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Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting Plans: Which Is Best for Your Website?

  • Jan 18, 2019
  • 0
  • by A2 Marketing Team

If you want to get your website online, you’ll need a hosting plan. There are many types of plans available, such as shared hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting, and dedicated hosting. If you’re shopping for a VPS or Dedicated Server, then you’ll most likely have to choose between a Managed and Unmanaged service as well. What’s the difference? 

Put simply, unmanaged hosting offers more control over your server, whereas managed hosting provides an easier experience and a higher level of support. Both options have their merits, but it depends on your individual needs. Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between Managed and Unmanaged hosting, VPS, and Dedicated servers.

In this post, we’ll look at the key pros and cons of both managed and unmanaged hosting plans, and help you make an informed choice. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting

Choosing a hosting plan is one of the first steps you’ll take when creating your website. A hosting plan is what enables your site to be visible on the internet. Your hosting provider will store your site on their servers. In turn, those servers will take care of displaying the necessary data to visitors.

There are a number of different hosting plans available, and each offers additional benefits alongside the basic hosting service. Shared hosting is a popular low-cost option that places your site on the same server as many other websites. VPS hosting is a little more expensive, but offers you extra resources, security, and isolation because your sites are the only sites on the server.

Within the space of shared hosting, there are both managed and unmanaged services available. Most of the plans that you’ll encounter will be unmanaged. This means that your web host will fully manage the server, taking care of its speed, security, and availability. On the other hand, you’ll be responsible for the management, speed, and security of your own website.

With a managed hosting plan, on the other hand, it’s likely that your provider will carry out the majority of those tasks for you. The specific services provided will vary depending on the company. Managed hosting usually involves automated backups, regular updates, and constant security scanning. Let’s look more closely at the key differences between these two hosting options.

Managed vs Unmanaged Hosting: Pros and Cons

Managed and Unmanaged shared hosting plans both have their merits. It’s important to compare them so that you can determine which of these best suits your needs. 

Let’s start by exploring some of the benefits of managed hosting:

  • A managed plan means you have fewer maintenance tasks to worry about.
  • Important website management tasks such as security and updates are largely taken care of for you.
  • Backups, CDN and other features are usually pre-configured.


Of course, with every up comes a down. Managed hosting cons may include:

  • Higher recurring cost
  • Less flexibility with regard to plugins and software versions
  • Limited access to account configuration options


If you’re ready to handle your own website updates, security, and maintenance, then an unmanaged shared hosting plan that does not include any Managed features (such as our own Startup, Drive, Turbo and Turbo Max plans) will present an excellent value. Benefits of these plans include:

  • Low cost
  • Flexibility with regard to plugins and installable software versions
  • Full access to cPanel for account level configuration options

Managed vs Unmanaged VPS and Dedicated Servers: Pros and Cons

With shared hosting as mentioned above, you are usually given account level access to the server so that you can manage your website. Root level access is only available to your hosting provider, which means that they take care of all of the server management responsibilities. If you need a higher level of server side customizations, then a VPS or Dedicated server may be for you. 

Just as with shared hosting, both Managed and Unmanaged options are available. Managed VPS and Dedicated servers include several beneficial options:

  • Fully managed Server (Linux, cPanel, etc)
  • Technical support for server problems
  • Assistance with server side customizations such as PHP modules, firewall rules, etc.
  • Excellent option for business owners looking to expand


Those who desire a higher level of control over their site might look to an unmanaged VPS or Dedicated server instead. With this type of plan, you get:

  • Full root access to your server
  • A choice of preinstalled server templates that allow you to build your server however you like
  • Excellent choice for tech savvy developers who need a custom environment
  • Lower recurring cost, but higher management/administration overhead


While your hosting provider will still be there to support you if the server is offline, all configuration and maintenance tasks are the responsibility of the server owner. This means that securing your site, running backups, and optimizing your loading times is up to you. In return, unmanaged plans often offer lower monthly (or yearly) costs and more flexibility. 

How to Decide Which Type of Plan Suits Your Site Best

Since both types of plans have their merits, it’s important to assess the needs of your site in order to pick the right option. By considering the key features outlined above, we can identify the kinds of sites that will work most effectively with each plan.

Both Shared Hosting and Managed VPS/Dedicated Server plans come with the same amount of technical support. The servers themselves are fully managed, and you are tasked with the things that matter to you: Creating quality content, building customer relationships, and building your business and website.

Our own managed hosting plans start at just $2.99 per month for shared hosting. Check out all of our plans here:


A2's Managed Plan Pricing pack

A2’s Unmanaged servers are ideal for those who understand Linux server administration and want unlimited flexibility for their server software configuration. You can learn more about A2’s unmanaged VPS and Dedicated server packages here:



Selecting a hosting plan is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a website owner. With so many options available, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the right one for the individual needs of your site – whether that’s ultimately an unmanaged or a managed plan.

In this post, we’ve gone over the major differences between the two types of hosting, and discussed how to pick the right one for you. In a general sense, managed plans are favored by those who require any level of technical support – making them perfect for small business owners. Users who require a greater level of freedom and have the technical chops to build their own server, on the other hand, may be better suited to unmanaged plans.


Image credit: Pxhere.

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