Posted on December 28, 2020

Managed vs Unmanaged Web Hosting: Which Type of Hosting Is Right for Your Website?

Web hosting services are often classified as either managed or unmanaged. Using either of them, you can make your website accessible on the internet. A web hosting service will provide you with access to a server on which you can host your website, thus allowing users to visit it. Managed web hosting isn’t the same as unmanaged web hosting, though. They are two different types of web hosting services with their own unique benefits.

What Is Managed Web Hosting?

Managed web hosting is a type of hosting service in which the provider handles all of the legwork. You’ll still have to upload files, but the provider will handle all server configuration, maintenance and optimization tasks. It’s known as managed web hosting because the provider actively manages your website’s server.

With managed web hosting, you’ll be given access to a pre-configured server. The server will already have the necessary software, such as Apache, to host your website. It will also be configured to run optimally. Furthermore, the provider will maintain your website’s server by installing new updates, troubleshooting errors, scanning for malware and performing other routine tasks.

What Is Unmanaged Web Hosting?

Unmanaged web hosting, on the other hand, is a type of hosting service in which you are solely responsible for the configuration, maintenance and optimization of your website’s server. Like with managed web hosting, you’ll be given access to a server on which you can host your website’s files. Unmanaged web hosting simply means the provider won’t actively manage your website’s server.

Servers for unmanaged web hosting are typically barebones. They may have an operating system already installed, but they don’t contain other types of software. To host your website on an unmanaged server, you’ll have to install the necessary software on it. Along with Apache, for example, you may need to install Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP), cPanel and MySQL. Only after installing the necessary software can you host your website on the server.

All servers require maintenance, and unmanaged servers are no exception. The provider, however, will only perform hardware-based maintenance on an unmanaged server. It won’t perform any software-based maintenance. You’ll be responsible for installing software updates, troubleshooting errors and performing other forms of software-based maintenance.

Benefits of Managed Web Hosting

You can get your website up and running more quickly with managed web hosting. You typically won’t have to install any new software on the server, nor will you have to configure it. Upon subscribing to a managed web hosting access, you can begin uploading your website’s files immediately. The server will have everything it needs to host your website, allowing for a faster and easier website launch.

You don’t have to worry about data loss when using managed web hosting. Most managed web hosting services include automated backups. The provider will automatically create a copy of all your website’s files periodically, such as once per week. If you accidentally delete or otherwise lose some of your website’s data, you can retrieve the most recent backup copy.

Only managed web hosting offers automated backups. If you choose an unmanaged web hosting service, you’ll have to either create backups manually, or you can install and configure backup software to do it for you. Regardless, managed web hosting will automatically safeguard your website from data loss by creating backups periodically.

Managed web hosting is oftentimes faster than unmanaged. Providers acknowledge the importance of fast servers. They realize that webmasters are more likely to continue using their web hosting services if their servers are fast. Therefore, providers optimize their managed servers to offer ultra-fast downloading and uploading times. Unmanaged servers can be fast as well, but you’ll have to optimize them. If you aren’t familiar with server optimization, you may struggle to achieve fast speeds.

Another benefit of managed web hosting is customer support. Providers offer support for both managed and unmanaged web hosting, but you can expect a higher level of support from the former type of web hosting service. With managed web hosting, you can seek support for third-party applications. If you’re having trouble installing or configuring a particular third-party application on your website’s server, for instance, the provider should offer assistance.

Benefits of Unmanaged Web Hosting

For exclusive and unrestricted control over your website’s server, you should choose unmanaged web hosting. Managed web hosting is more limited and restrictive. You can install new software on a managed server, but you can’t delete or change the pre-installed software.

Unmanaged web hosting gives you the freedom to configure and customize your website’s server in any way. Maybe you use a different type of server or database software, or perhaps you want to use a different control panel. Aside from the hardware itself, you can control nearly every aspect of your website’s server with unmanaged web hosting.

Unmanaged web hosting can help protect your website against cyber threats. Rather than relying on the provider’s cybersecurity measures, you can deploy your own measures. You can install your preferred antivirus software, set up a firewall, configure the server to block suspicious Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and more. If you use managed web hosting, you’ll be at the mercy of the provider’s cybersecurity measures, which may or may not be sufficient.

To save money on web hosting, you may want to go with an unmanaged service. Unmanaged web hosting services usually cost less than their managed counterparts. Providers charge less for unmanaged web hosting services because they don’t have to manage the servers. As a result, providers pass down these cost-savings in the form of lower prices for unmanaged web hosting services.

Dedicated servers, virtual private servers (VPS) and shared servers can be either managed or unmanaged. Managed servers are those that are actively managed by the provider, whereas unmanaged servers are those that you are required to manage. Of those two types of web hosting services, managed typically offers the greatest benefits. Managed web hosting is fast, easy to use and offers a superior level of customer support.

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