Managed VPS hosting support - what can they do for you?

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From a client's perspective, even though the entry barrier to building a website has never been lower, there is still a lot we don't know about web hosting. Even experienced developers often encounter intricacies that require them to look for assistance elsewhere. 

Nothing to worry about, though - a great host always takes care of its customers.

Web hosting support has been the first go-to point for thousands of site owners every day. After all, who better than the experienced professionals to shed more light on the products they've been specifically trained about?

But as helpful as the support reps may be in times of need, their assistance also has its limits. Today, we are going to take a closer look at managed VPS hosting and all the ways we can get help from our host.

Why managed VPS hosting?

There are tons of reasons to opt for a managed VPS solution today.

For starters, you've got a completely isolated server space where you have full control over the environment. This allows you to go deep with customizations and optimize your account for the best website performance. 

VPS plans are very versatile in the sense that you can adjust your resources on the go, scaling your project with enough CPU and RAM to run without any hiccups.

On top of all that, virtual servers are inherently more secure. You don't have tons of server neighbors, and even in cases of a breach in their account - your online properties are still out of danger. 

Still, managing your own VPS might be a bit overwhelming, especially for users without previous experience and no dedicated developer to help them out. In such cases, opting for a managed VPS service with your host might be your best bet. 

That's why, before you choose any hosting provider, get acquainted with their support options first.

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Reaching your support team

Most global providers keep extensive sales and technical teams, allowing them to offer 24/7 support services. This has already turned into an industry standard, which is not surprising, given we can't choose when issues pop up and help is needed.

Along with the support available, there is another factor to consider - methods of communication. Looking around the major hosts, there are numerous ways to help your clients reach your support team. You have:

  • Live chat
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Internal ticketing
  • Online forms
  • Skype/Viber
  • Social media accounts

It's important to make a distinction between sales and technical support here. While the former is offered on pretty much any medium, the latter has some specifics, which are best solved through internal ticketing. 

As a client, whichever host you are considering, make sure to test the availability and response times of their support before signing up. 

How can your managed VPS support help?

Server management is not everyone's cup of tea. Even if the chosen environment is user-friendly enough, you will still encounter bumps in the road that are completely out of your expertise. That's why VPS hosts often separate their service plans into two different categories - managed and unmanaged

Managed VPS hosting, as the name suggests, includes all perks that come with virtual servers plus your host's professional assistance. As great as this may sound, this support has its limits. 

We will now outline the most common ways your host's technicians can give you a helping hand:

Setup - the initial server configuration is one of the things that require very specific knowledge and experience. Installing an OS, setting up a firewall, choosing the appropriate software - all those responsibilities are taken care of by your provider. What you get is a completely functional server, up and ready to go.

Administration - apart from setting you up, your hosting support team can also take care of many daunting day-to-day operations that are associated with server management. This would include your account monitoring, system health checks, security procedures, etc. Reliable managed providers like ScalaHosting may even go a step further and help users with core and plugin updates of many popular software solutions.

Maintenance - any web server is compiled from numerous hardware and software components. All of them should be subject to regular maintenance and updates to avoid the risks of failures and website downtimes. Even worse, failing to keep your core software and plugins up to date poses serious security threats down the line. The managed VPS support often covers all server maintenance tasks, allowing you to focus on your website building and promotion.

Issue Resolution - here is the gray area where hosting customers may get confused. Among the traditional issues where your host can lend a hand are server errors, network-related problems, hardware failures, control panel troubles, and anything related to the company products. Still, some client appeals fall outside the support's expertise - development requests, code debugging, third-party product assistance, and troubleshooting custom software.

Useful Resources - even though any support assistance has its limits, the quality hosts still make a last-ditch effort to help and offer links and recommendations for all kinds of useful resources. These could be internal (blog, knowledge base articles, company videos) or external (links to outside sources, tutorials, and multimedia content).

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Choosing your host

There is no better way to test your host's support than speaking with them, even before becoming a client. Start by checking the available communication channels and outlining the ways to contact different departments. Is technical support available by chat and phone or only by internal ticketing? Where can you find billing assistance? What are the typical response times?

Even if you only manage to reach the sales team, you can still try them out with some hosting-related questions and determine the overall level of support you can expect.

Some hosts will make it even easier by offering a free VPS trial or a heavily discounted price to try it out. Use this time to browse around your account, your server options, and, of course, the support knowledgeability. 

Become a server administrator today with the help of your host - check out our roundup of the best VPS offers on the market. 

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.