Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
It’s not easy to distinguish a good web hosting provider from a substandard scammer nowadays. Fake testimonials, biased reviews, and paid blog posts are everywhere. The search for a high-quality web host becomes even more difficult when more and more hosting companies are now offering unlimited hosting plans.
Generally, unlimited hosting plans are referred to hosting offers that provide unlimited disk storage, data transfer, as well as addon domain name capacity. In other words, unlimited hosting providers offer the freedom to host as many websites as you can, at a very affordable price (normally below $10/mo)!
“WOW!” Okay, I know this might sounds exciting to some. But before you scratch out that expensive dedicated hosting plan from your list, there are a lot you should know about unlimited hosting.
As a smart consumer, you should realize that web hosting is a world with its own terminology. I knew ‘unlimited’ sounds like having no ends or limits in English; but that’s not the case when it comes to unlimited hosting plan.
In reality, unlimited hosting is, always, limited.
Think about the limitation in our physical world – it is simply impossible to have unlimited semiconductor to build unlimited RAM and CPU; it is impossible to offer unlimited bandwidth when we have limited cables transmitting data around the globe.
And hey, web hosting providers are in the business to make money. Do you really think they will provide you unlimited computer resources (if that’s possible) with just a price of $6.95/mo? Certainly NO!
It’s like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet; you can eat “all-you-can-eat” as long as you are not eating too much (so the restaurant owner can make a profit). The same applies to unlimited hosting plan – you are welcomed to host unlimited websites and take up unlimited hosting resources as long as you are not ‘overusing’ it. Unlimited hosting users are often restricted by different limitations and rules – such as limited usages on CPU queries, RAM, nodes, number of MySQL databases and FTP uploads; scam protection rules that limit the number of email accounts you can create in one hosting account.
Then again, before you claiming these unlimited web hosts scammers, allow me to explain the logic behind such hosting offers.
The reason why hosting providers are able to offer unlimited hosting plans is simple –
Large hosting companies normally own (almost) incomprehensible hosting capacity (bandwidth pipes, computer servers, manpower… etc) that would never be reached by a single website; in the same time, most websites need only very little server resources to run its daily operation. Seeing that most resources in their servers remain unused, the hosting companies (that offer unlimited hosting) therefore have the ability to just sell those unused hosting capacities (such practice is known as overselling).
Although selling plans that pretend to be unlimited can seem dishonest, but it does not mean that the hosting company will not provide good service. Take Hostgator for example, the company spent more than a year to prepare (including hiring new employee and investing in supporting hardware) for the launching of unlimited hosting. Although they are now offering unlimited hosting service, their servers remained reliable and efficient; and the customer supports is never lack of quality.
Here’s a little more details on how Hostgator preparation works. Check out what Brent (Hostgator’s founder and CEO) has to say about unlimited hosting:
“I wanted to call the plans unlimited last time around. However, due to staffing constraints, we wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the expected growth. A year later, we are finally OVERSTAFFED and ready to change the plan. Up until now, I’ve been slowing sales down on purpose in order for our support to catch up. If history repeats itself, renaming the plan from essentially unlimited to actually “unlimited” will increase our sales by at least 30%.”
“In the last year, we have been spending more money on recruiting employees than we have on advertising! It has taken us years of hiring and training to get us to the point where we are now. We’ve gone from begging employees to work overtime to asking who wants to go home. HostGator will always have the occasional scheduling gap, but for now, we’re sending over a dozen employees home a day. “
Is unlimited hosting a good deal? I would say yes – provided that it’s offered by a web host with sound management.
It’s obvious that a good hosting deal is decided by the quality of the management but not the hosting plans. Thinking logically – unlimited hosting when managed correctly is nothing evil. In fact, budget seekers should thank such overselling practice as it made website hosting possible at a much cheaper price.
To readers that still think unlimited hosting is evil and are standing strong against such practice, here’s my final advice. Apparently, unlimited hosting will continue or eventually be replaced by offerings promising even more irresistible capabilities. It’s impossible to change how hosting market runs. The best you can do is to prevent yourself screwed by picking up a good web host with sound management.
Good luck picking up the right web host!
(In case you need help, I have written a comprehensive shopping guide for cheap unlimited hosting which I believe it’s very helpful for first timer. Alternatively, you can always check out my web hosting reviews here.)