So you’re in the market for hosting. Odds are that you’ve come across “unlimited hosting” deals from (pretty much) every provider you’ve considered. So is it truly the no-hassle, dream come true scenario it’s made out to be?
Simple answer? Of course not… if it seems too good to be true, it is.
However, even with that said, unlimited does have its merits.
How Unlimited Hosting Really Works?
In the web hosting world, the term “unlimited” really means “we include a whole bunch of ‘it,’ but at some point, limitations do kick in: it’s just unlikely that you’ll reach them”
Hosting tends to include a variety of components – think storage, bandwidth, URLs… you get the idea. Fact of the matter is, for hosting companies to survive, they have to put limitations on how much of “everything” each subscriber is eligible. If it were truly a free for all as “unlimited hosting” implies, the service would likely, well… suck.
So, to ensure some quality of service for all (and to help the hosting company stay afloat without completely crushing their business from costs and overages), the hosting providers place service thresholds on their unlimited plans. Those limits vary by provider, and in many cases, to learn what they are, you’ll need to actually call the potential provider and dig. It’s unlikely that you’ll hit those limits (unless you’re storing tons of videos and media), but if you do, there are repercussions… the provider can throttle your service, suspend you, or even terminate your hosting agreement. So, net-net: there are limits.
How the Hosting Companies Make Their $
Hosting companies can offer “unlimited hosting” and make it work in a variety of ways.
In most scenarios, they know what they can truly offer—and deliver, and they also know how much an average subscriber uses.
By putting caps on what is truly included in the “unlimited hosting” subscription, they are able to deliver to their subscribers, within the pre-established limitations of their service offering.
Some hosting providers do take part in a less ethical version of “unlimited hosting” service delivery called overselling.
Think of it this way: hosting company A knows how much the average subscriber will use. It also knows how much its servers and infrastructure can actually handle. For hypothetical sake, let’s just say that it could, if everyone were to max out their usage, handle 10 subscribers. However, since it knows that those 10 subscribers aren’t really going to use all of their potential space and resources, it takes the difference of the max from the likely reality to sell space to an additional five subscribers. So, instead of having 10 subscribers, the company is able to bring in bling from 15… even though it could never actually deliver to all 15 if everyone used their max resources.
Shady? Kind of. But it is a reality and it is technically allowed. If you decide to host with a hosting provider who oversells, your service may be fine… and there are great odds that you’d never be any the wiser. But. You are paying for a service, so don’t you want to know what you’re getting? Erego, keep overselling on your list of questions for your potential hosting providers.
So What Does it All Mean?
Your bottom line question is likely whether unlimited hosting is actually worth it… my answer is a simple “maybe.”
Unlimited hosting plans are pretty common place and, for a majority of companies, a decent deal. The plans are affordable, they tend to offer the capabilities you’ll need (unless you’re a huge conglomerate or have security protocols and requirements), and can be pretty straightforward in terms of getting up and running.
However, if you are going to get into unlimited hosting, just make sure that you actually know what you’re getting into. Determine whether a potential provider oversells space: once you know, what you do with that information is up to you. Also make sure that you know the limitations and caps placed on “unlimited” inclusions; from there, know what you need so that you can better gauge whether it’s a fit.