Dedicated vs. Managed Web Hosting

By Scott Seong

What is "unmanaged" dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting is an unmanaged hosting service provided to you on a dedicated server by a web host, a server leased to you and custom configured for your specific application. Unlike shared or virtual hosting which hosts several hundred sites in a single server, a dedicated server is specifically designed for your use. You may choose to use it for your dedicated site, choose to host multiple sites, or use it to resell hosting services to your clients.

Since the server is dedicated to you, you may choose a Linux, Windows or any operating system you desire. You may also choose to install any third-party software, or reconfigure your server how ever you desire. With a dedicated server, you have a full control over the server and optimize the server anyway you need. Depending on your site and traffic requirements, you may choose a entry level server or full-fledged server with redundancy.

The term, dedicated hosting, usually refers to an unmanaged dedicated hosting. In other words, the hosting provider initially sets up the server for your use and from that point onward it is your responsibility to manage the server. Although it may sound a bit scary to lease an "unmanaged" dedicated server, most providers do provide technical support in the event of failure. However, you'll need someone in your organization who knows some technical aspect of managing a server. If something unforeseen happens to your server or requires a one-time managed service, nearly all unmanaged hosting providers will help you solve your problem at extra support fee. Most hardware failures will be fixed by the provider at no extra charge, while most software problems are responsibility of the consumers.

What is managed hosting?

Managed hosting refers to dedicated hosting with fully managed service provided by the service provider. The provider not only takes full control over your server, but also supports hardware, software, maintenance, security, monitoring and backup services. Fully managed service require highly technical skilled people, and understanding of your business.

If you have mission critical server needs and don't have the in-house staff to maintain your servers, you'll need a managed hosting service. Although it may seem expensive, it's a more cost effective way of managing your servers than hiring your own staff to do the job. Also, you'll likely receive a higher and more consistent level of services from your provider.

Virtually all dedicated hosting providers offer managed and unmanaged hosting services, and level of services provided by the hosting companies differ greatly. Before selecting a hosting company, you may want to follow same logic for choosing a good web host.

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