What Every Digital Agency Needs to Ask Their Managed Hosting Provider

By Simon Varney on 16 Jun 2014

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As a digital agency, there’s nothing more important than making sure your clients’ campaigns are running smoothly. That’s why when it comes to infrastructure and hosting, you need to make sure you’re supported no matter what.

With tight deadlines, short-term campaigns, and the possibility of plans changing at the last minute, choosing the right managed hosting provider is paramount.

That’s why we created this checklist: to help you ask the questions that will ensure you work with a managed hosting provider that suits your needs perfectly.

1. Does your managed hosting provider offer short-term contracts?

This one’s key to making sure your managed hosting provider is a good fit. With many providers only offering annual contracts, knowing that you can host your campaigns for as long or as short as you require ensures that you’re not spending money unnecessarily.

2. Does your managed hosting provider offer management of nodes that are spun up on a short-term basis to meet spikes in traffic?

A campaign website is unlike any other in that traffic can be extremely low, and then spike rapidly. It’s imperative that you confirm whether your hosting company will be able to handle a fast and dramatic spike in traffic.

3. Will your managed hosting provider assist you with DevOps practices?

DevOps is the practice of Development and Operations working together to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Although DevOps is becoming a more common offering from hosting companies, double check to ensure they’ll help with setting up development staging and production environments with automated deployment.

4. Does your managed hosting provider have the same approach to business as you?

Responsiveness is key when it comes to digital campaigns. If it’s a Friday night, you need to make sure someone is around on the infrastructure-end to make sure things are running smoothly. Make sure that your managed hosting provider offers 24/7 support, and deeply understands the importance of uptime for your campaign.

5. Will you be compensated for downtime?

All hosting companies promote “low downtime,” but make sure that your Standard Level Agreement states that in the event of downtime, you’ll be compensated. That way, in the event of downtime, you won’t be liable.

6. What size is your hosting company?

A lot of people prefer larger hosting companies because they believe there’s a safety that comes with size. This absolutely makes sense, although it isn’t necessarily true. A good way to check how reliable a hosting company will be is by checking sites like Netcraft. Netcraft is an impartial, web server and web hosting market-share analysis that releases lists of the most reliable managed hosting providers by the month – great for assessing dependability of managed hosting providers. A challenge with larger managed hosting providers is that you’ll constantly be dealing with a different person. With a smaller provider, you’ll often speak to the same person every time you call who knows you and your environment. This can be much more effective – especially when working on campaigns.

7. Does your managed hosting provider manage up to and including the application layer?

Knowing that you’re managed into the application layer is key. Without this level of coverage, you can expect to be woken up in the middle of the night, which no one wants. Make sure your provider manages up to and including the application layer.

8. Will your managed hosting provider be able to handle all of your clients?

It can be messy having different clients and different campaigns running on different managed hosting providers. To keep things as simple as possible and to ensure that you have someone you can rely on for all your campaigns; make sure your managed hosting provider can handle all of your clients.

Working with the right managed hosting provider is extremely important for Digital Agencies. With the help of this checklist, you’ll be in better stead to choose the right hosting company to manage your infrastructure.

For more advice on selecting a managed hosting provider, get in touch at: hello@everycity.co.uk