Managed vs Unmanaged: Which VPS Is The Right Option For You?


There are many reasons why you might want to use a VPS. They offer decent cost savings on hardware and system resources. You have access to guaranteed, burstable RAM and CPU. They’re reliable, flexible, and easy to administrate.

You can reboot, repair, and restore your server from anywhere. And perhaps best of all, they do not require you to physically manage your hardware – you gain all the functionality of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost.

But what is involved in selecting a VPS once you have decided that’s what you want to use? How do you evaluate your resource and software needs? More importantly, what exactly do hosts mean when they talk about managed and unmanaged plans?

Your first step is to look at how much disk space and RAM you’re using on your current solution. These are generally the two most important selection categories, and you should always select more than you are currently using to leave room for growth. If you are new to hosting and do not already have an established application or website, I would advise working with your host to determine what you need.

Once you have figured out your business’s resource demands, the next step is to determine how much control you want to exert over your VPS – to decide between an Unmanaged, Managed, or Semi-Managed plan.

With an Unmanaged VPS, you are responsible for everything. The only thing the host does is keep the network connected and the VPS running. If you have a tech-savvy employee base or a decent-sized IT department, an Unmanaged plan is probably a good choice, as you possess the technical knowhow to manage security, software configuration, and patching.

A Managed VPS lets you take more of a hands-off approach. The VPS is available for whatever functionality you require, but the host takes care of the technical side of things, making this an ideal choice if you are not tech-savvy. Although the specific services vary between hosts, most managed options will see the host taking care of software installation, server configuration, patches and updates, security, and general troubleshooting.

A Semi-Managed VPS (we refer to this as “Core Managed” at Liquid Web) is a hybrid of the two prior options. With a Semi-Managed plan, the host allows the client to choose which components of their plan are self-managed and which components the host will manage. This may be done on a component-by-component basis, or else there may be specific management packages a client can select.

Whichever option you choose, Liquid Web has you covered.

Our VPS hosting plans include a built-in backups, DDoS attack protection, 24/7 access to our Heroic Support team, and a choice between unmanaged, fully-managed, or semi-managed options. Servers are protected by our proprietary ServerSecure service, which block unwanted access and ensure your data remains solely in your own hands, and our CloudFlare Content Delivery Network will ensure your server keeps running smoothly no matter where you access it from.

There are many reasons why you might want to use a VPS – flexibility, scalability, ease of use, and cost chief among them. But before you select yours, it is important to understand your specific resource demands and service requirements. Otherwise, there is a good chance you will end up with something that is not a good fit.