Buy hosting you actually need, not 'unlimited'

If cheap hosting sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Friday 30th April 2010
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3 mins

Hosting is obviously an essential part of running a site. There are millions of different hosts with different price plans and offers. Often the vast array of choices can be rather daunting, but make sure you don't get suckered in to common traps, namely 'unlimited' claims.

It is not physically possible for a hard drive to be able to hold an unlimited amount of data. What they really mean by this is they just don't limit how much you use, but this is a problem. To make sure you don't ever hit a limit, when a server is reaching critical mass, the hosting company will just buy more hardware. However this means that servers are being strained until bursting point until new hardware is added in. This is overselling. They know you'll never need much space so they say you have unlimited space, and if they need to, they buy more space to make sure everything works. There is no way it's financially viable for hosters to manage decent servers whilst giving you all these high limits, if they were actually accurate. They may have a 1 TB server and say you have unlimited storage, but clearly, it can only hold 1 TB. Or, they may have a 1 TB server and say you have 100 GB. Logically, you'd only be able to have 10 accounts on there, but they'd probably add far more, 50 or more, because they know you'll never actually use any more than 1 GB or so, so they can squeeze more people onto the server.

In my time on the MyBB Support Team I've come across countless threads complaining of slow hosts, sites always going down, MySQL saying too many people are connected, extremely slow queries, etc etc, and a lot of them are on free or cheap hosts that offer 'unlimited' plans. You are far better off using a host that has more realistic price plans.

I pay £12 per month for my hosting. That's about $18 USD. For that I get 500 MB storage and 10 GB bandwidth. Part of the reason it's so expensive is because I wanted UK based hosting, and even though I know I could get 'more' for a lot less with US based hosting, I'd never go back to it. Funnily enough, I don't need 100 GB of space and 1 TB of bandwidth or whatever nonsense people offer. I know that what I am being offered is what I get. My server is not being oversold. And guess what; it's extremely quick, I've not had one MySQL error about too many connections or anything, it hardly ever goes down, and when it does, it's either fixed again or people are working on it before I've even enquired about it. I have a reseller account and manage 5 sites off this account, and I manage fine. If I need a bit more storage or bandwidth, I pay a bit more to get a bit more, but I know the server has plenty of free space to manage.

Bottom line with hosts is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't get drawn in to unlimited claims. Don't even fall for plans offering hundreds of GBs. Go for something far more realistic and I can pretty much guarantee you will have a better, faster, more reliable hosting experience.