When you are shopping for a shared web hosting service, many web hosting providers will indirectly ask you to
guess how successful your online presence will be, despite your having little or no evidence to go on. After all, if your disk space and bandwidth allocations are capped to specific amounts, your choice of shared hosting provider largely depends on your anticipated usage of these resources.
It’s no surprise, then, that more and more businesses and individuals are turning to unlimited web hosting plans. An unlimited shared hosting service seems to offer limitless possibilities for your website to grow naturally over time, without the threat of hidden charges for excess usage. But the reality is that not every “unlimited” hosting plan is truly unlimited. Some shared web hosts claim to provide unlimited hosting plans but are not completely transparent about what they really mean by “unlimited.”
Does every unlimited hosting plan offer infinite resources? What are the key things to consider when searching for an unlimited hosting service? Here is a guide to choosing an unlimited web hosting provider, including the individual features that you should check for before you order.
Does your unlimited shared hosting plan include unlimited bandwidth?
As one of the most crucial things to look for in a shared hosting plan, bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is sent back and forth from your website. As Web users have become more sophisticated; the kind of content that they demand has changed. Videos, music, and database-driven web applications – all of these types of content require larger file sizes and, as your visitor numbers grow, an increased demand on bandwidth.
Bandwidth is the most difficult-to-predict factor when choosing a shared hosting solution, and exceeding your bandwidth allocation is the leading cause of large surcharges at the end of your billing period. Unlimited bandwidth essentially means that you can offer any kind of content, to as many visitors as you want.
Does your unlimited hosting service offer unlimited disk space?
If you are going to be transferring content with large file sizes to your visitors, you are going to need somewhere to keep your data stored. On the majority of shared web hosting plans, a single server hard drive is divided up into smaller pieces that are used by each individual account holder. On many unlimited shared hosting solutions, this is still true – you will receive a fixed allocation of hard disk space, but one that’s so big that you are very unlikely to fill it with data.
Of course, unlimited should mean unlimited. The most reputable web hosts will happily increase your disk space allocation as you begin to approach it. You will effectively receive unlimited hard drive space that scales with your web presence.
Unfortunately, some shared web hosting providers have found alternative methods to restrict how you use your hosting resources.
The role of MySQL, mailboxes, FTP accounts, and domains in unlimited hosting plans
If you have found a reputable unlimited web hosting provider that equips you with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space, it would be only natural to assume that you have complete control and freedom over your hosting plan. However, by restricting certain features, hosting providers can ensure that your unlimited shared hosting plan is not really unlimited, after all.
The bandwidth and disk space features of unlimited web hosting services are only useful if you can make use of every tool that is available to you. To create rich and engaging web applications or run ready-made applications such as WordPress, you will need access to a MySQL database. You may also need numerous FTP accounts so that your entire team can upload new content, and/or mailboxes so that they can be contacted. You might even want to host many different websites, each with their own domain names, or park variations of your main domain name on a single shared hosting account.
These areas are where some unlimited hosting providers restrict their services. What good is infinite disk space and bandwidth if you are only permitted to use one MySQL database? Why choose unlimited shared hosting if you are unable to park unlimited domains?
Always check that your shared web host gives you unlimited access to the tools you need to take full advantage of your hosting solution.
The risk of unlimited shared hosting services
Ultimately, if you think that shared hosting offers the features you need to get your web presence up and running, an unlimited shared hosting plan may be a great way to get top-end services at a low cost. But alongside unlimited features, consider the overall reputation of any hosting provider. Will you be offered a service level agreement that guarantees uptime and availability? Does the host have the resources, network infrastructure, and expertise to cope with the incredible demands of unlimited hosting services?
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. It is only by thoroughly researching unlimited web hosting options that you can be completely confident as to the quality of service you can expect from any given plan.
Look for a truly unlimited hosting solution from a reputable host
Although some shared hosting providers use the term “unlimited shared hosting” in a misleading way, there are many shared hosting providers who provide exceptional unlimited hosting services with no hidden charges or service restrictions. Be meticulous in how you check a host before you order, and if their website does not offer the information that you need, contact them and ask for more details.
If the provider offers the right features and is honest about disclosing what is included, an unlimited web hosting service could be the affordable, scalable, and feature-packed solution that your business has been looking for.