Difference between Managed and Unmanaged Server comparison

Key Difference between Managed and Unmanaged Server

If your business significantly relies on your website, then hosting has to be one of your top priorities. After all, the right hosting solution helps your website handle traffic spikes efficiently and enjoy superb uptime. 

And if you have something like an e-commerce store or a large website, most likely, you’ll need a dedicated server hosting solution to ensure smooth functionalities of your website. When it comes to dedicated server hosting, there are two types of solutions available: managed server and unmanaged server.

It’s very important to understand the major differences between managed and unmanaged servers, as the right choice can significantly impact your site’s functionalities and, in turn, your business.

In today’s post, we’re going to take a detailed look at managed vs. unmanaged servers to help you make an informed decision. After going through this article, you should be able to pick the right kind of server according to your specific requirements.

We’re going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of server so that you can have a clear understanding.

Let’s get started!

Managed and Unmanaged Server Comparison

Managed serversUnmanaged server
Web hosting service to take care of the management of the serversSite owners to manage the servers
Managed servers are more expensiveUnmanaged servers could end up being expensive in the long run
Doesn’t required technical knowledge Technical knowledge required
Automatic backup provided No automatic backup provided
Highly secureHighly secure
Support provided by web hosting providerSupport not provided

What’s A Managed Dedicated Server?

As the name suggests, with a managed dedicated server hosting solution, you don’t have to think about managing the server regularly. The web hosting company will be fully responsible for handling all the tasks required to facilitate the smooth functioning of the server.

These tasks commonly include taking automated backups, conducting regular security checks and scans, hardware monitoring, performance monitoring of the server, and offering a great deal of technical support.

With the help of your hosting provider, you can also make necessary changes to the server or its configuration to meet specific goals.

Advantages of Choosing a Managed Server

  • Server maintenance

As mentioned above, your web host will take care of all the server-related tasks, from backups to security measures and everything in between. Many hosting providers will also help you recover your data from the backup if something unexpected happens.

  • Ease of use

In the context of managed vs. unmanaged dedicated servers, ease of use plays a vital role. As the hosting provider manages the server’s maintenance and applications running in it, you typically get a better user experience. Moreover, you can easily have your preferred application/software installed on the server with the help of your web host to make it more user-friendly.

  • Performance

Better performance of the server is another key difference between managed and unmanaged servers. In almost all cases, experienced engineers handle all the tasks on behalf of the hosting provider. This typically leads to a better overall performance of your server.

Disadvantages of Choosing a Managed Server

  • Zero or minimum management control

When it comes to a managed vs. unmanaged server, a significant lack of control with the former sometimes acts as a deterrent for some users. Since all the tasks are handled by the hosting provider, you get very less, or sometimes zero, control over the way it manages the server. 

For instance, if your hosting provider takes weekly backups for all its managed servers, but you want daily backups, it may not be possible anyway to achieve this.

  • Restrictions on software deployment

Although this isn’t common, sometimes, web hosts place restrictions on the type of applications or software you can deploy on your server. They may also restrict you from choosing certain configurations or adding particular plugins.

  • Cost

The cost of a managed server is significantly higher than that of an unmanaged server. The reason is quite straightforward. The hosting provider needs to employ professionals to manage all your server-related tasks, and they don’t come free. 

What’s An Unmanaged Dedicated Server?

Unlike a managed server, you’ll be fully responsible for maintaining the server when you choose an unmanaged one. From its configuration, network connection, and security aspects to backups and hardware maintenance – you’ll need to manage everything. 

If you want to upgrade the software or install anything new, you need to have the technical expertise to do so. In case you don’t have the required technical knowledge, every time, you’ll have to hire a professional to do the job. This is the reason sometimes the long-term cost of maintaining an unmanaged server exceeds that of a managed one.

Advantages of Choosing an Unmanaged Server

  • Total control over the server environment

Since you need to manage everything with an unmanaged server, you can do whatever you want to do with it. From installing your preferred operating system and applications to deploying security measures and taking backups – you get to decide how to manage them.

  • Cost

Cost is an obvious difference between a managed and unmanaged server. In any case, the cost of an unmanaged server will be significantly lower than that of a managed server

But as we mentioned above, either you yourself have the technical expertise to manage all the required tasks or hire a professional to do it. In case you choose to go with the latter, the maintenance costs of both the servers will be almost similar in the long run.

Disadvantages of Choosing an Unmanaged Server

  • Much more responsibility with server administration

Since you need to deal with all the aspects of server maintenance and the software/applications installed in it, it requires a significant amount of time and effort to maintain the smooth functioning of the server. You’re also responsible for protecting the server and all the sensitive data residing in it from cyberattacks and hackers.

This essentially means you won’t be able to focus fully on your business’s operations when you choose an unmanaged server. If you want to make the server more user-friendly by adding third-party software/applications to it, you’ll also need to do them yourself.

  • Minimum technical support

Regardless of the hosting provider you take the unmanaged server from, you’ll get basic technical support, but nothing more than that. Although this support remains included in your contract, this sometimes falls short due to the complex nature of server administration.

It’s important to note that while all hosting providers offer a great deal of additional technical support, it comes at a hefty price. If you have an unmanaged server and you run into problems with it, you should be prepared to pay a significant service charge when seeking add-on technical support from your hosting provider.

Final Verdict: Managed Vs. Unmanaged Dedicated Server

As you can see, just purchasing a dedicated server isn’t enough to ensure the smooth functioning of your server. You need to take a step ahead by determining if your business requires a managed server or an unmanaged one. As we’ve seen above, the notable differences between a managed and unmanaged server start with the entity managing the server.

Fundamentally, if you want to have a more convenient but more expensive hosting option where all the tasks are managed by the experienced professionals of the hosting provider, you should go with a managed server

However, if you have robust technical knowledge of server administration and other related tasks or a team to deal with them, you can always choose an unmanaged server. No matter which type of server you choose, it’s extremely important to partner with a reputable web hosting provider that can help you experience a hassle-free transition if you want to upgrade from an unmanaged server to a managed one.

As the credibility of the hosting provider matters a lot in the context of dedicated server hosting, you need to be careful about choosing the right things. Now that you know the final verdict of the managed vs. unmanaged server battle, it’s your time to take the final call.

Start by defining your exact requirements and then evaluate your or your team’s technical expertise in terms of carrying out server administration. Remember to take into account the significant amount of time you or your team will need to spend on those activities. Once you get a clear comprehension of these aspects, you should be able to make a well-informed decision regarding whether you should go with a managed server or an unmanaged one.