Still unsure if unmanaged or managed web hosting is going to be the best for you? Both come with their own benefits and downsides, and choosing between them can be tricky sometimes, with so many web hosting providers available.
When you do your research, you will notice that managed hosting is more expensive than unmanaged hosting. This might lead you to pick unmanaged hosting without looking closely at the positives and negatives of both of them.
And it’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re a beginner, getting started with unmanaged hosting will mean that you might have to tackle various hosting issues on your own.
To help you understand the differences between these options, we have compared the benefits of unmanaged hosting vs managed hosting, so you can decide which is right for you.
At the end of this article, we’ll also mention our top recommended hosting providers (managed and unmanaged) so that you can choose a reliable hosting provider.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive in!
Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting: Basic Overview
What is Managed Hosting?
Any basic hosting plan comes with various components, the major being the server hardware.
With managed hosting, you get a server operating system installed along with different software you may need to run your site. Managed hosting comes with excellent speeds and is more secure.
Managed hosting comes with automatic backups to keep your data safe. Additionally, it comes with automatic updates so that you can save time by continuing your work while your site is automatically updated.
When you pick a managed hosting plan, server setup, the operating system, control panel, and pre-installed applications will be managed by the hosting provider.
Often, managed hosting comes with status monitoring, malware scanning, security sweeps, and more. Additionally, the hosting provider offers top-notch support for every problem or task.
Instead of struggling to implement all these features yourself, the hosting provider looks after everything on your behalf. With managed hosting, you can get started without having any technical knowledge.
Put simply, managed hosting is essentially a hosting plan that comes with tons of perks and services compared to unmanaged hosting.
Managed hosting facilitates a quick site management process and saves you time with its excellent, user-friendly panel so that you can focus on the growth of the site rather than setting up everything yourself.
What is Unmanaged Hosting?
Unmanaged hosting, on the other hand, is a more affordable hosting solution for users.
It comes with minimal additional services and features; the hosting provider will reboot servers, replace the failed components, maintain your networks, and keep the lights on, however, it won’t support additional software, nor will it install any other software for you.
For example, your unmanaged hosting plan might deliver you a server with a pre-installed operating system. You will then have to install various crucial pieces of software, including PHP and Apache, manually.
Additionally, you may also have to install WordPress on your own. Many of the hosting providers do not even provide web server software or a control panel. In this case, you will have to do everything manually.
As the name says, unmanaged hosting does not carry out any management for you on your server. This process can be time-consuming, and you will need technical knowledge or previous experience.
However, we will look more closely at all the pros and cons later in the article.
What Services Do You Get in Managed Hosting?
Managed hosting comes with numerous perks and excellent features. Features vary from one hosting provider to another, but every host offers certain standard services. Let us have a quick look at the services you get in managed hosting.
Performance monitoring is crucial for any site. It helps you understand how your site is performing, which helps to prevent any unexpected disasters.
For example, if your website is close to using up all its resources, it might slow down your site significantly, causing your site traffic to suffer.
To avoid that, your host provider will inform you in advance if there’s a problem or if it looks like your resources are getting over-stretched, so that you can immediately get in touch with a technician and get the issue resolved.
With a managed hosting plan, your host will continuously monitor your site to look out for these kinds of issues.
You will also get informed when your site is at potential risk from any theft or hacks. This feature is crucial because it gives you time to be prepared and overcome any challenges.
Sometimes, however, we have no warning when bad situations arise. Even if your site is safe, it is necessary that your files are safe and backed up so that even in a disastrous situation, you can retain your data.
Data can disappear in the blink of an eye; therefore, in managed hosting, the hosting provider takes the pressure off by automatically backing up your site.
However, you need to ensure that the hosting provider does not save your files on the same server. If everything is on the same server and your hardware needs to be replaced, then you will lose all your backed up data.
Another crucial thing that needs to be checked is if the backup also comes with a database. This is because your database is an essential part of your site, and once you lose your database, you might lose all your posts, users, comments, etc.
Backup policies differ from one hosting provider to another. Take a thorough look at the backup policies of any hosting provider you are considering.
Although the process may sound complicated right now, once you understand the importance that backups hold, you will be able to make your decision more easily.
As a website owner, you know how important and fragile your site is. Hackers have become more innovative, and the chances of your site getting attacked or hacked are higher than ever before.
Irrespective of your website’s size, it is crucial that you always have top-notch security by your side.
When you opt for managed hosting, the hosting provider provides you the best security. However, the security features vary from host to host.
Security and malware scans, along with a removal and cleanup service, can help remove myriad issues on your server if they happen to appear.
Even though these services may not remove all the threats, they can go a long way towards securing a site.
Many hosting providers also provide security monitoring, which prevents your site from hackers and other threats.
Before picking any hosting provider for managed hosting, ensure that what they’re offering includes malware scans, auto-cleanup, and other security protections for your site.
Related Reading: Ultimate WordPress Security Guide
Of course you want to focus on your website’s growth, but continuous updates in the core software such as PHP hosting, Apache, MSQL, Magento Hosting, and more, can create challenges.
It is a blessing if the core software comes with automatic updates. Most hosting providers make sure that your core software is updated with the latest version, so you can continue to focus on your work.
However, this might not always be the best option. Occasionally, some other important software is not compatible with the latest versions of these core pieces of software.
If you are running a WordPress website, you do not have to worry about any of these things, but if you are using a custom application, you might face some issues.
User-friendly Control Panel
Your hosting provider must come with an easy-to-use, intuitive panel. No one likes to spend hours figuring out how to use various pieces of software.
Therefore, managed hosting comes with a control panel that easily lets you set up various things, including DNS records, creation of databases, access logs, email forwarders, viewing performance statistics, and more.
Most hosting providers come with pre-built control panels like Plesk or cPanel, whereas, when you opt for premium WordPress managed hosting plans, you can build a custom panel as per your requirements.
However, even if you use the default panel offered by managed hosting, you won’t face any issues as long as it contains all the useful options.
Every hosting provider comes with essential customer support. Most of the time, hosting providers offer live chat that can be accessed 24/7.
Having good support at your side is important; excellent customer support can help through any obstacles you come across. Most managed hosting providers offer ongoing, free advice to users right from the moment of installation.
Additionally, if you upgrade to the premium managed hosting plans, you gain access to priority support from most of the hosting providers (or at least you should).
We would recommend checking the company’s live support before you make a decision, so you can have a basic idea of the company’s intentions and understand whether it would be a good idea or not.
SSH Refers to ‘Secure Shell,’ and it is one of the safest ways to access your server. It can do everything that your control panel does, and more. This one of the primary reasons why developers love it, however, it’s usually less relevant for beginners).
SSH is used widely for installing various software for your site, including scripts, version control, developer tools, and additional useful add-ons – your developer will thank you for it if you request additional work from them.
And, if you keep learning more about your servers, you will develop your websites and use them yourself. Most managed hosting provider plans come with SSH access, so you can sit back and relax.
Simply put, on-demand service is paid support. On-demand service can be called on for speed analysis, or even virus removal or clean-up.
At the same time, most of the managed hosting comes with automated features that take care of many of these tasks.
Some hosting providers will provide you with an automatic malware scan bundle, but you might have to pay extra if you need help removing the malware that automatic scan detects.
You might find hosting providers that provide both the features for free. However, this usually comes with either premium plans or expensive hosting companies.
What Do You Get in Unmanaged Hosting?
Now that you are familiar with what managed hosting is and the services that it provides, let us analyze unmanaged hosting.
By now you might be thinking: ‘Managed hosting comes with excellent features, why would anyone go with unmanaged hosting?’ Well, unmanaged hosting is perfect for users who like to control everything.
Unmanaged hosting comes with an operating system pre-installed, but that’s all – usually you won’t get anything apart from the pre-installation of the operating system.
Whatever you want to add, you can do it via the command line. Command-line is crucial for any hosting (the managed hosting providers also rely on it).
With unmanaged hosting, you can download and install any software and add any monitoring by yourself.
You can also create your own control panel and add a malware scan tool if you have the necessary skills. However, it might not be the correct option to go with if you are a beginner.
With unmanaged hosting, you need plenty of technical knowledge. You can do everything that managed hosting offers, but you’ll have to do it by yourself. And for that, you must know how everything works.
As mentioned earlier, unmanaged hosting comes with an operating system installed, and everything needs to be done manually, so it is usually more of a manual hosting plan for tech-savvies.
Unmanaged vs Managed Hosting: Pros & Cons
Managed and unmanaged hosting both come with their pros and cons. Saying managed hosting is the ultimate solution every time would be a biased opinion.
Therefore, before we decide which hosting is right for you, let’s go through the pros and cons of both. This way, you can also analyze the downsides you are ready to face.
- Unmanaged hosting gives you complete freedom as if the server is on your computer. With unmanaged hosting, you can do everything as per your needs rather than having everything spoon-fed to you.
- Unmanaged hosting comes with cheaper pricing plans, which is perfect for users on a budget.
- Unmanaged hosting lets you customize the control panel and install everything as per your requirements.
- Unmanaged hosting does not come with automatic backups and common add-ons. For that, you will have to spend additional money.
- If you are a beginner, you will encounter enormous difficulties. Unmanaged hosting is also time-consuming as you have to do everything by yourself.
- One of the significant pros of managed hosting is that the hosting provider looks after everything for you. You can save tons of time and focus on the growth of the organization.
- You do not need any technical experience to manage your site with managed hosting.
- It comes with excellent customer support right at your fingertips. If anything goes wrong, you can contact the team and get the issue resolved.
- Your site will often work faster and give the best performance with managed hosting.
- Managed hosting is more expensive than unmanaged hosting due to its services.
Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting: Which is Right for You?
Every individual has different needs for their sites. For example, if low cost is a crucial factor for one user, that won’t necessarily be true for other users.
Therefore, after a head-to-head comparison of managed hosting vs. unmanaged hosting, the main question is not ‘what one is the best?’, it’s ‘which one is the best for me?’
If you are a beginner, or even if you are not a complete beginner but still do not have enough skills to set up everything, we would recommend going with managed hosting.
Additionally, managed hosting is the right pick if you are looking to save time by getting a hosting provider that takes care of various aspects of your site. So if you need a low maintenance site, managed hosting should is the best pick.
On the other hand, if you have the technical know-how, unmanaged hosting is the best pick for you. Additionally, unmanaged hosting may be the right choice if you are on a budget.
However, you will have to do everything manually, or you can hire a technician that would help you set up and manage everything. Moreover, if you like to take control of every aspect of your site, unmanaged hosting will be the best.
Top Hosting Providers & Pricing Comparison
Undoubtedly, managed hosting is more expensive than unmanaged hosting because of the extra services you get. Now that you know which is right for you, let us help you find a reliable hosting provider so you can start right away!
Top Unmanaged Hosting Providers
Bluehost is one of the best hosting providers available. It is one of the WordPress recommended hosting providers (you can check our Bluehost review to get detailed insights).
With over two million users globally, Bluehost offers great performance and incredible features. It has various different plans that you can choose from, including the option to start from the basic shared hosting plan and scale up as your site grows.
You get WordPress pre-installed and good customer support with all the plans. The plan starts from $2.95/month.
Check our Bluehost Coupon to get an exclusive discount on Bluehost now.
HostGator is another great, reliable hosting provider for unmanaged hosting. You get the cheapest hosting plans that come with excellent features and customer support.
HostGator comes with astonishing speed as well as one-click installations and a free domain. The plans start from $2.75/month, and, like BlueHost, you can scale up the plan as your website starts to grow.
3. A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is another popular and reliable hosting provider, well known for its tremendous speed and security. You get 24/7 customer support from the crew. Additionally, it comes with various hosting plans, so you can pick the one that fits your needs.
You get a free domain and an easy one-click WordPress installation process. The pricing for the basic plans starts from $2.99 per month.
Check our A2 Hosting Coupon to get an exclusive discount on A2 Hosting now.
Top Managed Hosting Providers
When you pick managed hosting, it is critical to select a reliable hosting provider. To make sure you do not choose the wrong one, we’ve listed some of the most reliable managed hosting providers and given you an overview of their features.
SiteGround is one of the most popular hosting providers that is officially recommended by WordPress. One of the main reasons why we recommend SIteGround is because it comes with unbeatable customer support.
If you are planning to stick with managed hosting, SiteGround is our top-recommended hosting provider. It comes with a blazing-fast performance and the best security features. The managed hosting price starts from $6.99 per month.
Check our SiteGround Coupon to get an exclusive discount on SiteGround now.
2. WP Engine
WP Engine is one of the best hosting providers for managed hosting, thanks to its incredible features. The site takes your digital experience to the next level with its speed and security.
The hosting provider is dedicated to WordPress users and comes with features that boost your speed and security for a successful site and healthy growth.
With automatic updates, backups, and automated installation, it takes your web hosting experience a step further than any other hosting provider. The plans start from $25 per month.
Check our WP Engine Coupon to get an exclusive discount on WP Engine now.
3. Liquid Web
Liquid Web is a few of the hosting providers that provide a 100% uptime guarantee, making it an extra-reliable hosting provider.
Liquid Web provides an unrivaled managed hosting experience, with 24/7 customer support from its technical experts. Its plans come with excellent security and at an affordable price.
You can choose between various managed hosting plans, as the hosting provider comes with scalable hosting solutions that fit every user’s needs. The basic plan starts from $19 per month.
Check out Liquid Web Coupon to get an exclusive discount on Liquid Web.
Conclusion: Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting
Choosing between unmanaged and managed hosting can be challenging, as both of them come with their perks. After reading our comparison between unmanaged vs managed hosting, we hope you could figure out which is the best for you.
If you are still unsure, let us end this article with a simple example. Managed hosting is like buying a well-furnished house, which comes with everything you need.
All you need to do is simply move in. Meanwhile, unmanaged hosting is like buying a piece of land and then designing your house from scratch. While the process can be time-consuming, you can at least create it the way you want.
With that, we conclude our comparison. If you are still unclear or have any doubts, feel free to drop a message in the comments section below.
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