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Dedicated Hosting: Managed or Unmanaged?

Here’s the conundrum: You’ve shelled out the extra money for the dedicated server, opening up worlds of business potential and enough bandwidth, storage space, and domain names to rapidly expand. However, just as you’re finalizing your hosting options, there’s one remaining problem to be sorted: Do you stick to managed or unmanaged dedicated server hosting?

It’s a complicated affair, and depending on how you answer, you may either streamline or exacerbate your future headaches. Choosing between either system is an important milestone for your business, and to help you along, we’ve compiled this handy guide to both managed and unmanaged dedicated hosting. No, no need to thank us—unless your thanks comes in beer form, that is!

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What are Managed and Unmanaged Dedicated Servers?

There’s one key difference between unmanaged and managed dedicated servers: One puts all the effort on your shoulders, while the latter puts all the stress on the host’s end. With an unmanaged dedicated server, it’s up to you to perform server troubleshooting, maintenance, and security. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own, Pilgrim. This sounds like a big downer, but the trade-off is that you have full control over everything that happens with your server, including what complex applications are installed there.

A managed dedicated server, on the other hand, is kept up by the hosting company itself. They’ll do all of the security implantation, whistle checking, and updating. This frees up your anxieties, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business, rather than your server. The other benefit is that you can call up your provider at any point in time and more or less demand something be changed. Just try not to let the power go to your head, King Midas.

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So Which One is Right For Me?

The choice between unmanaged and managed dedicated server options really boils down to a few important points: If you have little time to worry about your site’s hardware, and would rather focus your efforts elsewhere, then managed hosting is the way to go. Likewise if you can’t afford to hire a server administrator, or don’t have the technical knowledge to perform maintenance yourself, managed dedicated servers are a no-brainer.

However, if you do have the resources to manage the server yourself—or hire someone else to do it non-server-side—and want the control an unmanaged server offers, then the choice is rather obvious. Also, if you hope to perform some downright Frankenstein-style stuff to your server, or want a specific software version, then having more control is a necessary function, leading to an unmanaged offering.

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