Managed vs Unmanaged Web Hosting: Which One to Choose?

Spread the love
Managed vs Unmanaged Web Hosting
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

You probably already know that web hosting is important for your website. You most likely also know the difference between shared, dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting, and which one is best suited to your business. 

But what you may not know is that each of those web hosting types comes in two variations: managed and unmanaged. While the majority of web hosting providers will offer managed hosting, it’s crucial that you understand the difference and make sure you know what you’re getting into… Because the difference between managed vs unmanaged web hosting can make or break your business. 

Here’s what you need to know about both types, so you can make an informed decision about which is right for you. 

What Is Managed Web Hosting? 

Managed web hosting is an all-in-one hosting service in which the web hosting provider actively manages all the ins and outs of the website for you. This means you don’t have to worry about things like updates, performance, and security, because your host will take care of it on your behalf. 

When someone else is managing all the technical stuff, it leaves you free to do the day-to-day running of the site. This is an excellent option for large, busy businesses that get a lot of traffic to their site, but it’s also a good choice for those who run smaller sites but are not at all technologically inclined. 

The Benefits of Managed Web Hosting 

Managed website hosting is a great choice for most people, whether they’re running a big, complicated online business or a single-person website. Here’s why. 

  • Great Security: Managed web hosting providers deal with all your security measures, including things like installing security software, updating it when necessary, and monitoring your site for threats. 
  • Regular Updates & Maintenance: Your provider will do all the updates, maintenance, and backups for you. This is a bonus, because most website owners don’t even know when something needs to be updated! 
  • Expert Support: Most managed hosting providers offer 24/7 support, in the form of email, phone, or chat. This is handy if you have some sort of issue with your site and need a quick fix, especially if you’re in a country on a different timeline to the hosting company. 
  • Peace of Mind: You know your website is in good hands with a managed hosting company. Plus, they’re usually well-versed in compliance requirements, so if your website needs to comply with something, they’ll most likely have you covered. 
  • Frees Up Time: There’s no need for you to get bogged down in the technical aspects of your site. Leave that to your web host and focus on doing business! 

Cons of Managed Web Hosting 

While managed hosting is very handy, it does come with some downsides. If you’ve got technical knowledge but don’t have the time to manage your own site, you may be dismayed at the lack of customization and software choices, but you may need to trade this off for your time (or money, by hiring someone to do the backend for you). 

  • Higher Cost: It’s all-inclusive, so you pay more for the service. 
  • Limited Customization: You’re bound to the company’s policies in terms of customizing your website settings. 
  • Potential Vendor Issues: This can become a problem if you migrate to a different host. 
  • One-Size-Fits-All Approach: You may not find quite what you’re looking for with managed hosting, especially if you’ve got a unique business or niche. 

What Is Unmanaged Web Hosting? 

Unmanaged web hosting is pretty much the opposite of managed hosting. In this case, the provider backs off and leaves all the management and maintenance to you. This might sound great, because you have some control over your own technical stuff, but it means you need to do EVERYTHING on your own—from installing software updates to managing your security. 

It’s best for those who have tech knowledge and can easily manage the backend of their own site without being intimidated or spending hours on it. Don’t be tempted to choose unmanaged hosting just for the lower price—if you don’t know how to manage your own site, you could set yourself (and your business) up for failure. 

Benefits of Unmanaged Web Hosting 

Unmanaged hosting has some benefits over managed hosting, but it depends on if you need these things or not. For some, these may actually end up being disadvantages, so it’s very subjective. 

  • Lower Cost: The host doesn’t have to do much if you’re managing your own site, driving the price down a little. 
  • More Control: You have complete control over your site, from software to configuration to updates. This means you can tailor your server to your specific needs. 
  • Increased Flexibility: You aren’t limited by the hosting company’s policies. You can change what you want, when you want, without answering to anyone. 

Cons of Unmanaged Web Hosting 

Unmanaged hosting comes with a few potential risks. Know these carefully before you make the decision! 

  • Technical Expertise Needed: You’ll need good technical knowledge to manage your own website, because you’ll have to cover server setup, configuration, maintenance, updates, troubleshooting, and more. 
  • Takes Time and Effort: To manage your site properly, you need to put time and effort into it. Get lazy, and your site is compromised. This can take time away from other aspects of the business. 
  • Possible Security Risks: You’re responsible for your own security, from installing security software to keeping things updated. Mistakes here can be costly and compromise your entire business. 
  • Lack of Technical Support: Unmanaged hosting doesn’t usually have dedicated technical support. You might be able to get some help from customer service, but typically you’ll need to resort to forums to troubleshoot. 

Conclusion: Choose Wisely 

You should already know if managed vs unmanaged web hosting is the right thing for you. Ultimately, it comes down to how comfortable you feel about being responsible for all the technical backend stuff on your website. If you’re a tech whizz who knows what’s what and can deal with the ins and outs of it, then unmanaged hosting could be a good choice. 

But for everyone else, managed web hosting is probably the way to go. It’ll save you time, although it might cost you a little more. In the end, it depends on you and your business. 

About the Author Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related, at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.

3 thoughts on “Managed vs Unmanaged Web Hosting: Which One to Choose?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *