Managed or Unmanaged? That is purely up to your personal preference. If you have the time and expertise of running a server, you might want an unmanaged one. In the market, there are lots of good deals, especially for unmanaged VPS or dedicated server. From a few dollars to few hundreds per month, you can always find something affordable and suffice for your needs.
On the other hand, the managed ones would cost a bit more, but mostly still affordable. If all you want is a low-end server, the managed service fee could cost more than your server rental fee. In my case, I want to run a few blogs for fun, nothing serious, so I tried to look for some affordable managed VPS service. There is one which I found to be decent and relatively inexpensive – Scala Hosting.
Till now, Scala Hosting still offers a Start plan, and it costs $9.95/month during promotion, it’s fully managed and equipped with their SPanel control panel. SPanel is their in-house development, which can save you a cPanel license. According to the screenshot, SPanel looks decent enough to perform any regular cPanel tasks.
But then, a friend of mine suggested that I could also check out data centres. Not all data centres only provide rack space rental. Some of them also offer VPS and hardware set up; some even offer shared web hosting.
In the market, many web hosting companies rent server spaces from various data centres, then oversell their resources. If you see a web company offering dirt-cheap pricing, you know something is wrong. Dealing directly with the seller is always the best approach, you cut the cost of middleman, and most of the time you get what you pay for.
Where to find a list of data centres? Websites such as https://www.datacenters.com/providers can give you an idea. It provides information like how many locations a provider has. Currently, the list consists of 334 providers.
Some data centres provide managed services, or they would recommend 3rd party companies which specialize in server management. I decided to go for an unmanaged VPS and get Plesk installed. Plesk already has some security features such as Web Application Firewall, IP Address Banning. But I also install Imunify360 which improves security a great deal. If you are concerned about email security, you can also purchase more extensions from the Plesk extensions catalogue.
I like OVH because it has a huge datacentre in Beauharnois, Quebec. Recently, I had received a DDoS attack; their system detected it and mailed me:
“We have just detected an attack on IP address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. In order to protect your infrastructure, we vacuumed up your traffic onto our mitigation infrastructure. The entire attack will thus be filtered by our infrastructure, and only legitimate traffic will reach your servers. At the end of the attack, your infrastructure will be immediately withdrawn from the mitigation. For more information on the OVH mitigation infrastructure: http://www.ovh.com/ca/en/anti-ddos/”
Back to the question, Managed or Unmanaged? My VPS has been running quite a while, and I think the unmanaged option is ok. As long as you have specific software installed and keep a close look, things should be fine.