7 Myths About Managed Hosting

Managed hosting has a deservedly strong reputation for hassle free and cost-effective service. But when companies begin evaluating managed-hosting providers, they sometimes get carried away by their enthusiasm and myth begins to surpass reality.

In an effort to prevent possible disillusionment and disappointment, and to set the record straight, here are seven common managed-hosting myths debunked:

Myth 1: Managed hosting is always more expensive than dedicated hosting.
Reality: While it's true that managed hosting usually costs more than a similarly sized dedicated-hosting package, it's also important to look at the big picture. Managed hosting allows customers to save time and money by dedicating fewer internal resources to Web-hosting management. This can translate into lower staff costs and reduced office space, actually making managed hosting less expensive than dedicated hosting over the long-term.

Myth 2: Managed hosting offers completely "hands-off" service.
Reality: It depends on how one defines "hands-off." A fully managed hosting package certainly provides a much higher degree of automation than the service offered by a basic dedicated Web-hosting provider. But service levels vary greatly between managed providers and even within a particular vendor's pricing tiers. Still, even at the highest service levels, customers will usually be expected to provide their own content, site design and various other nonessential tasks.

Myth 3: Only newbies need managed hosting.
Reality: Thinking that managed hosting is strictly for the technologically inexperienced is sort of like believing that a world-class chef never goes out to eat simply because he can cook his own gourmet meals. Even a company with a staff that's highly skilled in Web technologies may want to use a managed-hosting provider in order to take advantage of the various associated services and cost benefits.

Myth 4: A managed-hosting provider will always keep my data safe and secure .
Reality: This is generally true, but if you read the hosting contract's fine print, you'll probably discover that the provider is not legally obligated to protect your data under all conditions. Things can happen: datacenters can burn down, flood, blow up, get robbed or fall into a sinkhole. Even backups of backups can be destroyed in a catastrophe. Therefore, it's always smart to keep recent backups of critical data at one or more local sites.

Myth 5: Managed hosting will keep my Web site running 24/7, without interruption.
Reality: Although many providers offer packages that promise continuous service, there's usually a contract loophole that allows the company to escape liability in the event of circumstances beyond its control. This means that in rare instances service may become unavailable for hours or even days at a time. To recoup lost income from such an event, your only recourse will be a costly and risky negligence lawsuit.

Myth 6: Managed hosting will protect my Web resources against viruses and other types of attacks.
Reality: Managed-hosting providers strive to protect their servers and software from outside threats, including malware and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. But as ne'er-do-wells experiment with new technologies and tactics, there's always the possibility that your provider — and your Web resources — will get struck down.

Myth 7: Managed hosting provides limited software choices.
Reality: It's true that most vendors offer a limited array of popular server platforms, applications and other software resources. Unless your business has some very exotic software needs, though, it's usually quite easy to find a provider that offers an acceptable selection of software choices.