Managed vs Unmanaged VPS: Which is better?

Domain and Web Hosting are the most basic requirements for anyone to start blogging right now. Shared Hosting is best for beginners since it is damn cheap. You can start for as low as just Rs60 per month. But when your blog or business starts to grow with smart SEO practices, you will need to upgrade yourself a personal hosting, which isn’t shared with others.

There comes the Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. In today’s post, we will discuss Managed and Unmanaged VPS hosting, the difference in features between them, their pros and cons, and server management services. Let’s get started.

What is a VPS Hosting?

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s self-explanatory.

It is virtual because you don’t need a physical hardware to run it yourself. Although there is physical hardware located at some part of the world which is hosting your web-space, from your end, you only need the internet to configure the server according to your need.

And it is private because you do not share your server resources with anyone else. This is the main difference between purchasing a shared hosting and owning a dedicated server. In the former, you and many other bloggers or IM share a common server to host their websites. In the latter, your server is personal. You get to use it fully.

So that means, all of us who use VPS, has dedicated personal hardware somewhere?

Nopes! This is a misconception many of us have.

Although it is a dedicated server from your end, it is still virtual. In the real world, they share common physical hardware.

If you look at the other end, from the web-hosting provider’s perspective, they set up the hardware and offer you to choose your server configuration from there. You can scale up or scale down your server according to your needs. Like you, everyone gets their share.

So, technically, no, you don’t own your hardware, but your server is entirely yours. Now that will give you a lot of advantages compared to shared hosting.

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Advantages of VPS compared to Shared Hosting:

  • Private Server: The power of a personal server is that the entire server resources are allocated towards your hosting. For example, if you run an application that requires cron jobs to run every few seconds, you are better off using a VPS than shared hosting for this purpose.
  • More Server Resources: This is obvious. Most of us start from shared web hosting and then gradually shift to VPS when we expand our businesses. VPS comes with more storage space, more RAM, and more bandwidth. VPS is also designed to handle more server load than shared hosting.
  • Freedom of Scalability: Contrary to shared hosting, which is billed monthly, VPS hosting is generally billed hourly. As a VPS user,  you are free to scale up or scale down, and you will be charged according to the hours you use your resources. Although it seems complicated, for bigger businesses, it offers value. A company running a special promotion during Christmas may choose to scale up their hosting for 24-48 hours to accommodate the excessive traffic during the promotional period.

For whom VPS server is ideal?

Shared hosting is ideal for small to medium-sized blogs, freelancers, portfolio websites, website landing pages, etc. which receives low traffic. A VPS is needed in the following scenarios:

  • Medium to Large Sized Blogs.
  • Big Businesses that receive colossal traffic.
  • Servers for hosting apps and software.
  • Hosting big giveaways that will incur an enormous server load.
  • Websites whose traffic fluctuates rapidly.
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Managed vs. Unmanaged VPS:

The first thing you should know about while choosing dedicated web servers is whether you need a managed or unmanaged server.

What is the difference between Managed and Unmanaged VPS Hosting?

Managed VPS: In this hosting, your server is managed by the company you are purchasing hosting from. They will provide you an interface to work with. You will get a Cpanel, 1-click app installations like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. You will get regular automatic backups for your server, and you can restore them as you like. And lastly, they will make sure your website does not go down due to traffic surges or other reasons. They will scale your server accordingly so that you don’t lose out on valuable traffic. All in all managed VPS is like having an umbrella over your head to cover you while you can invest your time elsewhere.

Unmanaged VPS: As you can probably guess, here that umbrella to cover you, is missing. In an unmanaged VPS hosting, you are responsible for setting up, running, and managing your server. Yes, you still need to buy your server space from some company, but once you purchase your server, you have to take care of everything else. All you get is a terminal command for controlling your server. But don’t panic, there’s good news as well.

Firstly, unmanaged VPS is cheaper, since the company isn’t investing in support and other things. As you start using VPS, you will learn new tips and tricks to manage your server and can save some bucks. Secondly, there are easily accessible server management services available. One of my friends Adarsh Sojitra owns ServerAvatar, a platform you can use to manage your VPS hosting.

Anyways, these are broader perspectives of managed and unmanaged VPS hosting. There are a lot of tiny details to consider.

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Server Configuration and Performance:

  • Managed VPS: Your server is set up and configured by your host. You get one-click applications to install C-Panel, WordPress, etc. Your host will help you out with CDN and SSL certificates. Your server is also regularly optimized for better performance.
  • Unmanaged VPS: Your server is kept untouched, and you need to configure it on your own. All server optimizations need to be done by you.

Resource Allocation and Scalability:

  • Managed VPS: If you face sudden traffic spike that eats your server resources, your host will scale up your server, for the time being, allocating more resources towards your traffic. Whenever you upgrade or downgrade the server, your resources will be adjusted by your host according to the need.
  • Unmanaged VPS: In unmanaged VPS, you need to keep a check at the server resources and scale it up or down accordingly. Be cautious when you are upgrading or downgrading your server.

Server Monitoring and Uptime:

  • Managed VPS: Your host monitors your server round the clock. You will not face downtimes with managed VPS hosting.
  • Unmanaged VPS: If your server goes down for some reason, you need to restart it manually. Thankfully, there are some free server monitors available. I am using UpTimeRobot to monitor HiTricks. It sends an email if your site goes down.

Server Maintenance and Backup:

  • Managed VPS: In a managed VPS, your host will automatically back up your server remotely at frequent intervals, and you can restore them as and when you like. It will also be likely to store your last few backups.
  • Unmanaged VPS: Here, you need to back up your server manually. However, some unmanaged VPS providers like DigitalOcean provides automatic backups at regular intervals. It all comes down to individual companies.
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Server Security:

  • Managed VPS: This is one of the significant places that set the two types of VPS apart. The web host addresses all server threats, and they even help you in case your website is under attack in anyways where the host is at fault.
  • Unmanaged VPS: An unmanaged server isn’t insecure, but you need to make sure you don’t keep loopholes that can lure hackers. Also, if you are under attack, you need to fix it on your own.

Software and Software Updates:

  • Managed VPS: A managed server is similar to shared hosting in this regard; it comes with a wide array of software. You can install your desired software in just one click. Your host will also auto-update the software for you.
  • Unmanaged VPS: An unmanaged VPS will provide you with a new server and a terminal to control it. Any software you want to install, you need to do it via terminal. Luckily, DigitalOcean has a dedicated community with lots of helpful guides regarding the same. Help is just a search away.

Support:

  • Managed VPS: This is one more area where a managed server gets an advantage. If you get stuck somewhere, you will get support options to help you out. Most providers offer email and chat support.
  • Unmanaged VPS: Most unmanaged hosting does not provide dedicated support. Sure, you can contact them for your account related issues, but you won’t get any technical support. If you get stuck, you need to search for tutorials; else, you can join our secret blogging communities and ask for help.

Cost:

  • Managed VPS: Since your web hosting company is investing in you, by managing your server, or providing you with dedicated support, managed VPS is costly. But for important businesses that can afford to spend, this is a secure option. There are some cheap managed VPS providers like Cloudways.
  • Unmanaged VPS: Unmanaged VPS is on the cheaper side, which is obvious. A DigitalOcean server starts from just 5$ per month.
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Best Unmanaged VPS Hosting Services:

Unmanaged VPS hosting is best suited both for starters and pros. For starters, it is economical as it isn’t burning a hole in your pockets. And, when you are on an unmanaged VPS hosting, you need to learn all the basics about controlling your server.

If you get a Linux based server, you need to get around with all the nasty terminal tricks in Linux to be able to control your hosting. Its a gradual learning process, and within a few months, you will be a pro.

If this is your path, then unmanaged VPS hosting is recommended for you.

Here are two trusted Unmanaged VPS providers that are recommended for everyone.

DigitalOcean:

DigitalOcean VPS Hosting

Digital Ocean is the highest recommended VPS host in our Blogging Community with hundreds of happy users. DO is famous for its cheap dedicated servers, with an active community backup. Naturally, it had gained trust over the years. HiTricks was hosted on Digital Ocean server for a few months when we faced peak traffic. Get 100$ to use for 60 days if you join using our link below.

DigitalOcean VPS Hosting

Vultr:

Vultr VPS Hosting

Vultr is my next recommendation. A lot of my friends tried Vultr and recommended it for its versatility. Their SSD servers start from 2.5$ per month for 10GB SSD storage and 0.5TB bandwidth, which is cheaper than DigitalOcean. Dedicated Cloud Servers start from 60$ per month for 120GB SSD and 10TB bandwidth. Get 100$ to use for 30 days if you join using our link below.

Vultr VPS Hosting

Linode:

Linode VPS Hosting

Linode VPS suits both small and large businesses. Their plans start from 10$ per month for 50GB SSD with 2GB RAM and 2TB Bandwidth and go all the way up to 960$ per month for 3840GB SSD with 192GB RAM and 20TB Bandwidth. They are all available as hourly plans, too, so you can choose any plan up to your needs.

Linode VPS Hosting

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Best Managed VPS Hosting Services:

If your business has grown reasonably enough and you don’t want to bug yourself with server-related issues, then Managed VPS is for you. It is a safe way of keeping headaches away and focusing on growing your business instead. You don’t need to know even a line of coding at all.

Again I will only mention three Managed VPS hosts that I get most recommendations for.

Cloudways:

 

Cloudways VPS Hosting

Cloudways is unique in itself because they don’t provide their servers. Instead, they offer managed VPS over DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud. The good thing is you don’t need to have an account on the individual hosts. Just purchase a plan from Cloudways itself, and you can access your desired server from Cloudways itself.

Cloudways VPS Hosting

DreamHost:

DreamHost VPS Hosting

DreamHost is in business for almost 25 years. In fact, they were founded when I was less than two months old, in April 1996. Over the years, they have evolved a lot and emerged as a leading Managed Hosting provider. Apart from regular VPS hosting, which starts from 15$ per month, they also provide an industry-leading Managed WordPress Hosting, DreamPress. DreamPress VPS Plans start from 19.95$ per month. If you want to host a WordPress blog, then DreamPress is highly recommended.

DreamHost VPS Hosting

DreamPress Managed WordPress Hosting

Kinsta:

Kinsta VPS Hosting

Kinsta is a premium host that provides Managed VPS services on Google Cloud for large and ultra-large businesses. Their services start from 300$ per year (or 30$ per month) and go all the way up to 15000$ per year. They offer free CDN services with KeyCDN, Hacking, and Malware removal services, SSL certificates, their cache plugin, SSH access, and premium support, all included with your plan. Switch to Kinsta, and you won’t regret it ever.

Kinsta VPS Hosting

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Server Management Services for Unmanaged VPS:

I mentioned several times in the article that even if you purchase an Unmanaged VPS hosting, you will get plenty of server management services, which will help you to set up your hosting. You don’t need to panic at all.

I am listing three of the most trusted server management services below.

Gridpane:

Gridpane is one of the first server management services meant for WordPress users. They offer a lifetime free plan for hosting one server which can manage up to 10 websites. They will also provide free SSL services from LetsEncypt. If you are a WordPress guy, then try out their free plan. If you are satisfied with them, then you can opt for the pro plan, which costs 30$ per month, or the Dev plan costing 100$ per month

Gridpane

Hire Arun Singh:

If you are worried about your server and want to hire someone who can personally optimize your server, then Arun Singh is the guy you should talk to. Arun is a Server Management Expert with a professional experience of over five years. You can reach out to him and get your queries resolved. Contact him from below.

Contact Arun Singh

ServerAvatar:

ServerAvatar is a server management service offered by my friend Adarsh Sojitra. They support DigitalOcean, Vultr, AWS, and Upcloud. Your first server is free of cost. Later on, you can upgrade to add and manage more servers. Also, get 10$ sign up bonus that you can use on your server.

Try out ServerAvatar

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Last Words:

So that’s all about VPS and its types. I hope I was able to clear all your doubts and confusions regarding the Managed and Unmanaged server. If you still have any other queries, let me know in the comments below, I will be happy to help you out. I am confident that with the right VPS, your website will rock the internet.

Are we done with Web Hosting? The next one you should look into is optimizing your page speed. If you are on WordPress, check out this Pagespeed Optimization Checklist to load your website under 3 seconds.

Here are some other articles that you might find useful.

Thanks again for reading until the end. I will be back soon with another interesting update. Stay Tuned!

Nirmal Sarkar is an M.Tech Engineering Student from the city of Joy, Kolkata. He is the founder of this blog and covers a wide range of topics from Gadgets to Software to Latest Offers. He is also active on the Blogosphere community on Facebook. You can get in touch with him via [email protected]

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