Managed vs. Unmanaged Hosting – Explained

Written by Web Hosting Expert

Reviewed by Technical Editor

Updated January 30, 2024
Managed vs. Unmanaged Hosting – Explained

When selecting a hosting solution for your website, key factors like security, uptime rates, reliability, bandwidth, data transfer, and storage capacity are crucial.

Additionally, you’ll need to determine if you want to manage your site independently or opt for managed hosting, where providers handle backups, software updates, and other vital tasks.

This article compares managed and unmanaged hosting to help you make an informed choice.

What Is A Hosting Plan?

Hosting plans are the different services a web hosting company offer to provide access to and store websites.

These plans enable websites, including their images and code, to be viewed online by providing a space on the Internet for these sites.

What Is Unmanaged Hosting?

Unmanaged hosting is a basic plan where you get a server with an operating system but without any extra services or management from the hosting company.

What Is Managed Hosting?

Managed servers are set up and maintained by your web host. The host takes care of software installation, regular updates, and security patching to keep the server operational and secure.

You can read more in our article What is managed hosting and how do you know you need it.

Managed Vs. Unmanaged Hosting: Key Differences

Key Differences btw Managed Vs Unmanaged Hosting

Both managed and unmanaged hosting plans have unique benefits.

It is important to compare them and sum up their key differences to determine which one better suits your needs.

Managed HostingUnmanaged Hosting
Server ManagementNot applicable as the host manages the server.You're responsible for server management, including backups and updates.
Onboarding SoftwareOptimized for specific platforms like WordPress, offering better support.Generalized support, potentially less optimized for specific platforms.
cPanelOffers a pre-built control panel for various tasks.Requires setting up control panels and tools yourself.
SecurityEnhanced security with regular updates and proactive threat management.User's responsibility to update security patches and scan for vulnerabilities.
Hardware MaintenanceTaken care of by the hosting provider.User's responsibility to maintain tools, control panels, and network.
SupportSuperior 24/7 customer support.Basic support, not at par with managed hosting.
Level of ControlLess control over the site, as many aspects are managed by the host.Full control over the website, but with added responsibility.
PriceTypically more expensive due to additional services and resources.Cheaper as the host provides fewer services.

Understanding Bandwidth and Storage in Hosting Plans

Bandwidth and storage are vital for website performance and capacity.

It determines how much data your website can transfer monthly, crucial for high-traffic sites or those transmitting large files.

Managed hosting often offers flexible bandwidth, while unmanaged hosting may have fixed limits.

  • Storage — The Space for Your Website's Content

This is the disk space for storing your website's files.

Managed hosting provides various storage options, while unmanaged hosting offers more freedom in storage allocation but requires proactive management.

  • Scaling Bandwidth and Storage

Most providers allow scaling these resources. Managed hosting simplifies scaling, whereas unmanaged servers offer more control but require technical expertise.

  • Cost Considerations

Higher bandwidth and storage typically cost more.

Managed hosting plans often include these costs, offering predictable expenses, while unmanaged hosting may have additional costs for increased needs.

Data Recovery Options in Managed and Unmanaged Hosting

Data Recovery Options in Managed and Unmanaged Hosting

Data loss in web hosting is a major issue. It necessitates robust data recovery options in both managed and unmanaged hosting services.

These options are tailored to different user needs and expertise levels.

  • Managed Hosting Data Recovery

It's typically included in the service, with regular backups and easy restoration processes, offering a safety net, especially for those with limited technical skills.

  • Customizable Data Recovery in Unmanaged Hosting

Users have full responsibility for backups, allowing for customized solutions and control over backup frequency and type.

However, they require a good understanding of data backup techniques.

  • Cloud-Based Backup Solutions

Popular in both hosting types, cloud-based backup solutions provide extra security and flexibility, with off-site storage and scalability.

These solutions simplify the backup and restoration process, which makes them suitable for various business sizes.

Managed Vs. Unmanaged: Choosing the Right Hosting Plan

Evaluating your site’s needs is a crucial step in choosing the right hosting plan.

Consider these factors when deciding between managed and unmanaged hosting:

Assess your skill level

Assess your skill level

Suppose you're new to website building and have a budget, managed hosting is a great option.

Determine your budget

Determine your budget

Managed hosting is a worthwhile investment for growing companies with larger budgets.

Decide what you’re comfortable with

Decide what you’re comfortable with

Your decision will largely depend on what tasks you're comfortable handling and being responsible for.

The Role of Cloud Hosting in Managed and Unmanaged Solutions

Cloud technology has transformed web hosting, bringing unmatched flexibility, scalability, and efficiency to both managed and unmanaged hosting solutions.

  • Managed Hosting

Cloud technology in managed server hosting combines cloud infrastructure's robustness and scalability with managed services' convenience.

It is ideal for businesses looking for a hassle-free, scalable hosting experience.

  • Unmanaged Hosting

In unmanaged hosting, cloud hosting offers more control and customization

This allows tech-savvy users to tailor their unmanaged server environment for performance or cost.

It also provides scalable resources ideal for fluctuating traffic or experimental projects.



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Knowing the difference between managed and unmanaged hosting helps you choose the right option for your website. Each option has benefits and drawbacks.

Managed hosting costs more but offers automated backups, superior support, and enhanced security.

Opting for unmanaged dedicated servers makes sense if you're on a budget, but be ready for the technical demands of setting up and maintaining your site.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to decide which type of hosting plan suits your site best?

To decide which type of hosting plan will suit your site best, you will need to determine how much support you’re going to need with setting up and maintaining your website.

Do I need managed hosting?

If you’re just starting a blog and you’re a beginner, you don’t need managed hosting. You can start out with unmanaged hosting, which is way more affordable, and then work your way up to managed hosting as you expand.

Why is unmanaged hosting cheaper?

Since with unmanaged hosting, there is no routine support – i.e., no management of your website, it is cheaper than managed hosting.

Who is unmanaged hosting best suited for?

In general, unmanaged hosting is for companies who have the experience and knowledge that is required to set up and run a server or who have enough IT staff to take care of it.

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