Managed or unmanaged dedicated hosting is a matter of where the technical support services for the server is coming from. Simply put if the maintenance and administrative aspect is provided by the hosting company then you are on managed hosting. On the other hand if you have the required skills in-house that cater for your technical needs then you are on unmanaged hosting mode. To choose between the two is a critical decision that has a long term bearing on your website operations.
Since the provider takes over the maintenance and administrative role in a managed hosting, the cost is equally high. Servers require regular maintenance for them to perform optimally and the extra cost therefore ensures that you receive a 24/7 support services. If you don’t have any technical know-how required for maintenance of a server, a plain dedicated hosting plan will be worthless.
Web hosting providers offers a variation of maintenance services and while some provide the whole range of technical services others offers partial services. You will gauge the support offered by a provider depending on the prices quoted for a particular version as compared to others offered by the same provider. Since your provider literally runs the show in the technical sense it is advisable to strike quite a close relationship to avoid trouble. Managed webhosting is not readily available from all web hosting providers as compared to unmanaged hosting.
Unmanaged dedicated hosting does not imply unkempt or neglected as the word may suggest. The unmanaged hosting implies that the servicing of the server will come from your end. They are cheap and the most commonly offered by majority of web hosting company. If you choose this mode of hosting you better be well endowed with skills to maintain the server. If you mess up, you may find yourself running into difficulties operating your website or paying for damages caused while tampering with the server.
The unmanaged hosting does not however mean you are totally on your own as such. They do offer a measure of support when you run into serious trouble. The provider will service the software and hardware sourced from them or offer reboot services.
Regardless of the choice you make performance should be the crucial factor to consider. If yours is a mission critical operation that needs consistent and reliable performance and you lack skills to ensure the same then managed hosting will serve you well. If on the other hand your needs are basic and looking for an affordable option then go for unmanaged hosting provided you can adequately service the server.