If you’ve ever shopped around for managed hosting, you know how crowded the market is. How do you know which provider is best for you and your website? We’d love to wax poetic on the many benefits of a Managed Hosting Plan with Liquid Web, but instead we’ve compiled the top six questions you should be asking any potential hosting vendor. Keep these questions in mind throughout your search for the managed host that best fits your needs.
What services are covered under managed hosting?
The definition of managed hosting varies drastically from provider to provider, so it is important that you specifically ask any potential host what services they manage. Any hosting vendor should offer at the bare minimum: 24x7x365 support via multiple communication channels, a managed network infrastructure, managed hardware, full control panel support (if necessary), and managed security in the way of software patches and upgrades, anti-SPAM, and antivirus. This level of management should be available for a variety infrastructure offerings, including dedicated and cloud servers. Finding out exactly what the vendor will do for you in their managed plan can prevent a lot of confusion later on.
Is there additional support beyond the traditional offerings?
There are many, many hosting providers who offer just the basics in customer support. You should look for one that exceeds your expectations. Do they have a regularly updated Knowledge Base that offers tips and tutorials? Any potential host has a list of what they support – but how do they respond when you call with an issue not on that list? We call this best effort support at Liquid Web. Will your potential host go above and beyond to solve your problems, even if they aren’t traditionally covered issues?
How easy is it to communicate with customer support?
Many companies offer only the bare minimum of customer support. A support team that is available around the clock through phone, email and chat is more important than you might think. Is the support team available in the middle of the night or over long weekends? Are they local and on-site with your server? Do you have to pay for additional support? What kind of response times does their support guarantee? Customer support is your server’s life line and reaching out should be both quick and easy, no matter the time of day or type of problem you have.
Will this provider regularly monitor your server?
After you set up your hosting environment, you want to be sure that someone will be keeping an eye on your server. Find out if your potential hosts offers proactive 24/7 system, server, and network level monitoring, as well as proactive patch management, comprehensive statistics, and proactive system restoration. Proactive is the key word when comparing monitoring services, since you’ll want the host to take immediate action to fix a problem when one is discovered.
Is the pricing fair for the services you need?
Cost is important, but it can be a complex and misleading factor. Don’t fall into the trap of looking for the “cheapest” host available. It’s important to know your budget and judge the hosts based on what features they offer. Oftentimes a configuration that costs just a bit more will provide much better value in the long term, due to the level of customer service offered, the feature set of the decided upon solution, and the quality of the hardware used. Picking the cheapest plan could very well cost you more in the long run.
What do current customers say?
One sign of a great company is happy customers. Ask for customer reviews, and see if you can find some current customers on social media and talk to them. Ask for both good experiences and bad experiences, keeping in mind that there are always outliers when it comes to customer reviews. If the majority of what you’re hearing is positive, then you’ve probably found a provider that treats its customers well.
There are more than a few options in the web hosting market and attempting to sort through the bevy can be overwhelming. Asking these few questions might just help move you closer to finding the host with the perfect Managed Hosting plan for you. While we’ve focused on just a few of the most important, there are many more questions you should ask any potential hosting provider. Of course, the Heroic team at Liquid Web would be happy to help you with these and any other questions you may have via LiveChat or at 1-800-580-4985. We’d love to help you discover how Liquid Web’s Managed Hosting Plan can work for you.
Do you have a question that you think should have made this list? Let us know!