Peeling back the myth behind unlimited bandwidth and unlimited hosting in the web hosting industry
When you are looking for a web hosting service to use, you will often come across words such as “unlimited bandwidth” or “unlimited disk space”.
hat is unlimited hosting?
Unlimited web hosting is a web hosting package designed to provide a web hosting customer a way to host his or her website without the system suspending or terminating the account for excessive resource usages.
Why write about it?
Well, our sales team sometimes gets asked by potential customers how we can stay in business while offering disk space, bandwidth is unmetered, and anti-malware, backups, and other features free.
We also have come across blog posts telling customers to see this is a red flag and a sign that a web host should not be trusted.
To us, the last response is something we must address as we believe it does a great disservice to new website owners who simply want the best web hosting deal they can get for their website.
For most seasoned website administrators, the following points are part of the decision process when deciding the best hosting package to use:
- daily traffic to the website
- resources (bandwidth mostly) that will be needed for traffic spikes
- the level of technical support & expertise needed
- security requirements for the website
- speed and performance (often determined by the amount RAM & CPU)
- and of course, the monthly budget
This is not a piece of information that a new website admin will have in his or her disposal readily know or have available.
So coming across a hosting plan that takes away the burden of this decision from him or her, is helpful in every conceivable way.
Actually, the concept of “
Not long ago (that is before the advent of cloud computing and cloud hosting), web hosting packages are mostly determined by two things:
- the amount of disk space or webspace per month
- the amount of egress bandwidth you are allowed monthly
This changed a lot with the advent of the cloud and drastically changed the market dynamics.
For web hosting companies that embraced the public cloud, reaping the benefits of such move brought with it: faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
On-demand computing lets you pay for computing capacity by the hour or second (minimum of 60 seconds) with no long-term commitments.
This frees companies (web hosting companies included) from the costs and complexities of planning, purchasing, and maintaining hardware.
It also transformed what are commonly large fixed costs into much smaller variable costs.
Instead of buying hardware and software, setting up and running on-site datacenters which often leads to over-capacity planning, embracing the cloud means starting off with the right amount of computing power, storage, bandwidth.
These can be scaled up if and when needed, and from the right geographic location.
So what does this have to do with “unlimited hosting” and how does web host stay in business?
The fact is that most hosting companies offering the unlimited web hosting option operate on the assumption that most users on a system will not use all the resources (disk space & bandwidth) that their hosting package has access to.
If every tenant in a shared web server insists or try to use all the “unlimited” resources, the web host will simply go out of business … fast.
A typical website with approximately 667 visitors per day and with each visitor visiting 5 web-pages with an average size of 2MB will probably need about 5GB of bandwidth per month to function effectively.
And this is even on the high end since most PHP websites online are WordPress which may need just 20% of the above to stay online.
So as you can see, it is possible to sustain the unlimited data space and unlimited bandwidth offering.
Seeing “unlimited disk space” or “unlimited bandwidth” on a hosting pricing box or table is not a marketing ploy and shouldn’t
For instance on Web Hosting Magic infrastructure, instead of having 9-12 hosting packages, we decided to differentiate our web hosting packages with the amount of RAM and CPU each has access.
To us, it was a great way to make our hosting packages easy for those that may not know exactly the kind of resources their website might need.
At this stage, you may be wondering what might be the best hosting plan for your website.
The fact is that this depends on the kind of website you are trying to host online.
But on average, a good web hosting plan is one that:
- offers enough storage space & bandwidth for your web pages, applications, and additional files
- is scalable enough to meet any traffic surge & for the future growth
- satisfies the system requirements of your web software
- gives you the right balance between control and ease-of-use
- is reliable enough that your site is 99.5% up and running at any given time
The general rule of thumb is that if you have a site with low or medium traffic, just go for any hosting package as long as these conditions above are met.
As your need grows, a good web hosting package will be able to accommodate that growth since it must be capable of allowing you to scale up the resources whenever required.
A really good and legit web hosting company (not a hosting reseller that is offering web hosting from his or her own resources) will always be able to offer this unlimited hosting option without much of an issue to the company’s bottom line.
So if you are lucky to come across a web host that offers these resources as “unlimited”, it is an opportunity you should grab at once before the dynamics change.