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Home Insights & Advice Managed vs unmanaged VPS hosting: making the right choice

Managed vs unmanaged VPS hosting: making the right choice

by John Saunders
23rd Apr 20 9:38 am

Once you’re done creating your website and you want to get it online, it’s time to choose a web hosting plan. Although there are various packages available, some of the most popular choices are shared, VPS and dedicated hosting. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but there’s one clear leader when it comes to hosting and it’s Virtual Private Servers. If you’re interested in this option, you’ll have to choose between different management levels: managed or unmanaged. But what is the difference between these two?

Managed hosting

A server runs on several operating levels and then there’s all these additional applications and software to maintain. If you’re running, for example, a WordPress site, you have the OS, then web server software like Apache or Nginx, then PHP and other programs to run.

With managed VPS hosting your provider takes care of patching up, updating, backing up, securing, and monitoring all these different things and you don’t have to worry about server maintenance that much. All that’s left is to run your website. Even if you do run into technical difficulties, there’s a dedicated support available to you 24/7 to answer all possible questions.

But there are some downsides to this type of plan. First of all, because the provider is managing your system, you’ll have to pay more for this extra work, which can be an issue for those with a smaller budget. You also don’t get full root access to your VPS. This means that you can’t fully customize your server or install applications without the approval of the hosting company. For those that want to be able to their virtual environment down to the smallest detail, this can be a hindrance.

Unmanaged hosting

As the name suggests, with this type of hosting there’s no management from the provider. The host takes care of the physical machine, reboots servers, maintains the network, and all the other stuff but they won’t install or update anything on your virtual server. You are responsible for all the maintenance tasks, security patches, programs, and more. The support team is still there when you need it, but they won’t do these sorts of things for you.

This is because with unmanaged VPS users get full root access to the server, meaning that they can use it and change it any way they want. And because the company doesn’t have to do anything for you, these plans are significantly cheaper when compared to managed services.

What users usually get along with this kind of plan are control panels like cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin, etc. With these, you can easily control your virtual environment and ensure that everything is running as they’re supposed to. They also offer additional features that help customize your website and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Of course, for those that don’t know much about VPS or hosting in general, managing everything on your own is a big disadvantage. Not everyone is tech-savvy and knows how to properly secure their system, how to optimize all the different software or the ins and outs of backups.

Both choices have their merits, but in the end, it all comes down to the needs of your website. For smaller businesses or individual site owners that are just starting and have never had a site before, managed hosting is a great choice. The level of technical support provided is quite useful if you can’t carry out maintenance work yourself. But if you want full freedom to do anything you want with your VPS then unmanaged hosting is the best option that comes at a significantly lower price.

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