Choosing Server Administration service
You may opt for managed hosting from a hosting company, you may hire an in-house server administrator or you may outsource your server administration to a third party or offshore company.
1. Managed Hosting 2. In-house Server Administrator
3. Outsourcing Server Administration  
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Managed Hosting

Sections: Why You Need Server Administration | Managed Hosting Tasks | Managed Hosting Advantages | AxisHost & WiredTree | ServerWizards & Contegix | XioLink & LiquidWeb | Managed Hosting Considerations

Why You Need Server Administration

While web hosting for basic users usually consists of shared IP addresses and hosting, many companies want their own IP address and require more storage space than the average web account provides. This was why dedicated servers came into being. However, it can be difficult to operate these servers, and someone needs to manage storage capacity, databases, balancing server load, monitoring the server and reporting on server activity. These tasks can all be handled by a server administrator.

Managed Hosting Tasks

Managed hosting is like dedicated hosting on steroids. Basically you rent a server as you would with dedicated hosting, but you don't have to manage it. The managed hosting company maintains the operating system and hardware; installs, updates and patches software; and monitors your servers, the network and data centers. This includes the management of databases and testing service packs and other updates to make sure that your network server is always up and running and up to date.

Managed Hosting Advantages

One of the main advantages of managed hosting is the control you get over what's on the server. With typical web hosting, you may be restricted to what the web host provides in terms of software and certainly in terms of reporting software. There may be restrictions on databases, domains and sub domains. None of that applies with managed hosting. You choose the applications and data you want on the server and someone else takes care of the fiddly technical details.

Another advantage of managed hosting is that they are cost effective for companies which need a secure infrastructure, a lot of technical expertise and 100 per cent uptime. Unless your IT budget is limitless, these can be costly if you hire your own staff, so managed hosting might be a solution. It's a good way to make sure that critical functions relating to security, data storage and monitoring are expertly handled without breaking the bank. Your managed hosting service will include back up of your data, security firewalls and much more depending on the company and level of service you choose.

AxisHost & WiredTree

AxisHost will set up and configure your server and will monitor the server response for FTP, SSH, HTTP, HTTPS, mySQL, SMTP and POP requests. The company will update and patch the operating system and control panel, install and support software, and install PHP, Perl modules, SSL certificates. It will provide data backup recovery. It will troubleshoot and repair server problems and there is a server outage phone number that operates year round. No fee details were available.

WiredTree's service includes hardware management, support for operating systems and software, server hardening, firewalls and spam prevention and the installation, security patches and updates and monitoring. Clients may also monitor their servers through a client interface. The cost of the service ranges from $139 to $299 a month.

ServerWizards & Contegix

ServerWizards monitors the server at five minute intervals year round. It installs and configures software, optimizes hardware, provides security patches and updates for control panels. There are remote backups and clients benefit from unlimited support tickets. The company supports a wide variety of operating systems and control panels. This service is $75 a month, with additional charges for server setup and extra security.

Contegix specializes in Linux and MacOS servers, with its managed hosting starting at $325 a month. This includes installing, managing, updating and monitoring software and security patches and testing service packs. The company has experience in a wide range of database applications and has a 100 per cent uptime guarantee.

XioLink & LiquidWeb

XioLink installs, manages, updates and monitors service packs and security patches and has expertise in a wide variety of database packages. It has a 100 per cent uptime guarantee and will look after hardware, operating systems, applications and infrastructure. It offers a 30 minute hardware replacement guarantee.

LiquidWeb installs, manages, updates and monitors service packs and security patches and has expertise in a wide variety of database packages. It offers a two hour hardware replacement guarantee and has a 2 hour hardware replacement guarantee. Their managed hosting services range from $149 to $364.

Managed Hosting Considerations

There are several areas to consider when choosing a managed hosting plan. You will need to look at the services that are available and see whether you can simply choose the ones you need or whether you need to take a hosting plan. Find out about their internet connection speed and type and how they maintain hardware and software. And find out about technical support. You can test this be contacting them with a query to see what response you get. Some managed hosting providers have round the clock live support � use this as one way to compare them. Finally, look at the monthly or yearly payment options for a rounded view of the value of a particular provider.

Price differences between managed hosts will depend on how much account management you need, the application support services provided and how sophisticated the hardware is. In general, there is a fixed monthly rate for the services, though many server administration companies prefer to provide a custom quotation based on your exact requirements. It is worth checking what is included in and excluded from your managed hosting agreement before making the final choice.