9 November 2022
Benefits of Managed Hosting vs Self Hosted LMS
Head of Sales & Marketing
Should you opt for managed hosting for your LMS or go down the self hosted LMS route? Let’s look at the benefits of both options.
When setting up an LMS, hosting is one of the key considerations. The highest quality learning content can be rendered useless if your learners are unable to access it or cannot count on the LMS being available on a consistent basis.
In achieving a hosting environment that is right for your LMS, there are broadly two options: give another company responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of your hosting under a managed hosting arrangement or retain full responsibility for hosting with a self hosted LMS. Which of those options would be most beneficial to your organisation?
Benefits of Managed Hosting
Less capital investment
With managed hosting, you don’t need to invest in the full infrastructure of servers and a data centre. Similarly, you won’t need to buy new servers when they need to be replaced or upgrade. This also gives your greater flexibility and less financial responsibility for the hardware used in your LMS hosting infrastructure.
Lower energy bills and more floor space
By not housing your servers on site, maintaining the correct room temperatures and environment to do so, you will be able to make considerable savings on your energy bills and free up valuable office space for other uses. If your core business isn’t running data centres, then trying to maintain one can be laborious and costly. A managed LMS hosting service helps you to sidestep all of those problems.
Take the pressure off your IT team
Your IT team might not be specialists in hosting learning management systems and they probably have a long list of other things to look after on any given day. Managing hosting for your LMS takes at least one thing off their plate and ensures someone else is on the hook when it comes to ensuring consistent uptime, high performance levels and timely updates.
Peace of mind
If your managed hosting package includes things like server monitoring, anti-virus protection, backups, maintenance and support, that’s quite a lot of useful but admin-intensive tasks to make someone else’s problem. Managed LMS hosting means all of the day-to-day running is taken care of in a timely manner by an expert.
Benefits of a self hosted LMS
For organisation’s — and particularly experienced IT teams — that are used to doing everything in-house, the idea of a self hosted LMS can be appealing. It is worth considering that hosting an LMS is not the same as hosting a website, so self hosting can be an unnecessary risk if your team doesn’t have specific experience of LMS hosting.
Similarly to the sense of control we just mentioned, your IT department, there may be a degree of comfort afforded by being able to see and touch your LMS server somewhere in your building, or from having intimate knowledge of the physical and cyber security protecting it. Obviously those reassurances will be overshadowed if in-house LMS hosting expertise doesn’t deliver the quality of hosting your organisation needs.
Self-hosting offers the flexibility to make the changes you want to make whenever you want to make them. The absence of contracts, service level agreements and other commitments means you can change servers, security measures and software at the drop of a hat (subject to having the IT know-how in-house to be able to do those things). The other side of that coin is that with no contracts or SLAs in place, you’re reliant on staff availability and priorities in order to implement even basic changes.
Lower hosting costs
In terms of the outlay over an extended period of time, once you’ve cleared the initial capital investment in the server and hosting infrastructure, self hosting is likely to be cheaper than managed hosting. Of course, that could be a false economy depending on the amount of your IT team’s time and resources needed to meet the same hosting service levels. If your IT team are diverting a large chunk of their time to management and administration of LMS hosting, the overall costs might ultimately be higher than a managed service.
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