouldn’t ever feel like you’ve lost control.
It can be expensive… but worth it
Outsourcing your business’s website hosting to a managed service provider can be expensive, but the ROI can also be worth it.
When you factor in time spent on training and labour that is required to manage your business’s website – updates, server patches, and security – the benefits of outsourcing to a managed website hosting service can actually outweigh the costs.
So, is your business ready for managed website hosting services?
5 signs you need managed website hosting
Of course, every business is different. Business needs change and where you might once have managed everything within a small team, as your company grows it might be time to consider managed website hosting services for your business.
1. You’re struggling to meet the demands website hosting requires
Website hosting can be… a lot. It’s not a simple task of setting it up and it’s done and dusted.
Ensuring your website is running smoothly is – and should be – an ongoing process. Some of those regular tasks are:
- Managing a CDN
- Managing caching
- Optimizing the database
- Taking backups
- Maintaining an SSL
- Isolating software containers
If that sounds like a part-time (or even full-time) job, that’s because it is. So, if you find yourself struggling to check these off your list, it might be time to call in the help.
2. Your business isn’t ready for an IT department
Businesses that generally benefit the most from managed website hosting services are those in-between ones: not quite small but not quite big. Sort of like Goldilocks.
While you may desperately need to offload these daunting tasks onto someone else (preferably someone who is highly skilled with managed website hosting), you may not be so keen on bringing someone onboard in your own version of an IT department.
There can be multiple reasons for this decision, but going with a service provider that has the expertise to focus on your website maintenance and security can be an ideal choice over bringing someone in-house.
3. Monitoring performance has become a back-burner task
Let’s be honest, monitoring your website’s performance can be as dry as Melba toast. When you have a lot of other tasks ongoing that require your attention, monitoring how your website is performing might also become one of those back-burner tasks.
But here’s the thing: monitoring your website’s performance is actually a crucial part of your business. For many businesses, their website serves as their store- or office-front. If your website isn’t loading fast, for instance, and you’re losing visitors as a result, the whole business can suffer.
If you’re finding this task keeps getting pushed, it might be time to consider managed website hosting.
4. You’re worried about maintaining your own website security
Cybersecurity is always a foremost concern for companies, particularly now with so many pandemic-related cyberattacks. Data breaches don’t just affect your bottom line, they can affect your customers as well.
Ensuring your website is secure at the server level includes maintaining a firewall, detecting DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, monitoring for uptime, preventing malicious code from entering the network, and more. If that sounds daunting, it might be time to look at outsourcing.
Many out-of-the-box website hosting services offer limited security features, but cyberthreats are on the rise and if your business is a victim, you want to make sure you have access to someone who is already on the ball.
In many cases, prevention is the best course of action. And prevention means update, update, update.
5. Your business has scaled up or you have plans for expansion
For most companies – particularly in our vastly digital world – websites are an integral part of the sales funnel. And those websites need to expand as the business does.
The benefit of managed website hosting is you don’t have to worry about scaling up and down your server resources as the volume of traffic to your website or your storage allocation increases or decreases.
Taking the next step
Making the leap to managed website hosting services can feel like just one more task on your to-do list. But it will pay off in the long term.
Before diving in, a few final pointers:
- Do a cost benefit analysis. Will outsourcing to a managed website hosting service pay off in the long term?
- Learn the basics of website hosting to better understand what it is you do and don’t need.