Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Pros, Cons & Key Differences

Managed vs. Unmanaged VPS: A Detailed Comparison

Managed VPS and Unmanaged VPS illustration

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is fast becoming the to-go choice for small businesses trying to scale up and expand their website. With years of experience and multiple professionals on our side, we advise clients worldwide who are interested in setting up web hosting services for their businesses. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the best VPS hosting plan.

Compare the Best VPS Hosting Options

ProviderUser RatingRecommended For 
4.9FlexibilityVisit Ultahost
4.9Managed VPSVisit ScalaHosting
4.8ScalabilityVisit Kamatera

This article compares and evaluates some topics you should consider when deciding between the two types of VPS hosting, managed VPS and unmanaged VPS. Topics like complexity, performance, resources, setup, cost, control, scalability, and many more, will be evaluated based on their importance and how they work with each VPS type. Read on to find out the best VPS hosting plan most suitable for your business.

What is Managed VPS?

VPS is like a hybrid of shared hosting and dedicated hosting. It has features from both sides, and like any other web hosting service, it requires maintenance and a certain level of expertise to keep it running. Managed VPS hosting is a hosting service where the web service provider is in charge of taking care of all technical aspects of your website. Web host takes care of software installation, service upgrade, server maintenance, automatic backup, and the likes.

The best part of having a managed VPS is receiving support even after initial installation. You get access to a team of technical experts who can offer assistance for all server-related issues. This hosting plan is ideal for business owners who lack the technological know-how to maintain or run a server.

Want to read more about Managed VPS? Check out our Best Managed VPS Hosting Providers.

Short on time? Kamatera is one of our top managed VPS picks

VPS Plans with Kamatera
Kamatera offers customized VPS services as well as packages starting from $4 a month. All clients get a 30 free day trial to test the services and you can add up and scale down the services as much as you want. The VPS is all SSDS with unlimited traffic up to 5TB and you can choose between monthly billing or billing by the hour. 24/7 Support is really helpful and flexibility is the main KEY here.
Visit Kamatera

What is Unmanaged VPS?

On the other hand, unmanaged VPS hosting is responsible for managing the server of the business/website owner. The web host is only in charge of providing the physical server and the initial operating system that will be used. Other things like software updates, maintenance, auto backups, and control are left solely to the business owner.

Clients who have a technical background and are familiar with running a server typically find this hosting plan more suitable. They can configure the server to their preference. This plan is more affordable than managed VPS but requires time and energy, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy.

Managed VPS Vs Unmanaged – VPS Pros & Cons

When it comes to deciding between managed VPS vs. unmanaged VPS hosting, there’s usually a lot to consider. From the size of your business, flexibility, maintenance cost, down to technical knowledge, you need to factor these in before making a decision. Both VPS types come with their benefits, so it’s still up to you to decide which VPS plan best suits your business.

Pros and Cons of Managed VPS

S/NPros of Managed VPSCons of Managed VPS
1You don’t have to worry about dealing with server maintenance or monitoring as your web hosting provider covers that for you.This plan is costly
2Constant software upgradeControl and flexibility is limited as it is shared with the service provider.
3Automatic backup 
4Access to a team of professional web managers 24/7 
5Advanced security measures are employed 
6Assistance and support from the hosting provider after initial setup and installation. 

Pros and cons of Unmanaged VPS Hosting 

S/NPros of Unmanaged VPS HostingCons of Unmanaged VPS Hosting
1Requires little to no cost as you’ll be in charge of maintaining the server yourself.Requires time and money to monitor and maintain server
2Complete root access to the control panel.Requires technical expertise on running a website
3Unlimited configuration options.Asides from initial installation of the server, you will not get any support from the hosting provider.
4Flexibility in installation of OS versions.

Managed Vs Unmanaged VPS overview Table

This section will compare and evaluate salient topics regarding VPS hosting, each of which needs to be considered before settling down on any VPS type.

TopicsUnmanaged VPSManaged VPS
ResourcesDedicated resourcesDedicated resources
PerformancePerformance is dependent on client’s expertiseTop Performance
SecurityNot very secureVery secure
Customization Allows for client customizationNot so much freedom for customization
ManagementWebsite is managed by ClientWebsite is managed by a team of experts
ComplexityIdeal for clients with tech backgroundRequires little or no tech knowledge
SetupSetup is done by the clientHost service provider takes care of setup
ControlClient has complete controlControl is shared between client and web hosting service
ConfigurationClient has root access and can configure OS based on preferenceLimited configuration and no root access
StabilityLimited scalabilityAllows for easy scalability

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Resources

VPS hosting resources refer to the RAM, OS, bandwidth, and CPU, all of which determine the space and efficiency of your website. Unlike shared hosting, VPS offers more dedicated RAM, allowing business owners to efficiently run their website with large content. An increased CPU core means that the website can juggle multiple tasks simultaneously while carrying out heavy tasks. These resources help improve your website’s speed and ensure the smooth running of activities.

How Resources work with Managed VPS

DEPENDING ON THE SERVICE PROVIDER, managed VPS plans are expensive and come with perks like increased RAM or more CPU cores. Businesses that deal with large databases or applications will benefit more from this.

How Resources work with Unmanaged VPS

The best advantage of Unmanaged VPS is the flexibility it offers in terms of configuration options. Unmanaged VPS allows you to configure your website based on your business needs regarding resources. You can change the OS software, increase the MySQL database or add another component as you see fit.

Winner- Unmanaged VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Performance

VPS hosting performance largely refers to the kind of hard disk used to store data by the web hosting service provider. There are two main types, namely HDD and SDD VPS hosting. Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is an old data storage drive that comes with moving parts and stores data magnetically. It’s similar to how vinyl records work. Solid-State Drive (SDD) is a modern drive that uses NAND-based technology to store data on interconnected flash memory chips. It offers more speed, which means your website will load faster. This is important because a fast-loading website translates to a boost in your site performance and SEO ranking.

How Performance works with Managed VPS

Performance is mainly dependent on your hosting provider. This means you should always prioritize host services that offer fast speed. With a team of professional web managers handling your website, you can rest assured that your website’s performance will be top-notch.

How Performance works with Unmanaged VPS

Many people who opt for unmanaged VPS either have a technical background, or they have a team that’ll be in charge of monitoring the website. Selecting a hosting provider that offers top performance will help increase efficiency while getting more traffic.

Winner – Managed VPS

ScalaHosting: Top Managed VPS

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Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Security

Website security is an important aspect to consider when deciding on your web hosting options. VPS hosting offers high-class security as it works as a dedicated server for each website. However, it is important to ensure your host provider is SSL certified, hosted on “HTTPS,” and includes security features in its packages, such as firewall protection, anti-malware, DDoS protection, security patches, etc. Such measures are necessary to protect your website from hackers, malware, or other security threats.

How Security works with Managed VPS

Most host providers offer security measures such as regular updates, security patches, and constant monitoring for threats and malicious attacks in their managed VPS hosting plan.

How Security works with Unmanaged VPS

Asides from software installation, you are in charge of managing all other aspects of the website when you opt for unmanaged VPS. This includes taking care of your security patches, monitoring your server for malware and security threats, installing security updates, and conducting security audits.

Winner – Managed VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Security

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Customization

Customization has to do with being able to alter or change your operating system to suit the needs of your server. This cannot be done with shared hosting, but if you have VPS hosting, you can easily customize your resources and make changes to your server as you see fit. This is because VPS affords you root access to the server, making it easy to customize to your preference.

How Customization works with Managed VPS

Managed VPS works by you sharing control with your host provider in a bid to aid monitoring and maintenance of your server. This also means shared control and limited access for customizations.

How Customization works with Unmanaged VPS

Unmanaged VPS gives you complete control and root access to your server, which allows you to customize your OS and other resources as you see fit.

Winner – Unmanaged VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Management

Different web hosting providers offer various VPS management plans for you to choose from. However, the two most popular ones are the plans for tech-inclined and non-tech inclined folks. Business owners with a vast knowledge of IT or server management typically like to have control of their server and run it to their preference. The unmanaged VPS plan is ideal for this category. If, however, you do not have the skills to run a server, the managed VPS plan is your best option. The hosting provider will manage the technical aspect of your server while you can simply focus on building your website and generating traffic.

How Management works with Managed VPS

Under this plan, VPS server management is carried out by the web hosting service provider. They employ a team of IT experts to monitor your server, install updates, backup your data automatically and ensure the smooth running of your server. This allows you to concentrate on your business fully.

How Management works with Unmanaged VPS

The unmanaged VPS plan is largely for business owners with technical know-how or those who already have IT specialists working with them. This plan places the responsibility of monitoring and maintaining your VPS server on you. You’re in charge of installing security updates, OS upgrades, and other essential tasks needed for your website to function. You also get full root access and can customize your OS as you wish.

Winner- Managed VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Cost

Price is a crucial factor to consider before making any purchase. Among the 3 major types of hosting, shared hosting is the least expensive, while dedicated hosting is the most costly, and for good reason too. Virtual servers fall in the middle of both. Depending on your budget or what you need, you can either go for the managed VPS or unmanaged VPS plan. An excellent way to determine which to choose is by considering the features offered by your hosting provider. A business website that handles heavy traffic and extensive database will need more RAM and CPU core than a small business. Tally what’s being offered with what you actually need.

For our Cheap VPS page click here.

How Cost works with Managed VPS

Managed VPS plans are usually expensive as they provide you with expert assistance and 24/7 support should you be in need. Maintenance of your server is taken care of, and it is constantly being monitored for malicious malware and threats.

How Cost works with Unmanaged VPS

Unmanaged VPS is very affordable and helps you save some cash. In return, you look after your server yourself. This plan also allows you to have complete root access to your server, allowing for any customizations or OS changes as you desire.

Winner – Unmanaged VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Cost

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Complexity

Running a VPS hosting server is definitely not a walk in the park. VPS web hosting functions like a virtualized OS; it allows multiple virtualized systems to run independently on a single server. This is done through a hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM). The VMM runs on the host machine and provides other guest machines running on the server (other websites using the VPS) with individual resources like OS, RAM, CPU core, and bandwidth.

How Complexity works with Managed VPS

After your website is set up on the server, it needs to be constantly monitored and regularly maintained, which can be a Herculean task for someone with little IT knowledge. This is where managed VPS comes in. With just an additional fee, your hosting provider can take care of all the technical aspects. Unless you have the skills, this is an excellent option.

How Complexity works with Unmanaged VPS

Website owners with an IT background prefer this option as they understand how to run a website server and can manage the other aspects. This option is cheaper but more time tasking as it requires you to monitor your website constantly and ensure security updates, OS updates, automatic backup, and many more.

Winner – Managed VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Setup

When you purchase VPS hosting for your website, your web host is responsible for the initial installation and proving the physical server. If you opt for the managed VPS plan, you get your OS, security configuration, and all related server software setup. However, the unmanaged VPS plan requires you to set up your OS, control panel, network, security updates, and others by yourself.

How Setup works with Managed VPS

Managed VPS takes care of all technical setups you need to do. Your web host will be in charge of every setup you need, from operating systems to software updates to security patches.

How Setup works with Unmanaged VPS

For unmanaged VPS, the setup is carried out by the website owner, including OS configuration, server setup, and update installation.

Winner – Managed VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Control

One advantage of VPS hosting is the freedom it offers when it comes to server control. Unlike shared hosting, you get root access to your VPS server, which gives you complete control. However, you can either have limited or unlimited root access, depending on the plan you select.

How Control works with Managed VPS

Control is one of the things you lose when opting for a managed VPS plan. This is because your web host is monitoring all technical aspects of your website and requires root access to do that.

How Control works with Unmanaged VPS

One of the most significant advantages of unmanaged VPS is the limitless control it has over the server. It provides you with root access and allows for OS customization.

Winner – Unmanaged VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Configuration

Like control, VPS hosting also gives room for configuration and installation of applications or software as you so desire. Such a function allows you to have complete control of your website and handle the technical aspects. It also provides administrative and management tools to add other database software like Apache or Nginx.

How Configuration works with Managed VPS

Managed VPS offers minimal configuration as you do not have root access to your server. You share access with your web host in charge of your server, and they can help with any configuration you like.

How Configuration works with Unmanaged VPS

Unmanaged VPS provides limitless access to configuration as you are in total control of your website. The root access allows you to change the OS, add other software and install security updates based on preference.

Winner – Unmanaged VPS

Managed Vs. Unmanaged VPS: Scalability

Scalability refers to the capacity of your resources to grow. As your website gets more traffic, it’ll need more storage space and bandwidth to expand. A scalable VPS hosting plan allows you to increase the RAM, CPU core, and bandwidth you desire. Before choosing any hosting plan, this is an essential factor to look out for. Ensure your web host provider offers scalability as part of their package before purchasing.

How Scalability works with Managed VPS

The best VPS hosting providers create room for clients to scale easily should the need arise and also assist in increasing the resources.

How Scalability works with Unmanaged VPS

When it comes to an unmanaged VPS plan, you are in charge of adding any extra component that your server may need along the way.

Winner – Managed VPS


Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers you the best of both web hosting worlds. It is affordable, increased space, and you get to have your own OS. If you’re still debating on managed VPS vs. unmanaged VPS hosting, I highly suggest you consider the topics evaluated in this article.

And to add a tip, if your business is just growing or you’re a beginner, go for the managed VPS plan. It will save you a lot of time and money, and you’ll be able to focus squarely on improving your business. You can check out our VPS plans to know more and select the one most suitable for you.

Want to compare other top providers? Check out our Best Managed VPS Providers

Managed VPS
Managed VPS
best option

Further Reading and Useful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a VPS?

VPS is short for Virtual Private Server, and it is a type of web hosting that allows multiple websites to be on the same server yet function individually. It works with a virtualization technology that separates one physical server into different virtual servers, such that each website operates with its dedicated server.

When Do I need a VPS?

If your website has seen increased traffic recently and you need more resources to cater to their needs, you should consider upgrading to a VPS. Other reasons to upgrade to a VPS include you want more control over your website, running more than one website, or having root access and configuring your website.

What's the Difference between unmanaged VPS and managed VPS hosting?

Managed VPS is a plan web hosting providers offer to aid in monitoring and maintaining your server. It is commonly referred to as a “hands-off” approach, as your web host will take responsibility for managing your server.

Unmanaged VPS will require you to take control of your server and be responsible for its maintenance. It is a cheaper option. However, you need to be tech-savvy to pull it off.

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Digital Marketing Specialist provides professional web hosting reviews fully independent of any other entity. Our reviews are unbiased, honest, and apply the same evaluation standards to all those reviewed. While monetary compensation is received from a few of the companies listed on this site, compensation of services and products have no influence on the direction or conclusions of our reviews. Nor does the compensation influence our rankings for certain host companies. This compensation covers account purchasing costs, testing costs and royalties paid to reviewers.
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