In the (small) company I work for we're planning on getting a dedicated server, since we need more storage and performance that we get now in our shared hosting.

We have 1&1, and we're happy with them, so our first option is to get one of their dedicated servers (more info here).

Now me need to make an important decision: do we get an unmanaged dedicated server or a managed dedicated server?

The main reason to consider the unmanaged option is to have full access to the server, because with the managed one we don't get root access and we can't change server configuration. It' not that we need those features all the time, but some times it could be handy (we're making a Moodle website and root access is good for a few things, for example).

The thing is that I would be the person in charge of managing the server, and I'm not sure if it's a task that can get too complicated. I don't have experience managing servers, I'm a web developer, very computer savvy, and I've worked a little with unix.

I've been doing some research and I read comments about managing a dedicated server can require a full time job, but I can't find a reasonable explanation if that's always true or it depends.

So I'm looking for some advice. Should we just go with the managed option and lose the root access feature? Is a dedicated server something that is going to take so much time? Is it something I can learn "easily" (I learn fast)? The company I work for wouldn't hire someone else just for that, so it's either me or no one.

1&1 offer the option of getting an unmanaged one, and switching to managed if we want to. This would be good in case it's something too overwhelming, but we would lose some features like root access. Strangely (for me), they say the opposite option (start with managed and switch to unmanaged) is not possible.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

closed as not constructive by Chopper3, mgorven, Scott Pack, Wesley, Khaled Jun 19 '12 at 7:06

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  • This isn't a forum, we ask questions with definite answers, we're not about opinions. Read our FAQ before posting again. – Chopper3 Jun 18 '12 at 15:48
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    This is a question with a definite answer.. The definite answer is "shop around for a provider who won't make you sacrifice your root access rights." – Tom O'Connor Jun 18 '12 at 15:51
  • @Chopper3 thank you for your reply, maybe I didn't express myself very well, but I intended to ask for specific stuff as well, like what kind of tasks managing a dedicated server require – Albert Jun 18 '12 at 16:02
  • Yet you didn't... Why not look at how the site works. – Chopper3 Jun 18 '12 at 16:04

Get a managed dedicated server by all means, saves you a massive amount of work when it comes to security updates and patches and so on.. BUT.. Maybe shop around a little bit more for a company who do Dedicated Servers, but not sacrifice your root access to enable that.

If you're in the UK, I can wholly recommend Melbourne.co.uk and Memset.co.uk for dedicated servers, both of whom I've used before, and have good clueful managed SLA options. If I recall correctly, neither option means that you sacrifice root/superuser access to the server.

  • OK, assuming we want to change to a different company that offers a managed option and root access, do you think that moving everything (files, domains, dayabases) from our current shared hosting to anew provider would take the same work as moving to a dedicated server withing 1&1? 1&1 say that we still need to move everything if we get a new dedicated server, but I assume that moving stuff inside the same provider should be easier, right? Or it doesn't really matter? I haven't asked them because I know what they're going to say... – Albert Jun 18 '12 at 16:20
  • It's probably on a par, the amount of work required. Either way you'll have to rsync stuff across the internet/network/someway to move the data about.. – Tom O'Connor Jun 18 '12 at 16:26

You really have to weigh your options here. There are a lot of variables in play. If you are not comfortable handling any type of issue that may rise then I would recommend using the managed option. The phrase time is money comes to mind. If you feel you have the knowledge to do things properly and you feel like you can make the investment (in time) for the maintenance of the server then go for it. But again, if you do not have ample experience using Linux then you should pick the managed solution. That money you save picking the unmanaged option could certainly cost you more money in the time it takes you to troubleshoot any issues you may have as well as keeping it updated and running smoothly.

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