Posted on October 13, 2014 · Posted in Comparison, VPS

You’ve made the leap and decided that an upgrade from a shared hosting platform to a virtual private server is needed for the continual growth of your website or online application. Making the step up to a VPS isn’t a light task for many people due to the, often significant, increases in price and the requirement for a little more technical knowledge to manage and control it correctly.

If you have a good understanding of web hosting technologies and operating systems then the move to a virtual private server may not be a problem, however, if you aren’t technical minded or don’t quite understand how they work then it may be more of an issue for you. It’s for this reason that most VPS hosting providers offer the option of a managed or unmanaged VPS service, although a managed solution will have a higher cost attached due to the ongoing need for monitoring and maintenance by the providers technicians.

Managed vs Unmanaged VPS Hosting

When upgrading to a virtual private server you’ll need to make the choice between a managed or unmanaged environment based on your requirements, skills and knowledge. It’s often accepted that the majority of consumers will opt for a managed service, even with the higher cost attached, as it alleviates the need for a strong knowledge of how to manage and maintain a server environment.

By making use of a managed virtual private server you’ll enjoy the benefit of being able to spend more time working on your website rather than worrying about the technology behind it. The following tasks are generally undertaken by the web hosting company as part of a managed VPS service:

  • Server provisioning
  • Automated backups
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • cPanel installation
  • Software installation
  • DNS & MySQL configuration
  • Operating system install and rebuilds
  • Operating system updated
  • Reverse DNS setup
  • Network issue troubleshooting
  • Common assistance and advice

As displayed by the above list, just about all aspects of the virtual private server is managed by the provider. On the other hand, if you were to sign up for an unmanaged server the only inclusions offered by the provider would include:

  • Initial installation of vanilla operating system
  • Reverse DNS setup

All other technical tasks such as monitoring, maintenance, software installs and networks issues would be your responsibility.

By looking at the above lists it is evident that a managed service is preferable should you have limited knowledge of a VPS. Although, bear in mind that should you opt for an unmanaged service and face an issue you will, for most providers, have the option of paying an hourly rate for a technician to look into and repair the problem for you.

The Cost Difference

As previously mentioned, the cost for a managed vps service is more costly than an unmanaged service due to the additional and ongoing work required on the providers side. The actual cost, and difference therein, is heavily dependant on the web hosting provider and will be quite different for each one. In many cases, the cost for a managed VPS service is roughly double that of an unmanaged service. So if you were to find an unmanaged vps service priced at $40, you should expect that the managed version of that would likely be around the $70-$80 mark.

But Which One Do I Choose?

The decision is completely up to you, however a range of factors can come into play, most of which have already been mentioned, that may influence your decision. It’s important to weigh up the prices of both services and compare them against your knowledge of the technology in order to work out what option will benefit you in terms of additional work and potential additional costs.

At the end of the day, if you don’t feel comfortable managing a vps on your own then it may be in your best interest to pay the extra cost for a completely managed service and let your hosting provider deal with the heavy lifting.

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