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Why unlimited web hosting is a bad thing

Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space & unlimited domains – it always seems like a great deal when looking for web hosting, the thought of just signing up and not having to worry about the resources you use on the server.

Lets look at the official definition of “unlimited”:

[quote]
1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.[/quote]

So, what’s the problem with “unlimited” hosting? Well, there’s no such thing. Both web space and bandwidth are finite items. There is only so much traffic a server can handle and that server will only have a certain amount of disk space.

You may wonder how hosts get away with selling this then – well, simply they hugely oversell their resources. They are selling you “unlimited” space and bandwidth on a server which they know has limits on resources. The reason they do this? They know that the vast majority of clients won’t use anywhere near the amount they think they will. Those who do use more resources that the hosting company would like, often fall foul of some obscure condition of the contract and will get kicked off – here’s an example in the T&C’s of an “unlimited” host I’ve just found at random with Google:

[quote]”In some cases, *** may not establish a specific amount of bandwidth, disk space and other resources, and refer to that as “Unlimited”. In all cases, the Services are intended for normal use only, and any activity that results in excessive usage that is inconsistent with normal usage patterns is strictly prohibited. *** reserves the right to suspend, discontinue or delete the accounts of Users whose use of disk space, bandwidth or other resources results in or presents the risk of degradation of service to other customers, regardless of the amount of disk space, bandwidth or other resources included in the User’s plan”[/quote]

In this example, they state “normal use only” – what exactly is normal? A site getting 10 visitors a week is normal for some, whereas others 50,000 visitors a day is “normal”.  Because the customer doesn’t know what is normal, they don’t know what is excessive – and after all, they bought “unlimited” right?

Here’s another one:

[quote]The intention of providing unlimited bandwidth is to eliminate the need to worry about bandwidth use. While there is no explicit limit we do have to ensure individual websites do not cause excessive usage that upsets or interrupts other users of the shared servers. All packages offering unlimited bandwidth are intended for personal or small business websites.[/quote]

So, they sell it as unlimited bandwidth “to eliminate the need to worry about bandwidth use”, but if the customer (in their opinion) use too much, their site goes down. This company also heavily promotes the packages as “business” and “pro”, yet in the small print they say it’s only for personal or small business websites.

At Posilan, we prefer to take a more honest approach to selling hosting – we offer excellent value packages with generous bandwidth and disk space allowances, with instant upgrade paths for when you grow – what’s more, you know exactly what you are allowed to use and we ensure the servers are able to deliver it without getting bogged down by too many customers each wanting “unlimited” resources. If you have been on an “unlimited” host and are moving over to us, you will see the difference.

Take a look at our hosting packages here: http://www.posilan.com/services/web-hosting/