Virtualization is not new. Offered as a way to push aside the limitations of physical server environments, it is now a staple offered by modern web host provider. At Future Hosting, we offer our customers the choice between managed and unmanaged VPS solutions, but which one is right for you?
What is a VPS?
Before the advent of virtual private servers (VPSs), hosting strictly meant putting your site data on a physical server. For small businesses wanting affordable solutions, this meant sharing a server with other customers. Resources like CPU, disk space, and RAM are likewise shared. Usage by any one customer is capped to avoid threatening the smooth operation of other sites on the server. Customization options are limited for the same reason.
Larger enterprises — often with a greater need for resources or customization — chose more costly dedicated environments where they were the sole occupant of the server or servers. While this sidesteps resource restrictions and grants more customization, scalability remains a significant hurdle for growing businesses.
When a business outgrows a physical server, moving to another environment requires migration. Even under ideal conditions and with the help of a credible hosting provider, migration can be miserable and take days.
A VPS is a hybrid solution involving virtualization, a process that allows parts of several servers to function as one server (virtual machine, or VM). As such, these VMs are not hosted on a single device, but instead draw resources from several places. Each virtual server functions as an independent entity that does not share resources.
The main advantage of this approach is easy and quick scalability. Virtualization makes it relatively easy to add processing power, disk space, and RAM to the server, making migration unnecessary.
Managed Vs Unmanaged VPS
The short answer is if you’re not sure, then managed is probably your best option.
Managed VPS means less work for the customer and it requires far less technical know-how. Although it costs more than unmanaged hosting, the low-maintenance and peace of mind tends to provide value for many business owners. In addition to power, networking, and physical security, we provide the following for our managed VPS clients:
- Setup of cPanel
- Setup of Linux, Apache, MySQL ,and PHP (LAMP)
- 30-day backups
- Firewall and other web security applications, with regular updates
- Maintenance tasks
- 24/7 monitoring
- Technical support
Even skilled web developers often don’t want to bother with VM setup and maintenance, and many business owners would rather spend developer dollars on website design.
Unmanaged solutions are cheaper to purchase, but are suitable only for knowledgeable and motivated do-it-yourself developers or site owners. We provide only power, networking, and physical security. Everything else is on you, which gives you total control at the cost of convenience and time. Although the service is less costly, it may drive up your overall cost by requiring the hiring of skilled users. Worse, any slip in security can cause downtime and lost revenue.
Managed Vs Unmanaged VPS Summary
Managed VPS hosting is better for:
- non-tech savvy users
- busy tech-savvy users pressed for time and energy
- tech-savvy users not comfortable with managing VPS setup and security
Unmanaged VPS hosting is better for:
- Tech savvy users wanting more control over the environment
- Business owners willing and able to hire tech-savvy users to set up, manage, and secure their VPS