If you have ever done any searching for a web hosting company for your site, you have undoubtedly come across web hosting companies promising “unlimited hosting” for some “to good to be true” price. You asked yourself “how is this even possible” when you see other hosting companies offering the same package for much higher prices. So, is unlimited hosting really true? As far as I know, the only thing that is truly unlimited is outer space. That being the case, how can these hosting companies offer “Unlimited Hosting”.
First, you must consider that their traditional customer, or the customer that they are targeting will not use very much in the way of resources. The typical web site will use minimal bandwidth or traffic, minimal disk space and may have only one or two email addresses. Of course, this is what the host is counting on and this offering is a great way for them to get your business. However, should you start using what they consider too much bandwidth or disk space, you will find a very nice email in your email box telling you that you’re going to have to upgrade some part of your plan because “we found that you are utilizing resources to the point that is affecting other customers” or some other similarly worded email. The key to unlimited hosting is not only knowing, but also understanding, the fine print.
If you read the fine print at many of these hosts (which may not be so easy to find) you will see numerous caveats. Below are just a few of them I’ve found during my research.
1.We reserve the right to change the terms of the package at any given time. They usually list some time frame for the notice – usually 21 to 30 days.
2. Email accounts have limited storage capacity. Of course, for a small upgrade fee you may increase your email storage.
3. Backups are not included but for a small fee you can add a backup plan
4. Your bandwidth is part of a shared network. This means that they have allocated a pool of bandwidth for the unlimited customers. The downside to this is that any customer could effectively cause your site to run slower due to the lack of unavailable bandwidth.
5. Large videos are not allowed. What they consider a large video is anybody’s guess.
6. Support is not included with this plan.
7. You may not install any scripts which may affect the performance of the server.
8. You can add all the content you wish but maybe not all at the same time. The vast majority of our customer’s sites grow at rates well within our rules, however, and will not be impacted by this constraint. What exactly does this mean?
9. You may not use your disk space as an off-site backup source.
10. Database servers have a limit to the number of concurrent connections.
Does this mean that you should never use these hosting companies? Of course not – but you should definitely approach with caution and keep expectations low. If you have a small site that you know won’t use a lot of disk space or server resources, then a small affordable “unlimited hosting” package may be perfect for you. Just remember the phrase “Caveat Emptor” which is Latin for “Let the buyer beware”.