Choosing Between Managed and Unmanaged Hosting

 In Case Study, Managed Server Cases Studies

When you’re developing and launching a website, one of the most important decisions you would have to make is how you plan on hosting your website or application. In doing so, you would have to choose whether to opt for managed or unmanaged hosting. Each of these approaches has its pros coupled with cons, and understanding the differences can help you make a good and well-informed choice.

What is Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is a variation of hosting where a third-party hosting company takes up the responsibility of setting up the web application, administrating it, managing it, and supporting a server. In a way, this is like having a personal concierge for your server.

What are the reasons for choosing managed hosting?

Managed hosting could be perceived as cost-effective in the long run. This is because when you pay for managed servers, you’re paying for services and features like expert support, disaster recovery, software licences, etc. that you would otherwise have to buy yourself.

As managed hosting takes the responsibility of administration, you wouldn’t have to hire a server administrator. This would considerably lower your in-house IT staff cost, free them from the administrative burden to focus on more meaningful tasks, and keep a smooth workflow without interruptions

If you come across a technical issue that you have trouble solving yourself, you can ask for assistance from the 24/7 expert support that managed hosting offers. This means a team of professionals on the other side will help you out with any and all technical issues that your website faces to maintain your operations without disruptions.

Additionally, managed hosting provides security features such as security audits, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and malware scanning. They also often include monitoring tools that can help you track the performance of your server and the usage of your resources.

What are the challenges with managed hosting?

Although we mentioned that managed hosting is cost-effective in the long run, some would still consider the pricing as a high cost even though it comes with additional services. This is of course valid since unmanaged hosting is less expensive.

Since your managed hosting provider has administrative control over your systems, they have the power to restrict you from accessing the server and its resources which limits your control and customization over your website.

There are instances where managed hosting services just give the basic features and tools for the base price, while they charge more for features that would be of good use to you. This is considered as hidden extra fees that might catch you off guard and require you to reevaluate your choices.

What is Unmanaged Hosting?

This variant of web hosting solution is when the hosting provider facilitates the basic resources necessary for a web server like server space, bandwidth, and hardware. Once these resources are provided, the user is responsible for the rest of the factors that contribute to successfully executing web hosting like managing, configuring, optimizing, and securing the server.

What are the reasons for choosing unmanaged hosting?

The major reason why users utilize unmanaged servers is because of the level of control they offer. This level of control is often sought out by developers and businesses that want to make specific customization or advanced server configurations needs.

Unmanaged hosting services are relatively budget-friendly since there’s only a limited amount of service provided. This low financial commitment is ideal for startups or just companies with low budgets in general. However, the necessary measures should be taken to ensure proper server management.

Users with some level of technical expertise in server management can make the best out of unmanaged servers by fine-tuning server settings, installing custom software, and optimizing the environment to meet the needs of their operations. This can be done to maximize the performance of the web applications involved.

Unmanaged hosting allows you to perform full server configurations, this involves installing apps and tools needed to optimize productivity. This gives your apps and operations a level of flexibility that can be very useful.

What are the challenges with unmanaged hosting?

There is a level of technical complexity to unmanaged hosting that beginners will have trouble comprehending. Properly managing and running an unmanaged server requires a considerable level of technical expertise in server management. This could also add to costs since hiring the professionals necessary to administrate the servers can be expensive.

Even if you were to employ a professional with the technical expertise to handle the duties of maintaining and securing the server, installing updates, and troubleshooting issues with the server can be quite time-consuming. This can slow down the workflow of your company to some extent depending on the gravity of the situation.

Users of unmanaged hosting services will have access to limited features, to add extra features to their system like technical support they’ll have to pay an additional fee depending on the service. This also includes security measures, so organizations would have to purchase different security systems by understanding the needs and requirements of the company.

What’s best for you?

Both Managed and unmanaged hosting provide a different set of advantages coupled with their own sets of disadvantages. These distinctions make way for different companies and users to take advantage of them. So let’s take a look at which hosting service type works best for you!

Before selecting a web hosting service for you, there are some factors that you need to consider in order to make an informed decision.

Technical expertise and comfort level

Technical expertise is a key factor in the context of web server management. In order to make the most out of your web hosting service, you should have access to the expertise required.

  • Managed hosting: If you’re a beginner or a startup looking to start your web services without much expertise, managed hosting should be fine for you as there isn’t much of a learning curve. This of course is because the management tasks will be undertaken by the service provider
  • Unmanaged hosting: In contrast, unmanaged hosting requires a higher level of technical proficiency in server management to get around the configurations.

Budget and cost considerations

The costs of managed and unmanaged services vary since they offer different calibers of services. Depending on which works for you, you can capitalize on this difference.

  • Managed Hosting: Due to the amount of features and administrative hassle it saves the user, managed hosting is generally higher
  • Unmanaged Hosting: The only cost that you’re paying for when it comes to Unmanaged Hosting is for the server and network services. But this means you would have to allocate resources for independent server management.


By understanding the features generally offered by managed and unmanaged services, you can see how they align with the needs of your organization.

  • Managed Hosting: Comes with a wide range of features like Onboarding Software for platforms like WordPress, cPanel to simplify management tasks, enhanced security with regular updates and robust threat management, and of course the popular 24/7 technical support.
  • Unmanaged Hosting: There are no pre-existing features in Unmanaged Hosting. You have to add the necessary ones yourself like security systems, technical support if needed, etc. all of which should be separately paid for.

Level of control and customization desired

Customization and control can be crucial factors depending on your business and the approach you have decided to take with your web services.

  • Managed Hosting: Again, because the managing is done by the hosting service provider, there is less control left for users. This can be beneficial in the sense that there’s less work to do, but it does limit the ability to customize.
  • Unmanaged Hosting: With active involvement, you’ll be able to have full control over your environment. This can be used to fine-tune your web server to meet your specific requirements.

Website traffic and complexity

Both of these hosting methods have an ideal environment to function in, web traffic and complexity is a major factor that decides that.

  • Managed Hosting: Owing to its extensive array of features and services, managed hosting can comfortably handle high-traffic and complex websites, ensuring optimal performance and scalability.
  • Unmanaged Hosting: Since moderate-high traffic websites come with increased complexity, and this will be somewhat difficult to manage with limited resources, Unmanaged Hosting is most suitable for smaller projects, where the server should be tailored to meet the environment requirements.

What is a good service for managed and unmanaged hosting?

HostStage is a great service for both managed and unmanaged hosting. It offers unmanaged hosting solutions, including VPS and dedicated servers, to meet any digital need. Whether you’re into web hosting, running applications, email marketing, storing data in the cloud, or data mining, they’ve got a server for you. Their services are flexible, and packed with features like various control panel options, additional IP addresses, reverse DNS management, a broad selection of operating systems, and Docker compatibility. They provide a practical API, promise global availability, a 100% extended service level agreement, and use top-tier enterprise hardware to ensure reliable performance.

HostStage also comes with a great managed hosting service as well. Its managed hosting is a premium solution designed for online professionals prioritizing performance, security, and ease of use. This turnkey service includes a fully preconfigured setup with cPanel and Softaculous licenses, offering stress-free management and refined performance tuning. Security is a top priority, with over 130 security tweaks, anti-DDoS protection up to 480 Gbps, real-time kernel updates, brute force bot protection, a powerful customized firewall, and patches for known exploits. Additionally, the service features advanced MySQL server tuning, activation of Gzip/Mod_Deflate for compression, CloudFlare CDN for faster content delivery, fine-tuning of PHP performance, and Intel SSD NVMe RAID storage.


Overall, both Managed and Unmanaged Hosting give the user a diverse set of features and functionalities that can be beneficial to businesses and other organizations. Managed Hosting is quite popular for its ease of use and many functionalities, while Unmanaged Hosting capitalizes on control and customizability. Choosing what works best for you depends on the needs of your company and web applications. After all, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution

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