What Is The Difference Between Managed And Unmanaged Hosting?

If you’re looking for a new hosting plan, you have to be aware of what it actually is all about. There’s managed hosting, and then there’s unmanaged hosting, a choice has to be made among these two. When you’re choosing either one of these, it is better to have a sufficient amount of information regarding both, and also know the difference between them. That is exactly what we will be focusing on from here on.

Managed & Unmanaged Hosting: What's The Difference?
Managed & Unmanaged Hosting: What’s The Difference?

Most of the beginners aren’t familiar with the word ‘management’ in the world of hosting as they mostly start out by hosting their websites on shared servers. But the moment we start using semi-dedicated hosting, VPS hosting or dedicated serves, this term begins to hold a legitimate amount of significance for us.

The most basic difference between managed and unmanaged hosting is the price. However, there are some major reasons why there is a price gap between the two, so it is not wise to choose a plan solely based on the cost of that particular plan. The package in contention might be cheap right now, but if it’s not good it could turn out to be extremely expensive or not match up your expectations in the long run.

What Is Managed Hosting?

A number of diverse components make up a hosting plan which is referred to as management services, from which the term managed hosting is derived. In a managed hosting plan, there are numerous features the server hardware is the most basic component among all. There are a pre-installed operating system and various different types of software in it. Additional services like automated backups, malware scanning, and removal, security sweeps etc. are also included.

What Is Unmanaged Hosting?

There are little to no additional services provided in an unmanaged hosting plan. Usually, you would just get a server with an operating system installed in it, and that’s about it. If you want any additional service or any necessary software, you’ll have to install them all by yourself. Even base system software like Apache or PHP have to be installed by you.

The term “unmanaged” comes from the fact that you’re not provided with any services by the company. The company also doesn’t play any role in carrying out any management tasks on the server. You have to do it all by yourself. Unmanaged hosting is usually beneficial to businesses and IT professionals who have sufficient knowledge regarding running and setting up a server. It might be cheaper than a managed hosting plan, but there has to be a lot of work done by you. You will also not be provided with important firewall services in order to protect your website.

We’ve spoken a lot about unmanaged hosting, and by now there might be a question in your mind. If there are so many drawbacks of unmanaged hosting, then why do people even go for it? Well, there are reasons for that as well. Three main reasons for that are:

  • Unmanaged hosting plans are cheaper, and users go for them in order to save
  • Special tuning of the server is required by certain applications which can be achieved via unmanaged
  • The user would want to expand his/her knowledge regarding server management or likes to tinker.

As we mentioned earlier, normally there is a pre-installed operating system in unmanaged servers, but that’s just about it. The command line is the most vital function. The things that the host can do for you in managed hosting, you can do all by yourself in unmanaged hosting if you have the necessary skills. There are people with sufficient knowledge, who like doing things in a certain way, which managed servers don’t let them do. So, with the help of unmanaged servers, they are able to monitor services for themselves.

You can even create your own Control Panel. If you want to save money and have proper knowledge regarding the functioning of an unmanaged hosting plan, then it is the way to go for you.

There are certain cases in which a specific setup is required for applications running on the server, and these specific services aren’t offered by the hosting company. This is where unmanaged servers come into play. You need significant knowledge regarding server-management in order to properly use an unmanaged server. When you do have it, it will be beneficial for you in running websites on unmanaged servers.

With an out of the box thinking, you can do wonders with your website through unmanaged servers. It would be fair to say that these servers are for the tech-savvy.

Major Differences Between Managed & Unmanaged Hosting

When it comes to managed hosting, the support is magnificent. Along with automated backup and monitoring, the host assists you in all the problems and tasks. Whether it’s an emergency or routine, you will have sufficient support to help you through it. Even though there is a limit to it, as you might not be provided with support for problems related to coding or your blog, but when it comes to control panel, operating system, server set up and all the pre-installed applications, everything is well managed by the host.

On the other hand, even though unmanaged hosting is cheaper when you compare it with managed hosting, it is because as the name suggests, it comes with no management. While the host will assist you in rebooting servers, replacing failed components, and maintaining the network, it won’t provide any support when it comes to software and installation processes. There are many hosts that don’t even provide a web server software or control panel. It is your responsibility to fix strange error messages. Also, you’ll have to install the security patches, all by yourself. The host may provide some help to you when you are not able to resolve the issue by yourself, but this support will be charged on an hourly basis, which could turn out to be very expensive.

On the bright side, the amount of sole access and freedom provided to you by unmanaged hosting is immense. If your operating system is comfortable to you, and if you know your ability to handle it all by yourself, then you should indeed go for unmanaged hosting. However, if you’ll struggle when it comes to doing everything from scratch, then you will keep coming across problems. In that case, unmanaged hosting might not be the best choice for you. You should go for managed hosting if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage the entire server on your own.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you need. Is maintenance more important to you than the cost, or vice-versa? If you don’t wish to handle the insides of your server all by yourself, then managed hosting is what’s suitable for you. On the other hand, if you have sufficient knowledge, and are willing to do most of the tasks without support, then unmanaged hosting is for you, as it also is way cheaper than managed hosting.

Also, you should never buy an unmanaged hosting plan if you are not sure about handling the workload.

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