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

  • Jan 18, 2019
  • 0
  • by Alex Ali

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. However, you’ll also have to choose between managed and unmanaged levels. You’ll most likely have to choose between management levels if you are interested in a VPS or Dedicated Server.

Put simply, unmanaged hosting offers more control over your site and server, whereas managed hosting provides an easier experience and a higher level of support. Both options have their merits. Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between the two if you want to select the right kind of hosting for your needs.

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. Put simply, a hosting plan is what enables your site to be visible on the internet. Your hosting provider will store your site on one or more 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, for example, is a popular low-cost option that places your site on the same server as many others. VPS hosting is a little more expensive, but offers you extra resources and security.

What’s more, every hosting plan is either managed or unmanaged. Many (if not most) of the plans you’ll encounter are unmanaged – which simply means you have full control over your own site. As such, it’s your job to maintain it over time, ensure its security, and optimize it if necessary.

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. However, they usually involve 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

Since both managed and unmanaged hosting have their merits, it can be difficult to determine which type is a better fit for your needs. The best way to do so is by comparing both kinds of plans directly.

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 aspects such as security and updates are largely taken care of for you.
  • You’ll get access to lots of dedicated support, which can answer your questions and help you solve problems.

The main potential downside is that the wealth of features on offer means managed hosting plans are almost always more expensive. This can be a problem for smaller businesses with tight budgets. However, when you consider the additional benefits you’ll get, the extra cost can often be justified.

Additionally, with a managed plan you usually don’t get full root access to your site’s server. This means your provider can ensure that your server runs efficiently. However, it can also prevent you from making your own customizations.

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

  • Full root access to your server – enabling you to tweak and optimize it exactly as you wish.
  • Access to a full-featured hosting control panel, such as cPanel, to help you manage your site.

While your hosting provider will still be there to support you when needed, general maintenance tasks are the responsibility of the user. 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.

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.

The level of technical support that is provided makes managed plans an excellent option for smaller businesses and first-time site owners. They’re particularly useful if you don’t have the capacity to carry out maintenance work, due to a lack of manpower and/or technical expertise.

Additionally, managed plans can save you a lot of time. This means you can concentrate your efforts on creating quality content, building customer relationships, and so on. Plus, they don’t have to be prohibitively expensive.

Our own managed hosting plans start at just $3.92 per month for managed shared hosting, or $32.99 per month for managed VPS hosting:

Managed hosting on A2 Hosting.

As for unmanaged plans, they are better suited to larger businesses that require more freedom over their sites. They’re also ideal if you or someone on your team is familiar with the tasks required to manage a server and keep a website optimized.

Fortunately, our unmanaged plans are just as affordable, also starting at only $3.92 per month:

Unmanaged plans on A2 Hosting.

This means you have the complete freedom to choose whichever type of plan suits your needs, without worrying about breaking the bank.


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 an extra level of support – making them perfect for small business owners. Users who require a greater level of freedom, on the other hand, may be better suited to unmanaged plans.

Do you have any further questions about managed and unmanaged hosting plans? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pxhere.

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