VPS Hosting Vs. Dedicated Hosting – What’s The Difference?

You may have come across the terms managed and unmanaged hosting while looking for the best provider or service. They are two variants of both dedicated and VPS hosting - two of the most popular web hosting types. Here we will discuss in details about each of their significance and which one will be the right pick for you.

Why Does Hosting Have Managed And Unmanaged Varieties?

VPS and dedicated are the only two types of hosting which can offer managed and unmanaged varieties.

Especially, VPS offers root level access to its clients. No other web hosting variant - dedicated, shared, cloud or reseller brings this privilege on board. So, no question arises there about who will oversee the server functionalities and maintain them.

In managed hosting, the provider himself assigns a server management expert to carry out those sensitive tasks efficiently. On the other hand, the client has to assign someone to monitor the server or do it himself in unmanaged hosting. The latter seems to be the right fit for clients who have ample knowledge and experience in this area. Both of these varieties seem to satisfy a large number of hosting clients because they help to customize their hosting plans exactly to their needs.

What Is Dedicated Hosting?

In dedicated hosting, a single client owns one physical server. So he has the freedom to utilize all resources provided by the server. However, this privilege comes at a high price. Dedicated hosting plans tend to be the most costly among all hosting plans of a provider.

What Is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting takes the advantage of virtual servers to offer more freedom to its clients. It has gained popularity in recent times for this.

Typically, the client either has to share the resources of one server with other entities (like in shared hosting) or needs to take full responsibility for a whole server (like in dedicated hosting). Dedicated hosting is pretty costly and the client may have to pay for resources he doesn’t even use. In shared hosting, problems faced by any other website on the server will cause difficulties for your website as well. VPS hosting presents a sustainable solution to this problem by combining the perks of these two popular hosting types.

In VPS hosting, you will be given a portion of one physical server just like shared hosting. However, here this portion will have its own copy of an operating system. It will act like a virtual server which does not depend on any other website operating inside the larger container server. So, you can operate the website much more freely and have more control over its specifications.

Besides, all the resources provided in that specified server portion will be dedicated to your website. This is similar to the main characteristic of dedicated servers. As a result, you can get the best of both worlds with VPS hosting.

Main Differences

We have already covered the topics of full root access and technical support. Apart from these two, other major differences are covered below:

Time

Time is a crucial factor when it comes to web hosting. Especially in the beginning stages of a website, it is important that you get the server up and running fast. Managed server can serve this purpose better than unmanaged hosting. When you invest in a managed VPS hosting plan, the provider takes the responsibility of launching the virtual server. It assigns technical experts to handle the process properly. As a result, your server is configured quickly with all the right settings and options. In the case of an unmanaged hosting plan, you have to figure out how to take care of this process. You will need to install it manually and configure the necessary services by yourself. If you have no prior knowledge, it can take you hours to learn all these details.

Cost

The cost can vary in both managed and unmanaged hosting depending on your current situation and future plans. Typically, unmanaged hosting comes at a much lower cost since it does not provide technical support for the client. However, if you need to hire someone to carry out the technical tasks, you may have to spend a considerable amount of fee anyway. If you take the responsibility of handling the tasks yourself, you will need to go through many tutorials, books and other resources. This is a time-consuming process and will force you to focus less on the website itself. Managed hosting takes care of this by assigning technical support personnel. For this extra advantage, the managed hosting plans cost about four times more than the unmanaged ones.

Security

The security level of your server will decide the security level of your website. If the server is not secure enough, all the sensitive data on your site will be at risk. VPS hosting itself provides better security than some other hosting variants by letting you run your own operating system. But even then, some threats may arise if you don’t implement security measures meeting the current standard. This is a possibility in unmanaged hosting where you will be responsible for the server settings. In this case, managed hosting has the upper hand. Since the provider takes care of all server specifications in managed hosting, your website will be protected by industry standard firewalls and other security components. Modern data centers are very aware and updated about all such security measures. That is why managed hosting can ensure better security for your website.

Technical Knowledge

A high level of technical knowledge will be necessary for unmanaged hosting. All critical tasks including server maintenance, performance monitoring, software installation and more will rely on your shoulders. So to carry them out, you would need to have a substantial amount of knowledge in server management. Although, you can hire a professional to take care of these tasks that will increase the expense. In managed hosting, one doesn’t need to go through such hassle. Here, the provider handles all the technical aspects so that you can focus on making your website more successful.

Managed Hosting Benefits

Strong Security

Providers take care of the technical tasks in managed hosting. So it comes as no surprise that the security of such hosting plans is top-notch. Data centers follow the latest state of art in security. Their owners cannot risk leak or unauthorized access to the enormous information these data centers hold. Since your virtual server in managed hosting will be a part of these centers, it will have the benefit of having a robust security system. The official personnel of the provider will run security audits, perform spam filtering, scan for virus and implement updates for operating systems. He will also configure the software firewall to meet the required standards.

Regular Backups

Any loss of data can prove to be pretty expensive for an enterprise. Even small businesses fall victim to such incidents. They can lose more than 50% of their data after a man-made or natural disaster takes place. To prevent these damages, managed hosting helps to keep backups of your data. This may take place on a daily or weekly basis depending on the hosting plan. As a result, you don’t need to panic when a disaster hits. You can gain all the lost data from these backups.

Server Monitoring

To make sure your website is performing to its full potential, the server needs to do the same. For this, server monitoring is very important and critical to any business based on the internet. This is a process where one repeatedly scans the server throughout the day for detecting any possible issue or failure. Typically, the system admin carries out this responsibility. In managed hosting, the provider assigns this admin so that you don’t have to find someone capable. As a result, the monitoring results and maintenance turned out to be flawless and aptly handled. The admin also brings the possible issues into light before they can cause any damage. Thus, those issues can be solved on time and your business stays safe from losses.

Cost-Effective

The owners of small businesses face numerous costing problems anyway. They need to figure out how to earn the maximum by investing the minimum without causing any compromise to the quality of service. Managed hosting can bring them some peace of mind in this regard. The businessman does not have to spend money on hiring system admins and database administrators (DBA). The providers take care of all those responsibilities by letting the respective experts handle them. Initially, it may seem that unmanaged hosting plans cost less than managed ones. However, if the unmanaged hosting client cannot administer the necessary tasks, recruiting respective personnel will cost him a lot more and the overall cost will go up ultimately.

Time-Saving

This point is targeted at the small business owners and startups. In this stage of your business plan, it is very important that you keep all your focus on the betterment of its infrastructure and reaching the previously set goals. That cannot happen if you constantly need to spend time on managing the technical issues of your website or server. Server management and administration itself is a time-consuming task which requires a lot of effort and dedication. So, the provider assigns a system admin and a DBA in managed hosting plans to take care of these responsibilities. This saves up a significant amount of your time and lets you work on the business.

Customization

Although most providers offer hosting plans where the components have rigid specifications, it does not benefit businesses where the needs can vary by huge measures. The one-size-fits-all approach may suit startups and personal blog sites, but a serious business or bigger organization would need more customization options. To meet this demand, most leading providers nowadays offer managed hosting solutions which can be customized. You can negotiate with the provider about keeping a service you will need or removing an unnecessary service from the plan. In this way, you can meet all your business needs without crossing the budget.

Automatic Software Updates

For any website at this time, getting automatic updates of the software systems is a huge advantage. Manually updating each software would take up a lot of time. Also, we often tend to postpone updates if we have to do it manually. Managed hosting providers usually take care of this by programming automatic updates of the applications. Especially in case of core softwares like PHP, MySQL and Apache, such auto-updates can be a blessing.

Control Panel

Even though the provider assigns experts for handling all technical issues of your website, a managed hosting plan usually comes with a control panel for you as well. You can utilize it to set up all the specifications for your server or website. The best ones right now in market are cPanel and Plesk. You can also have a custom-made control panel if it serves you best. You can use this panel to automate create database creation, forward emails, view performance statistics, log access or have DNS records. Installation of such panels is possible in unmanaged hosting as well, but lack of proper skills can render it useless.

SSH Access

This is considered one of the rare necessities for hosting clients. However, it can be very useful for your developers if they need to do some advanced development tasks. SSH stands for Secure Shell. It lets you access the server through a secure path using a command line interface. Your developers can use it to install any additional software to streamline their tasks. It can be a software for version control, running scripts, code development or any other utility.

Tech Support

Most leading web hosts provide tech support who can get your website or server out of any unwanted situation. Along with the basic support services, you can also take advantage of the Live Chat Support system to get help instantly. Many managed hosting providers let you this service for free since they already have other higher-level experts assigned to handle the bigger technical issues.

Unmanaged Hosting Benefits

Autonomous Control

The biggest advantage of having an unmanaged hosting is that it gives you complete autonomous control on both your website and the server. It lets you make the most of your root level access. You can install any software you want without counseling anybody. Of course, this would first require you to be properly trained in this field. Otherwise, it can cause a blunder for your website instead of pushing it forward.

Less Expensive

The unmanaged hosting plans tend to be a lot less costly than the managed ones. The major reason behind this is the provider does not assign any technical expert in unmanaged hosting. The provider also does not include customer support in the hosting plan. It brings down the cost about four times while buying the plan. However, if you need to hire people to do the job of that technical expert, it will cost you as much as managed hosting.

No Dependence on Support

You don’t have to depend on the customer support system to resolve an issue. If your team has IT experts, they can take care of the problem themselves. This helps a lot if the support of your hosting provider tends to be unresponsive.

Is Managed or Unmanaged Web Hosting Right For You?

Go for Managed Hosting if…

  • You own a small business whose website requires tons of dedicated resources.
  • You have the budget to pay a little extra for expert guidance and services
  • You have technical knowledge but don’t have the time to invest in technical issues. You can leave it all to the support personnel and admins while you focus on making the business bloom.
  • Your team does not have a technical expert who can oversee the crucial tasks like server maintenance and software installation. Managed hosting can make up for this lacking with their assigned knowledgeable personnel.
  • Your business team is anxious about the full deployment of hosting software. The provider’s technical experts can help with it by taking care of it themselves and thus making the job easier.
  • Your team is looking for guidance and support from knowledgeable IT experts.

Go for Unmanaged Hosting if…

  • You just started your business and have a limited budget. Unmanaged hosting plans are incredibly affordable and thus can save you a lot of money.
  • You have the time to invest in server maintenance.
  • Your team includes people who are experts in technologies including server management, website administration and software implementation. Since unmanaged hosting does not allow any provider-assigned technical personnel or customer support, your team has to be responsible for handling these crucial tasks.
  • You want full control of the website and server functionalities without the need to contact customer support.
  • You don’t want anybody outside your team to access the information on servers.
  • Both managed and unmanaged hosting can bring a lot of convenience for you. The only thing that matters is if it will suit your business, your time management and your team expertise level. Once every puzzle piece falls into the right place, your business will begin to flourish.

Here are the Best Managed Hosting Services

 

Eliran Ouzan
Author:
Eliran Ouzan is the Co. Founder and designer of HostAdvice and also owns Moonshot Marketing LTD, a leading web design & development firm and was a member at GreenPeace.

Widely known for his pixel-perfect and high conversion rate web designs. Over the course of his web experience he experimeneted with over 200 web hosting companies and have a superior knowledge on what defines a good hosting company.

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"VPS Hosting Vs. Dedicated Hosting – What’s The Difference?"

VPS Hosting Vs. Dedicated Hosting – What’s The Difference?