Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting: The Only Guide You Need

September 14, 2022 Ronald Caldwell

Digital agencies need IT infrastructures that can keep up with rapid growth while providing consistent uptime, optimal performance, and high reliability.

Fully managed dedicated hosting addresses that demand and lets you manage cash flow efficiently to fuel your business growth.

But what is fully managed dedicated hosting? And how exactly does it solve the IT infrastructure challenges of your growing online business?

We’ll answer all that and more in this guide.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Dedicated Hosting Explained
Benefits of Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting
On-Premises vs Managed Dedicated Hosting: A High-Level Overview of Cost Benefits
How To Choose a Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting Service: 10 Considerations
Final Thoughts: What Is Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting?
Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting FAQs

Dedicated Hosting Explained

Dedicated hosting is an isolated hosting environment where one or more applications are hosted on a server dedicated to a single client. It’s also known as a single-tenancy architecture since the server resources are devoted to a single tenant or client.

Dedicated servers provide complete control over the server resources and let you optimize server performance and security to suit your unique business needs. Therefore, they’re best suited for large organizations and high-traffic websites.

Dedicated servers are typically hosted in data centers and offered with different levels of administrative and engineering support options. The three most common types of dedicated hosting are: 

  • Fully managed dedicated hosting.
  • Managed dedicated hosting.
  • Unmanaged dedicated hosting.

Here’s a quick introduction to each dedicated hosting type.

Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting

Fully managed dedicated hosting is an isolated hosting environment where the service provider handles the setup, administration, management, and support of the physical server and application environment. All server resources are dedicated to running your application, and your business data is hosted in isolation.

In a fully managed dedicated hosting environment, the service provider leases out a bare metal server and handles security patches, software updates, and operating systems. As a result, you enjoy an entirely hands-off hosting experience.

Fully managed dedicated hosting servers are ideal for businesses that need reliable hosting but don’t have the technical knowledge to manage their own servers.

Managed Dedicated Hosting

Managed dedicated hosting is a hosting environment where the service provider handles the setup and maintenance of the physical server but offers a limited number of services related to the maintenance and support of the software environment. Thus, you’re more involved in the server management process.

Managed dedicated hosting service providers generally limit their support for the software environment to the operating system (OS). Thus, you’re in charge of configuring, maintaining, and securing the software.

Managed dedicated hosting solutions are ideal for businesses with small technical teams that want to be involved in the server management process and need more control over the software environment.

Unmanaged Dedicated Hosting

Unmanaged dedicated hosting is a dedicated hosting environment where the service provider handles tasks such as setting up, monitoring, and maintaining the hosting infrastructure while you handle all tasks related to the maintenance and security of the software environment.

Unmanaged hosting service providers handle everything related to the hosting setup, such as network and cable management. You are responsible for installing, maintaining, and securing software on the server.

Unmanaged servers are ideal for businesses that rely on mission-critical applications, such as software businesses catering to banks and hospitals. Unmanaged solutions let them retain control over their application without worrying about latency or uptime problems.

Benefits of Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting

Fully managed dedicated hosting offers all the benefits of dedicated server hosting without the technicalities of hardware and software maintenance. Here are eight ways fully managed dedicated hosting benefits your online business.

Fast Server Setup

Setting up a dedicated server is a complicated task. You need to invest time and capital in everything from storage space and networking equipment to hiring and training IT staff for server management.

Fully managed dedicated hosting provides instant access to fast and secure hosting environments. You don’t need to spend months planning, budgeting, and setting up servers. Instead, you can deploy your application on purpose-built enterprise-grade servers in hours.

High Reliability

Downtime is expensive. Therefore, server reliability is highly crucial for modern companies. A 2021 survey of over 1,200 organizations by ITIC revealed the average hourly cost of downtime was upwards of $300,000, excluding legal fees, fines, and penalties.

The cost of enterprise downtime.

Fully managed dedicated servers offer high reliability as compared to self-managed solutions. Moreover, most reliable hosting providers offer SLAs with guaranteed uptime and financial compensation if they fail to meet uptime commitments.

Maximum Performance

Unlike shared hosting, where resources are divided between multiple clients, choosing a fully managed dedicated server ensures all server resources are dedicated to your application. You don’t need to worry about performance or latency issues.

Sunglass Fix, a leading global eCommerce website, turned to Liquid Web to address its growing concerns about performance issues and downtimes. Here’s what founder Craig Anderson has to say about their partnership with Liquid Web:

“Our site is around four times faster than it used to be, and we have unparalleled support. I recommend Liquid Web to all my business associates. I remind them that you need support and speed if you’re serious about having a strong site—things that Liquid Web absolutely provides.”

Round-the-Clock Support

The biggest benefit of choosing a fully managed dedicated hosting provider is round-the-clock customer support from a team of experts. So if there’s an outage in the middle of the night, it’ll be quickly dealt with by a dedicated IT support team.

For example, at Liquid Web, we have Level 3 Technicians at our data centers. And that’s not all. We guarantee a 59-second initial response for phone and chat support requests from the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting™. 

Enhanced Security

Like downtimes, data breaches can be expensive as well. A 2021 IBM report found that the average data breach costs businesses globally $4.24 million. It also found that automated security measures helped mitigate those costs by up to $3.81 million.

The cost of a data breach 2021.

Fully managed dedicated hosting providers employ both manual and automated security measures to ensure your application is protected from known threats at all times.

For instance, at Liquid Web, we provide advanced host and network protection and even offer custom solutions for host vulnerability management with our Server Secure™ service.

Lower CapEx

Capital expenditure (CapEx) is the money your company spends on fixed assets such as hardware, networking equipment, and storage space. These are one-time expenses that offer benefits for several years. But the downside is that those long-term benefits aren’t guaranteed.

When you opt for fully managed dedicated hosting, you don’t need to worry about tying up capital in hardware or storage. You don’t risk over- or under-estimating your business requirements since you have the flexibility to upgrade or downgrade your hosting plan on demand.

Lower OpEx

Operating expenditure (OpEx) is the money your company spends on daily business consumables such as electricity, printer ink, or software subscriptions. These are short-term expenses necessary for your business’s success.

Although fully managed dedicated hosting is an operational expense, it’s significantly lower than the expenses you would incur to support an on-premises dedicated infrastructure. It eliminates ongoing electricity, maintenance, and compliance investments.

With fully managed dedicated hosting, you pay a predictable monthly fee without worrying about unknown costs arising from hardware failures. Lowering your OpEx gives your business the agility to stay relevant in a competitive environment.

Easy To Scale

Upgrading an on-premises hosting setup can require weeks of planning, forecasting, and budgeting. On the other hand, upgrading a fully managed dedicated hosting setup might only need a few hours.

Choosing fully managed dedicated hosting lets you customize individual server components to meet the demands of your business. 

Need more RAM or disk space? Reach out to your service provider, and they’ll help you upgrade your server resources in no time.

On-Premises vs Managed Dedicated Hosting: A High-Level Overview of Cost Benefits

Comparing the costs of on-premises hosting with a fully managed solution is like comparing apples to oranges. That’s because both offer unique benefits for different use cases.

But let’s assume we have an apples-to-apples comparison. In that scenario, what — if any — is the cost-benefit of using one over the other? Let’s find out.

Setting up on-premises hosting infrastructure requires investments into:

  • Server hardware.
  • Software licenses.
  • Network infrastructure.
  • Backup infrastructure.
  • Utilities such as power and cooling.
  • Security, compliance, and risk mitigation.
  • System administrator hiring, training, and turnover.

Even without getting into the exact numbers, it’s clear that the cost of setting up an on-premises server is significantly higher than that of fully managed dedicated hosting.

Moreover, it would take several years before you break even on your investment in on-premises server infrastructure. It’s more likely that you’ll need an infrastructure upgrade before then.

Compare that with Liquid Web’s “Intel Xeon Gold 6226R - Dual Value Bundle,” and you have a clear winner. Liquid Web’s managed dedicated hosting plan gives you access to Intel’s Xeon Gold 6226R processor, 128GB of RAM, 4 x 480 GB SSD storage, and 15 TB bandwidth besides security and backup add-ons for $549/month.

Fully managed dedicated hosting offers a cost-effective alternative to setting up on-premises infrastructure. You don’t need to worry about IT staff turnover, software license costs, or compliance issues. You pay a predictable monthly fee and enjoy the convenience of dedicated hosting.

It’s no surprise then that Statista predicts the global managed IT services market will grow from $161.37 billion in 2021 to more than $300 billion by 2027.

Managed IT service market forecast 2020 to 2027.

How To Choose a Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting Service: 10 Considerations

When migrating to a fully managed dedicated hosting service, it’s important to remember that not all providers offer the same level of service. Here are ten factors you should consider when choosing a fully managed dedicated web hosting service.

1. Server Hardware

Server hardware is an essential part of your hosting setup. Without proper hardware, you’ll experience system errors, latency issues, and server downtimes. Here are five questions you can answer to determine the type of dedicated hardware your business needs:

  1. What applications do you need to run?
  2. How much processing power do you need?
  3. How much memory do you need?
  4. What is more important, CPU speed or the number of cores?
  5. How much storage space do you need?

The answers to these questions will help you identify the physical hardware resources needed to support your online business.

2. Service Level Agreement

Service level agreements (SLAs) establish the service standards the hosting provider will offer your business. It also defines consequences for unmet service obligations, including monetary compensation in case of losses.

Here are a few guarantees you should look for in your hosting provider’s SLA:

  • Network uptime.
  • Support response times.
  • Power uptime.
  • Hardware replacement.
  • Compensation credit.

For example, at Liquid Web, our SLA guarantees a 59-minute initial response time for help desk support requests, 30-minute hardware replacement, and 100% network and power uptime. And if you experience downtime, we’ll credit you 10x the amount of downtime.

3. Support Channels

What differentiates fully managed dedicated hosting from other types of hosting is the hands-off service experience. When things go wrong with a fully managed web server, you have access to a support agent to identify and resolve server issues.

But having access to a support agent is the bare minimum you should expect. A reliable hosting provider will let you reach their support team across multiple channels, such as:

  • Live chat.
  • Helpdesk ticket.
  • Phone.
  • Email.

Additionally, you should only consider providers that offer managed support 24/7/365. Predicting downtime accurately is virtually impossible. Therefore, it’s crucial to have help available round-the-clock.

When pet-sitting SaaS Time To Pet needed a reliable dedicated hosting provider to grow their business, they turned to Liquid Web. Here’s what co-founder Mike Grenier had to say about his support experience:

“We depend on Liquid Web for 24/7/365 support … Liquid Web’s support team can easily translate a non-technical question into a technical solution and fix the issue. We can always count on Liquid Web for any infrastructure needs.”

4. Security Measures

Another important factor to consider when choosing a fully managed dedicated hosting provider is the security measures they offer with their service. That’s important because Positive Technologies' research found that cybercriminals can attack users in 98% of all web applications.

Web application threats.

Therefore, it’s important to choose a hosting option that offers security features such as:

  • Proactive threat monitoring.
  • Web-based firewalls and DDoS protection.
  • Malware and virus protection.
  • Timely system patch deployment.
  • Dedicated IP addresses.

At Liquid Web, we offer all that and more. You can choose additional services for your hosting plan, such as SSL certificates, web application protection, advanced threat monitoring, and intrusion detection to suit your core business needs.

5. Bandwidth

When you think about performance, you often focus on memory and processing power. But the truth is, no matter how powerful your server resources are, if your network isn’t configured to support it, you won’t experience its true potential.

Make sure the dedicated hosting provider you choose offers high bandwidth servers. Moreover, select a provider that offers at least 5 TB of bandwidth with its hosting plan. That way, you don’t have to worry about unexpected additional charges or network issues.

6. Data Center Location

Fully managed dedicated hosting data center location.

When choosing a fully managed dedicated service, it’s also important to consider the physical location of the data center. A server far from its users will suffer from performance and latency issues.

Other reasons to consider the data center location include contractual obligations and compliance requirements. For instance, GDPR rules mandate storing data collected from EU citizens in the EU or another jurisdiction with similar levels of data protection.

7. Customization Options

Reputable fully managed hosting providers offer smart defaults that you can choose from to launch a server quickly. However, as your business grows, your server demands might likely grow beyond what your service provider offers.

Therefore, choosing a hosting provider that offers customizable solutions besides standard plans is important. That way, you have the flexibility to upgrade your hosting infrastructure to adapt to your unique business needs.

8. Operating System Options

Another important consideration when choosing a fully managed dedicated hosting provider is the flexibility of choosing an operating system. Otherwise, you’ll encounter compatibility issues if the OS doesn’t support your business applications.

Most hosting providers will support the latest stable releases of Linux and Windows — the top two operating systems used by 57.5% of websites on the internet, according to W3Techs. But if you need a specific version, reach out to your provider’s sales team and discuss your options.

Operating system usage statistics for websites.

9. Pricing, Set Up Fees, and Contract Terms

Consider creating a list of your top 5 choices and compare their prices, including setup fees and lock-in terms, before settling on a service provider. You don’t want to sign up for a cheap server only to realize you’re locked into it for a year or need to pay additional fees for basic features.

Reliable hosting providers will outline all operating costs and lock-in terms upfront to ensure you know what you’re signing up for. So, read their service offerings carefully and verify all costs to avoid any last-minute surprises.

10. Optional Add-Ons

Add-on services make it easier to adapt your dedicated hosting setup to fit your business needs. While standard security measures or backup solutions might work for most businesses, some businesses might benefit from advanced server protection or backup solutions.

Here are some common add-on options you can consider for your server:

  • Backup and storage add-ons.
  • Security and compliance add-ons.
  • Performance add-ons.
  • Software add-ons.
  • Email add-ons.

Jump on a call with your hosting provider’s sales team and discuss the availability and costs of optional add-ons. The ability to fine-tune server performance and security with add-ons goes a long way in improving the efficiency of your business. 

Final Thoughts: What Is Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting?

Fully managed dedicated hosting offers all the benefits of an on-premises hosting infrastructure without the overheads. And with the right hosting provider, you’ll have the flexibility to choose and optimize your hosting infrastructure to suit your business needs.

Liquid Web’s Fully Managed Dedicated Server Hosting solution provides the highest levels of performance and security. You don’t need to worry about server security, performance, or support. The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting™ are always around to assist you 24/7/365.

Browse our fully managed dedicated hosting plans to get started today.

Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting FAQs

Why is fully managed hosting better?

Fully managed dedicated hosting is better because it offers the same reliability, security, and performance benefits as a self-hosted solution without any upfront capital investments. You enjoy an entirely hands-off hosting experience while paying a predictable monthly fee.

Fully managed hosting services generally include automated backups, proactive security, uptime guarantees, and 24/7/365 customer support. Moreover, you have the flexibility to choose your server configurations, and you can upgrade or downgrade more quickly as compared to an on-premises solution.

What does fully managed mean?

Fully managed means you don’t have to set up, optimize, secure, or maintain the hosting infrastructure. Your hosting provider will take care of those tasks.

Standard services bundled with a fully managed service include:

  • 24/7/365 support.
  • Hardware maintenance and network infrastructure management.
  • Server monitoring and threat detection.
  • Uptime guarantees and SLAs.
  • Installation and configuration of the core software.
  • Core operating system update management and patching.
  • Server security optimization.
  • Control panel support, updates, and patches.

Is managed dedicated hosting worth it?

Yes, managed dedicated hosting is worth it since it lets you host your software in a dedicated single-tenant environment. Your software accesses 100% of the available server resources, and you don’t have to worry about the technicalities of server management.

Other benefits of managed dedicated server hosting include:

  • Faster setup times.
  • High performance.
  • Greater reliability.
  • Enhanced server security.
  • Round-the-clock support from best-in-class support teams.
  • Shifting business expenses from CapEx to OpEx.
  • Simplified compliance.
  • Faster resource upgrades.
Why is fully managed hosting better?

Fully managed dedicated hosting is better because it offers the same reliability, security, and performance benefits as a self-hosted solution without any upfront capital investments. You enjoy an entirely hands-off hosting experience while paying a predictable monthly fee.
Fully managed hosting services generally include automated backups, proactive security, uptime guarantees, and 24/7/365 customer support. Moreover, you have the flexibility to choose your server configurations, and you can upgrade or downgrade more quickly as compared to an on-premises solution.

What does fully managed mean?

Fully managed means you don’t have to set up, optimize, secure, or maintain the hosting infrastructure. Your hosting provider will take care of those tasks.
Standard services bundled with a fully managed service include:
24/7/365 support.
Hardware maintenance and network infrastructure management.
Server monitoring and threat detection.
Uptime guarantees and SLAs.
Installation and configuration of the core software.
Core operating system update management and patching.
Server security optimization.
Control panel support, updates, and patches.

Is managed dedicated hosting worth it?

Yes, managed dedicated hosting is worth it since it lets you host your software in a dedicated single-tenant environment. Your software accesses 100% of the available server resources, and you don’t have to worry about the technicalities of server management.
Other benefits of managed dedicated server hosting include:
Faster setup times.
High performance.
Greater reliability.
Enhanced server security.
Round-the-clock support from best-in-class support teams.
Shifting business expenses from CapEx to OpEx.
Simplified compliance.
Faster resource upgrades.

About the Author

Ronald Caldwell

Ron is a Senior Hosting Advisor with Liquid Web where he assists existing and potential clients in finding the right solution for their needs. He has 7+ years of experience in Technology. He obtained an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Prairie State College in 2015. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Michigan with her and their children.

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