There are three basic types of web hosting providers, at least in terms of the amount of control the user gets and the degree of responsibility the user must take to keep their website up and running consistently and smoothly.
The first and most prevalent, especially for individuals, organizations, and small businesses, are shared web hosting providers. With them, hundreds of thousands of websites rent web hosting space on the same server.
The second type of web hosting providers are dedicated hosts, and with them, you get to own the equipment (the server, etc.) used to run your website, and nobody but you gets to use it. Dedicated web hosting providers also, however, require you to maintain the equipment yourself and handle all technical issues that arise, including repairs, installations, and server administration, yourself.
This second option, dedicated web hosting providers, offered uses 100% control but with 100% responsibility for anything that happens along the way. The inherent problems with this mode of web hosting (that someone may not know how to or wish to administer to their own server despite that their business needs its very own server) led to the innovation of managed web hosting providers.
Managed web hosting providers are similar to dedicated servers in that you buy or lease a server all your own, but managed hosts take off from there — offering you a wide selection of technical services (system monitoring, security updates, advice, testing and troubleshooting, etc.) and customer support options (administration, account management, upgrades, etc.).
Instead of paying for equipment and other costs and fees up front, customers pay managed web hosting providers either a flat fee for a package of service or component prices a la carte for solely those services they plan to employ.
The freedom and control with managed web hosting providers is the same as that with dedicated web hosting providers but with far less of the responsibility for keeping it all running smoothly all of the time. It’s like you’re outsourcing the most specialized tasks in administering to your website to the most qualified experts while at the same time retaining complete and autonomous control over the entire project.
Now of course managed web hosting providers cost a far prettier penny for all you’d be getting too. And that is why you only want to consider this VIP level of service if your business actually needs it. Otherwise it can be a lazy and frivolous expense. To merit upgrading to service with managed web hosting providers requires that your site consistently be receiving more traffic than you can handle with the clear signs of increased growth on the horizon.
Otherwise, just bump up on the disk space and bandwidth you’ve got with your current shared web hosting providers and hunker down to acquire a few new webmastering skills.