Eye-Openers for End-Users: The Limits of Unlimited Hosting

Are unlimited web hosting plans truly unlimited? Cheap plans with unlimited bandwidth and disk space may seem like a great deal, but it’s important to understand what these terms mean to you, the end user. Here’s what you need to know before signing up for an unlimited web hosting plan.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the volume of inbound and outbound traffic going from the hosting server to the rest of the Internet. Most web hosting companies use multiple bandwidth providers to increase the amount of available bandwidth. Because they buy large bandwidth connections to handle the traffic of their customers, these web hosting providers can offer virtually “unlimited” bandwidth.

The average end user is unlikely to use enough bandwidth to cause a problem, but a website with a lot of videos and thousands of people downloading or watching them will quickly eat up a lot of bandwidth. Many business sites are now seeing increases in productivity with cloud storage. Their eCommerce websites are increasingly calling on multiple files from storage, like product photos and even videos, which is all adding more pressure on increasing bandwidth resources.

Most shared web hosts can handle around 1,000 bandwidth connections. If your site exceeds that number of connections, consider moving to a dedicated server or virtual private server (VPS) to free up resources for your website. A service like AS400 server can make the migration as seamless as possible, minimizing your website’s downtime.

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Unlimited Disk Space

Disk space refers to the amount of space allocated on a server for your web hosting account. Web hosting providers advertise this disk space as unlimited, but there is no such thing as an unlimited hard drive. How, then, are web hosting companies able to claim they offer unlimited disk space?

As with unlimited bandwidth, it all boils down to probable actual usage. Most websites require an average of 5GB to 25GB of disk space. Web hosts use these values to determine how much space their users will need. The average end-user is unlikely to exceed the 25GB disk space allotment, so the hosting company is able to advertise the space as “unlimited.”

It is best to make the right enquiries to your web host. Contact their sales or support lines directly. Even if they claim their package as unlimited, if you contacted them and presented them with your plans and roadmap, they may have different recommendations for you that can help you scale as your business grows.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of “Unlimited” Hosting Plans

So should you choose a web hosting plan advertised as offering unlimited bandwidth and disk space? It’s important to keep in mind that nothing is truly unlimited. The old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” applies here.

For the average user, however, a cheap unlimited hosting plan is more than sufficient. If you’re just starting out with web hosting, you’re unlikely to exceed the limitations of a typical unlimited plan. With unlimited plans ranging from $3.95 to $9.95 per month, you can get a great web hosting package at a reasonable price as you grow your website.

 

Choosing an Unlimited Hosting Plan

When choosing a web hosting package, it’s important to consider not only the unlimited features but the other features of the plan as well. Ask the web hosting provider if the plan includes email accounts, add on domains, one-click installs for WordPress or Joomla, databases, parked domains, and website analytics. An email server can come in handy for setting up email autoresponders to combine with your social media campaigns. Consider the requirements of your website aside from bandwidth and disk space, and make sure your chosen plan has them. Unlimited hosting plans are easy to find, so focus on the key features you need.

 

 

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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