As your website begins to grow and continues to attract more views, you may probably want to shift from a Shared Hosting plan to a VPS Hosting plan to leverage the reliability, power, and functionality of a dedicated server at a much lower cost. Before we proceed further let’s define a VPS.
What is a VPS ?
To get a better sense of what a VPS is, let’s have a look at the extremes of Web Hosting. The most basic form of web hosting in shared hosting. In shared hosting, you have one server that is split into multiple accounts that serve different customers. All these customers share the server resources such as disk space, CPU, and RAM. Shared hosting is less expensive and is mostly preferred when you are just starting out with a new website. However, it is restrictive when it comes to customization and when the main server is affected, all the other customer servers are affected as well.
On the other extreme end of Web Hosting are Dedicated Servers. Here, a single customer gets the entire server to themselves; there’s no sharing of server resources with other customers. Additionally, a dedicated server gives a customer gets 100% control of the server and allows them to make system tweaks according to their preferences. A dedicated server is a powerful solution for websites that run heavy applications and enjoy massive traffic. However, dedicated servers do come at a higher price point.
To balance the advantages of shared hosting with dedicated server hosting, a hybrid approach was conceived. And this is VPS Hosting. In VPS hosting, a single server is segmented into several virtual servers know as Virtual Private Servers. Each VPS is entirely different from the rest of the virtual servers. It has its own copy of the Operating system, functions differently from the other servers and does not share its resources. Also, A VPS offers a high degree of customization and users can easily log in and scale their resources such as CPU, RAM and disk space in anticipation of increased traffic and deployment of more applications. Virtual Private Servers have become hugely popular among medium to large sized companies which want to leverage the benefits of dedicated hosting at a much lower cost.
In your search for the most reliable and powerful VPS hosting plan, you might have probably bumped into two confusing VPS terminologies that left you a bit confused. These are Managed and Unmanaged VPS Hosting. Let’s dive in and explore the differences between the two in turns.
Managed VPS Hosting
In Managed VPS Hosting, the web hosting provider handles all the server-related issues. Despite the benefit of having the technical know-how of managing your server, managed VPS Hosting makes your workload lighter by doing all the heavy lifting. Managed VPS Hosting is more like an auto-pilot. Upon take off, the auto-pilot does pretty much everything as it guides the plane through its flight path, monitoring its speed and altitude and making all the necessary adjustments along its flight path to ensure that the plane flies safely. This takes off a significant workload off the pilot’s shoulders. Like the auto-pilot in the airplane, the web hosting provider’s experts take care of your server’s resources and monitor your server round the clock for any issues as they make the necessary updates and upgrades accordingly.
Managed VPS Hosting is mostly beneficial to non-technical customers who have little or no knowledge of setting up and configuring the server and its applications. Even more so, users who have little time on their hands to handle their VPS.
Key services that are usually handled in managed hosting include:
- Server Backups
- Software updates and upgrades
- 24/7 Monitoring of the server
- Security patches to fortify the server’s security against attackers
- Technical support and guidance in terms of the server, application, and OS.
Advantages of Managed VPS Hosting:
Managed VPS hosting brings with it a lot of goodies on the table that will leave you a worry-free customer:
- 24/7 round the-clock-monitoring by your web hosting provider gives you peace of mind and guarantees you 99.99% uptime of your VPS.
- Non-tech-savvy users need not worry about the setup and configuration of the VPS since server maintenance is delegated to well-trained experts of the web hosting company.
- Managed hosting offers a high degree of scalability. This means that you can get server resources like CPU, RAM, and bandwidth whenever you need them in line with your VPS requirements.
- You get to enjoy a myriad of server tweaks in that will boost your server’s performance and capacity to accommodate more traffic.
- Server maintenance and monitoring are cost-effective as it accords you more time to attend to other tasks.
Unmanaged VPS Hosting
As the name suggests, in Unmanaged VPS Hosting the responsibility of managing the VPS is taken away from the provider and placed on the customer.
The customer is responsible for everything on the VPS. From the setting up of the server, configuration of applications to monitoring the VPS. The web hosting provider’s responsibility ends at providing network connection and the virtualization platform. This is synonymous with the airplane’s auto-pilot being switched off and control handed back to the pilots. In effect, the pilots will be in full control of the plane. This is where the pilot’s training kicks in to guide the plane throughout its flight path and eventual safe landing.
Similarly, unmanaged VPS hosting requires a highly-skilled and tech-savvy individual with a decent amount of knowledge of how to configure and manage the VPS alongside other various services and applications that come with the VPS. The user has an unlimited degree of freedom to do as they please on the server.
On the other side of the coin, unmanaged VPS hosting is not recommended for beginners with limited technical knowledge as this will be a huge deterrent in their quest to getting things up and running. An ideal workaround for them would be the earlier discussed Managed VPS Hosting where the technical aspect is handled by the web hosting provider. Tech-savvy users will usually find this plan a walk in the park especially in setting up services like LAMP stack (Linux Apache MySQL and PHP), WordPress CMS and configuring features like SSL certificates, Firewall, CDN, site backups and DNS settings among many other aspects.
That said, let’s have a look at the merits and drawbacks of the unmanaged VPS model.
Advantages of Unmanaged VPS hosting
Unmanaged VPS hosting favors clientele with technical knowledge of the workings of a VPS; from the initial server setup to deployment of applications and monitoring the system. It also accords the tech-savvy clientele the freedom to do whatever they please with the VPS provided the tasks are within the Terms and Conditions of the Hosting provider.
Since the clientele handles the bulk of the workload, then unmanaged plans tend to be cheaper than Managed VPS plans.
Disadvantages of Unmanaged VPS hosting
Since unmanaged VPS hosting requires a decent amount of knowledge in setting up, maintaining and monitoring the VPS, it’s not ideal for non-technical users or beginners.
Additionally, setting everything up from scratch makes the clientele lose enormous amounts of time which could have been used in more beneficial tasks such as marketing the business and making strategies for business growth. Furthermore, constant monitoring of applications and servers may be strenuous for the user.
For these aforementioned reasons, individuals and companies would prefer the insurance that comes with Managed Hosting so that the can have peace of mind that their VPS will be running seamlessly, and any issue will be attended to without delays.
Having looked at both Managed and Unmanaged VPS hosting services, it’s up to the clientele to decide what to opt for and what to compromise. One of the key considerations is cost.
Although Managed VPS Hosting is more expensive than unmanaged hosting, over time, this price gap has tremendously narrowed, and users can trade in cost for reliability and risk assurance from the hosting provider. Also, If setting up and configuring the server is going to eat a lot into time meant for business, then Managed VPS Hosting is the most preferred option as far as time management is concerned. Security is also another crucial factor to consider. Are you comfortable managing the security of your VPS or would you rather have your provider manage the risk for you?
While Managed VPS Hosting may come off as slightly more expensive, users will have no qualms opting for it since they will have the peace of mind that their VPS will be professionally managed, and all security issues will be dealt with to avert system downtime.
This is the utmost deal breaker because businesses cannot afford downtime in a heavily competitive online platform.