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What Does a Managed Web Hosting Provider Do?

If you’ve been shopping for a web hosting plan recently, you’ve probably read that plans that utilize dedicated servers are the most powerful and robust on the market. While this is true, it is important to note that there are two types of dedicated hosting – managed and unmanaged – each one geared towards a completely different type of webmaster. An unmanaged dedicated web hosting plan essentially puts you in complete control of the web server, so that you are effectively leasing a server that is stored in a remote location. A managed dedicated web hosting plan gives you access to comprehensive support and customer service that allows you to focus on the important aspects of your online business, while the web hosting provider deals with server administration tasks. So what exactly does a managed web hosting provider do that an unmanaged web hosting provider does not?

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Server Setup

When you purchase a managed web hosting plan, you have the option to choose which operating system you would like on your web server. It is important to note that Windows web hosting is usually more expensive than Linux hosting, because Windows is not a free open-source operating system like Linux. When you make your decision and purchase a plan, a managed hosting provider will automatically install the desired operating system and set up the server so that is fully functional before you ever log into your control panel. With many cheaper unmanaged hosting plans there is no operating system installed on the server, or an undesirable operating system is installed, so the webmaster is required to install the software and set up the server themselves.

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Server Backups and Maintenance

Managed web hosting providers also perform the task of keeping the hardware and software configuration of your web server secure at all times. To do this, the managed web hosting provider will make complete backups of your entire web server on a routine basis, and then store the backups on several redundant servers to prevent data loss. Within unmanaged web hosting plan you would need to log into your control panel, which you would have to install first,  and manually create a backup of your server. Theoretically you could create a Cron job within an unmanaged hosting plan to have server backups performed automatically on a scheduled basis, however this is much more difficult than simply using a managed hosting plan. Managed hosting providers also defragment web servers and perform daily server maintenance to ensure that the server is functioning optimally at all times.

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Technical Support and Customer Service

The level of customer support and services offered with a managed web hosting plan is leaps and bounds above that offered with an unmanaged hosting plan. In fact, many unmanaged hosting providers do not offer technical support at all, and may require the webmaster to use their own internet technology specialist or assistant in order to fix problems that occur within the software installed on the server. Most managed hosting providers offer 24-hour technical support and comprehensive customer service, which is an essential feature for the vast majority of novice to intermediate webmasters.

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