Unlimited Web Hosting: Read the Fine Print

Many web hosting companies offer “unlimited” packages.  These are hosting deals that include one or more features in an unlimited quantity.  Some of them include unlimited disk space or storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, unlimited domains, and unlimited databases.

While such a deal sounds appealing, it is important to read the terms of service and see what the company is actually offering.  Disk space, for example, by its very nature, is not unlimited.  At some point, it is possible to use up all of the hard drive space on a dedicated server.  Does that mean the hosting provider will slide a second hard drive into your server for free?  That is highly unlikely.

In other words, if a hosting plan says it is unlimited, what they really mean is “unmetered”.  They will probably put the brakes on your file sharing operation if it starts to suck up all of their bandwidth, but otherwise, they will not charge you extra on a per-gigabyte basis.  Knowing the distinction will help you avoid getting into that situation.

If web hosts wanted to be more precise in their descriptions of unlimited services, they would probably use better wording to avoid confusion.  No web host can truly offer unlimited service.  ISPs are starting to feel the pinch of offering unlimited Internet access when some users use up everyone else’s bandwidth downloading torrents or streaming large amounts of video.  The situation is similar in web hosting.  Read the fine print, and you will save yourself and your host a lot of anguish.

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