Web hosting plans include many features, and often times the feature lists can be difficult to compare since there are so many aspects to consider. Perhaps the two most important attributes of a web hosting plan are the bandwidth and disk space. The bandwidth capacity determines how much information a website can send to their visitors during their viewing of the site. The disk space determines how many files you can store for your website. The bandwidth is usually limited by a network line that has a measurable transfer rate capacity due to it’s size. Likewise, the hard disk space is also limited by storage space and other technological limitations.
The problem with most web hosting plans is that they claim to offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space, however they simply cannot truly offer this as they are not equipped to do so. Even Internet Service Providers don’t make such claims, as they know it is not possible to give this type of service to every customer. So then why do so many web hosting companies promise unlimited features that they cannot accommodate for?
All You Can Eat?
Think of it this way – when you go to a buffet, you are promised all you can eat. This means you are entitled to an unlimited amount of food, as long as you can swallow it. However, this does not mean that you are going to eat all of the food! In fact, most of the people at the buffet are not going to eat more than two plates! The buffet advertises unlimited food, even though both the restaurant manager and the diners know that this is not truly possible. How does this relate to web hosting? Because it is the same concept- web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space to attract customers. At the same time, they know these customers cannot possibly use all of their bandwidth.
Competition and Marketing
Due to the competitive nature of the web hosting industry, web hosting companies will do whatever they can to outbid the competition for your business. Web hosts know that most users are not going to uses even half of their allocated bandwidth, so they can offer unlimited bandwidth plans since there are so many server resources left over all the time. The sad part is, if the customer does happen to go over this hidden bandwidth limit, the hosting company may shut down their website without warning. While this kind of unlimited plan may be suitable for some webmasters, a rapidly expanding business should know their bandwidth limits to prevent from receiving warning letters and abrupt termination of service from their web hosting service.
The saying “nothing is free” may be just as relevant as “nothing is unlimited.” When a web hosting company says they offer unlimited features, it may be best to speak with these web hosting company’s support staff to assure yourself that the features are actually unlimited.