Unlimited hosting: There is a subject that raises doubts, and also a lot of controversies. On the one hand, clients were confused or disappointed with a hosting that seemed to have no limits. On the other hand, companies need to deal with frustrations and explain what it is exactly.
Often, that’s where the problem lies: Have you read the terms of service before hiring? In this article, we will explain what lies behind the famous unlimited hosting and how you can take advantage of it by knowing its limitations.
So what does unlimited hosting mean?
First, unlimited hosting does not mean endless hosting, however, this is the first impression we mostly have. Unlimited hosting means that it does not have a defined limitation, previously established.
Every hosting company administers its servers to ensure optimum performance and maximum stability. For this to work, it monitors and controls a number of server resources, such as memory usage, disk space, bandwidth, and so on.
These resources, in turn, are divided by all clients hosted on that server (which is what occurs in shared hosting). As we speak, for the server to have stability and good performance, the company monitors the use of resources by each of these sites. Each time a site “abuses” one or more resources, it intervenes quickly, before this site affects the performance of other sites hosted on the same server.
The story of a spacious dweller
To make it easier to understand the question, let’s imagine that the server hosting your site is a residential building. Like every building, there are several common areas for all residents, such as elevator, concierge, swimming pool, gym etc. All are entitled to use these areas and the cost to maintain this infrastructure is divided in between the residents of the building, who live in harmony.
There is no limit on the number of times a resident can attend the pool. Nor the use of the gym or other facilities available in the building is restricted. But there are general rules that the residents need to fulfill for the good coexistence of all.
Now imagine that on a sunny Sunday, one of the residents decides to take 30 friends to the pool in the building. Probably it will hurt other residents, who want to go to the pool and have this right because they also pay for it. In situations like this, the trustee (or other building officials) needs to intervene and ask the resident, who made “abusive” use of the resource, to free up space in the pool.
With unlimited hosting, the same thing happens. There are several sites sharing resources from the same server, and this is balanced through a normal use of these resources by the sites. When a site makes excessive use of resources, it compromises the stability and performance of all other sites in the same hosting.
As the most complicated is to know what would be a normal use, here we explain the limit of each of these resources.
After all, what are the limits of each resource?
Unlimited disk space
Every disk has a storage limit, after all, it is a hard disk. On hosts with unlimited disk space, you have flexibility in using this feature, as there is no set ceiling. On the other hand, it is normal to have restrictions on how to use this space.
For example, most unlimited hosts prohibit the use of hosting as a file repository. For situations like this, it is best to hire a specific storage service, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive, among others. Also usually prohibit the hosting of websites to download or upload files, because they consume a lot of disk space.
If your site or blog is personal or institutional, you probably will not have problems with the use of disk space. Most of the hosting plans offer generous spaces, which the vast majority of sites will never reach. Think of a restaurant website or a beauty salon, for example. Even though it has many photos, it probably will not reach 1 GB of space, which is a lot less than the companies offer.
On the other hand, it is important to understand how each hosting works with disk space. Some provide this space for storing websites, emails, and databases, while others divide the space between each resource. One must be aware of this when hiring a hosting.
In a simplified way, we can say that the bandwidth is related to the traffic of your site. Every time someone visits your site, they download your files in the browser (ex: Chrome). This browser then displays information on the screen of your computer or mobile. The more people who access and navigate your site, the greater the use of the transfer feature in the hosting is.
For companies to be able to offer unlimited bandwidth, they often have restrictions, such as a number of processes, memory usage, CPU, among others. In other words, if your site consumes a lot of resources or has a high number of hits, you can be notified by the hosting company and have to migrate to a server that is appropriate for your site.
Some companies prohibit hosting of auction sites and online game sites, but heavily-accessed blogs may also have problems because of traffic peaks, which tend to overload the server. Sites that receive visits throughout the day, without peaks, do not usually give problems in this type of hosting.
Unlimited Email Accounts
You must know how to differentiate unlimited email from unlimited accounts. They look the same, but they are totally different. Unlimited email would be an email with infinite space, which no one, not even Gmail, offers. Already unlimited email accounts mean that you can create as many email addresses as you want, which is offered by a large number of companies.
So, in order not to fall for a catch, try to find out how much space is meant for each email account. Some companies leave this information explicit on the site. Other companies do not make that clear, so you need to search the site.
There is one item that few people know about but that can make your account be suspended from a hosting, which is the number of inodes. Each file is an inode, regardless of its size. One email, one image, one file on the server, each of these items counts as 1 inode. Most companies that offer unlimited hosting have inode limitation (something around 250,000 inodes, and may vary depending on hosting).
It’s quite a thing, but imagine that you have a large website and many active email accounts, all stored in your hosting. It may be that in a few years you reach that limit, so you have to keep track of that. The good news is that it is available in the control panel of your hosting.
For this resource, the rules above are valid. Check where the restriction is, to make sure that the hosting will meet your needs and that you will walk within the “rules”. In some cases, you can create as many databases as you want, but space will be restricted to the total space offered by the hosting. In other cases, there will be a limit of tables per database, or inodes. It is also possible that this unlimited applies only to MySQL databases, for example, not including MS SQL, which is Microsoft (and has a high cost).
Again, common and small business sites will hardly have problems with databases.
For who is unlimited hosting indicated?
As we speak, unlimited hosting is shared, therefore, only indicated for personal or institutional sites and blogs with moderate traffic. When in doubt, you can check the possibility of hosting your website by contacting the company.
If your site is new and you are not sure how many features you need, you can start with a shared hosting and upgrade when the site grows. Migration is usually simple and the hosting company itself can assist you in this process.
What if I exceed the limits of hosting?
Sometimes a site is reported for resource abuse, even without being large or having many visits. This happens when the site is not optimized, or it was built improperly, consuming more resources than a similar site. In such cases, site optimization may be sufficient to continue in shared hosting.
There are many ways to optimize your site, but a valuable tip is to enable caching on the server. The cache lowers the server’s processing load because it generates a static copy of the pages of the site. One more way to optimize the hosting is to do an external backup and download the emails in a client like Gmail or Outlook. This way you decrease the number of inodes and the use of disk space, for example.
If your site is optimized and even then you’re notified, it’s time to get a more robust hosting for your site. In this case, we recommend that you evaluate the possibility of hiring a VPS, Dedicated and Cloud.
How to know if unlimited hosting is good?
You will need to evaluate unlimited hosting as you would evaluate any hosting, but with more attention. Search for information, read the terms of service of the hosting, and see if it meets the needs of your site.
Unlimited hosting offers many advantages, including the ability to use more resources than a resource-rich hosting. This is not a rule, but it is often the case.
Using the example of the building, it would be like choosing between a small pool, just for you, or a large pool, which usually has free space for you to swim. The important thing is to be careful and not to choose a bad hosting and end up with a crowded pool that nobody controls.
You must choose the right hosting for your site, whether it is limited or unlimited. I hope this article has been helpful to you. Any questions or suggestions, leave a comment here for us.