The Myth Of Unlimited Disk Space & Unlimited Bandwidth

[size=4]The Real Meaning of “Unlimited” in Web Hosting[/size].

Do you know something like this?:

  • UNLIMITED Disk Space & Bandwidth

    As many webmasters who have been burnt can attest, “unlimited” in web hosting lingo usually does not really mean “unlimited” when it applies to disk space and bandwidth. Many hosting companies claim to offer “unlimited” plans (both disk space and bandwidth), but be aware that there are physical limitations to both disk space and bandwidth. Before you buy an “unlimited” plan, know what you're getting into.

    When consumers decide they want to place a website on the internet, they are often unaware of the fact that there are limitations. Unlimited is attractive because it requires no further thought. If it's unlimited then I never need to worry about running out right? Although this is understandable, there are risks with purchasing unlimited plans.

    It is impossible for any provider to actually provide an unlimited amount of bandwidth or disk space. It's just not possible.

    Unlimited Space Plans.

    When web hosts provide “unlimited” space, they often have to restrict what you can use the disk space for. They need to do this since if every user really uses their “unlimited” space, the host would have to spend an unlimited amount of money to buy an unlimited number of hard disks to provide space for them.

    As such, if you look at the Terms of Service (TOS) agreements of web hosts providing either unlimited space or incredibly huge amounts of disk space (such as those providing hundreds of gigabytes or even thousands), you will notice that you cannot use the space for any purpose you choose. In most cases, their condition is that the space can be used only for the website. You cannot, for example, use the space as a sort of offsite backup space for your home or office computer.

    Unlimited Bandwidth Plans.

    Think about it this way. When a web host provides unlimited this-and-that, many people will be attracted to their plans. Be honest — I'm sure you find it tempting too (until you have been burnt, of course). Some of these people will be running huge static websites that will use enormous amounts of bandwidth. Since your site will also share the same bandwidth pipe as these people, and perhaps worse, be on the same server as they are, the performance of your site will be affected. To use an analogy, everyone is sharing the same pie. If someone takes a large slice of the pie, the rest will have to share the remainder, however small it may be.

    Most websites only consume a very small amount of bandwidth and disk space. Web hosting companies that provide unlimited anything as a plan feature are banking on the fact that you won't use very much.

    Unlimited is a marketing trick to get your business. The web hosting market is very competitive. Although selling plans that pretend to be unlimited can seem dishonest, it does not mean that the hosting company will not provide good service.

    If you intend to have a lot of visitors to your site, lots of downloads, including audio or video files, do not choose an unlimited plan hoping to get unrestricted bandwidth. You will find yourself with problems. Your web host is not going to run at a loss for long - they could shut down your website or even charge you extra (read the terms of service):


[size=2]RESOURCE USAGE[/size]

[size=2]- INODES: The use of more than 250,000 inodes on any shared account will result in a warning, and if no action is taken future suspension. Accounts found to be exceeding the 100,000 inode limit will automatically be removed from our backup system to avoid over-usage. Every file (a webpage, image file, email, etc) on your account uses up 1 inode. Sites that slightly exceed our inode limits are unlikely to be suspended; however, accounts that constantly create and delete large numbers of files on a regular basis, have hundreds of thousands of files, or cause file system damage may be flagged for review and/or suspension.[/size]


Only consider an unlimited hosting plan if you know your disk space and bandwidth requirements are very low. If, on the other hand, you have an ecommerce site or a site that you expect to grow in size and bandwidth in future, avoid any plans that offer unlimited bandwidth or disk space.

Read the fine print. Don't accept the term at face value when it is used for space and bandwidth. Opting for unlimited disk space or bandwidth may mean that your site faces unspecified, or vaguely-specified, limits, as compared to web hosts that tell you upfront what you are getting.


In the world of hosting even allocated space is not guaranteed, I had a VPS with Go-daddy for over a year with 60GB of Disk Space. quite often the available space would actually be much less than this, which caused my sites to go down.

Go-daddy's excuse that the master server was running out of space.



this happens often on servers with OpenVZ virtualization, because the space can be oversold like on a shared server.

Xen, a para-virtualization platform creates VPS with almost exactly the same characteristics as dedicated servers. A Xen VPS will run its own isolated kernel, load its own kernel modules, use fully dedicated virtualized memory, I/O and scheduler, and will be just as stable and customizable as a dedicated server. For a small premium, you'll never know that you're only using a virtual server.

All VPS on an OpenVZ node will share the same core Linux kernel. OpenVZ VPS are more cost-effective, easier to understand, and are usually much more effective than Xen as cheap VPS, due to having the extra resources available that a Xen VPS would be using to run its completely isolated environment.

Main Features of OpenVZ Virtualization:[list]

[]Full root access.

]OS-level virtualization.

[]'Burst' RAM and other extra resources available when nodes are underused.

]Upgrades can be applied on-the-fly, without reboots.

[]More resources available due to lightweight virtualization.

]Simple network and disk setup.

[]Access to most iptables modules.


Main Features of Xen Virtualization:[list]

]Full root access.

[]Supports Linux and Windows.

]Better Java performance.

[]Resources (RAM, etc) are fully dedicated and private.

]Para-virtualized Linux kernel (i.e., full isolation).

[]Direct access to loadable kernel modules.

]Swap space.

[*]Highly configurable.