Managed vs. Unmanaged Servers

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when deciding to get a dedicated server is whether you will use a managed server or unmanaged server. On the surface, the differences are clear: a managed server, like those offered by, are systems in which your service provider, to some degree, takes care of security and maintenance, and with an unmanaged server, all of that is up to you.

What is important to understand is exactly how much or how little you are getting with the deal. In some cases, a managed server package may include some maintenance but not all scenarios, and an unmanaged package may still include some support, particularly for hardware on remote servers.

As an example, let’s suppose you get a managed server and install some web applications on it. As a result, the server starts functioning erratically. Your service provider may not be willing or able to fix the server if the problem stems from the third-party applications you installed. That portion of your server then becomes your responsibility.

If you expect complete service, where the host controls every aspect of your server, you should make sure the package you purchase includes total management. If you cannot find a plan that has what you need, you may also want to consider hiring a specialist to take care of your server. This is particularly useful if you have a large server or cluster and need custom applications and software. Hiring a system administrator to handle the server is good move in such a situation.