It’s about servers (mostly)
To explain, when we use the terms “fully managed” and “un-managed,” we generally refer to either dedicated servers, virtual private server (VPS), or cloud server instances. However, this terminology can also apply, to a certain degree, to shared/virtual hosting providers. Some will do very little work for you while others provide comprehensive shared hosting services.
This article will cover both bare-metal dedicated servers and virtual/cloud servers.
Provide and serve(r)
Fully managed hosting providers should take care of everything and be readily available to help you fix any issues that may arise:
- They fix it if something stops working
- They fix it if something is slow
- They fix it if something is being weird
- They install it if something needs installing
- They configure it if something needs configuring
- They update it if something needs updating
- They secure it if something needs securing
- They back it up if something needs backing up
- They restore it if something needs restoring
If everything goes smoothly, you shouldn’t have to do much and can use it like a big shared hosting or reseller account; adding sites as needed and only contacting customer service if something breaks.
Keep in mind that not all hosting providers are created equal and what one provider considers to be “fully managed” might not be up to your standards. Additionally, the price you pay isn’t always indicative of the quality of service you’ll receive.
It’s a bigger investment
There’s no way around it: managed hosting is going to cost you more money. There are systems and staff that need to be paid for, after all. But if you want comprehensive management and support, it’s worth the investment.
If you’re asking yourself whether or not you should do it yourself, remember that your time is valuable. You could be focusing on serving your current customers or acquiring new ones, both of which are more profitable endeavors in the long run.
You could also hire someone yourself, but for smaller hosting requirements they’re probably going to be left twiddling their thumbs most of the time or doing low value work, at a high value salary.
If having someone else look after everything doesn’t sound like something for you or you need to save money right now, then un-managed hosting might be the answer. Check out What is un-managed hosting?