After a year of relentless escalation, most shared web hosting plans now come with "Unlimited" disk space and bandwidth!
Too good to be true?
Don't fall for it! Many restrictions apply!
Of course, the terms & conditions of each hosting company and or hosting plan will vary, but most of the time, if you try to really go unlimited you will hit one of these limits:
- The unlimited diskspace can only be used for public web content. It cannot be used for:
- password protected content
- or backups
- The unlimited bandwidth can only be used for "regular web pages", not for:
- software downloads
- There may still be limitations on the number of web requests per second your server can handle.
- There may still be limitations on the processor time your scripts can use.
Does it matter?
NO, NOT REALLY!
Unless you're actually trying to run high traffic sites at virtually no cost, you should not really be concerned about this. Actually, the fact that everybody has aligned on "unlimited" will let you shift your focus on more interesting differentiating factors between software companies, such as:
- Is their software up to date?
- Is their platform secure?
- Is their tech support helpful?
- Is your site going to be fast enough?
- What is your commitment and can you change your mind if the hosting company doesn't live up to their claims and/or your expectations?
For more info on choosing a webhost, check out our Web Hosting 101 »
Comment from: Joshua [Visitor]
The actual terms of service are a much different story. Upon sign up, many users simply agree to the terms without reviewing the actual information.
Comment from: hong kong girl [Visitor]
It’s a shame so many hosts misrepresent their terms by “leaving out” specific limitations until it’s too late. Unlimited should really mean unlimited, imo.
Comment from: Irena [Visitor]
That´s why it is so important to read web host´s terms & conditions. Only few people actually read this and later they are surprised that their account was suspended.
Comment from: Sodredge [Visitor]
Recently while installing what would be my bazillionth blog on a server I was given the size of the install and how much was left on the host and it read just under a terabyte. I was thinking at the time, “not bad” for 4 bucks a month.
Comment from: Bruno [Visitor]
Very useful post. Thanks. Hopefully many will read it before choosing a plan.
But as a rule ALWAYS read the terms of services of EVERYTHING you sign up to… it might take time but it is imperative to know exactly what to expect… especially when it says unlimited or free with a * right after (free*)….which means there is a catch/limitation somewhere
So to avoid issues ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINTS, the smaller they are you can bet the more important they are ..to you!
Comment from: Chirag [Visitor]
brian you have to understand the concept of unlimited hosting is that they hope for clients will use only some of the disk space and not like yahoo. It’s just that unlimited sounds much better to end user then soem sort of capacity on a plan.
Comment from: KARTHIK KUMAR [Visitor]
No one can provide UNLIMITED SPACE. I have never seen any HARD DISK that has UNLIMITED space.
Very enlightening post here. I totally agree, most times when a site being hosted with unlimited space really goes unlimited, there would be something blocking the way.
Comment from: Edward Hayes [Visitor]
Selling unlimited bandwidth and/or disk space is the most dishonest point the hosting industry can get. The is no magical server with unlimited resources, this is absolutely taking hosting customers for a fool.
Comment from: Gossimer [Visitor]
Unlimited web hosting sounds fishy all the time! I always go for the terms and conditions involved with word “unlimited".
Comment from: Ice Rabia [Visitor]
It is definitely too good to be true. Many people fell for this kind of over selling.
:>Many web hosts now offer unlimited bandwidth and space. But I just wonder if it is really true and if not, how much more additional fees customers should shoulder in case they exceed their quota…
Comment from: Chris Henning [Visitor]
Excellent article. Although, I think a lot are allowing a certain level of ‘photo/video’ usage until it becomes an issue. It seems like the major players in shared hosting are unlimited in some regards. I don’t understand how you can get a better shared plan than a dedicated. You get more bandwidth, storage, and better price on shared than on a dedicated. You just don’t get total control.
I think it’s based on averaging and the host is betting 99% of their user base will not use the resources. For that 1%, I bet they bust out the DMCA policy and shut those guys out. So I agree, true unlimited is not allowed anywhere.
Comment from: brian [Visitor]
it actually amazes me how many people actually buy into the concept of unlimited. if their were true unlimited accounts yahoo could host yahoo on one of those and get rid of the million dollar data center. that a joke
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