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UniFi Controller Explained

Published onAugust 23, 2023

The UniFi Controller serves as the central nervous system for managing and configuring UniFi devices, such as switches, firewalls, Voice over IP phones, and access points.

In this article, we outline what a UniFi controller is and the different setups used, with its pros and cons.

Table of Contents

The UniFi Controller

Ubiquiti's free software, the UniFi Controller, offers a platform to users for centrally managing their UniFi devices. Users can monitor, update, and configure their UniFi devices when installing the software on a computer. It is the center for controlling network settings, tracking device performance, and implementing changes.

Exploring UniFi Controller Options

There are a few diferent options for hosting your UniFi controller:

  • Self-hosting
  • Cloud-hosting
  • Managed-hosting

Self-hosted UniFi Controller

This option is more common in homes or small setups. Here, internet connectivity navigates through a firewall, a switch, and finally to the access points and other UniFi devices.

Users generally install UniFi locally on their computer, which works fine for some use cases. The problem is that the Controller will only be online when the computer is, and how do you make sure that all the advised ports are open without compromising your computer?

In addition, the installation process is quite daunting, and it doesn't stop there. You must apply updates, maintenance, and backups yourself. However, it is probably the cheapest option.

Cloud-hosted UniFi Controller

If you manage multiple networks as an MSP or IT-service business, a cloud-hosted UniFi Controller is a must. Cloud-hosted providers are optimized for flexiblity and scalability. It's easier to manage different networks and more convenient as you scale.

However, this option still requires recurring time allocation to update the controller, perform maintence, create backups etc. This is the biggest difference with a managed-hosted UniFi Controller.

Managed-hosted UniFi Controller

These are third-party out-of-your-hands tools that do the heavy lifting. Tools such as UniHosted take the most tedious tasks out of your hands so you can focus on your business.

In a few seconds, you can spin up a new controller that will be deployed instantly. No tedious installation and setup anymore. A cloud-hosted UniFi controller service takes care of testing and applying server updates, creates backups, and ensures it's running securely.

Since there are multiple managed-hosting solutions on the market. We created a detailed guide to outline the best options.

Final Thoughts

A sound understanding of the UniFi Controller ecosystem is crucial to run your UniFi devices efficiently. There are multiple options you can choose from, either self-host, cloud-host or choose for managed-hosting. All have their pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide what's best.

UniHosted is a cloud-hosted solution that lets you control your UniFi networks without the hassle. It’s free to use, takes care of applying updates and maintenance, and ensures your network runs securely.

Feel free to [give it a try]https://dashboard.unihosted.com/onboarding!

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