VPS is a popular hosting type because it is more powerful than shared hosting while less costly than a dedicated server. When buying a VPS, you are faced with two options: unmanaged VPS and managed VPS, among which you have to make a proper choice. There are many differences as well as similarities between the two types of VPS. Before comparing them, we will start from explaining what they are so you can have a better understanding later. Note that this managed VPS VS unmanaged VPS comparison can help you choose one easily.
What Do They Mean?
Managed VPS is designed for webmasters who want to focus on business or have little knowledge about server management. The provider usually takes care of the technical tasks such as the installation of operating system, performance monitoring and security patches, so you can even use a managed VPS like a shared server.
For unmanaged VPS, you need to have enough expertise in server administration because you may need to install, update and manage everything by yourself without any help from the provider. The provider is responsible for the availability of the physical machine only.
From the explanations above, you can see that the two types of services are very different. However, since they are both VPS, they are the same in the following aspects.
- Dedicated resources. With either VPS type, the allotted memory, CPU and disk space are dedicated to you.
- Freedom to install software. You can install and use any software you like on an unmanaged VPS. Many managed VPS providers also offer root access and SSH to allow you to do that.
- Server performance. The uptime and speed of a VPS are not affected by the management level. But your own customizations and third-party scripts will influence the performance.
For a straightforward view of the advantages and disadvantages of unmanaged VPS and managed VPS, please read this detailed tutorial.
What Are the Differences?
There are many differences between unmanaged VPS and managed VPS, which makes them the choice for completely different users. Below are the mains ones that can help you make an option.
Operating system (OS) choices
- Managed VPS: Typically, the provider offers several choices (or a fixed option) among which you can select one during signup. The selected operating system will be installed on your server by the provider, and once the server is set up, you cannot make a change.
- Unmanaged VPS: You are free to install any operating system on your server, and you can even uninstall the existing OS and switch to another one at any time.
Server control and customization
- Managed VPS: You can still run third-party applications with root access, but you have less control over the server and may not be able to customize the server as you want. The server is primarily managed by the provider which always applies many restrictions in order to ensure optimal performance. There are also providers that do not allow root access.
- Unmanaged VPS: Everything is under your control. You can configure the server in any way you like, and you have unlimited software choices – even the oldest version of PHP.
- Managed VPS: It costs much more because the management fee is also included. For a server with 50 GB disk space, 2 TB bandwidth, 2 GB RAM and 2 CPU cores, most providers price it around $40/mo.
- Unmanaged VPS: It is much cheaper. A server with the same resources mentioned above could spend $20/mo only – about half down.
Ease of use
- Managed VPS: It is as easy-to-use as a shared server if you do not perform complicated tasks. The necessary applications are pre-installed, and a control panel is prepared. You can build a website, create an email account or set up a database in no time.
- Unmanaged VPS: It requires some time to get a server ready-to-use because you have to install the needed OS, scripting language, database engine and many other things first.
- Managed VPS: You can feel safe because your VPS is secured by your provider. The management team takes care of the security patches, upgrades of OS and vulnerability scans to protect your server from potential attacks. Also, most providers offer automated backups.
- Unmanaged VPS: The provider is responsible for the security of the hardware, while the security of all software on your server is your own responsibility. You must know how to keep the server secure from malware and common attacks.
- Managed VPS: The management team stands behind you and offers the necessary support you may need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Control panel, web server, network security and performance monitoring are usually covered.
- Unmanaged VPS: Technical support is only available for hardware outage or failure.
Managed VPS VS Unmanaged VPS – Which to Choose?
If you have not made the decision, we have the following suggestions.
As managed VPS is secure and easy-to-use, it is recommended for people who:
- Upgrade from shared hosting and do not know much about advanced server administration.
- Are not willing to manage the server by themselves and want to focus on their websites or businesses.
From most managed VPS hosting providers, you can get the following benefits that are NOT available from the unmanaged solution.
- Automatic backup solution – All of you hate to find that your valuable data is lost in a blink of your eyes. In this case, the automatic backup service is really important. This gives you a sense of peace in the mind and takes off the pressure of self-backup. Here, we do not mean you can forget to back up your website using the third-party tools. In addition, the quality backup service will not store the data at the same server as your website. And also, the whole backup process will contain everything about your hosting configurations and your website.
- Software update – It is important to make the update for the core software of Apache, PHP, MySQL and many more when there is the new version released. The manual updating process is not easy for common webmasters. With the managed service, your web host will take care of it automatically.
- Control panel – The control panel is pre-installed by default so that you can set up everything related to your website easily. Different web hosts may install different control panel options. Generally, they are cPanel, Plesk or the custom-made one.
- Performance monitoring – With this service, you can be notified by your web host before the disaster strikes. Especially, if your server resource consumption is too much, you can be warned before the company closes your website.
- Malware scanning or removal – Managed hosting provider will view the server security as the top concern. In this case, they will start the malware scanning to expose the myriad issues and to remove the suspicious things.
- Technical support – You can ask for the technical support for free. Different companies provide different support methods. And the common methods include the 24/7 phone call, live chat and email. Some web hosts even allow you to raise questions on their communities. Surely, the knowledge base is available.
You should note that the management level varies from one provider to another. Some manage more sections of the server while others do less. Therefore, you should be careful about the terms when choosing a provider.
For managed VPS, the providers below are worth a try because their solutions are not only fully managed, but also affordable and reliable. You can visit their sites to learn more.
Unmanaged VPS is affordable and flexible, so it is a suitable option for webmasters who:
- Seek for a high level of server control and customizability.
- Have enough time and sufficient knowledge for server management.
- Want to save money when managing a small business.
- Require any feature that is not allowed on a managed server, for example, installing an old version of an application.
For unmanaged VPS, we would recommend A2Hosting which offers scalable solutions at a low cost starting from $9.89/mo only.