Managed vs unmanaged hosting

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When moving or creating a business online, you must get a proper, functioning website hosted on a great server for the best performance and solid foundation. 

kTo find a great server to host your site, you have to consider various factors like price, security, CPU, storage, RAM, and, most importantly, managed vs. unmanaged hosting. 

Some servers offer managed hosting, which takes a huge burden off the user's shoulders and handles the complex technical parts of website hosting. Other servers offer unmanaged hosting where you have to handle many more technical aspects from the control panel. 

This article will discuss the differences between managed and unmanaged hosting, the benefits of each, and help you to choose the right one for your business.

What is managed hosting?

Managed web hosting is a type of hosting service where the hosting provider assumes responsibility for the day-to-day management and maintenance of the server or infrastructure on behalf of the user. In this arrangement, the hosting provider handles tasks such as server setup, configuration, monitoring, security, backups, software updates, and technical support.

With managed hosting, you can focus on your core business activities while leaving the technical aspects of server management to the hosting provider. This type of hosting is particularly beneficial for individuals or businesses that lack the expertise, time, or resources to handle server administration.

Managed hosting services typically offer high support and assistance, ensuring that the server or infrastructure remains secure, optimized, and available to you. The hosting provider may also offer additional services like load balancing, scalability, database management, and performance optimization to ensure the optimal functioning of the hosted applications or websites.

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What is unmanaged hosting?

In unmanaged hosting, you are solely responsible for managing and maintaining the server or infrastructure. However, unmanaged hosting only provides the physical server or virtual machine and the necessary network connectivity.

With unmanaged hosting, you have full control over the server, including installing and configuring the operating system, setting up security measures, managing software updates, and troubleshooting any technical issues that may arise. You are responsible for all aspects of server management, including system administration, software installations, security patches, backups, and performance optimization.

Unmanaged hosting is typically chosen by individuals or businesses with a high level of technical expertise and the resources to handle server administration tasks. It offers more flexibility and customization options, as you have full control over your server environment. However, it also requires a greater level of technical knowledge and time commitment to ensure proper server management and maintenance.

Features of managed and unmanaged hosting  

Managed hosting is a hosting service whereby the hosting provider constantly monitors all the technical aspects of keeping the servers running and functioning properly. The hosting provider provides security patches to help you identify any vulnerabilities on the website and fix problematic issues before cybercriminals gain access to your server or network. Also, the hosting provider will install the latest software updates, e.g., Virus Scanner, Firewall Configuration, DDOS Detection, Spam Filtering, etc. 

Backups are automated on managed hosting providers. Some servers can store backup data on the same or different servers as your site and include databases. It is important to confirm this from your provider to ensure that data is not stored on the same server as your website to avoid data loss in cases of hardware malfunction.

Servers providing managed hosting have different storage terms, which can lead to complications. Check what your chosen plan includes and compare hosts to pick the best one. Unlike managed hosting, where all the technical aspects of the server are taken care of by your hosting provider, unmanaged hosting gives you full access and control over your server. This enables you to customize anything on your server or website to your taste.

You will be given a full-featured hosting control panel like cPanel to make it easy to customize and manage your website. Also, unmanaged hosting is less expensive. Unmanaged hosting allows you full root control over security, backups, optimization, and maintenance, using them how you want. However, 24/7 Customer Support Services is available for technical glitches on your server. 

Managed hosting allows greater flexibility and customization. If you have technical expertise, managed hosting is a good option.

 Managed vs unmanaged hosting: The differences  

Managed hosting involves a hosting provider handling the technical aspects of server management, updates, and security, while unmanaged hosting requires you to take care of these tasks yourself. 

With managed hosting, the provider takes care of server monitoring, backups, and troubleshooting, while with unmanaged hosting, you are responsible for these tasks. Managed hosting offers a higher level of support, including 24/7 technical assistance and expertise, whereas unmanaged hosting generally provides limited or no support.

In managed hosting, the provider ensures the server is optimized for performance and scalability, whereas in unmanaged hosting, you must configure and optimize the server themselves. 

Managed hosting often includes additional services such as automatic software updates, malware scanning, and firewall configuration, which are not typically provided with unmanaged hosting. Managed hosting is typically more expensive than unmanaged hosting due to the additional services and support provided by the hosting provider. 

With managed hosting, you can focus more on your core business activities as technical tasks are handled by the provider, while unmanaged hosting requires you to have technical expertise and spend time managing the server. Managed hosting offers a higher level of security, as the hosting provider takes care of security patches, updates, and monitoring, whereas in unmanaged hosting, you must ensure the server's security yourself.

Types of managed hosting 

Managed shared hosting 

Shared hosting is a low-cost service provided by servers. In managed shared hosting, multiple websites are hosted on the same server owned and managed by the provider. These sites share the service resources, including memory, CPU, bandwidth, and storage.

Despite one user sharing a single server with other users, they can set up multiple websites on an account as long as their allotted resources are not exceeded. The hosting provider installs necessary software updates, including WordPress, takes care of security and automatic data backup, and helps maintain your control panel. 

The hosting provider does not do everything for you; you still have to set up your own site and run it. Because shared hosting involves resources being managed among multiple users, providers can offer this kind of service at extremely low costs.

Managed VPS hosting

Moving your website to a virtual private server means your business has grown and needs more computing resources, stability, and control to perform optimally. It is ideal for beginners without technical expertise. With managed VPS hosting, the provider sets up your control panel and handles the technical aspects. Instead of installing updates, operating system software, and secure data, you can focus on managing your growing website. There are lots of servers that provide managed VPS hosting without reducing online performance. Some include Kamatera, Cloudways, Liquid Web, Ionos, A2 hosting, and ScalaHosting.

Managed dedicated hosting 

A managed dedicated hosting environment is one where the server or provider gives you complete access to all the resources in a server and handles the setup and all technical aspects. 

The provider handles the installation and maintenance of everything in the control panel and software environment. The provider handles administration, management, and support of the application environment and physical server.

This service is also known as a single-tenancy architecture fully dedicated to only one user. Users enjoying managed dedicated hosting have access to a private server, complete bandwidth, RAM, and storage. It is a great option for high-traffic sites that require guaranteed power. While it costs more than shared and VPS-managed hosting, it is more cost-effective in terms of performance.

Some providers can lease a bare metal server and handle security patches so you can enjoy the hands-off experience in a fully managed dedicated hosting.

Types of unmanaged hosting

Unmanaged shared hosting 

There is little help in unmanaged shared hosting. It is the simplest form of hosting which involves a user renting hosting space and uploading a website to it. The user installs software, designs the website, and regularly updates it. 

For small businesses and small sites, unmanaged shared hosting is fine and cheaper than managed shared hosting. You have complete control over your website and what is done on your section of the server. 

Most providers with unmanaged shared hosting have an administration console for installing popular software such as WordPress. However, time that could be used in growing your site and business is spent setting up and managing your website.

Unmanaged VPS hosting 

Unmanaged VPS hosting is where the user manages, maintains, and updates the server where the site is hosted. The provider only manages the physical server and uptime in this case. This hosting service is cheaper than managed VPS and dedicated hosting but requires technical expertise and in-house resources to manage the operating system, memory, and other resources.

Unmanaged dedicated hosting 

Unmanaged dedicated hosting is a service where the user has complete control of their server, operating system, and root-level access. The user manages the infrastructure, software patches, and other complex tasks independently. In this case, the hosting provider provides complete access to the server's resources and basic services like network and connectivity monitoring. 

Pros and cons of managed hosting

It is important to consider the pros and cons of managed hosting to determine if it fits your website and its operations correctly. Below are the pros and cons of managed hosting:

Pros of managed hosting:

  • Website performance monitoring
  • Automated backups and updates
  • 24/7 Customer Support Service
  • Constant security monitoring
  • Required low or no technical skills
  • Installation and configuration of web server, e.g., web patches 
  • Migration of website

Cons of managed hosting:

  • It is expensive 
  • Any changes you want to make to your website must be discussed with the hosting provider managers.

Pros and Cons of Unmanaged Hosting 

It is important to consider the pros and cons of unmanaged hosting to determine if it is the right fit for your website and its operations. Below are the pros and cons of unmanaged hosting:

Pros of unmanaged hosting:

  • Full root control over your website
  • It's cheaper than managed hosting.
  • Access to customize anything how you want it

Cons of unmanaged hosting:

  • Requires high technical skills
  • Requires time and effort to sustain 

Factors to consider when choosing between managed and unmanaged hosting 

Here are three factors to consider when choosing between managed and unmanaged hosting:


The amount you can spend on a hosting provider matters, as managed hosting costs more than unmanaged hosting but has more features and saves time.

Technical expertise

If you do not have the technical expertise to set up an unmanaged server, do not host your website with an unmanaged package plan. 

Security and backup

It is very important to consider how secure your data is on your server. Can you manage your security protocols, or are the storage terms provided by the hosting provider suitable?

Managed vs. unmanaged hosting: Which one is better for your business?  

If you are considering upgrading or migrating your hosting services or want to create a website for your business, knowing which one to go for depends on the size, complexity, budget, and technical needs of the website you want to upgrade or create. You should consider your website's pricing, size, technical skills, and complexity because it will enable you to choose the best one for your business. 

Managed hosting is a great option for professionals and business owners who want the hands-off experience and will rather spend time on other business-building activities than maintaining their website. Unmanaged hosting is a great option for small businesses or individuals looking for cheaper hosting and more control.

Final thoughts

This article has compared managed vs. unmanaged hosting and how you can make the right choice for your business. 

Making the right decision for your business is important and can significantly impact your performance, customer retention rate, and scalability. Managed and unmanaged hosting have their pros and cons. Your choice depends on your needs.

Kenneth C. Nzeogu

Kenneth is a freelance tech writer who's been in the sector for three years. He loves writing about new technology, focusing on web hosting, streaming, cybersecurity, and how it can benefit people's lives.