6 Aug 2018

Managed Website Hosting Drives More Business

Managed Websites Services Drive More Business

When it comes to website management of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) based sites, for most of the last two decades, this has been a job that web designers used to do. Graphic design, HTML coding and creating of content management systems (CMS) based websites have always been considered as a client-side work, not a server-side one. This has been the main reason for the web hosting companies, who are originally an infrastructure service providers, not to enter into the website management service niche. Instead of working client-side they have been partnering to various web design, Open Source software developers and website service providers to create hosting frameworks that would best serve their clients' business.

As the technology frameworks have become much more complex, web designers are no longer dealing with a handful of technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and few others. Most content management systems - WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Typo3, MODx, PrestaShop, Concrete5 and all other Open Source CMS - have grown into whole ecosystems. In order to manage properly any live versions of websites based on them, any professional needs to have a specific operational knowledge and experience on server-side installations.

Today, those who create and manage websites need a complex knowledge on Linux OS, web servers, databases, various Open Source frameworks, platforms, CMS and applications. Most of the web designers and digital agencies usually specialize in building websites on one or two CMS and are usually not familiar with the server-side website management, maintenance and troubleshooting. There are outstanding digital agencies on the market, not doubts about that, but most of them do not have an extensive knowledge on how a certain website would perform in a live server environment and how many computing resources it would need to function properly. This does not come to depreciate the web designers and digital agencies business, not at all. They simply specialize in creating websites and applications, not in managing them in live operational technology environments.

Website Management Shifts To Infrastructure Providers. Why?

Technology wise, the management of LAMP websites has started shifting towards web hosting providers. There are 3 major reasons for the site owners to use Managed Website services with any web host, rather than paying to web designers and digital agencies to support and maintain the live versions of their websites.

1. Web Hosting Providers Are Usually Open 24/7/365

If any business owner needs anything to be done on their website - HTML code or graphic to be changed, any information to be updated, a new web page to be created, a software version to be updated or any issue to be fixed - Managed Website service providers usually do it on a short notice. At the same time most web design studios and digital agencies, who's teams are usually overloaded with work and busy working on any projects, always require and advanced notice from their customers even for jobs which require less than 1 hour of management.

The Technical Support of any average web hosting provider is available 24/7, so any technical problem, both client-side or server-side could be fixed anytime the website owners need that. The web hosts and providers of Managed Website services are always there to help their customers - this is their biggest competitive advantage.

2. Web Hosts Have The Knowledge To Manage & Maintain Live Websites

Even the experienced web designers and many of the HTML coders and LAMP developers cannot match the qualifications of the Technical Support operators, part of the web hosting providers' management teams. Take a look at Host Color’s requirements that apply to Junior Technical Support Operators. One who wants to start working for us - and it is usually the same with other web hosting companies - must have the following qualifications.

  • An ability to manage and troubleshoot basic cPanel and WHM based web hosting accounts
  • A knowledge of FTP, DNS, POP3 and IMAP
  • A basic knowledge of web servers - Apache, IIS, Nginx, etc
  • A knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP scripting and MYSQL databases

The recommended qualifications for a Junior Technical Support Operator, which are a required for the Senior members of our Technical Support team are:

  • Experience in managing WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and other popular Open Source CMS and web publishing tools
  • Advanced knowledge of Linux OS - CentOS and other Linux distributions - Apache web server and understanding of DNS, SMTP, SSL, SSH
  • Experience in managing of PHP, Perl, Python scripts and MySQL databases
  • Basic experience with KVM, Xen, OpenVZ virtualization
  • BS (Bachelor Degree) in any discipline related to Customer Care operations or any computer science discipline, or significant equivalent experience

None of the web designers and developers who work on the website projects is required to have all those skills, which are actually the basic qualifications that Technical Support Operator who works for a web hosting provider must have.

Those professionals who create websites must have other skills. They must be creative, they need time to develop and test ideas, to work on visual and programming concepts. Their business is of a great importance and that’s why they charge a lot for their services. They aren’t in the website management and maintenance business, however. For this simple reason, they cannot do a better job on supporting any live version of a website, than the Managed Website providers.

3. Managed Web Hosting Providers Charge Less For Maintenance

The third major reason to use Managed Web Hosting service, rather than calling your web designer anytime you need to update software versions, fix any minor issue or just to add an element or a new web page to the website is that the Managed service provider usually commissions the work as a part of a monthly subscription plan. If an additional fee applies, it is usually charged at a reasonable per/hour rate.

Why Have Web Hosts Become Providers Of Managed Website Services?

Business wise, the web hosts have started offering Managed Web Hosting in the Self-Managed Web Hosting niche, as they are those who have the customer base and are responsible for the reliability and performance of the websites they host. There are two other reasons for web hosts to enter into the website management.

The first and the most important reason is that the major Cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, VMware, IBM and others have deliberately entered into IT infrastructure hosting service niches operated by middle-sized and smaller companies, in order to maximize their profits. In many aspects the services - instant infrastructure setup, reliability and scalability - that the major Clouds offer, are superior to those offered by the smaller companies. However, the major Cloud infrastructure (IaaS) providers are less flexible in their service frameworks and in their terms of services, their technical support is usually slow and bureaucratized and has less coverage that those of their smaller competitors. The major Clouds usually charge 2 or sometimes 3 times more for IT infrastructure and Management services than the any middle-sized web hosting provider.

The second reason for the web hosts to switch from Infrastructure Hosting providers to Managed Service providers is that in order to consolidate their profits many web design firms and digital agencies have entered the web hosting industry by leasing IT infrastructure from the major Clouds and charging their clients for web hosting and services which have never been in their market niche.

Those are the main reasons that have driven the web hosting infrastructure providers to start offering Managed services such as OS maintenance, security and system administration not just as server-side services (on the computing instance level), but also as client-side services - technical and system administration for websites. The result is that many web hosts have been a major success in the Managed Web Hosting industry within the last decade.

What Is Important For The Website Owners?

There is no universal out-of-the-box website service solution. Business owners need to decide on their own between:

  • Hosting their websites and apps with any infrastructure provider & using 3rd party technical support and management services
  • Using Managed Websites with any reputable web host

As HC does both - Infrastructure services and Managed Websites - we are transparent and fair to our customers and Blog readers. So we simply suggest them to plan carefully their project and budget for website design, technical and system administration. There are many great professionals who’d provide website management services at reasonable rates, which usually vary anywhere between $50 - $100 per hour.

Managed Site Hosting usually starts at $30/month (including Managed Wordpress Hosting and Managed Sites based on various Open Source CMS). Each and every service provider offers different scope of the management service (number of hours and services included). Ours start with 1 hour of management service per month as we want to avoid charging customer for work-hours, which many of them usually do not request.

Many small business owners who have previously used management services with web design and digital agencies and have been charged high per hour rates. Others have been spending many hours on do-it-yourself website management.

The website management lifecycle is a time consuming and requires significant knowledge. The Managed Web Hosting services save time and money to business owners and more importantly apply advanced knowledge to their Web based business. This drives more business to the owners of the websites. So, to use a Managed Website service is always a very good decision.