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This article will help you decide whether you should opt for a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or for a managed hosting. Selecting an unsuitable hosting option can end up costing you both time and money and has other implications. Yet, you wouldn’t be the first to ask yourself what’s the right choice.

In this post we’ll compare managed hosting and VPS to each other, discuss their pros and cons as well as who each option can better serve.

Option #1: Managed Hosting

Managed website hosting is specifically when a company (usually called the “host” or “hosting provider”) offers a range of services in addition to the usual server space that make running your website much easier.

In comparison to (unmanaged) VPS hosting options, purchasing a managed hosting package gives you access to a network of professionals working in the background. They will walk you through the process of integrating your website onto their server as well as taking over the day-to-day running of your website.

Having a team of professionals working with you opens up a lot of opportunities; instead of navigating the hosting process by yourself, you will have experts at your beck and call to handle everything from site migration to security.

Advantages

  • Managed hosting is overall simpler because any technical issues such as updates, backups and other things that are part of owning a website are all handled by other people. That way, you have a lot less to think about and the day-to-day of running your site is more streamlined.
  • Going with a managed solution can also be safer because those same people handle all preventative measures to secure your website from hacking attempts and other threats. Because that is their sole job, they are most likely much better at it than you would ever be. Plus, if something does happen to your site, they are also there to get you back on track.
  • The average price of a managed hosting is almost comparable to unmanaged VPS hosting.

Disadvantages

  • You have less control over your website since someone else/a team will be taking care of it. That requires a lot of trust or a trusted, reputable provider.
  • Managed hosting providers often prevent you from using certain plugins. This is most often because they are incompatible with the server architecture. A common example here are caching plugins, because many managed hosting providers have their own solutions in place.

Option #2: VPS Hosting

Having your site on a Virtual Private Server, aka VPS, means you’ll be hosting it on an independent, private partition of a physical server. This keeps your files separate from other websites and also means that it will command its set share of system resources. In normal shared hosting, you often have to compete for your server’s processing power with other websites, potentially leading to bottlenecks and downtime. You will also have a lot of decision power over what software to install and how to configure your server.

As a consequence, VPS gives you a lot of control and flexibility and combines the best of shared and dedicated hosting. Your management platform can be more easily constructed and configured as it is not a specific, set platform like in managed hosting. So, if you have a good knowledge of the Linux operating system as well as a thorough technical grasp, with a Linux VPS you can more easily ensure uptime, reliability and the stability of your server.

However, since this is an unmanaged solution, it also comes with a lot of responsibility on your part. Instead of getting help from your host, such as in managed hosting, getting your site set up and running is on you.

Advantages

  • With VPS there’s flexibility and control. Nothing happens unless you want it to and anything that does happen on your website passes through you.
  • On your VPS you can create multiple cPanels (your website’s control panels) and configure them to your liking. This is, again, the opposite of managed hosting because you can dive right into things instead of waiting around for a host’s team to implement changes, updates, etc.

Disadvantages

  • Being solely responsible for your website takes time and if you don’t consider yourself a “tech person”, you may not be thrilled by the prospect of handling technical challenges all on your own.
  • Renting a VPS can be pricey and easily equal to managed hosting. Plus, you get a lot less handholding for it. While managed hosting providers will walk you through every step of the way, unmanaged VPS will have less support like that.
  • Once you start putting in the time though, it takes to keep everything running, having someone to take care of your backups, updates and managing your plugins becomes attractive really fast.

Managed Hosting vs VPS: Conclusion

Picking out the best website hosting option for you can determine your website’s safety, speed and dependability. It can also influence how much time and effort you spend on your site and if you have to do everything yourself or are part of a larger support structure. Because of this, managed hosting and VPS are completely different avenues to take.

If you have higher technical knowledge, enjoy flexibility and full control of your website, then unmanaged VPS hosting might be the option for you. It’s especially great for creating custom solutions in a fast and reliable hosting environment.

However, if you’re either a beginner or a business without much additional time to spend and want something simpler with more security and services/support, then managed hosting is going to be a better option for you. It allows you to add a team of web experts to your company without doing any hiring.

You might ask yourself if the price and benefits are worth one over the other, whether they’re equal, or if one rises over the other. Our advice is to look at it from who you are, what you’re looking for and what you need most at this moment, taking into consideration the total cost of ownership and opportunity costs..

At the end of it, managed hosting is better for simplicity and to keep your site running smoothly with other people handling most tedious things for you. VPS is best for people seeking full control and to make decisions for themselves. So it depends on how personally invested you want to be with your site and how much control you’re willing to give up.

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