Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Unlimited Web Hosting Is Not True

updated on Jul 06, 2017
Unlimited Web Hosting Is Not True Don't trust the unlimited web hosting plans advertised by the hosting companies. Or the unlimited web hosting plans only unlimited for private or small business usgae. The most hosting companies advertise their hosting plans are unlimited, including unlimited disk space, unlimited monthly data transfer, unlimited hosting domains and unlimited email accounts etc. They may not set a limitation on an exact number on these features but this absolutely doesn't mean that you can unlimited use them with one web hosting account.

The most web hosting plans cost only approximate 5 USD per month. Even some web hosting plans include a free domain name with the life. When you take a look at almost all dedicated servers, you can find all the plans are limited, including disk space and bandwidth. A server is definitely limited by the installed disks and the hosting companies paied for network providers for the package of data transfer. Indeed, the hosting companies create hundreds hosting accounts in one shared server and all accounts share same the resources of the server.

We take HostGator dedicated server and their unlimited web hosting plans for the analysis. The Pro dedicated server plan costs $299 per month which the server is with Intel Xeon 3470 (Quad Core), 8GB DDR3 memory, 2x500GB hard drivers and 10TB bandwidth. As we interviewed with them, the server is with Intel Xeon E5520, 12GB DDR2 / DDR3 memory and 1TB disk for their shared web hosting plans. But averagely they put 200 hosting accounts into one shared server. That means each account only can share 1/200 of the Intel Xeon E5520, about 50MB memory, 50GB bandwidth and 5GB disk space at maximum.

What is unlimited web hosting?

Generally, almost all the trust-worthy hosting companies offer the unlimited hosting that refers to the hosting service allowing customers to get unlimited server resources. Webmasters need the disk space to store their websites and bandwidth to transfer data, so the benefit of unlimited is undoubtedly attractive. In addition, some large web hosts even offer many other unlimited features like e-mails, databases, and add-on/parked/sub domains.

Is unlimited web hosting really unlimited?

Without doubt, it sounds great, but it is nothing but a marketing tactic used to attract customers. After all, we are living in a physical world where you can never find anything unlimited actually, and the server capacity is definitely not infinite. The reason why can web hosts claim to offer unlimitness is that they are just over selling.

Overselling

Generally, only bloggers and small website owners will choose this hosting type, for they only need a small or moderate volume of server resources to support the daily operation of their websites. In this case, web hosts know exactly that their large hosting capacity can never be exhausted by a single website, and many webmasters can hardly consume all the resources allocated to them. Thus, they can confidently claim to offer unlimited web hosting.

In addition, as there are a lot of server resources remaining unused, web hosts can re-sell these left resources to more people for benefit generation. This kind of practice is called as overselling.

Unlimited web hosting is actually limited

In the case that your physical server hosts some large e-commerce websites that require a tremendous volume of storage and bandwidth for their images, files, apps, and traffic, then the sites of you and other small webmasters will be affected negatively. To eliminate this possibility, almost all the web hosts have set some restrictions concerning about the maximum usage, and locate the usage policy at Terms of Services that is ignored by the majority of webmasters.

In fact, the main purpose of this policy is to tell webmasters that they can utilize as many server resources as they want to run their websites, but the prerequisite is that they can never overuse this benefit and excess the allocation entitled to them. Otherwise, the hosting companies may implement some penalties like suspending the website without notification.

What’s happed if one hosting account uses too much resources?

The answers below are the hidden rules of the hosting industry.
  1. Oftenly the hosting company will notify you that you're using too much resources of the server and suggest you to upgrade to the higher level of the hosting plan, business plan, VPS or dedicated server.
  2. When the resource cost of your website exceeds their internal limitation, your website will be suspended immediately. This is true and admitted by most hosting companies we interviewed.
  3. When your website frequently take too much resources and you don't intend to upgrade to a higher level plan, your account will be suspended.

How to evaluate the hidden limitation for your hosting account?

The typical hosting server in the industry is: Intel Xeon E5520, 12GB DDR2 / DDR3 memory, 1TB disk and 5 - 10TB monthly bandwidth. The cost of the server and network resources is approximate 120 USD per month. And you should multiply three factors based on the hosting company for their cost on the office/employees/infrastructure, the investment on advertisement and the profit rate. The employees/infrastructure factor is only based on the evaluation but not exact.
  • The factor of the office/employees/infrastructure is normally between 0.8 and 2.0
  • The factor of the advertisement investment is between 0.5 and 1.0
  • The gross profit rate in the industry on web hosting is over 50%

Take HostGator as an example, they're a big company and hired a lot of North American staff for customer support, the factor for them should be 2. And for GreenGeeks, their cost on customer support is surely less than Hostgator, this factor should be 1. And the advertisement factor is normally between 0.5 and 1.0 in the web hosting industry. As HostGator invest much more on advertisement than GreenGeeks, so we estimate advertising factor for HostGator is 1 and for GreenGeeks is 0.7. Then we can estimate the cost of a shared web hosting plan for HostGator is 120 + 120 * (2 + 1) = 480 USD per month. And for GreenGeeks is 120 + 120 * (1 + 0.7) = 324 USD per month. The average profit rate for the web hosting is around 25%. So we estimate the lowest acceptable income of one server for HostGator is 720 USD and for GreenGeeks is 486 USD.

The cheapest hosting plan after the discount for HostGator is Hatchling plan $3.82/month (with coupon code HG45PERCENT) and for GreenGeeks is Ecosite Starter plan $3.96/mo. So that we can estimate the reasonable hosting accounts of one server for Hostgator are 148 and for GreenGeeks are 122. Then you can estimate what resources you may have for your hosting account.

Hosting Account != Hosting Website

For different hosting companies, they allow different hosting domains per one account. Take an example, Hostgator Hatchling plan only allows 1 but GreenGeeks Ecosite Starter plan allows unlimited. So if you only host a few websites, it is possible that your ideal resource may be stolen by the accounts with multiple websites. In this case, Hostgator could be your best choice. Reversely, if you intend to host multiple websites, you have opportunity to steal from others. Then GreenGeeks could be your best choice.

Summary

Don't trust the unlimited as it's advertised by the hosting companies. For the economic hosting plans, you should think more on what your requirement and focus on the factors of a web hosting plan, including cost, company reputation, free domain name and hosting domain limitation.

Hostgator is the typical well-known big company and GreenGeeks is the typical new and economic company. Click here to take HostGator Reviews and GreenGeeks Reviews.