So you have been working on your website and have it ready. Now it is time to figure out hosting and what plan is right for you. There is a lot to figure out when going about making the choice of managed vs unmanaged hosting. Let’s dive into everything you need to look at the make the best decision.
Performance and Brand Perception
One of the main issues you need to think about when it comes to managed vs unmanaged hosting is overall performance and brand perception. That is basically saying, what type of managed or unmanaged dedicated server do I need to put forth the best website performance possible.
Website performance is directly tied to brand perception. Think of it this way, have you ever visited a website for a company and the website had a slow loading time and was hard to navigate and get around?
Yes, there are certain things you can do to optimize a website, but the truth of the matter is that after optimization, a lot of load time and speed issues may be coming from the hosting plan or company you have chosen.
Furthermore, your other services that rely on uptime and online performance can also be affected. Things like your email and eCommerce need to remain up and running all the time. These things are relying on your server to be up and operation all the time, or at least with as little downtime as possible.
Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting: An Introduction
The first thing you do after creating your website, or oftentimes even before creating your website, is to choose the right hosting plan. A good hosting plan is something that is vital to the success of not only your website but your online business presence.
Every option provides it’s own list of pros and cons, it just depends on what you are looking for.
For example: Shared hosting is a very popular option that is low cost and if the right hosting provider is chosen, can be a very good way to host your site. Your website sits on the same server as many others while performance can still be very good.
VPS hosting is more expensive, but with that comes a lot of extra resources made available to you. This also includes more security options and oftentimes better performance. So again, it is all about what you need.
Differences Between Managed and Unmanaged Server Hosting
Now, let’s break it down even further. Every hosting plan (no matter what you choose) is either a managed hosting plan or an unmanaged hosting plan. We will go over the pros and cons of each in a little bit. However, it should be noted that most of the hosting plans you will encounter are unmanaged.
Unmanaged server hosting really just means you have full control over your own website. That being said, since it is unmanaged, you are also responsible for your own site security, optimization, maintenance and updates over time.
Yes, you will have customer service to ask questions and get help from when needed. But, for the most part, you have full control over what you do.
With managed server hosting, the hosting provider is most likely performing all of these tasks for you. The services you get and the price you received for managed hosting will depend on the hosting provider you choose. However, some of the more popular things that managed hosting usually provides includes:
- Automatic Backups
- Regular Updates
- Security Scanning
- Code Maintenance for CMS
- Website Updates and Changes
You might have heard these also referred to as “website care plans.” These types of plans are very popular with smaller companies and reseller hosting providers. They take on the entire hosting and managing process and make it very easy and worry-free to have your website running smoothly. Again, this will be more expensive, but for a hands-off approach, it is perfect.
Now let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a managed vs unmanaged dedicated server.
Pros and Cons of Managed Server Hosting
Managed server hosting has a lot of good things going for it. Like anything else though, it also has downfalls. The choice you make will be based on exactly what you are looking for and how much hands-on work and management you want to have.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons that come with the choice of managed vs unmanaged hosting.
We will start by looking at managed server hosting, which includes:
- Maintenance tasks are taken care of for you.
- Most security updates and CMS updates are taken care of automatically.
- Access to dedicated customer support to help you through any issues you may encounter.
- The ability to not have to worry about keeping all the details of your website in order.
So, you can see that managed hosting offers a lot of nice things. However, there are some cons. The biggest downfall of managed hosting is that it is going to cost you more. In most cases, quite a bit more. This can be a big issue for small businesses that are on a budget and can’t afford to throw that extra money around.
However, when you consider the extra costs and compare it to the work you avoid and all the other added benefits, the higher price often justifies itself. It is something to think about.
Another con of managed hosting is that oftentimes you do not have full root access to your website’s server. There are a number of reasons for this, but it can prevent you from making website customizations unless these customizations are offered as part of the plan.
If you want more control over everything, then a managed hosting plan is not for you.
Pros and Cons of Unmanaged Server Hosting
Like managed, unmanaged hosting provides you with a lot of pros as well. And again, there are also some cons. Let’s take a quick peek at both.
If you want a cheaper price and a higher level of control, then unmanaged server hosting is the solid choice. The upside, or pros, of this type of hosting plan include:
- Full root access to your server. This allows you to make any customization you want.
- A full-featured hosting control panel like cPanel. This helps you easily manage your website.
- More control over backups and security and doing it how you want.
- Unmanaged hosting plans are much cheaper.
Those are all fantastic options and allow you full control. However, all maintenance tasks, including website updates for core and CMS are your responsibility. You will also be fully responsible for all website security, optimization, and backups.
If you know what you are doing, this is fine. If not, this can be difficult. You will still have access to customer service but will need to personally contact them when needed.
Which Plan is Better For You?
Now that you have a better understanding of what managed vs unmanaged hosting is and how they are both operate, you can decide which one is right for you.
Again, both types of hosting offer some great things, you just need to decide what you want and how involved you want to be.
Also, different types of websites may be ideal for a different plan. As I stated above, a lot of thought may go into the final decision. So let’s review a few things that can help with the decision of which plan is better for you.
So, the level of support you will receive (even at a higher price) will be most ideal for small businesses and individuals that are looking for an option that is less technical. Allow the managed team to perform everything for you and take care of the website. The managed hosting option is particularly attractive if you don’t have much technical expertise.
Furthermore, managed plans will save you a lot of time in this aspect. That means you can spend more time figuring out your small business marketing plan and how to implement it instead of server settings, software updates and user permissions.
Unmanaged hosting plans are usually more suited for both bigger businesses with resources to handle all the things needed, or for someone that has technical experience or knowledge. Unmanaged plans are much more affordable and they offer you total freedom over the website. Although you are responsible for much more, the freedom you have is fantastic.
In many cases, site owners hire network administrators or other qualified technicians to manage the site’s server and resources. This isn’t a bad idea if you have the resources. But not every small business can afford to add another person to the payroll.
So, you can see that both options are good, it just depends on what you are looking for.
Making a decision regarding a hosting plan is one of the most important things you will do while in the process of setting up your website. All the information above should help you make an educated decision on whether you want to go with managed or unmanaged hosting.
Things like the size of the business, level of technical expertise, and budget will all play a factor in the final decision.
Remember, if you try one style of hosting and it isn’t working for you, then you can always switch plans. It’s just easier, in the long run, to make the best decision before you get started.