A dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. Dedicated servers are most often housed in data centers, similar to colocation facilities, providing redundant power sources and HVAC systems. In contrast to colocation, the server hardware is owned by the provider and in some cases they will provide support for your operating system or applications.
To date, no industry standards have been set to clearly define the management role of dedicated server providers. What this means is that each provider will use industry standard terms, but each provider will define them differently. For some dedicated server providers, fully managed is defined as having a web based control panel while other providers define it as having dedicated system engineers readily available to handle all server and network related functions of the dedicated server provider.
Server management can include some or all of the following:
- Operating system updates
- Application updates
- Server monitoring
- SNMP hardware monitoring
- Application monitoring
- Application management
- Technical support
- Firewall services
- Antivirus updates
- Security audits
- DDoS protection and mitigation
- Intrusion detection
- Backups and restoration
- Disaster recovery
- DNS hosting service
- Load balancing
- Database administration
- Performance tuning
- Software installation and configuration
- User management
- Programming consultation
Dedicated hosting server providers define their level of management based on the services they provide. In comparison, fully managed could equal self managed from provider to provider.
Administrative maintenance of the operating system, often including upgrades, security patches, and sometimes even daemon updates are included. Differing levels of management may include adding users, domains, daemon configuration, or even custom programming.
Dedicated server hosting providers may provide the following types of server managed support:
Fully Managed – Includes monitoring, software updates, reboots, security patches and operating system upgrades. Customers are completely hands-off.
Managed – Includes medium level of management, monitoring, updates, and a limited amount of support. Customers may perform specific tasks.
Self Managed – Includes regular monitoring and some maintenance. Customers provide most operations and tasks on dedicated server.
Unmanaged – Little to no involvement from service provider. Customers provide all maintenance, upgrades, patches, and security.