You’ve done your homework and know that virtual private server/VPS hosting is the right choice for you. You’re somewhere in between basic shared hosting and dedicated hosting (just like the vast majority of businesses!) but now you have another question to ponder. Do you need self-managed, semi-managed, or fully managed hosting? These three options aren’t available with all hosts, and of course each host might break down what’s included differently. Still, there are some basics to consider.
Unfortunately, many web hosts give this as their only option. This means you’re in total control with zero help from experts (unless of course you hire your own). Self-managed hosting requires experience as a systems administrator, as well as the time necessary to manage the equivalent of a dedicated server. You don’t get much taken care of for you with a self-managed account, although you do get root access.
The security is DDoS, you’ll likely have the host’s equivalent of “basic monitoring,” one IP address, and might have the option for a paid server admin services add-on. Your operating system (OS) distributions may include CentOS 6, Fedora, CentOS 7, Ubuntu, or Windows. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
This lets you take a little of the load off (thankfully!). However, your OS distributions are probably only CentOS 6 or Windows. You’ll have the control panel taken care of, root access, one-click installation options, auto updates and patching, a discounted migration option, and peace of mind knowing that security is in the hands of pros.
For SiteLock, you have an unlimited amount for websites (you don’t get any with self-managed). Backups and restores are a given, you’ll likely get three IP addresses, and for a fee you can get server admin services. Standard support is in your corner.
This is the big kahuna, and what many businesses need if you there isn’t an expert on staff. Again, CentOS and Windows may be your two choices for OS distribution. You get everything that semi-managed accounts get, but migration is included in the packaging. Monitoring is advanced, server admin services are free (well, rolled into the package), and you’ll have a team of pros dedicated to you with unlimited admin services.
You probably already have an idea of which management style and package is for you. If you really need fully managed services, don’t choose a web host that only offers self-managed. Technically, systems admin skills can be learned, but that’s not what you’re in business for—and it’s not why you’re going with VPS.
It’ll take a little while for all web hosts to catch up with VPS hosting. For years, basic shared plans were the norm. It was only if you got very big (enterprise-level), that dedicated hosting even crossed the mind of customers. Now that VPS is on par, price-wise, with basic shared hosting, you’ll see a lot more of it. Hopefully the level of managed services steps up to the plate across the board, too.