The Attraction to Unlimited
The lingo “Unlimited” is attractive because it requires no further thought. If it’s unlimited, then I never need to worry about running out, right? It’s no surprise that more and more businesses and individuals are turning to unlimited web hosting. An unlimited shared hosting service seems to offer limitless possibilities for websites to grow naturally over time, without the threat of hidden charges for excess usage. Guys who would never in a Kajillion years approach their hosting limits, also prefer for unlimited plans. Maybe people don’t want to worry, to meet their needs down the road.
Therefore, I experimented with unlimited plans, because I wanted to stay competitive. But in course of understanding the truth behind unlimited hosting, it just didn’t feel right. You can’t really buy unlimited hosting. Here goes the reality behind “unlimited” hosting plans.
Let us Understand the Basics
Web Hosting is a commodity. The main elements of any web hosting plan are disk space and bandwidth. Disk space is the space you have allotted on the web server to store your website. Bandwidth is used to transfer web pages from the web server to the browsers of visitors to your site. Bandwidth and disk space cost money. The internet lines have a finite capacity. Likewise, the hard drive of a web server has a limited amount of space determined by the physical size of the hard drive.
Then what does Unlimited Web Hosting really mean?
There is never infinite hard drive space on a given server; data pipes can never physically support infinite traffic. It doesn’t take much prowess and math skills to understand that a cheap hosting plan can’t realistically offer more resources than a dedicated server costing higher in comparison. If every user really uses their “unlimited” space, the host would have to spend an unlimited amount of money to buy an unlimited number of hard disks to provide space for them.Hence,it is impossible for any provider to actually provide an unlimited amount of bandwidth or disk space. It’s just not possible.
Does every unlimited hosting plan offer infinite resources? Of course, unlimited should mean unlimited. It would be only natural to assume that you have complete control and freedom over your hosting plan. Unfortunately, web hosts have found alternative methods to restrict certain features how you use your hosting resources, so that your unlimited shared hosting plan is not really unlimited, after all.
To create rich and engaging web applications you will need access to MS SQL/MySQL database. You may also need FTP accounts so that your entire team can upload new content, and/or create mailboxes. You might even want to host many different websites, each with their own domain names, or park variations of your main domain name on a single shared hosting account. Here you will find restriction of usage. What good is infinite disk space and bandwidth, if you are only permitted to use only one database or create only a few email accounts? Why choose unlimited shared hosting if you are unable to park unlimited domains?
Check the hosting company’s terms of service. There will probably be a note about what “unlimited” really means. You will notice that you cannot use the space for purpose you choose. In most cases, their condition is that the space can be used only for one website. So what’s it all about? Honestly, there is nothing like unlimited at all!
How can Hosting Companies offer “Unlimited” Hosting?
Here’s the lowdown: Most websites only consume a very small amount of bandwidth and disk space so the few that do, are essentially subsidized by others. Web hosting companies that provide unlimited anything as a plan feature are banking on the fact that you won’t use very much. Unlimited is a marketing trick to get your business. Remember, unlimited pizzas?
The hosts restrict you on usage of database, FTP accounts and number of email accounts, thus saving on resources used.
When a web host provides unlimited this-and-that, many people will be attracted to their plans. Be honest — I’m sure you find it tempting too. Some of these people’s websites will be using enormous amounts of bandwidth. Since your site will also share the same bandwidth pipe as these people, and perhaps worse, be on the same server as they are, the performance of your site will be affected. To use an analogy, everyone is sharing the same pie. If someone takes a large slice of the pie, the rest will have to share the remainder and this in turn affects the performance of your website. The premium resources for any host are the server’s processor and memory limits, since this is what can slow down or crash the server for everybody. This is what hosts often don’t mention.
If you intend to have a lot of visitors to your site, lots of downloads, including audio or video files, most chances are you will find yourself with problems. Your web host is not going to run at a loss for long. They could shut down your website or even charge you extra.
What is the Best Thing to Do?
Don’t fall in the trap. Calculate what type of bandwidth and disk space you will need for your site multiplied by 2 just to allow for expansion. Also consider the following: Will you be offered a service level agreement that guarantees uptime and availability? Does the host have the resources, network infrastructure, and technical expertise for 24×7 supports? Be meticulous in how you check a web host before you order and if their website does not offer the information that you need, contact them and ask for more details.
Some honest web hosts that specify a realistic amount of disk space for each customer usually don’t need any restrictions mentioned above. You are allowed to use the disk space in any way you wish.
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