Managed vs Unmanaed hosting - Why Richweb encourages the WeCare plans

Every once in a while, we get a customer that voices concerns over Admin fees, and why we charge them, especially if you’re not on a WeCare or some other monthly/quarterly/semi-annual/annual website maintenance agreement.

First, you might want to consider reading our “In-depth Technical overview of Richweb hosting Services” guide, so you have a clearer understanding of the Richweb services, network and our ever evolving proactive platforms/infrastructure updates.

If you’re running a large site (WordPress, Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, or other; lots of files, decent amount of usage), you need to be on top of security trends.

Failure to keep it updated and running smooth will mean that it’s going to get hacked, and take your site down/offline. In most cases (using WordPress as an example), it can take 15-20 hours JUST to go through your entire site, cleaning up hacked files. I’ve seen instances where some files inside WordPress were compromised, while others weren’t. In most of these cleanup tasks, we will go through every file, line by line, to clean/repair the site itself. In some extreme cases, we may have to rebuild your site from scratch.

If you’re on an UNmanaged plan (meaning Richweb takes a hands off approach), it’s almost a guaranteed thing that your site will be compromised. WordPress (Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, Magento, e107 or any other Content Management System) is not a package that you can just turn your back on and expect it to just work.

In some instances, some of our customers have opted to go with a very basic web hosting package, which doesn’t come with web software tech support from Richweb.

Side note: Every single person on our team has at least 5 years of industry experience (whether it’s with development/enhacement of existing systems, building out brand new sites and/or web technology security experience). There are a couple of Richweb Team Members that have 20+ years of experience. Most of us are subscribed to security alerts from the major monitoring organizations that alert us to when an exploit has been identified in a web software package, which allows us to PROACTIVELY work with our managed clients to secure and patch their website’s software.

When you’re on an UNmanaged plan, you’re paying right around the cost of keeping your site online (server hardware, electricity (which keeps rising in costs), bandwidth traffic (which also keeps rising) and building maintenance (we own our facility). We do our best to keep costs in check, of course. What’s not factored in (cost-wise on unmanaged hosting) is the industry knowledge, experience and expertise of our team members to come in and fix a site that’s been hacked/compromised. Richweb charges a higher rate ($150/hr) for security cleanup of sites that have been already hacked. The reason for this is twofold:

It requires a high level of skill (expensive resource), and;
It is a tedious, time consuming, non-productive process which requires familiarity with the website (and its software), which the high level resource, is not going to posess. This means having to make decisions about deleting files and content where you have to guess are non critical, or not in use.

Industry average for people with the skill sets we offer ranges anywhere from $16.50 to $55 an hour (salaried employees) to $75 to $250 an hour (independent contractors) (source: US News (Web Developer); US News (Security Analyst); (Web Security Administrator)). Richweb’s Admin time fees are situated right around the middle at $95/hour (though we can (and will) adjust pricing, especially for Non Profit Organizations).

Our WeCare plans offer free hosting for your site. They basically turn your website hosting plan into managed services. You pay a little more, however, you are given 5-10 hours per cycle (Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, Yearly) to have us not only maintain the security aspects of your site, but to utilize that time as you see fit (web development, new features, enhancements, changes, etc). The hours for each cycle do not carry over to the next cycle (AKA “Use it or lose it”).

These are plans that allows our customers to lock in what they are spending and not have to worry about paying for individual updates which can be very unpredictable. Who knows when the next critical server, php, or especially wordpress critical vulnerability will come out? We can’t.

WordPress and the WP community is/are constantly bug fixing and improving code, and plugins break (when they are not updated), etc.

We’ve found that, while WordPress is a great platform for content management, it’s nearly impossible to run without some sort of managed services plan, unless you want to do a pay-as-you-go. (See Admin Time fees above)

It’s not any different that running a windows server. 10% of the cost is the hardware and license. 90% of the cost is all the work (and knowledge) required to keep it up and running over the course of its life.

Our policy is to NOT let customer run site that get hacked, or can get hacked. We have a large cost on our side that kicks in cleaning up the mess when a site gets turned into a spam server, or a relay for attackers to hit other sites.

Godaddy and other providers DON’T have this same policy. They will, for the most part, let your site get hacked, and continue to run in that state, until something really bad happens. At that point they just delete your site and tell you “sorry”.

One thing that sets Richweb apart from other web hosting / development companies is our desire to be a partner with each of our managed customers. When you, the customer, have success with your site/business, it’s also our success. When you have a failure with your site (from a design/development standpoint, you don’t bear that burden alone. We’re right there with you, working WITH you. After all, we are an extension of your team. The more you grow, the happier you are, the more we grow and the happier we are.

We’re happy to work with everyone to come up with a plan that meets not only their website and hosting needs, but their budgetary needs as well.

At the end of the day, YOUR success is ours, as well.