Though most of today’s web hosting services come with full management, many providers are offering unmanaged hosting in order to be able to advertise a competitive price. As you may have guessed, the difference between an offering that’s “managed” and one that’s “unmanaged” is the level of support and service the host provides.
For a managed solution, the host generally offers support and service for virtually the entire hosting package. Some will not provide support to applications that you install yourself, but the operating system, control panel, server setup, and any pre-installed applications are all included. Going even further, some providers will include some sort of automated backup and server monitoring to better manage your setup.
On the other side of the spectrum, unmanaged servers generally only provide support for the hardware. Though they’ll go as far as replacing failed parts, rebooting servers, and maintaining the network, they won’t support any software or applications. The customer then takes on the responsibility of implementing security patches, fixing any issues that arise and maintaining the entire server. Some providers won’t even provide a control panel, placing the responsibility on the customer to develop their own system. The upside to an unmanaged solution is complete control for a reduced cost.
Ultimately, the choice between managed and unmanaged is a decision on how much internal IT expertise you will maintain in order to support your hosting solution. Though unmanaged has its upsides, most companies prefer to go for the fully managed option. Not only do managed servers require less expertise internally, but companies choosing this option gain the peace of mind of knowing that their servers are being maintained and watched over by trained experts.