Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud Hosting: What's the Difference?

Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud Hosting: What’s the Difference?


Gartner predicts that global spending on public cloud it will reach nearly $600 billion by 2023. This is not surprising, as cloud adoption is crucial to a company’s digital transformation.

You can host your apps and websites on a network of cloud servers and benefit from scalability, reliability, and speed.

Still, the move to the cloud can be one of two ways: managed cloud hosting or unmanaged cloud hosting.

What are the differences between the two and which one should you choose?

To help you get the answers, we’ve put together a guide detailing what you need to know when comparing managed vs. unmanaged cloud.

This is what we will cover:

What is managed cloud hosting?

In managed cloud hosting, your cloud provider or web host manages all aspects of your cloud infrastructure: configuration, server maintenance and monitoring, data backup and security, troubleshooting and system monitoring. performance.

In other words, the cloud provider manages the technical side of your cloud environment while you focus on running your business.

For companies that want a hands-off approach to server management or have complex cloud infrastructures and prefer to outsource their IT needs, managed cloud services provide exactly that.

According to a 2022 IBM study, 69% of teams lack the necessary skill set to manage workloads in the cloud. So, managed cloud hosting or a built-for-you cloud service can definitely help you enjoy the freedom of the cloud, even with skill gaps in your IT team.

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Advantages of managed cloud hosting

Here are some advantages of managed cloud hosting:

Guaranteed uptime – With managed cloud, your hosting provider ensures the continuous availability of your website to visitors. Hosting providers typically have service level agreements (SLAs) of greater than 99% uptime. Excellent performance: A managed host offers features that increase site speed (such as caching) to help you accommodate spikes in traffic. Tech Support – Moving your site to the cloud can be overwhelming. But with managed cloud hosting, your web host can help you with cloud migration or handle server setup.

Disadvantages of Managed Cloud Hosting

Still, managed cloud hosting is not without its drawbacks. We’ll see:

Limited control – Because the service provider manages the cloud environment, you have less control than with unmanaged hosting. Expensive – Costs more than unmanaged services because your hosting provider offers technical services. support and advanced features. With that being said, hosting providers come with different price points so you can choose one that fits your budget or needs.

What is unmanaged cloud hosting?

In unmanaged cloud hosting, you, the business owner, are solely responsible for managing and maintaining your cloud infrastructure.

You typically rent server resources or IT infrastructure from public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and run your own server.

If you prefer to manage your cloud resources in-house or without involving a service provider, unmanaged cloud hosting is a suitable option.

Advantages of Unmanaged Cloud Hosting

The advantages of unmanaged cloud hosting include:

Full Control – Unlike managed cloud hosting, unmanaged cloud allows you to set up, manage, and maintain your hosting environment to your desired specifications or business needs. . However, you may still face some challenges that can increase costs (more on that later).

Disadvantages of unmanaged cloud hosting

Like managed cloud hosting, unmanaged cloud hosting has certain drawbacks:

Increased security risks: Internal security measures may be insufficient, which can lead to data breaches. Time consuming – Unmanaged cloud hosting requires a lot of time and effort. Therefore, it can become cumbersome and you may need to divert attention from your business or perform high-level tasks.

Unmanaged Cloud Hosting vs. managed: differences

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a deeper look at the differences, starting with security.


Data security continues to be a growing concern among businesses. JD Sports, for example, suffered a data breach in which a hacker accessed the data of 10 million customers.

With managed cloud hosting, your hosting provider handles cybersecurity. It provides you with security mechanisms to safeguard your mission-critical applications and data.

And if you choose a managed provider that is well-versed in the latest security technologies and puts your data security first, you can rest easy and focus your energy on core business.

For example, Nexcess believes that “prevention is better than cure” and offers proactive security that includes server monitoring and automatic updates.

On the other hand, with unmanaged cloud hosting, the security of your data falls squarely on your shoulders. Given the dynamic nature of security threats, this could be a difficult task for your internal IT team if you don’t have security experts on your team.

Also, security breaches are inevitable. So if your team lacks the ability to investigate and respond to data breaches, sooner or later you could be subject to privacy lawsuits.


Unmanaged cloud hosting is cheaper if you only consider the price tag.

Otherwise, unmanaged cloud hosting may cost more than managed cloud hosting because you’ll have to hire and maintain full-time IT staff. And as you scale, you’ll also need to allocate funds to train your internal team.

By contrast, with managed cloud hosting, you pay more in subscription fees, but you can improvement or downgrade your hosting based on your business demands or cloud resource requirements.

In other words, you can get both options at comparable prices. However, unmanaged cloud hosting means higher upfront costs, while managed cloud hosting means higher recurring costs.

Customer Support

Managed cloud services usually come with readily available customer support.

For example, with a Business Hosting Nexcess plan, you’ll get 24-hour support across multiple channels. Plus, we have technical support representatives with diverse skill sets, so no matter how complex your problem, you’ll get a solution.

In addition to being able to rely on managed hosting support to solve complex problems, you can also interact with them to optimize your website and get the most out of your cloud solution.

With unmanaged cloud hosting, you rely on your internal IT team to handle technical issues as they occur. And if they can’t solve a certain problem, you’ll experience prolonged downtime, which will negatively affect your bottom line.


With managed cloud hosting, your hosting provider manages the data stored and ensures its continuous availability, whenever you need it. To that end, it typically offers automatic data backup, disaster recovery, security, and access control.

On top of that, managed hosting providers also make sure that you meet the compliance requirements with the data stored. For example, Nexcess offers PCI Compliant Hosting and ours compliance experts guide you on best practices to stay compliant.

In unmanaged cloud hosting, the management of the stored data is your responsibility. You have more control over your data, but you must ensure compliance with privacy laws and payment rules yourself.


Earlier, we mentioned that managed cloud hosting includes server maintenance. That’s because your job doesn’t end once your site is up and running.

For example, your managed cloud provider might offer server performance monitoring, auditing, threat detection, software updates, and more at regular intervals. This regular maintenance helps your business or eCommerce site run like a well-oiled machine, ensuring business continuity.

On the other hand, unmanaged cloud hosting requires your IT team to step up and maintain the server. You’ll need to monitor resource utilization, update outdated software, and close backdoors.

If you have a knowledgeable in-house IT team, this might seem like a piece of cake. Otherwise, the tasks could overwhelm you and cause a pause in business activities.

Final Thoughts: Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud: What’s the Difference?

Moving to the cloud can drive the desired business results and streamline operations. But should you go for a managed or unmanaged cloud?

If you have a free hand in your IT team, unmanaged cloud lets you enjoy the freedom of the cloud at lower recurring costs.

However, if you are looking for an out-of-the-box cloud solution, go for managed cloud services.

At Nexcess, we offer affordable managed cloud hosting plans with proactive security, expert support and more.

Take a look at our plans to get started today.


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