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Website Hosting 101: Cloud vs. Managed vs. Hosted

Explore the differences between Cloud, Managed, and Hosted web hosting. Cloud offers affordability & scalability, Managed provides comprehensive support, while Hosted ensures full control & performance. Understand the pros & cons to choose the best fit for your company's website needs.

Website Hosting 101: Cloud vs. Managed vs. Hosted

What type of web host does your company’s site need?

Company website hosted on cloud server.

Every business website needs a hosting service, but web hosting isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

The type of hosting you need depends on the technical expertise of your team, web traffic patterns, compliance requirements, and budgets, to name a few important factors.

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each type of web hosting.

Cloud hosting services


  • Affordable
  • Scalable
  • Easy to get started


  • Greater compliance and security risks
  • Cost uncertainty
  • Limited control and flexibility
  • Shared server resources

Cloud hosts use multiple servers to deliver resources.

You’re likely already familiar with some of the major cloud hosting providers: GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and others.

Cloud hosting is a good solution for companies that want reliable hosting on a leaner budget. Many providers make it easy to get started instantly. However, there are some challenges that come with shared computing resources, namely manageability, data governance, monitoring, reliability, and security virtualization

On the plus side, cloud hosts offer instant resource scaling, which means your site is unlikely to crash when traffic spikes. This approach also means you only pay for the resources you use, though costs can be unpredictable. If you have a high-traffic month, your costs scale up and down accordingly. 

While cloud hosting providers aim to make things as easy as possible for customers, it’s worth noting that a baseline level of tech knowledge comes in handy.

Let’s say a virtual office franchise decides to launch an online booking system but realizes its website isn't secure (HTTP). They get an SSL certificate and set it up, but users still land on the unsecured version of the site because no one updated the DNS to redirect all traffic to the new HTTPS version of the site.

There are tons of small scenarios like this where technical hosting knowledge is helpful, which is why some companies eventually move to a hosting model with more support.

Managed hosting services


  • Comprehensive support
  • Enhanced security
  • Automated backups


  • Cost
  • Less control
  • Some providers offer less scalability

With managed web hosting, the provider handles all of the technical details of hosting, from server maintenance to software updates and beyond. 

Some cloud hosting providers even offer robust support for their cloud hosting services. However, managed hosting often means you’ll get a dedicated server just for your website.

Either way, you’ll get a hands-off web hosting service with managed hosting. Server configurations, DNS settings, software updates, security patches, regular backups, and performance optimizations are all typically included in a hosting package. 

The major downside is cost — managed web hosting is pricier than other options. 

Since the hosting provider manages your server, you might have limited access to server configurations and settings. If you want to tweak something, you’ll probably need to talk with your provider.

Additionally, you can’t always scale resources instantly with managed hosting. Sometimes, server migrations or downtime are necessary to make the necessary changes to your hosting environment.

Hosted services


  • Full control
  • Speed and performance
  • Dedicated server resources


  • Higher costs
  • Maintenance responsibility
  • Complexity

With hosted services, you rent a dedicated server for your website. You have complete control over server configurations, software installations, and other technical settings. Since your website doesn’t share resources with other sites, you can expect consistent performance and enhanced security.

That freedom, flexibility, performance, and security come at a cost, both in terms of the cost of hosting itself and the time required to manage everything. 

With a hosted service, you’ll be in charge of regular updates, patches, and security configurations unless you opt for added managed services.  

Not surprisingly, hosted services are a good fit for companies with dedicated technical team members who have the expertise to navigate server management, potential issues, and optimizations.

Which hosting option is best?

Like always, it depends.

Managed hosting offers flexible, hands-off convenience. Cloud hosting stands out for its cost and scalability. Hosted options offer unparalleled control, though it’s a no-go without technical expertise. 

If you’re having trouble picking a hosting type or a hosting provider, Codepoet can help. Tell us about your business and your website, and we’ll point you in the right direction.